By Maxine Hess
Writer | WhatsApp marketer | Creative
Posted: September 20, 2023
Updated: December 09, 2023
Getting the 1st purchase in WhatsApp is easy. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th... 100th? 😅 Actually, that's easy too. In WhatsApp, customers stay loyal if you treat them right. (And automation helps 🤫)
We told you how to get your first purchase in WhatsApp.
Now for the next step.
This is not just the next purchase but the repeat WhatsApp purchases. The ones that are easier to get, less friction, that cost you less than getting new customers.
The ongoing purchases that are based on strong, loyal customer relationships – that will ensure the stable long-term revenue that eCommerce business crave.
In this article, you'll learn:
- How to get easy repeat purchases with automated WhatsApp flows
And beyond this:
- How to turn repeat purchases into loyal customers: how to make customers feel special so they stay with you in the long-term
- How to turn loyal customers to brand advocates: how to get your biggest fans to recommend you to their friends, ensuring even more purchases
- How to use charles to automate repeat WhatsApp purchases: how our Journeys tool can be set up to create on-brand WhatsApp conversations that constantly bring in revenue in the background
Wait: want to see this on YouTube instead?
Watch Marthe diving into automating repeat WhatsApp purchases here:
How to get repeat purchases in WhatsApp –
A reminder of how to get that 1st WhatsApp purchase
We shared our tips and tricks on how to secure your first purchase in this article.
Check out our article: How to get your first WhatsApp purchase
Briefly though: these are 3 main ways to secure your first WhatsApp purchase – both during your (GDPR-compliant) opt-in and shortly after opt-in:
- Convert during your WhatsApp welcome flow
- Send WhatsApp reminders about discount codes
- Get creative with engaging WhatsApp campaigns
All done with automated WhatsApp flows
With WhatsApp automation, getting your first WhatsApp purchase takes little to no effort.
The opt-ins, discount codes, reminders and campaigns – like product finders – are all automated with our WhatsApp automation tool, Journeys.
Our WhatsApp automation features, Journeys, keeps WhatsApp CRM super easy
Journeys enables you to set up automated WhatsApp flows for any step of the customer journey, including GDPR-compliant opt-ins and first-purchases.
Once set up, these flows do their magic in the background for you – earning you revenue while you work on other things.
What about the next purchases?
So, next, how do you get people to take their wallets out again (and again)*?
Bearing in mind that this isn't just about you trying to force people to buy stuff. If you've built a loyal fanbase, your customers will want to buy from you again.
You're just making it easy for them.
And we'll make sure you don't annoy them. That's never a good idea on WhatsApp (or, let's face it, anywhere).
Top 3 ways to encourage further WhatsApp purchases...
Generally, as an eCommerce brand, once you've got a customer you want them to;
- Buy again
- Buy more
- Buy additional products
- Buy on a regular basis
And as an eCommerce brand with a conscience (and that knows relationships are built on trust), you will also want to do all this with a heartfelt, gentle approach.
3 key ways to secure repeat WhatsApp purchases, as explained in this video
These are the 3 key ways our clients drive more revenue from existing customers:
- Offer refills
- Suggest matching products
- Invite upgrades
All of these can be automated with Journeys, and are designed to be non-intrusive.
In WhatsApp, it's more important than ever that you help instead of hassle customers, and that's how these messages will come across.
Let's dive in.
1. 🥫 Offer refills
Customer loves your product? Customer needs it regularly?
This is the perfect scenario for ongoing purchases.
Send a quick, helpful WhatsApp message to see if they need a top-up or refill. We call them "replenishment reminders."
In future, you could even offer a WhatsApp subscription, where customers can choose when to get reminders – or even automatic purchases with a regular WhatsApp payment confirmation.
This works brilliantly for everyday products like:
2.🧣 Suggest matching products
Send links to a product that would fit well with something a customer has already bought. A scarf to go with a coat, a sweater in another color, underwear to go with a bra, a new flavor of smoothie...
- To make it timely, you could send the message as soon as a new product comes in, segmenting the audience in charles to the people who might like it.
- To make people feel special, make these messages exclusive to WhatsApp.
- To give extra value, send the product suggestion as soon as it goes on sale.
- To let customers take control, offer them the chance to ask for notifications when certain products are on sale. So they expect the notifications when they come.
Far from being annoying, these cross-sell messages will feel helpful to someone who loves your product.
3. 💎 Invite upgrades
Using tags and customer order history, you'll be able to gauge the probability that someone will buy a premium product, or something a little more expensive.
Segment your audience carefully and send this product to those you know will be interested.
This is, of course, upselling. Done right, customers will appreciate you thinking of them and offering to treat them to something special.
Typie's tip: adding a small discount never hurts :)
4. + More ideas for repeat WhatsApp purchases
These 👆 were just our top 3 ideas to get repeat purchases. In WhatsApp, there are so many possibilities.
