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Let’s face it: social commerce is the new normal. From brand discovery to purchasing, millennial and Gen Z consumers are spending a remarkable amount of time and money on social media. And the global social commerce market size only going to grow (at a CAGR of 30.8% from 2022 to 2030, to be exact) in the near future. 

97% of Gen Z consumers find that social media is their top source of shopping inspiration. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has 2.3 billion views on TikTok, while #amazonfinds has over 6.7 billion views. This is why WhatsApp has responded to consumers’ demands for omnichannel retailing and expanded the range of its services to better suit both personal and business needs: regular WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, and WhatsApp Business API. 

Wondering how to use WhatsApp marketing for free? Well, WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business are free and can be downloaded by anyone.

But to unlock advanced features, you can consider paying for WhatsApp Business API which was created only for enterprises to use, specifically to drive conversions. Let's explore the WhatsApp marketing tool in this article.

What is WhatsApp Business API?

Not only is WhatsApp the most used chat app in the UK (40.23 million users), but it’s also the most popular messaging app in the world, with over 2 billion monthly active users (MAUs). 

SleekFlow official WhatsApp BSP WhatsApp Business API concept

Two main differences that set WhatsApp Business API apart from the other two versions are: 

  1. It’s not a downloadable app. After your business account is green-tick verified by WhatsApp, you must connect it to a service provider to use it, i.e., SleekFlow, an all-in-one omnichannel solution that allows you to manage your communications across all popular social media platforms in a unified inbox.  

  2. It is a B2C messaging channel catered specifically for businesses to reach customers directly. WhatsApp Business API comes with a range of automation and broadcasting features to help businesses manage a large volume of contacts. 

3 key features of WhatsApp marketing software 

What do marketers prioritise? Sending timely, highly personalised, and relevant information to customers that will get them to checkout as quickly as possible. 

And SleekFlow gets that. That’s why by connecting to SleekFlow, an official partner of 360dialog, a WhatsApp verified BSP, you can uncover the full potential of an integrated omnichannel solution with advanced marketing functions.

Here are three useful features of SleekFlow’s Official WhatsApp Business API that appeal specifically to marketers. 

WhatsApp Broadcast powered by marketing automation

When promoting a campaign, businesses often use the WhatsApp broadcast function on the regular or WhatsApp Business app. However, this puts your account at risk of being marked as spam or even blocked. 

This risk is pretty much eliminated when you’re using WhatsApp Business API because your profile has been pre-approved by WhatsApp and marked as “Green Tick” official. When you need to send out those seasonal or birthday promotions to your customers, you can send mass personalised messages to customers without the risk of being blocked. 

You can also segment customers and send personalised drip and retargeting campaigns automatically, based on your customised scenarios. 

WhatsApp chat buttons accompanied by auto reply 

With WhatsApp buttons, you can set up quick replies and chat buttons that would give your customers a one-click option to communicate with you. Within these buttons, you can also include links to redirect them to your website to resolve their FAQs, remind them of what’s in their cart, or ask them to check out your latest product offers. 

By consistently engaging your customers directly with a more personal touch, you have a higher chance of encouraging them to complete their purchase, thereby meeting your target leads for the quarter. 

Multiple logins to simplify internal workflow

Timing is everything in marketing as it is in sales. SleekFlow’s Official WhatsApp Business API allows for multiple logins such that sales, customer service, operations, etc., can co-own the conversations with customers one-to-one. 

Each conversation can also be automatically reassigned to the relevant point of contact to follow up on the next steps so that no time is wasted throughout the customer’s buying journey. 

Furthermore, SleekFlow tracks and analyses conversation data, including delivery rate, read rate, and response rate, on a unified dashboard through SleekFlow, giving the visibility across teams to come up with more effective strategies collaboratively to sell better. 

Want to get a clearer understanding of WhatsApp Business API’s pricing, functions, and benefits? Head to our WhatsApp Business API essential guide to get started. 

Benefits of WhatsApp Business API to power retail marketing in UK 

WhatsApp marketing messages is a much more effective way to reach customers compared to email campaigns

Instant messaging is the preferred way of social communication. The conversion rates of e-mail and SMS are only 2-5%, while WhatsApp’s conversion rate is 45-60%. By customising the message with relevant products or services that match your customer’s preferences, they are more likely to view, respond and, most importantly, buy from your brand. 

WhatsApp is also a much more personal method of engaging your customers. Without the clutter and noise that fill people’s email inboxes, your marketing message is delivered to your target customer in real-time and away from bulk promotional messages. 

When UK consumers spend an average of 28 minutes on WhatsApp messaging their friends and family daily, they are naturally more inclined to see your campaign and respond quickly as it is convenient for them. 

Gain customers' trust with green-tick verification and secured end-to-end encryption 

Unlike websites or even emails that contain bulk promotional ads, WhatsApp Business API requires an approval process such that approved businesses won’t violate the channel for spam messaging. 

All WhatsApp messages are also end-to-end encrypted and GDPR-compliant, so customers don’t have to worry about their payment or personal data getting stolen when purchasing through WhatsApp. 

Understand your customer’s preferences by sending messages that include more than just text

With WhatsApp Business API, you can include interactive messages such as WhatsApp buttons that contain quick replies or call-to-action buttons for your customers to respond to in one click. 

You can also include interactive messages instead of sending promotional messages with text.

Types of interactive messagesWhat does this feature offer? Ways to market your brand using Interactive messages
Lists messagesA menu of up to 10 optionsSend nearby stores or locations, customer care or FAQ menu, available reservation times, previous order history items
Reply buttonsPre-set responses of up to 3 optionsChanging personal details, reordering, requesting a return, payment method options
Single-product messageInclude a link to one product from the business’ inventorySend the latest products for customers to view, add to cart, and send cart to the business for delivery follow-up
Multi-product messageInclude a link to product catalogue (up to 30 products) from the business’ inventorySend the latest products for customers to view, add to cart, and send cart to the business for delivery follow-up

This is how text messages look on regular WhatsApp versus list messages and reply buttons that are available on WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp interactive message templates, text message, list message and reply button

Meta’s guide for interactive messages

Without having to take up too much of your customer’s time, you can implement these messaging tools to identify your customer’s shopping preferences more accurately and be able to remarket products for them in the future. 

Strengthen brand loyalty by driving repeated purchases

Amongst Gen Z audiences, almost 30% believe that an easy checkout process is crucial to influencing their purchasing decision. As WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the UK, promoting your products or services through this channel allows you to reach audiences of all ages. You can use campaign automation tools to help you segment your contact lists by age groups so that you can cater to their needs. 

Through WhatsApp Business API, consumers are able to pay in-chat and complete a seamless purchasing journey. 

How to use WhatsApp for marketing

Adidas: 100% Unfair Predator campaign

WhatsApp marketing messages examples Adidas

German sportswear juggernaut Adidas has been staying ahead of the curve by using WhatsApp as a key marketing channel since 2015. In 2020, they launched the “100% Unfair Predator” campaign that aimed to grow influence among key fans of the brand using a 360 global approach. For this campaign, Adidas used WhatsApp as a hotline for people who need to find footballers to cover their no-show teammates on their team. Once fans shared some details about the game they needed additional players for, Adidas would inform fans on the morning of their game which Adidas-sponsored footballer would show up to the football game, of course, dressed in Adidas’ hyped new Predator20 Mutator footwear. 

For Adidas’ marketing team, this strategic choice of using WhatsApp is an effective way of engaging local communities in different cities.  

It’s allowed us to build direct relationships with a smaller community of influential people in an ongoing way that doesn’t feel transactional and allows for a conversation, rather than just a broadcast.

Laura Coveney, managing editor for Adidas’ newsroom in London

Adidas: Tango Squad FC community

Adidas WhatsApp for marketing campaign

To continue developing Adidas’ direct messaging strategy, Adidas created a WhatsApp group for Tango Squad FC, the brand’s way of connecting street players across the world to play together in the Tango League. 

