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How to use WhatsApp Business marketing strategies to grow your retail and e-commerce business in Singapore

WhatsApp marketing strategies for Singapore

Singapore is ranked second in the top 10 best places in the world to do business. With advanced infrastructure, including ultrafast internet connectivity and efficient logistics, the higher spending power per capita in Singapore further drives the e-commerce market growth. This is why knowing how to use WhatsApp for marketing has slowly become essential to business growth in Singapore.

Although the circuit breaker in 2020 and sometime between 2021 and 2022 led to a drop in retail sales, merchants and consumers have found their way by shifting to online channels. While the pandemic recovery has opened up opportunities for offline sales, online shopping trends are here to stay. 

According to The Straits Times, 97% of Singapore’s population aged 15 and above are digital consumers. This means that even the retail stores in the shopping paradise along Orchard Road have to go online to compete against large malls and online platforms such as Lazada, Shopee and Carousell.

Now, you may be thinking, is online shopping really that popular in Singapore?

Here’s what you need to know: out of the 5.29 million internet users, 79.7% purchased online in March 2022. More than half of the digital shoppers in Singapore also explore brands on social media before making a decision. 

Singaporeans’ love for online shopping and the high mobile penetration shows how important it is to develop marketing strategies through their favoured social media or messaging channels, such as WhatsApp, the main messaging channel for 98% of them. 

Looking to tap into the local e-commerce market? Read on to find out more about the best WhatsApp Business marketing tools and services to conduct effective WhatsApp digital marketing campaigns.

E-commerce sales in Singapore are expected to reach S$ 19.6 billion by 2027. - Meta and Bain & Company

What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp broadcast messages software and rules for customers' birthdays

WhatsApp marketing is a messenger marketing technique used to promote products and services through WhatsApp. In other words, promotional activities and marketing campaigns are all conducted using WhatsApp Business marketing tools.

Tips for WhatsApp marketing include broadcast messages, interactive surveys and chatbots that engage customers and cultivate long-term relationships. Explore how to do WhatsApp marketing in detail in the following section.

Why use WhatsApp for marketing

WhatsApp Business API example

WhatsApp marketing is not an unfamiliar concept for most businesses. As the most favoured social messaging app in Singapore, WhatsApp is used not only to communicate with families and friends but also to interact with brands to enquire their products and services. 

As a result, businesses are starting to approach their customers on the app for marketing purposes, and the benefits come in abundance. Some advantages of WhatsApp Business marketing include:

A frictionless and engaging experience

WhatsApp has an open rate of around 90%, as opposed to around 20% for emails.

Email marketing had its peak popularity, but it’s time to move on to WhatsApp marketing. Why?

Imagine Jonathan, 26 years old, who receives a message about the 11.11 big sale for iPhone 14 Pro on WhatsApp. He opens the message and clicks on the CTA button to view the product catalogue. 

Upon deciding on the colour, he can select checkout, and you, as the merchant, can generate a payment link in chat for him to pay instantly. The whole process can be completed on WhatsApp within a few clicks. This wholesome experience is exactly what makes your business stand out from the competitors.

With the high WhatsApp penetration in Singapore and also the various interactive features made available on WhatsApp, creating WhatsApp marketing tactics can directly boost conversions and sales.

Lower costs & higher flexibility

Because WhatsApp charges per conversation for its broadcast messages, it allows for WhatsApp marketing campaigns to have lower costs. Marketers will only be charged according to the number of conversations sent using the WhatsApp Business API, along with an additional fee for the official service provider, also known as the Business Solution Provider (BSP) as assigned by Meta. Unlike radio or TV ads, you can reach out to the right customers who are truly interested in your products at a much lower price depending on the number of users you’re targeting.

For detailed pricing for WhatsApp Business API, check out our blog or use our free WhatsApp calculator to estimate your costs.

New to the WhatsApp Business API? Find out all you need to know here in this blog.

