Technology for MSMEs: The prices vary depending on the content of the message. Once a business exceeds 1,000 conversations, it will be charged Rs 0.70 for marketing messages and Rs 0.30 for service and utility-related messages within a 24-hour window.
Technology for MSMEs: The change in pricing policy by Whatsapp has raised concerns among MSME owners regarding increasing customer acquisition and marketing costs for their businesses.
Several businesses, both big and small, use WhatsApp Business to address customer queries, send post-purchase updates and share brand-related information about new deals and launches.
According to the new policy, the Meta-owned messaging platform will charge based on conversations allowing businesses to initiate up to 250 conversation threads. The prices vary depending on the content of the message. Once a business exceeds 1,000 conversations, it will be charged Rs 0.70 for marketing messages and Rs 0.30 for service and utility-related messages within a 24-hour window.
“We charge businesses using our WhatsApp Business Platform for the conversations they have with their customers, and make occasional adjustments to our offerings to better reflect how the service is used and the types of information people are choosing to receive,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson.
The price increase has prompted small businesses to reconsider their communication strategy with consumers. Lasakan Cholayil, co-founder of the Ayurvedic products and wellness company Sadhev said, “To minimise our customer acquisition cost, we rely on social media platforms to engage with consumers however these increased charges have compelled us to look out for other avenues.”
He added that moving forward they plan to increase their reliance on feedback calls and email marketing. Sadhev uses WhatsApp to send delivery updates, promotions and feedback messages regarding customer experience for the products purchased from their website.
Similarly, Chandar K Baljee, Chairman and MD at Royal Orchid & Regenta Hotels, said that they will reassess and relook at the usefulness of WhatsApp due to the anticipated cost rise.
“We will also examine alternatives such as other messaging apps, social media, and email marketing. To determine the optimal solution, we’ll look at reach, engagement, user preferences, and cost-effectiveness,” added Chandar. Royal Orchid & Regenta Hotels utilises WhatsApp Business for fast support, answering queries, and making personalised recommendations and reservations.
However, certain brands are in the wait-and-watch mode and will continue using WhatsApp as before. “We will not be looking for alternatives at the moment…. we treat any cost increase as an increase in operating the business,” said Pradeep Krishnakumar, Co-Founder of Zouk, a vegan accessories brand. Zouk uses WhatsApp to convey order-related information and share information about new launches and offers.
The price increase will also benefit consumers as brands will make judicious use of their daily messaging limits. “With this charge, we hope all brands continue to respect the customer’s safe space on WhatsApp and become more prudent in using the channel,” said Pradeep of Zouk.
During a company meeting in December, Mark Zuckerberg had said that he will focus on monetising business messaging. “We talk a lot about the very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more,” he said, according to Reuters.