Sunday, March 3, 2024

PH is first country to roll out Viber’s new toolkit for SMEs

Due to its dominant market share in the Philippines, messaging company Rakuten Viber has chosen the country to be the launch site of its ew suite of business tools for small and medium-sized businesses.

Through the introduction of diversified business solutions, Viber said it is becoming a “superapp” for a range of businesses, supporting their marketing goals and enabling local users to discover services. 

The first solution to launch on the platform will be a free, self-serve communications hub for small and micro businesses to engage with local customers, manage incoming queries, enhance a business’s discoverability, and drive sales. Additional value-added services for medium-to-large business accounts will be available soon.

Viber’s free offering for small and micro businesses was inspired by its Viber Business Accounts product for enterprise-sized-level companies. In the first half of 2023, Viber recorded a 30% year-over-year increase in business accounts created and a 34% year-over-year increase in delivered business messages in the Philippines. 

The new features include:

  • Public business profile: Businesses can create a public, searchable business page featuring all essential information. The profile can be shared with customers inside the app or even with people who are not Viber users yet.
  • 1:1 customer chats: Businesses can respond to customer requests right away over instant messaging. 
  • Discoverability through Viber search: Businesses can find and retain loyal customers on their preferred day-to-day conversations app where customers can discover local products and services by searching for the business name or category. 
  • Dedicated chat folders: Businesses can conveniently store customer messages separately from personal messages with family and friends. Users will also have easy access to a separate Business Inbox folder for storing their conversations with businesses.
  • Product catalog: Business owners can effortlessly add new products or services to their business page’s catalog. Customers can explore and inquire about the items by sharing the link to the product directly in the chat.

Viber’s new self-serve business accounts are available now in the Philippines and Greece and will launch in additional countries soon.

The company also plans to introduce features like broadcast messages, voice calls, and quick and automatic replies that will take communications for small business owners to the next level. Tailored pricing plans will be offered soon based on market feedback to expand the initial set of free self-serve business solutions. 

While developing the new solution, Viber invited Filipino MSMEs to participate in the beta-test. As part of its personalized onboarding process, the company curated audiences at 15 local trade shows, listened to their input during 300+ in-depth interviews, and built the core features like catalogs, search, and discoverability based on the feedback received from the local business owners. 

Early adopters are already starting to see positive results from Viber’s new features for small businesses.

Local shop owner Nene Tamayo opened Nene Prime Foods in 2014 to sell bottled gourmet bangus and other Filipino specialties. Viber is Nene’s primary platform for communicating with customers, allowing her to add a personal touch to conversations that help her build and retain a loyal following.

Customers can find Nene’s business when they search for Filipino food and reach out directly over one-to-one chats, enabling a smooth customer experience.

Mon Cabsag, owner of a Bistro Box selling baked goods, shared that Viber has been a real help for his small business.

“Starting out in the midst of the pandemic, my business found a growth partner in Viber. Now, with the new tools that the app gives, I can effortlessly engage with my customers, offer them tailored assistance, and ensure seamless communication about their orders.”

“We invited early adopters to take part in the exclusive experience of a Viber self-serve beta business account. Now, we invite all MSMEs to start their growth journey with Viber,” said Cristina Constandache, chief revenue officer at Rakuten Viber.

“As we expand our business portfolio, we are committed to tailoring solutions to the unique needs of businesses of every scale. Our mission is clear: to offer customized services for enterprises of all sizes. For those seeking growth, we deliver solutions that pave the way right within the app. With Viber as a growth partner, businesses have a communications platform for adapting to new challenges that arise on their business journey.” 

Sixty percent of online shoppers said they would abandon brands that fail to personalize their content, Viber said.

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