WhatsApp is becoming one of the most preferred digital marketing tools in the industry. With more than 1.5 billion users across the globe, WhatsApp is a favorite app for many people. There are around 225+ million users of WhatsApp in India alone. We can also see that more users are joining the app daily.
In today’s market, WhatsApp is being used by users of all age groups and economic backgrounds. The availability of low- cost smartphones, the reduction in the rates for internet data is encouraging more and more people to use smartphones and communication apps. WhatsApp is free to download and use. The zero-ad policy and no in-app purchases have resulted in bringing billions of people to the platform.
We can see how users prefer to use WhatsApp to send messages, to make calls, and to stay in touch with their friends, family, and colleagues. Schools, workplaces, institutions, etc. are creating WhatsApp groups to share information with their employees, students, parents, clients, etc. in a matter of minutes. Many small scale business enterprises are using WhatsApp to communicate with their customers and provide customer support services.
This trend has resulted in a new app called WhatsApp Business. Developed for business enterprises, the app is being used for promotional, informational, and customer support purposes. WhatsApp Business can be downloaded and used on smartphones with iOS, Windows, and Android operating systems. Enterprises will need a valid phone number to download and register their business with WhatsApp. The app can also be used through desktop and laptop apps or via a web application.
But how do large scale business enterprises handle their vast customer base? The answer is simple. WhatsApp API can be used to connect the database and system of the enterprise with the app. There are many companies in the market that provide API integration services. A single REST API can be used to connect with users across more than 30 communication channels such as WhatsApp, SMS, Slack, Messenger, Skype, etc.
Enterprises will have to have a database with the phone numbers of their customers to send them messages through WhatsApp. WhatsApp provides end to end encryption for secure transfer of information, and this is possible only when the contacts are saved in the phone book or the database.
Using the app through API integration requires enterprises to pay the WhatsApp Price. This price is a mix of the standard fee paid to use the API platform and the fee per message sent through the app. WhatsApp charges enterprises based on the geographical location of the users. The price of each message will vary according to its destination.
The platform fee is charged by the companies that provide the integration services. The companies ensure that the platform is always error-free and guarantee 99.9% uptime. They also provide 24×7 technical support to the enterprises.
Additional security in the form of data encryption, role-based access control, and vulnerability testing is offered in compliance with the industry-wide standards. The companies help the enterprises in requesting and gaining early access to use WhatsApp Business.
The API platform automatically translates and converts the template messages to text messages to send to users. Templates are pre-approved messages that are used to send notifications and other informational messages. Template messages are paid messages and cannot be used for promotional purposes. Delivery alerts, service and payment reminders, complaint-related updates, etc. are sent using template messages.
WhatsApp provides template codes to the service providers. The text of template messages cannot be changed, except for the variable parameters. These variable parameters are used to include the name of the users or the order, complaint id, etc.
Enterprises can request for business-specific templates if the existing ones do not serve their requirements. The developers will provide the enterprises with the related templates as per the request.
To promote a product or service using WhatsApp, enterprises tend to rely on customer-initiated messages. Every message received from the customer allows enterprises to reply to it for free with 24 hours. These messages are known as session messages. They do not have to follow any particular pattern. Session messages are not charged by WhatsApp. Enterprises will still have to pay the platform fee, while the incoming messages are free.
Helping customers discover a product or service, converting the conversation into a transaction, sharing links to the payment website, sharing images and videos of products, etc. are some of the ways in which enterprises can continue using session messages to engage the customer.
Creating and using chatbots to send automated responses to customer-initiated messages will ensure that the 24-hour window continues to stay active and also assures customers that their messages are taken seriously.
Many top brands are now using WhatsApp Business to interact with their users and improve sales.