How WhatsApp Drives Revenue and CLV in Ecommerce, with Johannes Mansbart

Turn customer support into sales, nurture clients, and increase CLV with WhatsApp.

Christian Hoppe

Christian Hoppe


May 1, 2024

How WhatsApp Drives Revenue and CLV in Ecommerce, with Johannes Mansbart

Johannes Mansbart shares how WhatsApp transforms customer service into a revenue generator in ecommerce, how to nurture clients and increase CLV—from personalized marketing to operational efficiency—and why it’s fundamental for ecommerce brands.

Key Takeaways:

  • Treat customer support as opportunity; learn from & be close to customers. 
  • Analyze who are your best customers & create more of those.
  • Make support tickets your best sales channel & boost CLV.

Christian Hoppe
Welcome, Johannes. You're quite known in the ecommerce space, especially in Germany and Europe, I would say. But for those who don't know you yet, how do you usually introduce yourself, who is Johannes, and what do you do? 

Johannes’ Entrepreneurial Journey 

Johannes Mansbart
Thanks Chris. Johannes Mansbart, 28, the founder of We're bootstrapping a B2B SaaS, more exactly a WhatsApp marketing tool for ecommerce brands largely on Shopify, Klaviyo tech stack, and also some others. 

And yeah, we both know each other through our common industry and your impressive track record at waterdrop, which is one of our main flagship clients. And I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Christian Hoppe
Cool. Yeah, unfortunately we missed each other a little bit on waterdrop, but you're doing great stuff there. What I really appreciate from you and I think a lot of people as well is that you share also a lot about your entrepreneurial journey. 

Chatarmin is also not your first venture, if I can start with this before we dive into WhatsApp. You had several successes and failures and I really appreciate, you know, very few people share about that so openly. And I think I learned a lot just from reading your posts and from reading about your story. 

Maybe you also want to give a little bit, because I think your journey is quite impressive. Where you come from and how did you actually end up now with Chatarmin? 

Johannes Mansbart
Thanks Chris for the roses. 

I believe sharing so openly and authentically and honestly our journey is a matter to the means. It is our only opportunity to challenge the massively funded VC-backed competitors that we have. 

So as much as I want to share my journey and help others on entrepreneurship and finding their way it is also definitely an opportunism that is driving me to do that. If I were a D2C ecommerce founder I probably wouldn't share so much about our revenues, our journey, our clients, my personal challenges, and history. So this is just a small disclaimer. 

I started as a founder at 19. Started a very immature business with my brother driving by bike some freshly made breakfasts to schools and closing and shutting down after nine months and having burned my 10k in savings up until that point. 

Then I dived deeply into poker and strategy games, online marketing and affiliation, and also ecommerce and casino. Just tried everything out. Made some money there, made some money with crypto. 

Through my poker network, I got to learn about the best poker players in the world who are all living in Vienna to escape taxes. I built the greatest poker community in the world. was sacked as a CEO two and a half years in, which was a huge shock for me. 

And after like a year of recouping and refinding myself, writing a book, and starting a podcast just like you, I got to know Armin, my co-founder, who is also the name giver of 

We found the opportunity to build upon the WhatsApp API and then I just started cold calling and he just started building and that's what brought us thus far and into your podcast today. 

Christian Hoppe
Yeah, very impressive. Very, very impressive. I mean, it sounds like, you know, you've been in business for like 50 years from everything you've experienced and yet it's just like nine years if I calculate it correctly, so very excited also to what still is going to come and yeah, let's dive into WhatsApp. 

I think let's just start, you know, what are the use cases of WhatsApp? Why should businesses use WhatsApp and what can they use WhatsApp for? 

Why should Ecommerce Businesses Use WhatsApp?

Johannes Mansbart
Thanks for the, again, for the roses, Chris.

I think that's also what I like about your newsletter so much. You're talking a lot about leverage, focus and acceleration. And I think many founders just waste so much time lying to themselves, and that's why they're stuck in their journey and the growth of their business. And we just try to cut all the bullshit and only do it all the time. 

And I think that's the mindset that lets you learn and accelerate very, very fast, in a very, very short timeframe, and gives us an edge over our competitors or other founders as well, who are indirectly our competitors for maybe in the future VC funding etc. 

Yeah, I think, regarding WhatsApp, it's just the most used app in the world. In the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) region over 90% of smartphone users use WhatsApp and I think it's very straightforward that businesses want to find a way to scalably and GDPR-compliantly communicate with their main key stakeholders via WhatsApp. So, this is just an opportunity and a necessity, in our opinion. 

And offering WhatsApp to ecommerce is basically a question of product market fit, which we have found, and other competitors who have also a lot of ground that they're covering in this space. So, ecommerce is just an extremely native and digital space where WhatsApp is massively leveraged and other industries just need some more time. So, we're working on ecommerce 100% right now. 

And I think the opening rates, the CTR (click-through rates), everything is very understandable if you just understand that you’ll be in the WhatsApp inbox of your main stakeholders. It's just a no-brainer. 