Connect to WhatsApp Business API and get the first 1,000 conversations free each month.

Ease of customisation

WhatsApp marketing makes room for personalisation. One of the highly effective methods includes sending automated WhatsApp broadcast marketing messages that can be set up easily to approach customers with a friendly tone.

For example, a skincare product seller can customise a message to inform customers about their promotional offer. Each of the texts can be tailored according to the customers’ names and interests without copying and pasting each of them one by one, capturing their attention with consistent branding and interactive conversations effortlessly.

5 examples on how to use WhatsApp for marketing

Now that we understand the critical role of WhatsApp marketing in improving sales, let’s take a look at some examples of WhatsApp marketing campaigns.

1. Promote products using the WhatsApp catalogue

WhatsApp catalogue of Studio MU YU Singapore

WhatsApp catalogues are launched to assist small to medium businesses as it is a free feature available on WhatsApp Business App. It makes it easier for customers to browse through your up-to-date products with the price and description clearly listed, make enquiries in the chat box, and add the product of interest to the cart with just a single click. 

As the customers browse through the catalogue, they may even find more items to purchase, increasing the opportunities for a higher conversion rate. Your customers will no longer need to download multiple apps to buy from separate merchants.

Also, the catalogue link can be generated to be used for WhatsApp marketing. Not only that it is convenient for sharing through WhatsApp messages or social media posts, but also efficient for sellers to update their stocks or availability from time to time.

Find out more about other functions on the free WhatsApp Business App here.

2. WhatsApp chatbot for giveaway contests

Sleekflow solution for Chatbot API with whatsapp

Giveaway contests are commonly seen through social media these days. It may require a little bit of spending, but the ROI is often impressive. This is because most people have this innate competitiveness fuelled by the desire to win. 

Yes, organising contests can be expensive, but on WhatsApp, it does not have to be. By connecting to the WhatsApp Business API, you can engage potential customers with automation on the WhatsApp chatbot. Setting up a simple chatbot flow on WhatsApp will free you from wasting time in replying to the participants one by one, while at the same time, allowing you to collect these precious customer data.

34% of new fans can be acquired through a simple social media contest. - Hubspot

3. WhatsApp-based loyalty program

WhatsApp is one of the messaging apps that we’re most accustomed to. Since it is frequently used across many countries, it allows businesses to communicate with both local and international customers. 

Having a WhatsApp-based loyalty program then enables an inclusive customer experience, as merchants can gather and reward loyal customers without requiring them to go through the tedious process of signing up again or downloading apps that take up the phone storage. 

Other than that, the customer details collected further strengthen the CRM system with their purchase history, products of interest, satisfaction score and more. All of these key specifics can be utilised repetitively for effective retargeting whenever promotional campaigns are held.

Discover how Eau Thermale Avène makes membership accessible for its loyal customers on WhatsApp.

4. Virtual WhatsApp consultation

When the pandemic hit, we had no option but to rely on virtual interactions. After the restrictions are progressively lifted post-circuit breaker, these virtual connections are still consistently used as they carry advantages until now. We can save travelling time and conduct meetings or consultation sessions effectively.

While Zoom or Google Meet are practical for online consultations, they may not be as convenient when used on the phone. This is why many brands have organised virtual WhatsApp consultations to make it friendly for mobile users. Whether it's electronic gadgets or beauty products, consultations make a big difference. 

When businesses establish this extra channel for consumers, they are opening doors to more customers, especially those who can’t make time to visit the physical store but have a high purchase intent.

5. Rich media initiatives

Everyone knows that WhatsApp supports a variety of media. It enhances the user experience and, undoubtedly, serves a great purpose for businesses. From posters to product demo videos, the rich media on WhatsApp can be put to good use, no matter if it’s for a traditional marketing campaign or an interactive gamified campaign.

Gamification can increase sales by 76% and generate an ROI of up to 560%. - Finances Online

How to form a WhatsApp marketing strategy 

Marketing tactics are essential to increase revenue. But how do you build a marketing strategy specifically for WhatsApp?

