How WhatsApp for Business supports the eCommerce spike during Ramadan

The Kaleyra team looks at how enterprises can use WhatsApp for Business to engage with consumers effectively during Ramadan.

Globally, Ramadan sees over 2 billion people observe the 30 days of fasting, contemplation and celebration with family and friends, with the number set to increase to 3 billion by 2060.

With this in mind, Ramadan and Eid have fast become one of the key moments in the calendar for ecommerce and here we discuss the trends and how WhatsApp for Business supports the boom for businesses during this time.

Ramadan Trends

Popular commerce and spend
As Ramadan focuses on the dawn-to-dusk fast and the breaking of the fast each day, and then finally closed by the feast on Eid, food remains the most popular shopping category followed closely by apparel and fashion.

In South East Asia, GrabFood’s own survey found that during the holy month in 2022, the food delivery app also saw food orders increase by 201 per cent in the lead up to Sahur, the final meal before fasting.

Travel was previously a neglected category, however in the post-COVID and hyperconnected world, it’s now the largest growth area, as travel ticket purchases increase. Across all product categories though, there is a broader search during the Ramadan/Eid period versus the rest of the year. This could be put down to more gifting, home decoration and heightened efforts for grooming, with personal care and new clothes and beauty products as hosting and seeing family and friends increases.

Meta’s study showed that the majority of shoppers are spending more year-on-year – 43 per cent more in 2021 and 65 per cent more in 2022 – for this special month of dedication, making it a key eCommerce moment for businesses. Moreover, InMobi’s ‘Ramadan 2023 At A Glance’ report found that, despite rising inflation and economic certainty, brands predicted increased spending, making it a good time to invest in marketing campaigns and offers for customers, no matter the product.

As more people celebrating Ramadan and Eid want to connect and celebrate both in-country and cross-border, technology has become a key facilitator of this, as shown by 41 per cent of people surveyed in a Meta-commissioned YouGov 2022 survey, ‘Ramadan Moment Study’ who stated they use technology more during the season.

The survey also found that overall mobile device usage increased, as did WhatsApp usage, far more than other Meta messaging platforms; 45 per cent of participants stated they spend more time on WhatsApp during the holy month.

Grab’s survey also found that 91 per cent of participants used online food delivery services for their Ramadan food and drinks needs, particularly during 1-4am.

The increased use of technology extends beyond just the transactional, however. When it comes to shopping, 57 per cent of Ramadan shoppers felt more connected with brands where instant messaging was available, while 79 per cent in 2022 had used Meta instant messaging services to connect with businesses.

The rise in technology has enabled more connectedness across the board, whether it’s between friends and family or with people’s favourite brands.

Utlising WhatsApp during Ramadan

Well wishes
Meta found that 20 per cent of business-initiated messages were related to Ramadan, with this number rising to 50 per cent by the end of the period. While some conversations were around promotions and offers, many businesses sent short Ramadan greetings and well wishes to their existing customer base.

Text analytics showed simple messages to include:

  • Happy fasting
  • Almsgiving
  • Al Quran
  • Good luck
  • Blessings

Sending simple but thoughtful messages during this time over WhatsApp shows customers your care and well wishes, creating a greater sense of community and loyalty during a period of togetherness.

Offers and promotions
More than half of messages sent over the Ramadan/Eid period were from the retail and commerce sector. With increased planned spending, many eCommerce businesses sent discount codes, free shipping and other promotional offers like a Ramadan flash sale to their customers.

For example, as hosting family and friends most days is the norm during this period, food businesses offered festive group sets for Iftar, the breaking of the fast, as well as Suhar.

Because of the years of limited travel and gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly wanting to connect more closely with family and friends, and feel a sense of community during Ramadan. WhatsApp for Business can help facilitate this as offers are sent directly to customers who already have plans to host and see loved ones while helping them to save money.

Campaigns before and during
Ramadan shoppers are in a constant state of buying consideration in the lead up to, and the early weeks of the season, with 55 per cent of shoppers starting to plan at least 10 days before the beginning of Ramadan.

The 2022 Meta study found that businesses started sending Ramadan-related messages as early as one month before the season, and saw peaks around one to two weeks before Eid. These included promotional offers, new product offerings, cart abandonment notifications and loyalty rewards.

It’s important to line up conversations and messages with the plans of the customer, in order to keep your product and business front of mind as they go through the consideration buying stage. Staying in tune with your audience through personalised instant messages also helps foster loyalty and a sense of recognition with the customer – useful during and after the Ramadan season.

Why WhatsApp for Business during Ramadan?
The holy month of Ramadan is centered on kindness, togetherness and giving, which WhatsApp for Business encompasses.

As an already widely-used messaging platform between friends and family, WhatsApp is the perfect platform to engage directly with your customers while nurturing the relationship through thoughtful, supportive messages during the important Islamic holiday.

In addition, because of its ubiquity, you can almost guarantee they’ll see and read the message, making for a stronger ROI than alternatives like email. Dont hesitate to get in touch with our team to learn about using WhatsApp business messaging for customer engagement.