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  • Writer's pictureJaime González Gasque

E-commerce by WhatsApp

Everyone wants an immediate response when they buy a product. Save time, reduce costs and respond faster with the tips that we share with you.

The global coronavirus pandemic changed our consumer habits. From massive purchases to a hasty migration to 100% online modalities, and let's be honest: not only did it change what consumers buy, but when and how they do it .

The new normal in a post-pandemic world will be called ecommerce. And let's remember something key: this crisis will have implications for the next decade, and hence the question arises: is your business ready? During the peak of the crisis, 3.9 billion people were quarantined around the world.That is equivalent to half the world's population, and before the crisis, the turnover of the e-commerce sector did not stop growing.In 2019, for example, it rose 25%, digits that few can boast about.

So what is the effect of Covid-19 on ecommerce?

The more cities plunged into forced quarantines, the more businesses were forced to close their doors, but far from suffering, e-commerce experienced a boom. Data of Netquest proyectaban tempranamente un crecimiento de entre 80% y 200% en 2020.

In fact, a survey conducted by Nielsen identified three changes in consumer behavior linked to the pandemic:

+Proactive purchasing of health and wellness products

+Reactive products for health management, such as masks or disinfectants.

+Groceries and household items for the pantry.

Soon, more and more studies revealed that e-commerce was indeed experiencing a boom.It was the case of Content Square, que mostró un crecimiento de 48% en las transacciones.

And what happened in China?

Let us remember that the pandemic began there, so they were a kind of ahead in time. A clarification: we are talking about a country where, before the pandemic, nine out of 10 consumers preferred to buy through e-commerce to do it offline.anyway, many consumers began aggressively shopping online. Meicai, a fresh food e-commerce platform, recruited 6,000 drivers to ship the orders, and Baidú saw an increase from 273% to 2,800% during the first two months of 2020, especially in fresh food and products.On this side of the globe, it didn't take long to take the same photo ...

The effect of COVID-19 on Latin American e-commerce

According to BNAmericas, in Brazil the sale of computers rose 112% in the first two weeks of March. In Argentina, the number of people who made their debut in online purchases grew by 90%.In Chile, the growth of electronic commerce was 119% and in Colombia 28%.In Mexico, the online supermarket, experienced a 500% increase in its orders.

And in the midst of the pandemic, Amazon had to go out and hire 100,000 full-time employees to fill orders. All this without mentioning the home delivery service apps that escalated to unimagined numbers and positioned themselves among the top download spots. In other words, the world's largest retailer, Amazon announced that it couldn't keep up with demand. of consumers. A true paradox ...

And I mean, this was going to happen.

By 2023, online retail sales were projected to reach $ 20.5 trillion globally. The pandemic only accelerated the change. But this only shows something else: that this sector has not been able to support the increase in demand. Like so many others, it could not be said that they were ready. From where we wrote this note, in Argentina, a shipment from a supermarket now takes between five and seven days, when before it was a couple of hours.

How to respond to the huge number of inquiries? What is the most effective way to organize the logistics structure? One word: Communication.

The era of omnichannel

In prehistoric times, a customer had to approach the business of his interest, interact with a salesperson and buy a product.I only had one communication and sales channel, today everything changed. And yes, the entrance of the Internet to the stage was the trigger ...

Did you know that today 73% of people combine the digital and physical channels before making a purchase? This is said by a very interesting study of the Harvard Business Review.

Basically, a person can find your business through a paid ad on Facebook, enter your website and make a query in the chat inserted on the home page, forget about the matter for a couple of days and be impacted with a remarketing campaignof Google Ads via

Display and, finally, make a call to close and finalize the details. Did you see how many channels this customer used? And it was the same person. And here is another piece of information.15 years ago, the consumer generally used two points of contact when purchasing an item. Only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, according to Marketing Week, los consumidores usan en promedio casi seis puntos de contacto. Además, casi el 50% usa regularmente más de cuatro.

