NEW DELHI: WhatsApp, India's top instant messaging app and used by 65m consumers, is becoming an increasingly important promotional channel for luxury and premium brands, industry insiders have said.

They include representatives from Reliance Brands, which retails labels like Diesel, Zegna and Brooks Brothers in the country, as well as Nordic Kandie, the high-end chocolate retailer, and Italian menswear brand Corneliani.

"The service helps us connect better with the clients not just in the metro cities where we have stores, but also 45 locations across India," said Summet Yadav, business head of Reliance Brands in comments reported by the Economic Times.

He said customers find it convenient to use WhatsApp to search the latest stock and to book items to be home-delivered or collected. "Conversion rates in case of customers using WhatsApp are as high as 80%," he asserted.

It is an experience shared by Nordic Kandie. Thea Tammeleht, the company's founder and director, said nearly 7-in-10 enquiries received via WhatsApp convert into sales and most enquiries are sent on Sundays.

"We find this way of communicating easy for business as we are able to send price lists, images of products, pre-and post-shipping," she said.

Customers, in turn, are also using the app to share pictures of the products with their family and friends before making a final purchase decision.

"Currently we engage with at least 15% of our top repeat clients via WhatsApp and it is growing very fast," said Prem Dewan, retail head of Corneliani, which has seen its customers try on outfits first and share photos before buying the final product.

This means "WhatsApp is being used by brands to both generate leads as well as manage customer service at a more micro level", said Apeksha Harihar, editor of Social Samosa, a social media news portal.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff