WhatsApp Assisted Selling: The magic formula to cover the underserved sectors in the digital market?

Over the past few years, we have seen e-commerce grow by leaps and bounds, even more so with the digital acceleration brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic of necessity, where in some cases the only way to get groceries became having to order them from home. Given this forced learning curve, e-commerce penetrated new segments of society: the late comers

Who are the e-commerce late comers?

Older populations, from geographic locations with technological backwardness or people from developed localities but afraid to make online purchases because of the “risk” of putting credit card data on a device, were forced to turn to the cell phone as an instrument also for acquiring goods and services.

How does WhatsApp help to “digitize” these customers?

One of the biggest obstacles for these late comers in their learning curve is the lack of knowledge of how to use shopping platforms, with long and complicated processes where catchy but not very digestible language is usually used. On the contrary, in social networks, people are already very used to using them on a daily basis, having gained enough trust for 77.2% of Mexicans to access them, according to the Digital 2021 study, prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite. Leveraging the trust and convenience of social networks such as WhatsApp can facilitate the adaptation of these customers to make it their purchasing channel.

What is the WhatsApp sales process like?

Brands should publicize a contactable WhatsApp number, either through an ad on social networks, a floating button on the online site, a physical store sticker, etc.

Once the customer establishes communication via WhatsApp from the advertised phone number, an assisted sales agent will try to emulate the conversation that would take place in a physical store, supporting the customer with style recommendations and inventory verification, trying to help the customer in the product selection. Once selected, the sales agent will register the order in the corresponding tool and generate a payment link that will be sent to the customer via WhatsApp, where the customer will register their card details and finalize the purchase. Once the payment is confirmed, the sales agent will trigger the assortment process and the product will be delivered to the customer by means of the shipping platform or an internal fleet.

What is the operational structure for WhatsApp sales?

Some technological requirements must be met:

  1. Communication software: Allows the exchange of messages with the client. It can be WhatsApp Web in its most basic form or a more sophisticated integration with communication platforms (Zendesk type)
  2. Sales registration software: Keeps track of orders and performance measurement according to objectives. It can be from a simple Excel, a traditional physical store POS or a functional adaptation of the e-commerce POS.
  3. Payment platform with enabled payment link: Facilitates the economic transaction through which the customer deposits funds to the company for the acquisition of the good or service. Some examples are Mercado Pago and FirstData
  4. Shipping platform: It registers the shipment to the customer’s address and instructs the parcel drivers to pick up the product at the warehouse. If you have your own fleet, this platform is not necessary.

The following positions are recommended for the sales team:

  1. Sales agent: Preferably with experience in selling the same product in physical stores. It is estimated that an effective sale can take 30 minutes from the first contact to the completion of the purchase, with that ratio and the number of contacts per day, each company can adjust in its staff the number of salespeople needed.
  2. Sales Manager: As in physical stores, it is necessary to have a figure in charge of supervision, continuous improvement, measurement of indicators and assurance of objectives.

What is the potential?

In addition to the late comers mentioned above, this type of sale is useful for products whose specificities make purchasing complex, for example, eyeglasses, over-the-counter medicines, specialized machinery or equipment, etc.

Selling via WhatsApp is a new playing field, little explored but with great potential due to the penetration of social networks. We are moving the experience from the physical to the digital world.

David Bernardo
David Bernardo
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