WhatsApp Business: Empowering MSMEs for Growth and Customer Engagement

August 7, 2023
Updated on

In today's digital era, Micro Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) face the challenge of effectively connecting with customers and growing their businesses. However, with the advent of WhatsApp Business, a powerful communication tool, MSMEs now have a robust platform to enhance customer engagement, expand their reach, and streamline business operations. Whatsapp Business is created for owners running small businesses. It helps them easily interact with their customers by providing tools to share catalogues and quickly respond to messages. 

WhatsApp Business is a powerful tool for MSMEs looking to expand their reach and connect with customers more effectively. With its user-friendly interface and wide range of features, WhatsApp Business makes creating engaging messaging campaigns easy, managing customer interactions, and building lasting relationships with clients. Whether they are a startup or an established business, WhatsApp Business provides the tools they need to grow their brand and stay ahead of the competition. 

This blog explores how WhatsApp Business is transforming the landscape for MSMEs and providing them with new avenues for success.

The Rise of WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business was launched in January 2018 as a way for businesses to connect with customers on WhatsApp. Initially, WhatsApp Business was not very popular. Many businesses were unaware of the app, and it was difficult for them to access it. However, in recent years, WhatsApp Business has become increasingly popular. This is due to a number of factors, including:

The Growth of WhatsApp

WhatsApp was launched in 2009 for the iPhone, and it quickly became popular in India. The app's free messaging and calling features were a hit with Indian users, who were often paying high prices for text messaging. WhatsApp's popularity in India continued to grow, and by 2015, it had become the most popular messaging app in the country.  As a result, businesses are constantly finding innovative ways to connect with their customers on mobile devices. Now, the app is boasting a staggering 2 billion active users. With such a massive audience on WhatsApp, businesses can leverage this platform to reach a wider customer base.

The Increasing Popularity of Mobile Messaging

The smartphone revolution has made it easier to stay in touch with friends and family through messaging apps. These apps are free, feature-rich, and accessible, so all MSMEs need is a data connection to use them. Messaging apps are not just for personal use, businesses are also using them to communicate with customers. 

The Ease of Use

One of the biggest advantages of using WhatsApp Business is its ease of use. With just a few clicks, businesses can create a profile and begin sending messages to customers in no time.

As a result of these factors, WhatsApp Business has become a popular way for businesses to connect with customers. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, WhatsApp Business App has more than 50 million users globally. Of this, 15 million are in India.

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What Are the Benefits of WhatsApp Business Account for MSMEs?

WhatsApp Business allows businesses to communicate with customers through messaging. It is a separate app from the regular WhatsApp app, and it has several features that make it specifically designed for businesses. These features include:

Building a Strong Customer Connection

One of the benefits of a WhatsApp Business Account is it offers MSMEs a direct and convenient channel to engage with customers. Through one-on-one messaging, businesses can provide personalised support, address queries, and offer real-time assistance, fostering stronger customer relationships. The instant nature of WhatsApp communication helps MSMEs build trust and loyalty, giving them a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. 

By promptly responding to customer inquiries and providing personalised recommendations, MSMEs can create a positive customer experience that leads to repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

Seamless Order Management and Transactions

With WhatsApp Business, MSMEs can streamline their order management process. From showcasing products and services to receiving inquiries and placing orders, the platform provides a seamless and efficient way to conduct business transactions. MSMEs can share catalogues, pricing information, and product details, allowing customers to make informed purchasing decisions directly through the app. 

The ability to handle orders and transactions within WhatsApp simplifies the buying process, reduces friction, and enhances customer satisfaction. Additionally, businesses can use WhatsApp Business to send payment reminders, issue invoices, and facilitate secure payments, making it a comprehensive platform for managing the end-to-end sales process.

Enhanced Customer Service

Prompt and responsive customer service is vital for MSMEs to thrive. WhatsApp Business enables businesses to provide timely support, resolve issues, and address customer feedback in a personalised manner. Customers appreciate the convenience of reaching out to businesses directly through WhatsApp, as it eliminates the need for lengthy phone calls or email exchanges. 

MSMEs can leverage features like quick replies and automated greetings to enhance their customer service efficiency. By going the extra mile to provide exceptional support, MSMEs can build a reputation for excellent customer service, leading to increased customer loyalty and advocacy.

Targeted Marketing and Promotions

WhatsApp Business enables MSMEs to create and manage customer lists, facilitating targeted marketing campaigns. Businesses can send promotional messages, product updates, and exclusive offers directly to interested customers, ensuring that their marketing efforts reach the right audience. This targeted approach enhances conversion rates and drives sales for MSMEs. 

Additionally, businesses can use WhatsApp Business to conduct surveys and gather valuable feedback, allowing them to understand customer preferences and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. By leveraging the power of WhatsApp's multimedia capabilities, MSMEs can also create engaging and visually appealing marketing content to captivate their audience.

Cost-Effective Communication

For MSMEs, cost-effectiveness is a crucial aspect of sustainable growth. WhatsApp Business offers an affordable communication solution, eliminating the need for traditional SMS services or expensive customer support systems. The low-cost nature of WhatsApp Business ensures that even businesses with limited budgets can leverage its benefits and compete in the digital marketplace. 

