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WhatsApp Business Platform: What It Is and Why Your E-commerce Business Needs It

June 29, 2023

E-commerce continues to grow rapidly as more and more customers prioritize the speed and convenience that an online shopping experience offers. In addition to this rapid growth, there is a major shift in the way people communicate with one another and with businesses. That shift has been happening behind the scenes, where new technologies are available to broaden your reach and deliver a customer experience that reflects your brand across every touchpoint.

Business messaging is a great communication tool for e-commerce brands who want to deliver fast, personalized, and engaging customer interactions in every phase of the customer journey. Keep reading to learn more about why enterprise businesses should be making use of business messaging to strengthen customer communication and increase engagement.

What can you do as an e-commerce business to increase your sales? Communicating with customers via WhatsApp Business Platform is a great start.

According to Spectrm’s State of WhatsApp Business Messaging report, 69% of surveyed customers said that they are more likely to buy from companies that allow them to interact with brands via WhatsApp.1 This presents a big opportunity for enterprise e-commerce businesses.

WhatsApp Business Platform enables, specifically enterprise size businesses, like e-commerce brands to connect with their customers via the massively popular messaging app. Keep reading to learn more about the WhatsApp Business Platform, why e-commerce businesses love it, and what some of its key features look like in action.

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business products enable both small and enterprise companies to engage audiences and accelerate sales by using WhatsApp with their customers.

What’s the difference between the WhatsApp Business App and the WhatsApp Business Platform?

WhatsApp Business has two separate products, the Business App and the Business Platform. The WhatsApp Business App is meant for solopreneurs and small businesses, while the WhatsApp Business Platform serves enterprise customers (medium and large-sized businesses).

The Business App is free to download, like the consumer app that individuals use to message their family and friends. With the app, small businesses can designate up to four employees to engage in manual one-to-one communication with customers.

The WhatsApp Business Platform (often referred to in market as the WhatsApp API) is much more versatile. The platform offers three application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow large e-commerce businesses to effectively communicate with their sizable volume of customers.

  • Cloud API, hosted by Meta. Allows you to send messages to and receive them from customers at scale via Meta’s servers. You can connect thousands of live agents or chatbots via this API to communicate with customers either manually or through automation.
  • On-Premises API. Allows you to communicate with customers the same way as the Cloud API but is hosted and maintained on your own servers.
  • Business Manager API. Allows you to manage your Meta account, campaign settings, and campaign assets as well as get status updates.

An API-based solution means you can integrate the WhatsApp Business Platform with your existing infrastructure, like customer relationship management (CRM) tools, customer support solutions, and marketing platforms. For example, you could integrate your WhatsApp Business account with a customer support platform like Zendesk to track, organize, and respond to customer requests via WhatsApp.

If your e-commerce business doesn’t have in-house developers, you can easily find and enage a WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs) to handle integrations for your business profile.

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3 ways WhatsApp Business Platform strengthens e-commerce brands

Messaging your customers with WhatsApp Business Platform has a few advantages and the first one is the ability to meet customers where they are with a brand they recognize. Already, 175M people message a WhatsApp business account everyday.2 That’s because communication via WhatsApp Business Platform allows enterprise businesses to engage directly with customers using messages, imagery and other rich media formats for a more personalized experience.

WhatsApp Business Platform also provides companies with reliable delivery data, so they can easily see which messages have been opened, not just delivered.

All of this means WhatsApp Business Platform pays off for e-commerce brands — literally.

Forrester confirmed just how valuable the platform is in their internal study on retail and e-commerce businesses using the WhatsApp Business Platform and/or the Messenger API. They found that the average return on investment (ROI) was “$72,000 for the medium-sized and $723,000 for the large composite organizations over three years.”3

Here are a few reasons why WhatsApp Business Platform offers e-commerce brands such a high return.

It makes capturing and nurturing leads easier

WhatsApp Business Platform works wonders for marketing teams because it helps them to create continuous conversations on a channel customers increasingly prefer to use when speaking with brands.

Just using WhatsApp Business Platform is enough to excite many customers. Spectrm’s report found that 66% of customers surveyed said that they made purchases after communicating with a brand on WhatsApp.4

Spectrm’s report also found that 57% of surveyed customers claim to regularly communicate or receive content and offers from a brand through WhatsApp, and 70% say messaging with a brand has positively impacted their perception of the company.

New customers need to opt in to start receiving marketing messages from you, and they usually will, given how much WhatsApp users love using the messaging app to interact with brands. Attentive found that almost 90% of the customers they surveyed are either interested in or have already signed up to receive messages from brands.5

Once they’ve opted in, potential customers can receive lead nurturing messages from your brand, like notifications, product/service news and updates, discount offers, cart abandonment reminders, and more.

It lets you nurture customers with post-purchase notifications

Automated WhatsApp Business Platform notifications sent at the right times don’t just help convert new buyers — they can also help turn one-time customers into loyal patrons.

Once customers make a purchase and opt in to receive notifications, WhatsApp Business Platform makes it easy to send them regular real-time status updates — like order confirmation, payment received, order shipped, and order delivered notifications. These updates help reduce the customer’s anxiety and show them that you are invested in providing a transparent, positive shopping experience.

It helps you provide excellent customer support

According to Zendesk’s 2023 Customer Experience Trends report, customers:

  • Want immediate service (72%)
  • Demand natural, conversational experiences (71%)
  • Expect support agents to have full context (70%)6

WhatsApp Business Platform helps ecommerce brands meet these expectations. Companies can use the platform to chat with customers immediately via automated messaging or chatbots, even outside of business hours when live agents aren’t available. 6thStreet, a e-commerce business in Dubai, used WhatsApp Business Platform to deliver personalized conversations with different audience segments making for a more custom experience.

All customer conversations can be easily exported to CRMs, so all team members can access them. No matter who picks up an ongoing customer conversation, they’ll have the context needed to provide support without asking customers to repeat themselves.

Two people working in an art studio. One is putting together an order and the other person is writing down an online order from a laptop.

WhatsApp Business Platform helps turns leads into conversions

The growth of messaging continues to accelerate, and consumers increasingly prefer it over other channels. According to a Juniper Research study released in September 2022, the total value of the mobile business messaging market will increase from $48 billion in 2022 to $78 billion by 2027. This presents a big opportunity for e-commerce businesses that want to increase engagement with customers, provide more personalized experiences through messaging, and help increase satisfaction with customer support.

Want to learn more about what WhatsApp Business Platform is doing for other businesses? Check out our most recent customer success stories.

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