Your audience is the core of your business. They’re the ones using your products. They’re the ones that know what works and what doesn’t.
And, boy do they have some good ideas.
It was our genius customers that came up with an idea that has proved to be iPaper's most profitable feature so far this year.
So, not only can we stress the importance of listening to your audience, but we can prove that it works.
Here's how it all happened...
Like I said before, your audience is at the heart of your business. You made your product for them, so you need them to succeed. Which is why it's crucial that you listen to their feedback, thoughts and ideas.
It was our South American direct selling customers that noticed a gap in their current online catalog experience.
One of those customers was Loghaus. Thanks to the nature of direct selling, reps have a one-to-one relationship with clients so regular feedback is encouraged.
Loghaus started to notice a recurring trend in this feedback. Their customers were asking for a new form of checkout.
They wanted to checkout through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is incredibly popular in South America. In fact, it’s the most popular messaging app across the whole continent.
It's also pretty big across the world too. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users. 450 million of them are active daily. It supports 60 languages and three million global companies use it for business.
And, when it comes to mobile shopping, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device.
Clearly Loghaus could see the immediate value this integration would bring. It could help reach brand new audiences and provide an intuitive and fast checkout option.
So, they contacted us.
They shared their feedback and requested the new feature.
But, little did they know, they weren't the first of our customers to suggest WhatsApp checkout.
You see, we'd also been noticing a trend in our feedback.
It seemed like WhatsApp was getting too big to ignore...
We rely on customer’s ideas here at iPaper and have our very own ideas portal where we record all suggestions.
However, let's be honest, some ideas can be pretty bad. So, full disclosure, we *might* not include everything.
When we started to see WhatsApp appear more and more in the ideas portal we decided enough was enough. We saw its huge potential and, due to its popularity throughout South America, it was crucial that our customers could offer this integration.
So, with the demand and the value it could bring, it really was a no-brainer and we got working on it right away.
However, the development process wasn’t entirely smooth sailing.
When we thought we had it nailed and the feature was ready for its grand unveiling, we noticed we'd made a slightly obvious mistake.
We’d included a mandatory phone number field. So brands would have to input one phone number to receive all the WhatsApp checkout messages.
But, as our customers rightly pointed out, that simply wouldn’t work for them.
They needed to allow the shopper to enter the phone number. That way they could easily select which rep or contact they wanted to send their items to.
So, like most things, it was a learning process. Our customers relied on us to create this feature, but we relied on them to make sure we got it exactly right.
In February this year after rigorous testing and an exhausted development team (you're seriously the best guys!), our WhatsApp checkout feature was set live.
Since the launch we've reached over 100,000 WhatsApp checkout transactions across our direct selling customers.
Loghaus has seen a huge rise in its online catalog engagement thanks to its increased audience and popularity with younger generations.
“iPaper makes it easier to share our products and catalogs, increasing our sales.”
Larissa Echeli, Marketing Assistant, Loghaus
In a few simple clicks shoppers can send their wish list from the online catalog directly to their local rep via WhatsApp.
It's fast, it's simple, it's incredibly easy. And it works.
WhatsApp checkout has also helped Loghaus transition its shoppers from its traditional print catalog to the now fully digital experience.
And, it's not only Loghaus that has seen the benefits.
Millanel Cosmética, another direct selling company based in South America, saw the results of enabling WhatsApp checkout immediately.
“Whatsapp is an unstructured and informal channel. We can reach a public that is not handled by mail or by the offline channel to place orders.
The results from implementing WhatsApp in our catalogs were seen immediately and iPaper has many metrics that are very helpful in making decisions.
Rodrigo Gómez Salgado, Digital Marketing Supervisor, Millanel Cosmética
Millanel saw an increase in customers straight away and has since seen a rise in orders.
For our direct selling customers, WhatsApp has seen a steady frequency of usage. Here you can see how many times WhatsApp checkout was used from one of our customer's catalogs over the course of four weeks.
Yet, it's not just our customers' customers that have benefited from WhatsApp checkout.
For many direct selling brands, including Offcorss, it has improved the day-to-day work life of their reps.
Offcorss has seen its WhatsApp catalogs improve customer reach and engagement, but its reps can also easily expand their range of clients without the hassle of traveling.
With WhatsApp, they no longer have to be face-to-face to receive an order. They simply get notified on their phone when an order has come through.
So, what have we learnt from this whole process?
When an idea is successful, it can often be noticed right away. Loyal customers see the change and interact with it instantly.
But, when that idea comes directly from your customers, it adds an extra element of value.
Not only do you as a brand show that you listen and take on board feedback. But your customers learn that you're always willing to change. You're not set in stone. You're on the ball and always looking for new ways to improve.
When an idea is suggested you need to decide if it fits in with your business goals. Will it help you get where you're heading? Will it improve multiple aspects of your business? More importantly for most, will it help you increase sales?
No matter what the idea is, don't ignore your audience. We didn't and we're increasingly grateful for that.
Since going live, WhatsApp checkout has been our most profitable feature to date in 2019.
So, do you have any ideas for our next best-selling feature? If you've got any thoughts just let us know. Who knows, your idea might be the next golden nugget!
If you'd like to know more about our WhatsApp feature and experience it yourself, just click below.