 A 7-step WhatsApp marketing strategy

A quick guide is to follow through the 7-step WhatsApp marketing strategy:

  1. Define your goals

  2. Understand your target audience

  3. Decide between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API

  4. Create your brand persona

  5. Curate your contact list

  6. Develop quality content

  7. Deliver great customer service

Depending on the size and type of your company, the customer demands and business needs can be different. Taking the time to explore each of these steps is vital as they will affect the following marketing decisions and the performance assessment of your campaigns.

Want to start from the basics? Explore some general methods to do WhatsApp Business marketing.

5 WhatsApp marketing tools

1. WhatsApp button on e-commerce site

ola tech whatsapp

You wouldn’t leave your physical store unattended and ignore incoming customers. So why do the same for your online store visitors? 

Adding a WhatsApp button to the live chat widget on your e-commerce site is like hiring a store assistant. The only difference here is that the live chat widget is free of charge. It collects your customers’ details, such as name and email address, and the browsing history for each of your website pages. This way, you can understand your customers’ interest and the performance of your website pages, then use that information for marketing and retargeting afterwards.

The best part is, even after the customers leave your website, you can continue the conversation with them.

Sign up for free and install SleekFlow’s code-free Live Chat with multiple channels including WhatsApp.

2. Automation and chatbot

WhatsApp Business API interactive messages

Retailers, especially those with Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), often have to keep up with the lightning pace of operations. There are just too many things to do and so little manpower to execute them.

WhatsApp automation and chatbot are tailor-made to help businesses lighten the burden. Most of the time, customers or prospects reach out with similar questions. An automated series of FAQs can save up a large chunk of your time while ensuring that your customers feel important. 

Moreover, automated abandoned cart reminders are also one of the best WhatsApp marketing tools. A research found that e-commerce sites can increase conversions by 35.26% from just abandoned cart recovery. 

As opposed to emails with an open rate of below 30%, WhatsApp open rates can be as high as 98%. The automation will take some time to set up, but it generates great returns in the long run.

3. Personalised broadcast messages

WhatsApp broadcast campaign

A survey showed that 71% of Singaporeans tend to shop during holiday sales. To encourage more purchases during the hottest online sales periods, brands should utilise WhatsApp broadcast marketing messages as part of their marketing efforts. 

Birthday promos or discount codes can be distributed through personalised WhatsApp messages with customer names and a friendly tone. There will be no need to copy and paste each message and edit it to suit different types of customers. In other words, less effort is needed to please the customers. They can also engage with brands easily on their preferred messaging channel. 

4. WhatsApp catalogue and payment 

WhatsApp menu and payment

As mentioned earlier, the WhatsApp catalogue is effective in promoting the products and services your company offers. The whole process of product discovery and exploration then becomes intuitive as customers can browse through the selections and make enquiries on the same app, just like how they go shopping for items in a one-stop shop.

When the WhatsApp catalogue is used together with WhatsApp Pay, the complete frictionless in-chat shopping journey is accomplished.

WhatsApp Pay may not be available in Singapore at the moment, but businesses can still make payment accessible on WhatsApp through integrations. For example, the SleekFlow Payment Link is a useful feature that incorporates payment solutions from Stripe into the WhatsApp messaging platform. 

This helps shorten the sales cycle by increasing the ease and convenience of making payments for customers. Every time they decide to complete an order, they can click on the link to pay instantly in the chat.

Furthermore, when they make repeat purchases, they do not have to fill in their information again. This type of seamless shopping process elevates the customer experience, thus increasing the opportunity for customer retention.

5. Level up with ads that click to WhatsApp

Ads allow businesses to target their niche audience and collect qualified leads for more conversions. Adding a click-to-chat CTA button on these ads enables the customers to connect with your brand.

