The Economic Impact of WhatsApp in Indonesia

Indonesian Small Business Stories

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We had no idea that WhatsApp [would be] so efficient for our business.

For Jangkar Bawono, a stable government job - like those his parents held - was not for him. In a culture where working for the government is a safe career choice, Jangkar wanted to embark on his own path.
In 2015, while still in college, Jangkar began working with local craftsmen to create leather shoes for his friends. This led to the founding of Portblue, a men's leather shoe business.
Word of his unique designs and handmade shoes spread fast. Soon enough, Portblue was on its way to becoming an established brand, creating regular jobs and opportunities for artisans in Surabaya in Indonesia's East Java province.
An online business, Portblue uses WhatsApp Business to engage with customers. Jangkar says Portblue sells between 800 and 1,400 pairs every month with 80 percent of sales completed with WhatsApp Business.
"We had no idea that WhatsApp Business would be so efficient for our business," says Jangkar, smiling. Having a confirmed business account is helping Jangkar's company build consumer trust while the quick replies feature means his team is able to respond to customer queries more efficiently.
For customer Aulia Habarah, WhatsApp added a layer of convenience once she found the shoes she was looking for. "I sent messages via WhatsApp to make inquiries about the shoes and eventually bought them... I didn’t even have to go anywhere to buy the perfect gift for my boyfriend," she says.
Agus Purwanto says he often takes a photo of a product that he likes and sends it to Portblue on WhatsApp with questions about availability and shoe size. Portblue's use of WhatsApp assures him of an immediate response. "I just chat with customer service via WhatsApp whenever I want to make inquiries," he says.
The pleasure of satisfying customer demands, building enduring brand loyalty, and the opportunity to see his dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true, make this venture worth it for Jangkar.