Indu Wary’s childhood memories center around watching her mother and her friends weave on most evenings.
"Even though I was very small, I still realized how weaving was an indispensable part of our culture. But I never gauged how the art was dying due to negligence, labor issues and the younger generation moving to different professions for a better livelihood."
When Indu moved out of home to study, she noticed how little people outside the Northeast knew about the diversity and richness of the region's culture. "My heart ached to do something about it," she says.
In June 2017, after working for six years in the corporate sector, she quit her job to start Asomkriti, an e-commerce platform that retails handloom and handicraft products predominantly from the Northeast, such as mekhela chadar, tribal bear jewelry, bamboo handbags, stoles, dupattas, among others.
Today, while 48 percent of the business comes through the website, WhatsApp orders by resellers and direct customers constitute 41 percent of the business.
"As a small business, when we looked for an active communication channel with cost efficiency, we narrowed it down to WhatsApp. After the launch of WhatsApp Business, we made the switch and the response has been incredible."
The WhatsApp Business app helps automate a lot of work. "For instance, the customized message feature lets us cater to numerous customers at the same time without any hassle," she says. "The automated message feature helps acknowledge queries outside business hours."
Since using WhatsApp Business, Asomkriti saw a 50 percent jump in its conversation rate while achieving a retention rate of 80 percent.
"For a small business like ours, it’s not possible to offer 24/7 customer support. [WhatsApp Business] helps retain potential customers' trust and helps in conversion."