Date: 2021/02/23
From Mobile First to Mobile Forced – What SA Marketers need to know… Trend: WhatsApp?

We monitor the trends in using WhatsApp carefully…

It was reported in Feb 2021 that 97% of South African Internet Users are using Chat Apps, with 93% having used WhatsApp in the past month. These figures increased exponentially during lockdown. The market research firm Kantar conducted a survey in Apr 2020 finding that WhatsApp experienced the biggest increase across media channels, with a net 71% increase over the previous month. The usage of WhatsApp may be affected by the recent announcement of their planned new privacy policy, with users being fragmented across other Chat platforms like Telegram and Signal, but we believe this to be marginal if at all. 

It is critical in these times for businesses to proactively communicate with all customers, even those who haven’t been in touch recently. A low-data chat platform, like WhatsApp, is still a powerful “digital democratiser” for brands to remain in contact with their customers and to give feedback and get support.

However, you need to know how to leverage this channel with respect to your customer. We have found the use of a Chat Bot responding 24/7 to guide the conversation with the customer, allowing them to send and receiving images, videos, and documents, with extra help on hand by allowing them to break-out to an agent, very effective in various use cases like:


  • providing a library of PDFs or documents for the customer’s reference
  • customer profiling and surveys
  • competitions entry mechanics
  • till slip verifications for proof of purchase
  • even a store locator using the popular pin functionality in WhatsApp.


These award-winning case studies showcase how WhatsApp Business has brought tremendous social benefit to brands during lockdown:

Rich’s Africa WhatsApp Chatbot
Rich’s is a family-owned food company dedicated to inspiring possibilities. From cakes and icings to pizza, desserts and specialty toppings, their products are used in restaurants, hotels, and bakeries around the world.

Rich’s developed a WhatsApp chatbot with snackable, on-demand content at a low cost. A tech innovation with almost 12K lines of code, 10 resource files (DLLs), 3 platform integrations, 396 updatable products and recipes to share their content digitally during lockdown!

Awards: Mobile Marketing Association Smarties EMEA Customer Experience – Bronze Winner ( )

Business & Arts South Africa Debut Programme

During lockdown, the recruitment of young artists for Business & Arts SA’s Debut Youth programme, seemed impossible. Until we leveraged mobile technology - a WhatsApp Chatbot - resulting in increased inclusivity and accessibility, and 207% more, quality applicants in 25% of the time!

Through their strategic partnerships the programme assists artists with everything from ideation to venture implementation, all in their language of choice. They had to record a video and say Hi to the WhatsApp Business Chatbot to start the guided conversation to help them through their entry. Help was always at hand with FAQs and allowing them to “breakout” and chat to a human.

Awards: Mobile Marketing Association Smarties SA Business Unusual Customer Experience – Bronze Winner

View Case Study with video

WhatsApp Business Chatbot Demo

To experience it for yourself, you can either…



  • SMS your name to 32117 (R1/SMS), click on the link in the reply SMS and say Hi
  • OR WhatsApp 087 152 0819 and say Hi


Top Take-Aways

 Here are our top 3 key take-aways to enable technology for this mobile forced audience to…


  1. Overcoming the Challenge of Cost of Airtime and Data? Reverse Bill to sponsor the costs of your Mobi-sites, Apps, USSD, SMS Short Codes and SMS Replies
  2. Leverage the trend of instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp Business? Use a Chatbot to optimize your business communications.
  3. Take Advantage of the Opportunity of Video? Combine Video + Data to create a Personalised & Interactive Video Experience that is engaging and collaborative.