By reducing communication costs, MSMEs can allocate resources to other business areas, such as product development or expanding their reach through targeted marketing campaigns.

Analytics and Insights

Understanding customer behaviour and measuring the effectiveness of marketing strategies is vital for MSMEs. WhatsApp Business provides analytics and insights that enable businesses to track message delivery, read receipts, and customer engagement metrics. These valuable insights empower MSMEs to refine their strategies, tailor their offerings, and optimise their business operations.

By analysing data on customer preferences, response rates, and popular products, MSMEs can make data-driven decisions that drive growth and enhance their competitive advantage in the market.

WhatsApp Business for MSMEs

What Should MSMEs Keep in Mind when Creating a WhatsApp Business?

Create a Professional Profile

Creating a WhatsApp Business account must enter a business name. This name will be displayed to customers when they see a WhatsApp Business profile. Select a business category for their WhatsApp Business account. This category will help customers to find particular businesses on WhatsApp when they are searching for them.

Business Description

Small businesses can also add a business description to their WhatsApp Business account. This description can be used to provide customers with more information about a business, such as products or services, location of the business, hours of operation, away messages, and other relevant notifications.

A Dedicated Phone Number

It is best to use a dedicated phone number for a WhatsApp Business account. This will help MSMEs to keep their personal and business messages separate. If they have a dual sim, they can use one number for regular WhatsApp and one for Whatsapp Business. 

Once a small business download and register the app, their chats from the regular Whatsapp app get merged into the WhatsApp Business account. MSMEs can use Whatsapp and Whatsapp Business on the same phone if they register on them from two different numbers.

WhatsApp Business is a powerful tool that can help MSMEs to connect with customers and grow their businesses.

How to Create a Product Catalogue on Whatsapp Business?

A catalogue in WhatsApp Business is a digital inventory of products or services that small businesses can share with their customers. It's a great way to showcase their products or services to potential customers and make it easy for them to find what they're looking for. To make a catalogue on WhatsApp business, MSMEs need:

  • Photos of products
  • Name of the products
  • Name of product materials 
  • Price of product
  • Dimensions of the product
  • SKU Code of the product

A catalogue can contain up to 500 items, and each item can include a product name, price, description, image, and link. MSMEs can also add product or service codes to the catalogue to help them keep track of their inventory.

To create a catalogue in WhatsApp Business, small businesses need to open the app and go to More Options> Settings > Business tools > Catalogue. Then, business owners can tap “Add new item” and enter the details for their product or service.

Once the catalogue is created, they can share it with their customers by sending them a link to their catalogue or by adding it to their WhatsApp Business profile. Customers can then browse through their catalogues and learn more about the products or services.

Useful Tools Offered by WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp Business offers a variety of business tools other than catalogues. These tools can help businesses connect with customers, manage their business, and improve customer service. Some of the most popular business tools in WhatsApp Business are:

Quick Replies

Quick replies are pre-made messages that businesses can use to respond to common customer questions. This can save businesses time and help them provide faster customer service.

Automatic Greeting Message

An automatic greeting message is a message that is sent to customers when they first start a chat with a business. This is a great way to introduce the business and let customers know how they can be helped.

Automatic Away Message

An automatic away message is a message that is sent to customers when a business is not available to chat. This is a great way to let customers know when the business will be back and how they can reach the business in the meantime.

Message Statistics

Message statistics allow businesses to track how their customers interact with them on WhatsApp. This information can help businesses improve their customer service and marketing campaigns.

Contacts Labels

Contact labels allow businesses to organise their customers into groups. This can help businesses track customer interactions and provide more personalised customer service.

WhatsApp Business Profile

A WhatsApp Business Profile is a public profile that businesses can create for their business. This profile includes information about the business, such as its contact information, hours of operation, and website address.

Conclusion

WhatsApp Business has emerged as a powerful tool for MSMEs, revolutionising the way they connect with customers and conduct business. By leveraging the platform's features, MSMEs can build stronger customer relationships, streamline operations, and reach a global audience. WhatsApp Business offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for MSMEs to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. As more businesses embrace this communication channel, the potential for growth and success for MSMEs in the digital landscape becomes brighter than ever.

As more businesses embrace this communication channel, the potential for growth and success for MSMEs in the digital landscape becomes brighter than ever. Kinara Capital, an RBI Registered Systemically Important NBFC firm in India, provides Business Loans without Collateral to MSMEs in India to help them expand their venture. Moreover, Kinara also offers knowledge-building workshops on various topics that can help them grow, making it an excellent partner for MSMEs looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Kinara offers a quick and hassle-free application process for MSME loans. By starting the digital-first application process by downloading the myKinara App, eligible small business entrepreneurs can evaluate their eligibility for business loans without collateral in just 1-minute and submit the necessary documents. The loan amount will be disbursed digitally to their bank account within 24-hours. Kinara also provides doorstep customer services in multiple languages to assist MSMEs interested in learning more about MSME loans and needing help applying. For further queries or doubts, they can give a missed call at 080-68264454 and talk to Kinara’s in-house customer support team.

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