How can businesses cut through the noise in a crowded marketplace? That was the challenge facing BukuWarung, an innovative Indonesia-based startup currently making waves in the world of fintech.
Founded in 2019, the company started out offering digital bookkeeping solutions for micro, small, and medium businesses. The business grew rapidly, and soon BukuWarung was expanding its offerings to include solutions that enable digital payments and allow merchants to sell their products online.
Today, the company has built up a solid base of over 7 million merchants across the country who rely on its solutions to help them efficiently manage their businesses. “Our products are typically used by store owners from a range of sectors—from food and beverage to fashion—and we’re growing fast,” said Hariom Meena, Tech Lead Manager at BukuWarung.
But there was a challenge. Online penetration in Indonesia currently stands at about 70 percent, and the country’s appetite for digital financial services is rapidly increasing. BukuWarung recognised that when it came to getting its message across to customers, it needed to do more to ensure it could stand out against the competition. For a start, the company was not utilising a wide enough range of channels, which was hampering its ability to reach prospects and customers. As Meena said, “We realised we needed to improve our ability to connect with customers where they already are—and wherever they prefer to be.”
The company turned to Twilio’s Programmable Messaging APIs for WhatsApp to help it improve reach via its customers’ preferred channel.
Initially, BukuWarung built its communications strategy primarily around push notifications and SMS.
“We’ve always utilised an omnichannel approach. But as we grew, we realised engagement wasn’t very high,” said Meena. “For one thing, users get bombarded with SMSs and push notifications from different apps, and our messages via these channels were getting lost in the crowd.”
There were other challenges, too. “BukuWarung’s target market, which includes many traditional mom-and-pop stores, may not always use the most sophisticated smartphone devices. And the problem is that push notification delivery failure can be high among merchants who aren’t equipped with powerful smartphones,” Meena explained.
However, BukuWarung knew that many of the store owners who use its app were active on WhatsApp. As a result, the company decided to partner with Twilio and refocus its messaging approach.
“We knew that engaging via WhatsApp—our merchants’ preferred channel—would give us the flexibility and high delivery rates we needed,” said Meena.
“That’s why we chose the Twilio WhatsApp Business API. It offers a way to send automated WhatsApp messages simply and securely, creating a superior customer experience in the process. We were looking for an innovative solution that would help us deliver substantial benefits to our customer base, and with Twilio, we found it.”
Already, the Twilio WhatsApp Business API is making a significant impact on BukuWarung’s business.
“It’s helping us improve our processes in so many areas,” said Meena. “First, it means we can give our merchants the option of receiving a one-time password (OTP) via WhatsApp when they log in to their BukuWarung digital accounts. As the OTP process adds an extra layer of security, it helps us provide merchants with peace of mind, knowing their credentials are safe.”
Second, Twilio’s solution allows BukuWarung to automate various customer support processes, so the company can deal with support queries more effectively. “Now, when merchants need to reach out on an issue, it’s easy for them to interact with the customer support team via WhatsApp and quickly get the information they need to resolve it.”
Third, messaging via WhatsApp gives BukuWarung a fast and efficient way to update merchants on the status of any payment transactions that they may be involved in through the BukuWarung app.
A fourth benefit addresses customer communications more broadly. “Because we know engagement via WhatsApp is high, we’ve started using it much more extensively for all types of customer communications,” said Meena. “That includes sending our merchants business reports on a daily or weekly basis. We’re also using it to send payment reminders, and promote new features in our app. And it’s now so much easier for us to keep merchants up-to-date on any ledger-related issues as well.”
So far, the results have been impressive. The partnership with Twilio has seen BukuWarung boost customer engagement threefold.
The company is also seeing substantial benefits when it comes to its commerce product, Tokoko. This supports merchants in setting up online shops where they can manage orders, receive payments, track deliveries, and chat with customers.
“We’re now using WhatsApp extensively with our merchants for Tokoko-related issues, from order confirmation to updates,” Meena confirmed. “That’s also led to very high levels of engagement. We’ve seen a 500 percent increase when it comes to reaching out to customers and nudging them to complete a payment, for example, which is just remarkable.”
Best of all, by integrating Twilio with BukuWarung’s product and CRM features, the company has greatly enhanced its ability to deliver more personalised experiences. Now, it’s much easier for its customer support team to send out personalised communications via WhatsApp at just the right moment.
Today, BukuWarung is seeking to build on these successes by continually embracing new and innovative solutions.
“We’re very experimental as an organisation. We like to try new things to ensure we remain flexible and agile and can respond quickly to customers’ needs,” Meena explained. “It really helps that Twilio is highly proactive in supporting us. We are always in discussion with its team when a new feature is being launched, and we’re the first onboard to experiment when it fits our use case.”
Looking ahead, BukuWarung is planning to implement more Twilio features into its WhatsApp template so it can further personalise the customer experience.
“With Twilio, we’ve gained the kind of support that means our company can learn to out-serve our merchants moving forward,” Meena said.
“Meanwhile, our customers have gained an easy-to-use way to engage with us where they can quickly get what they need to run their businesses more effectively. It’s definitely a win-win situation—one that has opened up so many new possibilities for BukuWarung’s future growth.”