With 2 billion active WhatsApp users worldwide, brands using ads that click to WhatsApp will be tapping into a massive user base. Moreover, according to Shopify, WhatsApp can generate 200 to 300 leads on a daily basis. The engagement rate has also been found to be improved to almost 83% when strategic WhatsApp digital marketing campaigns are organised.

More than 55% of consumers feel more connected to a brand if they use messaging apps for communication. - Shopify

Try generating a click-to-chat WhatsApp link for your business using our free WhatsApp link generator!

Examples: how other businesses in Singapore use WhatsApp for marketing

ZENXIN

ZENXIN Organic uses WhatsApp marketing services to engage customers

ZENXIN Organic is an award-winning producer, distributor and retailer of organic produce. The large customer base for various branches across Singapore, Malaysia and Southeast Asia calls for productive digital marketing to nurture new customers and prolong the customer lifespan.

By using personalised broadcast messages, they noticed that the customers are more inclined to reply to messages and engage with the business. The customer experience was also improved as the automation pre-set by ZENXIN informed the customers about the order status in a timely manner. Work efficiency was increased by around 30%, and the team could monitor the campaign results clearly on the analytics dashboard.

Social messaging is the most direct communication if we cannot do face-to-face communication.

Tai Seng Yee

Executive Director, ZENXIN

See how ZENXIN utilises WhatsApp broadcasting to boost sales effectively.

woman sleeping

Sybil Sleep Tech drives sales with a 25% increase in work efficiency through WhatsApp marketing

Sybil Sleep Tech, a mattress retailer in Singapore, decided to broadcast messages to maximise campaign reach when they realised that traditional email marketing was not generating a satisfying result. They observed an increase of 25% in their work efficiency as they broadcast hundreds of personalised WhatsApp messages to their customers.

As a result, with 80% of its effort dedicated to chat marketing, it managed to generate an impressive open rate and engagement rate. Other than that, chat automation as part of their WhatsApp strategy also saved 20% of the time in handling messages.

Honestly, I think SleekFlow is suitable for every industry as long as they are on an e-commerce platform. Compared to other alternatives, SleekFlow is easier to understand and to learn. Sending bulk messages is quite easy on SleekFlow.

Sow Liong Woon

Marketing Director

Further reading: 

Curate the best WhatsApp digital marketing strategy via SleekFlow

WhatsApp customer conversation

Statistics from research are all pointing to the core fact that a solid WhatsApp digital marketing strategy is fundamental. Brands must select the appropriate WhatsApp marketing software to assist their operations and achieve sales goals within the shortest possible time.

SleekFlow, as one of the best options, offers various WhatsApp marketing tools to support businesses. Some of the useful functions include:

Unlimited logins

SleekFlow omnichannel interface enables multiple logins on whatsapp

Employees can log in to the same WhatsApp Business account on their own devices without anyone being logged out forcefully.

Green tick verification

You can get an authorised WhatsApp Business profile with your business name displayed even if the customers have not saved your business number. With a verified business profile, your WhatsApp account will no longer be banned. 

Broadcast through WhatsApp freely

Businesses are no longer limited to the 256 user contacts when broadcasting messages. Add a personal touch to capture their attention swiftly.

Got banned from third-party WhatsApp blasting? Find out how to recover your account in our blog guide.

Interactive WhatsApp buttons

Communicate with customers through gamified WhatsApp messages using interactive buttons. Engage only customers who are truly interested in the opt-in setting.

WhatsApp reply buttons

Flexible charges depending on the number of messages sent

WhatsApp Business API has a monthly service charge and a per-conversation fee that are budget-friendly. You’ll receive 1000 free conversations per month too!

Dedicated support for the WhatsApp Business API application

Too many complicated steps to apply for WhatsApp Business API? Sign up for our yearly plans and get help from our customer success team.

Prefer to do it yourself? Learn how to apply for WhatsApp Business API on your own.

Interested in understanding more about the WhatsApp Business API? Talk to our localised experts.

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