As apps become more mainstream, entrepreneurs and small business owners are relying on these savvy tools to help their businesses grow and run smoothly with mobile technology at the heart of digital transformation.
It’s 7am. Annet Nyakaisiki of Barista House Limited, a long drive from Kafumbe Mukasa, is busy with her phone, taking calls and responding to messages. Meanwhile, one of the lawyers next to her is also busy taking notes on the various deliveries he is expected to make from the orders coming from Nyakaisiki’s WhatsApp business.
“I found out about the WhatsApp business app in 2019 through a friend. I was attracted by the fact that it comes with a catalog where I can view all my products at once with additional information,” says Nyakaisiski.
In a report by Almaz Gebru, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Uganda, “The mobile revolution continues to shape the way we do things, either as individuals or as institutions. The spread of mobile phones, communication systems and the Internet has had a significant impact on job creation, business development and transformation in several sectors.
Nyakaisiski notes that the most important tool on WhatsApp business is the catalog because it is here that information about the services and products offered is displayed, which makes it a marketing tool. Each product or service in the catalog has a product name, description, quality, quantity and price, among others.
According to pickyassist.com, with WhatsApp’s business catalog, customers can easily browse to discover something they want to buy at their convenience, unlike before when a customer would hold multiple conversations, asking a business owner to send photos of its products.
Moreover, Nyakaisiski, reveals that WhatsApp’s business catalog is suitable for small business owners and gives a professional appearance and builds credibility. However, this will depend on how you design your catalog.
According to the Pew Research Center, messaging apps increase engagement rates and are popular with younger consumers. Having direct communication with your customers becomes extremely important. and reaching customers on messaging apps is a growing strategy among marketers.
In 2021, the GSMA estimated that Uganda had a smartphone adoption of 16%, which means that the majority of Ugandans have access to smartphones that they can turn into advertising platforms for their small business since the WhatsApp business is an application on a smartphone, where you can always have a connection with your customers anywhere and anytime.
Also, according to Maria Jose of J’S Accessories, anyone who has registered your WhatsApp business number can view your catalog.
“To benefit from this, you should share your contact with as many people as possible and, if possible, ask them to please save it.
The catalog simplifies communication between customers and business owners. As soon as you log in, you can consult messages, orders or recommendations and react to them. This is a personalized approach to customer engagement. By introducing a product catalog, you encourage your potential customers to buy more than they originally expected. You allow them access to products they probably don’t know you offer, enticing them to say yes to more items,” says Maria Jose of J’S Accessories at Krsna Mart Kisementi.
With information readily available, you encourage customers to take the leap and make purchasing decisions that boost your sales.
It is brief and easier to access business information quickly than other digital platforms such as websites that require someone to pay to open an account. This boosts business growth and reputation because you can receive customer feedback, improve customer service, and offer on-time deliveries.
Increases online presence
By distributing your product catalogs, you allow more customers to know your brand. A catalog can quickly entice customers to transact with you, especially if you let them know what you can offer them. However, your online presence largely depends on how you have created your catalog,
Nyakaisiski says that while the app will help you showcase your business, it also has drawbacks.
“Auto-reply messages are annoying for some customers because as soon as someone texts you, they get a business response, either a welcome note, a thank you, or maybe an advertising note. It has limited functions, for example, you can share information in terms of sending information to more than five people at a time, which is tedious and time-consuming.
Some people forget to update their catalogs, keeping products that are already on the shelf.