WhatsApp for Business – A Case Study

WhatsApp for Business - Case Study
I came across several articles on WhatsApp and business, to stimulate the internal communication, to reduce costs etc. This story is a (personal) success story how to use WhatsApp in a local business

The business is a Spa in Geneva, but ca be any business in any city.

First we noticed 2 behaviours of our clients

  1. When our Business was in the Address book of the clients, those clients came back more often.
  2. Our clients couldn’t call us , because it was after 11, or during office hours and they didn’t want to share personal information with the colleagues.

Most of our clients had WhatsApp installed on their smartphone, so I started to ask them to add Our Spa into there address boo with my mobile number and told them they could use WhatsApp to make a reservation.

Results: Success We got many more reservations via WhatsApp then Facebook.

Reason of Success
1. Your clients are using WhatsApp regularly.
2. They get a confirmation if the reservation request arrived.
3. Instead of using an online reservation tool, with WhatsApp you still have a human interaction, which in case of a local business is very important.
4. You are in there adress book and WhatsApp friends list, you made the life of your clients so easy they don’t think of going to our competitor.

The downparts ?
I hear a lot that I am available 24h a day via this way, I say yes, because that 1 extra client I reply in the evening (instead of replying to my friends) I have 1 client extra, the competitor 1 client less and the client is happy.

What if you get 100 request, I reply: as a local business I wish and congratulations.

Small side note: When I get a WahtsApp message very late and I reply only in the morning, the clients are still happy, they understand.

Conclusion
When you have a local business and you work with a reservation system like our spa, a restaurant, a hairdresser, a bespoke clothing company,… WhatsApp is a perfect marketing tool to keep you clients coming back to <our business

Are you using WhatsApp for your clients? How do you use WhatsApp for your business?

A Reason why e-Commerce isn’t where we want it to be

E-Comerce - Issue - Credit Card Payments
I am working on a new service online, and next week we should go life with the first group of partners.
If everything goes well. yes, we are blocked, blocked by credit card companies.

We are creating a platform, that facilitates the sales of Gift Vouchers Online for Smaller Businesses.
The reason why we created this platform is simple. Small business often don’t have the technical knowledge to offer this. And they shouldn’t have it, they should take care of their clients.

Ofcoure they can ask an IT company to setup the online form, the payments, and then a system to follow-up. All this comes at a price, meaning an investment.

Paypal has a solution for Gift Vouchers, but it takes some knowledge to create the link and afterwards to transfer to you account. It is all do-able but Small Businesses wants something easy and clear and understandable.

The issue with our platform:
We need to accept Credit Card payments for others and now Visa and MasterCard on0t like this, they don’t want to work like this. The risk is to high for charge backs.

Charge back can be issued up to 1 year after buying online. (even most off our partner have a max. validity of 6 months). So the risk is high?
Also I could sell the vouchers and then run away with the money they told me, this is the base of criminal activity and I would end up in a prison instead of growing the business worldwide and end up at a white beach.

This bocks a lot off e-commerce platforms where the turn-over for 1 partner is low (spa or restaurants don’t sell 1 voucher a day). But with the platform, we sell several vouchers a day (from different partners).

The small business can sell vouchers as well and then stop the business after taking all the money
I have a small business and we sold for > 20.000 CHF / year on Gift Vouchers, never we had 1 Charge back.

Solution
Our solution is simple, we will use the good old PayPal, yes, they allow it.
Meanwhile we will look for a good direct partner met Visa and MasterCard and if needed we will move the company out off Switzerland to a country that is e-commerce friendly. But first the launch

PS I asked them how BuyClub or Groupon or Hotel Booking Websites could be accepted, as they also sell air, sell vouchers, sell things not belonging to them.

Did you have any issues in your country to accept Credit Cards Payments for third parties or do you use PayPal as well?

Why you should offer Gift Vouchers online + Existing Solutions?

Online Gift Vouchers is a great way to increase sales, the main reason is you make the life of your clients simple.

Many of your clients are working people, so they have to run during lunch breaks or after works to your shop/business and hopefully your are not busy or hopefully you are still open. Don’t forget, in many countries in Europe, many shops closes between 18:00 and 19:00. (For American and Moscow friends this looks mad but it is the truth, Even in Switzerland there was a referendum about more flexible hours or not.)

So when you offer Gift Voucher Online, your clients can buy the voucher online during office hours or you afterwork late at night when the kids are in bed. No stress, but you have captured the client, wait 2 clients happy, the person who offers the voucher and the person who receives the voucher ;)

Adding Online Payments can be a Pain the Ass
Yes, it is not just offering a form to fill in, it is about the Privacy, The Terms and Conditions, the Secure Payments, the follow up, sending by email or by post etc.

Several services online offers easier solution, here are a few:

Gift Voucher Kiosk (https://giftvoucherkiosk.com)
In my point of view, the best solution, no setup fees, an interesting % on the sales, including all transaction fees and sending costs of the vouchers. A lot of statistics and a tool to follow up the vouchers.
They also combine the service with a online Kiosk , an App etc.

The Gift Card Cave (http://www.thegiftcardcafe.com)
Has an initial setup fee + and only in limited countries like US and Canada. (Starting from $23.95 per month)

GiftCertOnline (http://www.giftcertsonline.com/)
Expensive Setup and a minimum monthly fee. With this service you get the money directly to your account but the cost is very high.
Setup-fee is $499. This is because they don’t centraize but really create a version for you. Like the creation of your website.

PayPal (https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=xpt/Merchant/merchant/GCIntro-outside)
Everyone knows PayPal, if you are in a Paypal friendly country and your clients are happy to use PayPal, it is a good choice
Setup is free, you need to find your way on the PayPal website which isn’t easy, but it works.

In case you have other ideas, let me know, I check them and add them to the list.