Here are some other ideas to encourage a bigger spend with your brand in this channel:
- Send seasonal WhatsApp marketing campaigns to excite customers and offer discounts.
- Ask customers what kind of products they want to hear about when they opt in – then deliver just that! They will be happy you respected their wishes and be more likely to buy when the time comes.
- Be restrained in your WhatsApp messages – we recommend sending no more than 1-2 per month. This means when you do message people, they'll be happy to hear from you (and not end up blocking you).
- Offer useful notifications like order confirmations and delivery updates – customers welcome these, and it's a reason to be in someone's WhatsApp feed. The last message you send could have a convenient link to your shop.
- Use charles Chatout links for friction-free purchases. We all know that the fewer the steps to purchase, the more likely a purchase will actually happen. In charles, you can add "Chatout" links to WhatsApp messages, leading to prefilled carts with products your customer might like. If they're logged in to your online shop, they can buy in as little as 1 click.
- Send abandoned cart reminders. Customer ran at the checkout? Send a WhatsApp reminder with a link to that checkout. These are more likely to be read than an email. And with our Klaviyo integration, this has become even easier to execute.
The possibilities are endless. For specific ideas for your business, and advice on how to build stable revenue with WhatsApp from your particular fanbase, get in touch with our WhatsApp Business experts.
...then turn repeat WhatsApp purchases into loyal customers...
You now know how to get one-off purchases, and repeat them. Maybe even get ongoing purchases with subscriptions.
But how do you make customers feel so special that your brand always stays top of mind?
How do you build a base of customers who are loyal for life? On whom you can be sure will turn to you whenever they need products like the ones you offer?
An automated WhatsApp flow made in Journeys for a VIP program
You give them access to a VIP section
Customers (and people) like to feel important. They also like to be rewarded for their loyalty.
WhatsApp is the perfect place for a VIP program. It's simple to set up and can run on its own, keeping customers happy and you earning revenue with little input or resource from you.
Here's how to set up a VIP program in WhatsApp:
1. ⛔️ Choose who gets in
You need to establish how your program will work. What makes a customer a VIP? What actions should they complete to get those amazing benefits? For example, they could make 3 purchases with you, or spend €300.
2. ⭐️ Establish tempting benefits
What rewards will customers get for getting into your program. Discounts? Exclusive product launches. Real-life event invitations? Games? Freebies?
What will be the motivation that will drive customers to want to become a VIP with you? Make sure it's enticing and a significant step up from what an ordinary customer gets.
3. 🏷️ Add a "VIP" tag
Once someone's made the VIP club, how do you know?
This is easily done in the charles tool (with your shop integration). If your requirements are that a customer needs to make 3 purchases, when the 3rd purchase is triggered, they will automatically get a "VIP" tag added to their name in the charles tool.
3. 👋 Send welcome message
Once the VIP tag has been added, you instantly trigger a WhatsApp message that welcomes people to the club.
This should reiterate the benefits they've just accessed. It can also include a discount or special instant benefit to make them feel special from the get-go.
One step further: you could create different levels of VIP to encourage people to continue their journey with you. A bit like gamification, motivating people to move faster through the different levels. This can also be done with different VIP tags in charles.
4. Nurture with more VIP WhatsApp campaigns
With the "VIP" tag, it's easy to segment your audience for future VIP WhatsApp campaigns.
Set up a strategy to keep in touch with your VIP customers regularly, maybe once a month.
Set up the automated flows on a quarterly basis to keep them fresh but also minimize your work.
5. Listen to your WhatsApp VIPs
Remember, WhatsApp is a 2-way street. Once you have a group of very loyal customers like this, let them contribute to your success.
Their comments, perspectives and valuable insights can help you improve your products and services and reach more ambitious business goals.
So make sure you ask them for feedback every so often. You could even ask them for input on new products you're developing, like our client, Italian watch brand Venezianico, does very successfully using WhatsApp.
Of course, this can be automated too :)
...and loyal customers into WhatsApp brand advocates
The stage all business want all customers to be at is: "brand advocate."
This is the eCommerce (and finance department's) dream.
At this point, the customer loves your brand so much, they will willingly tell the world about it. Not only does this grow your audience, it saves you money bringing in new customers with your marketing efforts.
These people will stand up for you, represent you, see you as a love brand, and happily share your news, offers and products.
An automated friend referral flow in WhatsApp, using charles automation feature, Journeys
Make a seamless WhatsApp referral program
All you have to do to turn loyal customers into brand advocates is: make it easy for them to tell their friends about you.
They want to spread the word already, why not let them do it in WhatsApp, an app they already know, love and use every day to communicate with friends.
