WhatsApp recently announced a 400 million user base in India alone. This alone shows the power the instant messaging app carries in the country. Last week, WhatsApp began testing out a few features that could prove useful for businesses in interacting with customers.
We discovered 3 new WhatsApp features for small businesses to use to boost their business operations.
WhatsApp Pay for Small Businesses:
In a bid to completely take over the online payments for businesses in the country, WhatsApp has launched the beta version of Whatsapp Pay for businesses and individuals to carry out payments in the country.
WhatsApp is working closely with banks, NPCI Government officials, and other payment service providers to support its digital payments forum.
RBI requires payments data to be stored locally. Therefore, WhatsApp is already working with third-party auditors to make the mandate happen. WhatsApp is approaching banks like Axis, ICICI, HDFC, and SBI to offer them their payment services.
When will the app officially roll out WhatsApp pay to the public?
Since WhatsApp is creating provisions to store payment data in the country, the official rollout will be halted until August/September. This is due to the third-party audit technical requirements taking time to complete the actions.
” With a billion mobiles, lowest data costs, highest mobile data consumption, the average age of 29 and almost 400 million users, the future of WhatsApp is obviously in India,” – Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
The official launch date for the WhatsApp Pay feature is set to be towards the end of the year.
Update: How has the WhatsApp Pay experience been so far
We have been using WhatsApp Pay for almost three years now. Setting up the WhatsApp Pay UPI ID is easy, and you can get started after adding your registered bank. WhatsApp Pay enables transactions with over 160 supported banks.
Before getting started with payments through WhatsApp Payments, users will need to generate the UPI PIN within the app. After this, you can send and receive payments from your WhatsApp account.
Whatsapp GIFs for Marketers:
Experts stated that people in the country consume close to a quarter of 100 million GIFs in a day. Combined with the current 400 million user base, this makes for an excellent marketing potion.
This Whatsapp new feature for Small businesses could just work. Marketers consistently use WhatsApp for branding and marketing messages. This is a low-cost way to retain your customers on the channel as well as keep the potential ones interested too.
Stickers on WhatsApp can now be used to promote your brand persona. This feature was introduced by WhatsApp to promote brands in Western countries, but it has potential in Indian markets too. For example, a lot of WhatsApp resellers and small businesses engage with their most loyal customers on the messaging channel.
Sticker or GIF marketing simply involves the usage of GIFS or stickers personalized to the brand to be shared among the audience.
“Every brand today is trying to leverage WhatsApp for its campaigns. As WhatsApp does not yet support brands to advertise on the platform, these brands fall back to creating engaging content and then leveraging WhatsApp’s ‘sharing’ behaviour to reach an audience,” sArpit Kumar, Founder, GIFKaro.
Brands like GIFKaro actively help brands to ‘sticker or gif’ their communication. They aim to target at least 10% of the user population for now.
Also, this feature is not just for the millennial crowd. WhatsApp is too big a platform to cater to only a small segment of the population. The older generation accounts for a more active presence on the app.
Whatsapp Group Calls for Customers/Clients:
In 2019, among the different WhatsApp features for small businesses to use, WhatsApp introduced a new ‘Group Call’ button within group chats.
This Whatsapp new feature allows you to make group calls with customers or clients by adding the participants from a slide-out tray containing the contact cards of all members in a group. If you want to talk to a customer group, just tap on the contacts you want in your voice or video call. This saves time and proves to be a more effective way to reach out to customers instead of adding them again to another conference call app.
Update: Self-destructing messages/short-window messages
WhatsApp has plans to Signal, Snapchat, and other instant messaging platforms to offer a self-destructing messaging feature. With this cool new feature, users can send messages with a timer. The message will automatically vanish after the set time. The feature is likely to build upon the existing ‘delete for everyone’ feature, allowing you to delete a message from both parties’ sides.
Bonus: A possible multi-platform Whatsapp support system
Surprise! WhatsApp is reportedly working on a multi-platform system that would allow users to use one account on multiple devices.
According to sources, the messaging giant is also working on a UWP (Universal Windows Platform).
What does this mean for small businesses?
For small businesses using WhatsApp, this could allow for a web version of WhatsApp by syncing with the mobile phone on an active internet connection, like WhatsApp Web, but independent of the phone app!
The feature will allow WhatsApp users to send and receive messages on the desktop even if the registered account on phone is not online. With UWP, the version may also come with support for voice and video calls which is not present on the Web version.
Speaking of, do you sell on Whatsapp? Watch our effective guide on how you can easily sell on Whatsapp using Instamojo.