Meta has introduced a duo of innovative features for WhatsApp Business, aimed at providing even greater convenience for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (UMKM) in Indonesia. These two features have already undergone testing, with a select group of UMKM incorporating them into their operations.
As consumer preferences shift from traditional e-commerce platforms to social media for online shopping, many brands are abandoning e-commerce sites in favor of establishing their own sales websites. Recognizing this trend, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg proudly announced that WhatsApp Business now boasts an impressive user base of 200 million active users, marking a fourfold increase compared to three years ago.
WhatsApp Business, a purpose-built feature within the popular messaging app, serves as a facilitator for online buying and selling transactions between buyers and sellers, specifically catering to the needs of UMKM. Its objective is to streamline the process and provide a seamless experience.
The two standout features that significantly enhance the capabilities of UMKM are as follows: Firstly, the seamless synchronization of advertisements from WhatsApp to Facebook or Instagram.
With just a WhatsApp Business account, users no longer need to switch between multiple applications to create their advertisements. Instead, they can conveniently manage their ads directly within the platform.
Upon clicking these ads on Facebook or Instagram, users are instantly redirected to the seller’s WhatsApp account. This integration allows potential buyers to ask questions, explore products, and complete purchases with ease.
While this feature is gradually being made available to WhatsApp Business users, certain UMKM already have the privilege of leveraging Meta’s comprehensive suite of advertising options across its various platforms.
Secondly, the introduction of paid messages offers sellers the ability to send personalized messages to their customers. These messages are customized with the recipient’s name and include details such as scheduled message delivery. This personalized approach aims to foster a stronger connection between businesses and their customers, ultimately enhancing the overall buying experience.
Pieter Lydian, Meta Indonesia’s Country Director, expressed his optimism, stating, “We believe these new features will significantly empower MSMEs. Leveraging existing technologies, these enhancements will attract a larger user base while simultaneously ensuring customer retention.”
This strategic focus on bolstering WhatsApp Business features aligns with the trajectory taken by TikTok, particularly through its Shop feature. Both platforms, which initially emerged as messaging apps and social media platforms respectively, have garnered substantial audiences.
WhatsApp boasts an impressive global user base of 2 billion active monthly users, while TikTok continues to captivate 1.6 billion users worldwide on a monthly basis.
The significant user engagement on these platforms has made conducting online buying and selling transactions more streamlined within the app interfaces themselves. Consequently, this emerging trend poses a potential challenge to e-commerce giants like Shopee, Tokopedia, and Lazada, who must now strategize to prevent users from shifting their purchasing activities to TikTok Shop and WhatsApp Business.
By staying ahead of the curve and continually innovating, WhatsApp aims to fortify its position as a leading platform for UMKM, offering them enhanced functionality and empowering them to thrive in the digital economy.