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WhatsApp is emerging as a new square for luxury brands to engage consumers: A Report

10/10/2014

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India’s most favorite instant messaging app, WhatsApp has become a not so-exclusive platform for luxury and premium brands such as Cartier, Armani, Diesel and Corneliani to reach out to consumers in the country.

Earlier the platform was used by various small and medium entrepreneurs to keep in touch with their customers but now the marketers of luxury jackets, shoes, watches and even candies are using it to promote, sell, and offer after-sales services.

“Selling luxury is all about offering personalized services and platforms like WhatsApp enable that, which is why brands encourage their store managers to make an extensive use of it,” said Yashovardhan Saboo, chief executive at Ethos, a chain of retail stores housing watch brands such as Rado, Cartier, Armani and Rolex.

A number of marketers are making use of WhatsApp to keep one-on-one relationship with the rich and suave clients by sharing pictures, videos, brand films and other promotional material consistently. Some of them include Nordic Kandie, a high-end marzipan chocolate store; Heel & Buckle , a multi-brand premium retail store, Italian menswear brand Corneliani and Reliance Brands, which retails labels like Diesel, Kenneth Cole, Zegna and Brooks Brothers in the country.

“The service helps us connect better with the clients not just in the metro cities where we have stores, but also 45 locations across India,” said

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According to Sumeet Yadav, business head of Reliance Brands, customer who are rich in cash but have do not have ample time find it convenient to go through the latest stock and also book the items to be either delivered at home or picked up from stores at a later date at ease.

“Conversion rate in case of customers using WhatsApp is as high as 80%.”

A number of marketers find WhatsApp an easy way of communicating with the clients as they can easily send price lists, images of products, pre and post-shipping. All you need to do is to have an expert or a team dedicated to handle the platform for business.

“WhatsApp is being used by brands to both generate leads as well as manage customer service at a more micro level,” said Apeksha Harihar, editor of Social Samosa, a news portal focusing on Indian social media.

Several brands across the globe have already been using instant messenger apps to promote their businesses such as Absolute Vodka, Burberry Brit in China and so on. If you talk about India, earlier this year Sony DADC also leveraged the platform for marketing purpose and created three groups on WhatsApp adding 30 members to each group on a first-cum-first served basis and conducted a contest.

This was about the brands; if you talk about the customers even they use WhatsApp to take better decisions, as revealed by the research.

According to the retail head of Italian menswear brand Corneliani , Prem Dewan, one of the most common trends these days, is customers sharing the pictures with their friends or family before closing a deal, even when they walk in to the store , try a few pieces and can look how does that looks, themselves.

“Currently we engage with at least 15% of our top repeat clients via WhatsApp and it is growing very fast,” he said.

Dewan, however, added, “Messages are sent out only after seeking permission from the clients. Else it can backfire.”

“India is one of the fastest-growing markets for instant messaging applications. Of the 600 million WhatsApp users, 65 million are in India.”

A lot of customers want to stay updated on what has come into the stores on a weekly basis and that in such case WhatApp helps both of them , the marketers and the consumer, in a great way.

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