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The Power of Conversational Commerce and Messages API for WhatsApp

This article was published on February 15, 2024

WhatsApp is booming, and it's not just individual users who are bringing the love. On the business side, WhatsApp is the strongest, fastest-growing communication channel imaginable — and it's a conversational commerce powerhouse with true global reach and enough flexibility to become an "everything platform" for companies able to leverage it the right way.

The platform's value and utility only grow when companies integrate it with APIs that suit their current needs and roadmap. Read on to learn about the great things businesses can achieve when they bring WhatsApp, artificial intelligence (AI), and the right communications APIs into the fold, using a conversational commerce offering as a backdrop.

Illustration of a hand holding mobile phone showing a text conversation about a retail order.

What's up with WhatsApp? Phenomenal growth is what

WhatsApp truly is a force. In terms of users, it's second only to Facebook Messenger in the U.S. Worldwide, it's the most used app in its category, boasting a mind-blowing 2.7 billion active users across the globe and status as the number-one messaging app in upwards of 100 countries, according to Business of Apps.

With that kind of built-in user base, the app offers plenty of engagement opportunities for businesses to tap into. According to Backlinko, WhatsApp boasts:

  • Over 100 billion messages sent daily
  • 5 billion downloads on Android and iOS, with tens of millions more coming each month
  • 33.5 minutes of the average user's daily screen time

All that — plus an active user base that will grow another 18% (to 3.14 billion people) between now and 2025, by some experts' estimation.

WhatsApp, conversational commerce, and the great engagement race

Needless to say, if a business doesn't currently have WhatsApp as part of its business communications and conversational commerce planning — whether as a primary point of contact or as a component of a broader omnichannel communications strategy — it definitely needs to, and soon.

As companies look for more ways to create meaningful conversational experiences with customers, meeting people where they are will continue to be a winning strategy. And with the substantial, one-to-one personalization that businesses can build into social media and SMS conversations with artificial intelligence, it's clear that WhatsApp is uniquely positioned to help companies get more — a lot more — out of their social media dollars as they transform digitally.

Where do communications APIs and AI come into play?

The larger and more comprehensive a business's conversational commerce ecosystem is, the easier it is to hold one-to-one conversations with customers on the topics they care about most. Following that, tools that allow companies to loop WhatsApp (alongside other popular social communication apps), SMS/MMS, and even voice communications into a single, ongoing conversation have immediate appeal.

This is where advanced communications API packages like Messages API come into play, giving companies a quick path to omnichannel via real-time chats that follow customers wherever they care to talk. Using APIs, linking multiple channels with existing apps and infrastructure (think CRMs and ticket-logging software) becomes a lot easier, and getting to market takes a fraction of the time it otherwise would. And WhatsApp is flexible enough to support anything from conversational commerce to user validation with an API holding up the back end.

Once APIs have gotten a company to where the customers are, AI allows the company to hold deeply personalized — and fully automated — conversations at whatever scale needed. Adding a low-code conversation designer to the mix allows the business to bring smart, automated design flows and convos to the amazing pre-installed user base that WhatsApp offers.

Fithouse is one example of a company combining APIs, AI, and WhatsApp and flourishing as a result. Using Vonage AI Studio, the fitness and wellness group's 10 studios can hold automated conversations with customers across multiple channels, including WhatsApp, SMS, and HTTP-based formats, without missing a beat. Because the responses are automated, the chain doesn't need to keep specialized-knowledge staff on call 24/7 to offer users fitness advice whenever it's desired. And the AI chatbot Fithouse uses is smart and engaging enough to be able to directly answer many user questions, resulting in 500-plus self-serve conversations in one month, with many of these occurring over — no surprise — WhatsApp.

Automated conversations in the world's biggest chat app

Customers want the benefits of strong brand-to-consumer relationships, and they don't like taking extra steps to get there. AI technologies used on top of the right APIs allow companies to automate complex discussion at scale, without compromising customer satisfaction. By layering in WhatsApp, those companies can watch business/customer relationships thrive all the more — from the C-suite to the marketing department on down.

Explore Vonage Conversational Commerce and Vonage Messages API.

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