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Creating Economic Opportunities through WhatsApp Business Chatbots in Emerging Markets


A laptop and 2 people pointing on the screen.

Chatbots have become an increasingly popular tool for businesses to provide better customer service, streamline operations, and reduce costs


With the rise of mobile technology, messaging apps like WhatsApp have become a ubiquitous form of communication in emerging markets. This has created a unique opportunity for businesses to leverage WhatsApp chatbots to create economic opportunities in these regions.



 

How can Whatsapp Chatbots create economic opportunities?


WhatsApp chatbots have the potential to create economic opportunities in emerging markets in several ways:


Improve customer engagement and support: By leveraging chatbots, businesses can provide quick and convenient solutions to customer queries and issues, which can improve customer satisfaction and retention. This can result in increased sales and revenue for businesses.


Streamline operations and reduce costs: Chatbots can be used for order processing, inventory management, and appointment scheduling, which can help businesses save time and money on manual processes.


Expand reach and markets: In emerging markets where internet access and smartphone penetration are increasing, chatbots can be used to target and engage with a wider audience. This can be particularly useful for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not have the resources to invest in traditional marketing and advertising.


Why are WhatsApp Chatbots a great opportunity for Emerging Markets?


Whatsapp Chatbots represent a great opportunity for emerging markets for several reasons:


Adoption: WhatsApp is already widely used in these markets, and many people are already familiar with the platform. This means that the barrier to entry for using WhatsApp chatbots is lower than introducing a new platform.


Customer Service: Whatsapp Chatbots can help bridge the gap between businesses and consumers, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that may not have the resources to build and maintain a dedicated customer service team. Chatbots can help businesses automate customer service tasks such as answering frequently asked questions, providing product recommendations, and even processing orders.


Multilingual application: Since chatbots can be programmed to communicate in multiple languages, businesses can reach a wider audience without having to incur additional costs for translation or hiring multilingual staff.


Data Loss, Security, and privacy concerns: As WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it has access to advanced security and privacy tools that can help businesses protect their data and their customer's data. Moreover, since WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, it ensures that user data is protected and reduces the risks of data loss or theft. Overall, WhatsApp Chatbots can be a game-changer for businesses operating in emerging markets, enabling them to provide efficient, cost-effective, and secure services to a wide audience.


Access to information and service: Whatsapp Chatbots can be used to democratize access to information and services. For example, provide financial advice to people who may not have access to traditional banking services, or provide healthcare information to people living in remote areas. By using chatbots to deliver these services, businesses, and organizations can help bridge the digital divide and create more inclusive economies.


What are the key characteristics of Emerging Markets that make WhatsApp Business an appealing opportunity?


Several key characteristics of emerging markets make them appealing for the implementation of WhatsApp chatbots for economic opportunities:


Large and growing population: Many emerging markets have large populations, which means a large customer base for businesses. Additionally, many of these countries have a growing population, which presents an opportunity for businesses to tap into a new and expanding market.


High mobile phone penetration: In many emerging markets, mobile phones are the primary way people access the internet. This means that implementing WhatsApp chatbots can be an effective way to reach a large portion of the population.


Limited Internet access: Whatsapp Chatbots can work with low-speed connections and do not require a high-end smartphone or the latest operating system. In many emerging markets, people are using older or less powerful smartphones, and access to reliable, high-speed internet can be scarce or expensive. WhatsApp Chatbots can be a practical and cost-effective solution to overcome these barriers and provide access to information and services to people in remote or low-income areas.


Growing middle class: Many emerging markets have a growing middle class, which means that more people have disposable income to spend on products and services. WhatsApp chatbots can provide businesses with a way to reach this growing demographic.


Chart of the digital trust-related Benefits.

Source own elaboration on public data



3 questions with…


Picture of Dooshima Dapo-Oyewole

Janick Fischer

Co-Founder @ McomTech


Expert in: Conversational Commerce, WhatsApp Chatbots, and order-taking automation




Q: What are the key reasons why WhatsApp Chatbots can represent the go-to business tool for growth in Emerging Economies?


If we look at recent statistics we can observe a very high adoption of WhatsApp especially in Africa e.g. Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya as well as in South America with Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. There is no other app that requires an internet connection, that the population uses on that scale, with that high adoption rate.


Of course, these are “only” statistics and we also need to get a picture of how the consumers are actually using it. In interviews with sales representatives in these markets, WhatsApp always comes up as the main tool of communication. Customers place orders with their sales reps through WhatsApp and request support.


With WhatsApp Chatbots these order-taking activities can be automated and support can be simplified with frequently asked questions chatbots.



Q: How are WhatsApp Chatbots influencing daily business practices in Emerging Markets and how is this set to change going forward?


As mentioned above, Chatbots can automate repetitive tasks for sales reps and customer success staff. This will allow them to focus on truly value-adding activities such as doing visits or spending time with customers that have very specific needs.


It is important to note that the Chatbots should only handle the clearly repetitive tasks and forward them to a human support staff if there is a question or problem the chatbot cannot answer or solve itself.



Q: What are the most promising business applications for these Chatbots and why are they gaining so much popularity?

Chatbots are used for customer support worldwide; therefore I would say this should be number one. It provides the customer the ability to communicate with a chatbot compared to clicking through a big and boring FAQ page and looking for their answer and it also protects first-level support to always answer the same question.


Commercial activities such as order-taking and offer generation can also leverage Chatbots to automate the repetitive step. I also see big potential in areas and industries that still handle many of these activities through the phone. It is important to build the chatbot in a way that the customer feels comfortable and it should be perceived even easier than to call a sales rep.


Conclusion


In conclusion, WhatsApp chatbots offer a unique opportunity to create economic opportunities in emerging markets. These chatbots are cost-effective, accessible, and can provide valuable services to small businesses and consumers.


With the increasing popularity of WhatsApp in emerging markets, there is great potential for chatbots to play a significant role in enhancing economic growth and development. Governments, businesses, and development organizations can leverage this technology to create new job opportunities, increase financial inclusion, and promote entrepreneurship.



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