In the example shown above, a customer refers a friend through an automated WhatsApp flow:
- Customer gets a discount
- They are asked if they want to share this code with friends
- They forward a prewritten WhatsApp message to friends – or copy and paste
- This message has a "wa.me" link to your WhatsApp channel – through which the friend can easily join your WhatsApp channel
- When they share the discount, they get the tag "Referral" in the charles tool so you know they're now a brand advocate – and you can send them a thank you and a further discount if you like (recommended)
And there it is: the simplest friend referral program in marketing history.
No emails to write, no flyers to print, no Facebook/Instagram integrations. Instead, it's all automated in WhatsApp, all running in the background without any extra effort required from you.
In fact, it mirrors how we behave with our friends anyway, forwarding them recommendations on WhatsApp.
How to set up repeat purchase flows in charles
Here's how to use Journeys to set up repeat purchase flows:
1. Integrate your online shop
To maximize repeat purchases, you should connect your shop system (Shopify, WooCommerce and any other) with the charles platform. See our Commerce feature for more. We will of course sort all the technical side for you.
2. Draw from shopping behavior
Once integrated, you can read certain events in the charles platform, and use these to send the right message to the right customers.
By sending campaigns that show you know your customers, you will improve your WhatsApp campaign performance – while reducing WhatsApp conversation costs at the same time.
3. Segment audiences
Once you have access to shopping behavior as well as customer preferences, stored tags and email data (from Klaviyo integration for example), segmenting is easy. It's essential to segment audiences finely in WhatsApp.
You can also add personalization like names and favorite colors to really make your messages stand out.
Ideas to segment audiences include:
- Match product to previously purchased product
- Send similar products to people who have given you good feedback
- Send different product to those who gave you bad feedback
- Time replenishment reminders months or weeks after buying a product, according to how likely it is they've run out
4. Send/trigger WhatsApp campaigns
Ready? Send out your campaign with our Campaigns feature. You can even get ahead and schedule it (or several at at a time) with our scheduling tool.
To save costs, you could set up a trigger word for customers to trigger the flow themselves. This will keep it to what WhatsApp calls a customer-initiated "service" conversation, which costs less than a "business-initiated" conversation (See WhatsApp API pricing here.)
You can then share a wa.me link to this WhatsApp trigger message on your socials, website or even via email.
And of course you can have these campaigns triggered by shopping events and common customer questions too, so they will continue throughout the year. Just like you would with your usual CRM efforts.
We talk about the importance of personalization and relevance in
5. Track WhatsApp campaign results
You'll want to measure how your campaigns are doing, so you can report back and improve them. Analytics in charles has got you covered, showing key metrics like total revenue, return on campaigns spend, open rate and click-through rate.
Even more ideas for customer retention
WhatsApp is the stickiest channel there is.
There are many ways to boost customer loyalty in WhatsApp – to build relationships and keep revenue flowing in beyond the first purchase.
For more on how to do this, with 7 message template examples you can use, see: "Why WhatsApp is great for customer retention [+7 CRM templates]."
Start your first purchases now: set up WhatsApp before Black Friday
Black Friday is approaching fast. If you're thinking about using a WhatsApp marketing channel this year, we recommend you start with WhatsApp as early as possible.
Talk to charles to find out how to get started and learn how to use this opportunity to build your WhatsApp audience – the first step of those all-important repeat purchases.
Or see our Black Friday revenue calculator to see how much extra you could make this year, just with WhatsApp.
FAQs about repeat WhatsApp purchases
Why is WhatsApp the best channel to build loyal relationships?
This is a trust-based channel. You're here with your closest people: family and friends. You're here to be loyal. This is a place where customers invite you in and as a result you can get very close to them.
Also, all messages are in one thread which makes it easy for customers to see all interactions with you in a couple of taps.
How can I get people to buy again in WhatsApp?
Our top 3 ideas for encouraging repeat WhatsApp purchases (without being annoying) are:
1. Offer refills: replenish
2. Suggest complementary products: cross-sell
3. Invite upgrades: upsell
All of which can be easily automated in the charles Journeys tool.
For this to work well, you will need to integrate your shop system into the charles platform.
Can people buy directly in WhatsApp?
In some countries, like India, yes. In 2022, in collaboration with Meta, JioMarkt became the first shop to sell its products natively in the WhatsApp app.
This functionality is admittedly amazing, but isn't possible in Europe just yet. We expect it will arrive here soon as WhatsApp Business develops in this region.
What can you do right now? With charles, you can send customers "Chatout" links. These are links a customer agent can make in our WhatsApp platform to prefilled carts. If a customers is logged in, they can purchase in as little as 1 click.
How do I retain customers in WhatsApp?
If you treat them right, keeping customers in WhatsApp is easy. What does treating them right mean?
Send highly relevant campaigns at a low frequency. Send a good balance of brand campaigns and sales campaigns. Be friendly, be natural, don't be annoying :)