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Underground Tattoo in Watford joins Whatsapp High Street

Customers can chat with entrepreneurs and browse catalogs from the comfort of their sofas with the new “Whatsapp High Street”.

Watford is the first UK city to take part in WhatsApp’s new initiative to help small businesses hit by a drastic drop in traffic.

The messaging service has created “WhatsApp High Street”, a WhatsApp Business app that allows businesses to easily connect with their customers.

Twelve companies from Market Street, Watford, have joined the pilot program, with WhatsApp experts training them to use its free downloadable Business app as a showcase for their products and services.

Among the attendees is Underground Tattoo, a tattoo shop that also offers piercings.

Read more: WhatsApp joins the council to launch the first ‘WhatsApp high street’ in the UK

Jamie of Underground Tattoo said: “Getting a tattoo or a piercing is a very personal experience.

“Customers like to discuss it and build a relationship with the artist or body piercer. So setting up Underground Tattoo on WhatsApp Business is a breeze.

“It means we can continue to build relationships with clients even in a world of social detachment and more limited dating.

“The catalog feature on the app is also great – it means I can share sample designs or curated ear designs with customers to look at on their phones.

“I’m really excited to see what WhatsApp can do for my business and my friends and colleagues on Market Street.”

Watford Observer:

Wacky Barber who is taking part in a new WhatsApp initiative. Photo: SWNS

Companies participating in the program can communicate on issues such as social distancing in small venues, new opening hours, stock releases, table reservations or reduced menus.

It was welcomed by Watford Borough Council and the government.

A nationwide survey follows that revealed that two-thirds of businesses have seen the number of buyers decline since the blockade.

The survey of more than 750 brick and mortar companies found that 43% believe that the drop in traffic is due to discomfort with social distances and to keep the virus at bay.

And 27% think the increased restrictions have taken away the pleasure of visiting the High Street.

Nine out of 10 entrepreneurs have introduced social distancing measures for their customers, but 49% admitted that they are concerned about effective management on their premises.

Watford Observer:

The Lory Pace salon that is taking part in a new WhatsApp initiative. Photo: SWNS

Nearly six in 10 (58%) of WhatsApp respondents were even concerned that people would avoid small businesses because it is difficult to follow social distancing rules on premises.

It also found that 31% attributed the decline in customers to digital switching, as more and more consumers buy products and services online.

However, nearly half of the companies surveyed said they made better use of online e-commerce tools to scale up their products and services due to the pandemic.

The research was done by WhatsApp prior to its partnership with Watford Borough Council.

Most (82%) of the largest SMEs (100-248 employees) surveyed by WhatsApp Business responded to the challenges by increasing their use of online tools during the pandemic.

Read more: New Next Home & Beauty store opens in Watford

But this has dropped to only 48% of smaller companies (less than 10 employees).

Improved communication with customers (37%) was high on the list of help they needed to function effectively during the pandemic, closely followed by the need to improve digital skills (33%) and marketing assistance (30%) ).

It is hoped that the Watford initiative will help small businesses respond to the pandemic and the measures introduced by the government.

The scheme has been welcomed by both Watford Borough Council Mayor Peter Taylor and the government.

Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, said: “It’s great to see small businesses use innovative digital tools like WhatsApp Business to help them adapt the way they interact with their customers.

Learn more: The map shows the Covid-19 infection rate near your child’s school

“We are always keen to encourage innovative partnerships to help grow local economies, and this collaboration between WhatsApp and Watford Borough Council is a fantastic way to combine innovation, digital skills and support small businesses.”

Dan Lenan, WhatsApp’s Head of Partnerships, added: “It is more important than ever for all of us to support local businesses as major highways across the country struggle with the economic downturn.

“With the enormous challenges presented by the Coronavirus, it is essential to keep our main roads alive and thriving.

“Whether it’s helping a retailer fulfill online orders, a restaurant become a take away or a beauty salon communicate social distancing rules, the WhatsApp Business app can help people lead their business in these Hard times.

“We are very happy to partner with Watford to support their business community and to demonstrate that digital tools can support their recovery.”

The main features of the WhatsApp Business app include a company profile, catalog, quick replies and automatic messages, labels to organize customer messages and QR codes.

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