The WhatsApp group includes youth footballers from 15 key cities worldwide (including eight of the world’s top street footballers) who have access to the latest exclusive releases and secret events. By involving the local community to interact directly with the global brand, Adidas has established itself as the leader in the street football community. The talent of the league, which has been covered extensively on YouTube episodes, has also drawn almost 200k views and over 1.4M subscribers whilst creating a high demand for Adidas’ Tango Squad FC clothing line. WhatsApp has proven itself to be a great marketing channel to activate a wider community and strengthen brand loyalty. 

Absolut Vodka: Unique Access campaign

WhatsApp marketing campaign example Absolut Vodka

Although this example is from 2013 before WhatsApp Business API existed, the Absolut Unique Access campaign is still talked about by many marketers as the first social media campaign on WhatsApp so it’s still worth looking into. 

To promote the launch of Absolut's limited-edition line of vodka, Absolut’s marketing team created a fictional doorman, Sven, on Facebook who was able to grant lucky entry tickets to this exclusive event of the year. Partygoers can message Sven on WhatsApp and convince him why they should get into the party. 

Due to Absolut’s reputation for throwing over-the-top parties, the audience responded enthusiastically and garnered more than 1,000 images, videos, and audio messages to convince Sven. The press and PR coverage proved that WhatsApp is an effective way to get people involved with your brand. 

Brand awareness? Check. Engaging customers? Also check. 

In 2022, small to mid-size businesses can use the help of intelligent integration tools that connects you to WhatsApp Business API, you can engage and activate your customers with minimal effort, a tight budget, and limited time. You can choose a social CRM, like SleekFlow, to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign across all popular social messaging apps.

Clarks: Clarks story campaign

Footwear manufacturer and retailer Clarks 2016 campaign on WhatsApp for its iconic Desert boot leverages instant messaging to participate with an interactive storytelling event, which ultimately aims to drive sales of its Desert Boot. From Steve Barrow’s signature 60s look of rocking the boot with tweed suits to Stitch the 70s Reggae icon often wearing the boot, an introductory video is sent through WhatsApp as an invitation to live chat with these historical characters related to the grand history of the boot. 

WhatsApp marketing campaign example Clarks

During the conversation on WhatsApp, customers can receive images, videos, music, and messages that tell them the story of the product, compelling them to make a purchase. WhatsApp allows Clarks’ to use a multimedia approach to mobile marketing that simultaneously engages customers on a very personal level. Through this organic interaction, customers are brought closer to the brand, while brands can gather more information on their customers' profiles to improve their messaging campaigns in the future. 

How to use WhatsApp as a marketing tool in UK through SleekFlow 

When it comes to successful marketing strategies, it’s all about keeping your customers happy. Happy customers will return for repeat purchases and drive growth for your business. 

SleekFlow’s WhatsApp Business API equips you with powerful automation tools to make meaningful connections with customers. Beyond the data security and connectivity guaranteed by WhatsApp itself, SleekFlow propels your marketing team to work at a much higher capacity with features such as:

Multi-access and workflow management to streamline your workflow internally and across teams

SleekFlow omnichannel interface enables multiple logins on whatsapp with a web api

Marketing automation to help you save time and cost when managing customer relationships 

SleekFlow platform automation feature for WhatsApp marketing messages

Integrations with CRM and e-commerce platforms, like Shopify

SleekFlow CRM integrations for WhatsApp marketing

Analytics on a unified dashboard for actionable campaign insights

Analytics example from SleekFlow omnichannel platform for WhatsApp marketing

Send real-time updates and promotions that can be broadcasted in one click

SleekFlow Campaigns easy broadcast to list of recipients

Segment customers and send mass, personalised messages for large volumes of contact lists

An all-in-one social CRM platform, SleekFlow can help you deliver effective marketing campaigns to the right audience with ease. Take a look at SleekFlow's Retail O2O solution, which caters specifically to the needs of retailers who need to boost online-to-offline sales by allowing customers to transact seamlessly. 

Find out how SleekFlow helped Ola Tech, a refurbished electronics marketplace, increase 20% in sales volume. 

Need help integrating WhatsApp Business API? Talk to our local experts in UK.

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