The worst thing about this whole issue is that 55% of companies do not have an omnichannel strategy defined, according to The CMO Club. And this, believe it or not, is the everyday life of an ecommerce platform (like Woocommerce) ...

So a piece of advice before continuing.Identify and define the buyer persona of your business -a fictitious representation of your ideal client-, because it is convenient to be clear about who they are, what their interests, motivations, goals, needs are ...

Only in this way will you be able to discern in which communication channels it is most active to create specific and personalized actions for each segment. That's where a tool that you probably know comes in: WhatsApp.

Ecommerce by WhatsApp

It is the messaging application par excellence.In February 2020, WhatsApp report which already had 2,000 million users around the world, thus displacing its competition.

Shortly after, in the countries most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, messaging via WhatsApp aumentó hasta un 70%.Y todo perfecto, es la herramienta ideal de los usuarios, pero ¿también del ecommerce? Bien, de acuerdo con Sendinblue, WhatsApp Business tiene una tasa de apertura del 70% mientras que un email es del 29%.

It is the case of Vitricristales, An ecommerce company in Colombia, in charge of the online sale of trophies, medals, commemorative plaques, recognition plaques and photo-engravings, which attends 100% of your queries via WhatsApp.

In the past, says Daniel Cardona, general manager of Vitricristales, the limitation of ecommerce to skyrocket was the fear of a scam. The pandemic created bigger fears in us. Now the inclination towards digital channels is imminent and not adapting will have great costs in the future."Businesses should position themselves with ecommerce SEO techniques and paid ads to offer an excellent user experience by all means" to survive. How is ecommerce for WhatsApp then?

WhatsApp and e-commerce: use cases

Here are some ideas:

Capture leads

How many times have you surfed a web and found a bot that jumps after a few seconds, almost desperate, to help?And if instead of an assistance bot, do you use a WhatsApp button? Once you have your data, it will be easy to bring you notifications, news and updates through a channel that they verify frequently.

Personalized experience

A contact enters your funnel and you automatically get (at least) their phone number and their country of residence.It is up to you to ask for additional information.

Once you have them, you can personalize the conversations using different dialogue flows.That translates, for example, into displaying a different menu, options tailored to your region, specific products.

Lead qualification

Let's say your business receives 500 new leads every day.It's a lot and you can't - or your team - pay attention to all of them.

So you start filtering ...

Through an ecommerce chatbot, for example, you can ask some key questions for your business, which in turn serve to collect basic data, further personalizing the user experience along the way..

Transaction confirmation

How does your client know when a payment was successful? Or, even worse, if there is a billing problem. The interesting thing about WhatsApp in e-commerce, about an email for example, is that you can send crucial information instantly without having to worry about your message falling into “spam”.

Customer service and support

Yes, we are all looking for a sale. It's a universal truth, but we also want that customer to come back tomorrow, and how do we do it? Well, by providing support and the best service. For example, an e-commerce could use WhatsApp to perform a post-purchase check. But let's be honest, does WhatsApp really solve all problems?

Daniel, from Vitricristales, the Colombian online store dedicated to selling trophies, medals and recognition plaques, said that implementing WhatsApp was VERY complicated. In principle, it was 150 WhatsApps a day. To serve them, his team only had a mobile application and the web version.

And between three or four agents stumbled throughout the day, arguing among themselves over who should answer to the customers they were serving. Also, let's remember as we said before that WhatsApp is not the only channel where they receive inquiries. Yes, it can be the main one, but there is Messenger, email, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc ...

And according to Accenture, 89% of customers feel frustrated having to repeat their problems to multiple representatives over and over again. How did they come up with the solution? Imagine for a moment that you can centralize all the inquiries that your business receives in one place. Let's go further and say that in that one place you not only see the prospects, but also who is attending them, being able to easily differentiate how many are pending, your response times, and so much more ...

For example, if instead of 5 phone lines corresponding to each of your salespeople you could have ONLY one where you can view all the queries, wouldn't that be great? Luckily there is nothing to imagine. Is a reality.

By Luis Carias

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