The idea for Fishappy – a service that delivers fresh and good quality fish, seafood, and meat in the National Capital Region (NCR) – had been brewing for a while, says Partha Kundu, as he was often asked by his friends and relatives to buy seafood for them. Despite the fact that a previous venture had not taken off, he decided — backed by popular demand — to start the business.
“Since we were bootstrapped, and on a shoestring budget, we had no money for marketing or advertising. We started using WhatsApp as our front-end communication channel,” he says.
Every morning, customers get messages on WhatsApp regarding prices, availability, and pictures of the fish.
Today, 97 percent of their orders come through WhatsApp
“We started with 10 customers in 2015, and now have more than 400 customers on WhatsApp. We share recipes and get instant feedback. We also use WhatsApp to educate those who don’t know their rohu from their surmai,” says Partha. “For bootstrapped businesses like ours with limited funds and great ideas, WhatsApp brings customer connections, transparency, branding, personalized interactions, and immediacy. It’s not just an app, it is a virtual marketplace.”
Today, 97 percent of their orders come through WhatsApp. In the first two months after they launched, sales were between Rs 5,000 (approximately USD 73) and Rs 8,000 (approximately USD 116). In eight months, they reached a Rs 1,00,000 (approximately USD 1,500) sales figure, says Partha, adding that currently their average monthly turnover is over Rs 4,00,000 (approximately USD 5,800).
Partha shares an interesting anecdote on how WhatsApp has aided customer acquisition. “An elderly prospective customer was skeptical about buying fish through non-traditional methods. We used WhatsApp to send her a live feed of the fish in the market. This gave her confidence about our service and she placed an order. She is now a regular customer.”