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NEW DELHI : Brands that currently reach customers through individual apps and websites will need to add WhatsApp-based commerce as well, a report by Jio Haptik said, adding the messaging app may trump other retail channels soon.

Many early adopters have made WhatsApp their primary channel to make retail purchases, said the Jio Platforms-owned company, which creates business commerce platforms for brands within WhatsApp. Use cases of marketing, commerce and customer support are coming up quickly and more are being developed, it said in a report.

“We have everybody from FMCG to e-commerce to electronics, D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands, everybody adopting it, and essentially creating this channel for customer engagement. In some cases, they’re driving sales, in some cases, they’re driving re-engagement or brand awareness," Akrit Vaish, chief executive officer of Jio Haptik said in an interview.

Banking, financial services and insurance were among the fastest adopters of WhatsApp-based commerce, Vaish said, with major private sector banks that have already set up the service actively pushing it to consumers, and public sector banks joining the fray.

“Banks like Kotak, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank now have a full-blown WhatsApp banking experience... whatever you do on your net banking or on your mobile app, you can go within WhatsApp," Vaish added.

While some banks have enabled services such as checking balance, issuing account statements and managing beneficiaries, going ahead, the banking experience will be as deep as using the bank’s app or netbanking for paying bills, doing financial transactions and transferring money, he added.

Early adopters such as JioMart, Ceat and Upstox have shown encouraging trends, the report said. The JioMart chat bot launched in November 2021, becoming the first end-to-end shopping channel on WhatsApp and has since seen a 68% repeat purchase rate through the channel, with over 1500 daily orders on an average. Tyre manufacturer Ceat is generating quality leads by offering a differentiated experience on WhatsApp, with the brand observing a 542% increase in leads and higher cost effectiveness and lead conversion when compared to other social acquisition channels, the report claimed.

Leading investment platform Upstox used WhatsApp chatbot to onboard nearly 220,000 new users to its tally of over 10 million and a 20% increase in number of trades following the launch of proactive messaging, the report claimed.

“If there are 500 million WhatsApp users in India, we have about 100 million who have interacted to some degree or the other with a business through WhatsApp Business. So, broadly, 20% of, consumers have interacted with WhatsApp Business to some degree," Vaish said.

He added that the reach of the largest messaging app in India by consumer usage had made it the preferred means for businesses to reach out to consumers.

“We think that the number of engagements, interactions on WhatsApp is only going to increase multi-fold year-on-year, because consumers clearly prefer this as a medium to interact with businesses," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gulveen Aulakh

Gulveen Aulakh is Senior Assistant Editor at Mint, serving dual roles covering the disinvestment landscape out of New Delhi, and the telecom & IT sectors as part of the corporate bureau. She had been tracking several government ministries for the last ten years in her previous stint at The Economic Times. An IIM Calcutta alumnus, Gulveen is fluent in French, a keen learner of new languages and avid foodie.
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