Christian Hoppe
Yeah, so one thing is definitely email deliverability, and basically engagement with email is not comparable. I would say very far away from WhatsApp. 

WhatsApp is way more direct, way more personal. It's also different and there are several use cases, right? On your website, you explain, for example, the standard use case newsletters to really communicate directly. But you also have cases, for example, reducing abandoned carts because you're just able to answer questions at the right time, right away with customers. 

So, it doesn't even happen that customers abort and churn basically the cart before, but they can get answers to that directly. Way more personal, it's an app that everyone uses, as you said, but you also have other very interesting use cases, but I'll let you dive a little bit into some of them because I think you have also more data on that. 

Customer Support Is a Gift, Not a Burden

Johannes Mansbart
Yeah, I think what you just mentioned is extremely important and I mean customer support, Chris, because every time you have a support ticket, someone wants something from you and your brand and that's a massive opportunity. 

You can do a cross-sale and upsell, you can sell a product. So, what I generally don't understand is one of the main misconceptions in entrepreneurship, in my opinion, is that support is perceived as a bad thing. It's the most beautiful thing in the world. It proves that you have product market fit and it shows that people care about your product and your brand. So, that's a good thing. 

The second next thing is you don't want to care about whether you're going on the nerves of your clients. It's not intimidating to be close to your clients. They want to be close to you. They want to contact you. So, give them the chance. 

The third thing is we're noticing that over 80% of the tickets that are being initiated in the DACH region by clients are through WhatsApp. So, this is a validation for the market that people are happy to be communicating with brands on WhatsApp. And the last point is how beautiful it is to go on a bus ride, text one brand, let's say waterdrop to stick with the example. 

“Hey guys, where is my package?”, and either you get the instant reply via chatbot and AI, or you get the instant reply via chatarmin & Parcel Platform integration, or you just get the notification three hours later by a human agent after you have done your workout in a gym. 

There is no being stuck in any helpline. There is no waiting on the call. There's no being lost on a chatbot, which doesn't document your journey, doesn't document your touchpoints for user support, and doesn't know which products you have purchased. 

So, these are all points that are super important, and scaling WhatsApp support is a means to generating more leads and thus more revenue. 

This is just one of the several use cases that you mentioned such as transactional stuff, abandoned checkout, abandoned browse, integrations with CRMs, and shop systems so that you can retarget non-converted or other leads that you just wanna either generate, uplift or enrich. And then there are a hundred thousand other use cases that everyone can think about when listening to us and sparking his creativity. 

Christian Hoppe
Great. I mean, I want to repeat what you just said, because I think that's super, super important that, you know, a lot of brands try to reduce the support tickets by, for example, making it harder for customers to contact them and, and get answers. 

I mean, just look around even big players. It's almost impossible to contact sometimes the brand, but as I just said, like, actually it's something positive, right? 

There is a lot of frustration going on, even if the tickets are reduced because those customers that cannot contact support or that just say, “Okay, the friction is so high to contact support”, they're still, they're going to churn, right? You have no chance to get it right. 

And yeah, you can learn from customers. You can incorporate the feedback into product iterations, into making the experience better and actually leaving a positive experience. Turn something that might be either negative or neutral into something positive, and win a client and then also generate more revenue through upsells and cross-sells. 

I think that's a really good message to every founder out there. 

The ROI of a positive customer support ticket 

Johannes Mansbart
Yeah, and everyone is talking about CRM, but nobody's talking about support. And everybody's talking about upfront profitability at the first purchase and CLTV uplifts and extensions. 

So, how are you going to not focus on support and service if those are your key indicators, and key troublemakers, and key factors for business success? 

And I love napkin calculations. And if you can just say, “Okay, six minutes of my support rep cost me two euros because he's either in the Philippines or in Germany, I don't mind.” Think about it or try to set up a KPI system that lets you dissect the value of a customer support chat of a ticket, maybe split it into cohorts so that you have even more ingrained analytics.

And I'm 100% sure that in over 90% of the businesses, there's a huge amount of profitable revenue lying around that is not being picked up upon. And it's crazy that we talk so much about support right now, Chris, because it's neither your domain nor mine. But it's just a huge blunder all over the place.

And I think we both are aligned here that businesses are just doing a bad job. There is a general misconception about it and a lot of profitable revenue is lying around and is not being picked up. 

Christian Hoppe
Yeah, 100%. And I think also indirect revenue or revenue potential. 

We speak about, you know, conversion rate optimization, but what does it mean, it's not going on a website and just, you know, putting some elements there that, you know, having a different page structure, but most of it is really research understanding what are the obstacles for customers, what they don't understand when shopping and what they don't like about the products or is uncertainty. 

And this is, like you said, it's a direct channel speaking to the customers and there's a lot of indirect future uplift in this direct communication that you don't get the data out of anything else in the same way.

Johannes Mansbart
And one more point, Chris, before you go away. What is one of the main reasons why you are amongst the best Google or let's say YouTube marketers in the world in ecommerce?

It's because you understand user journeys, and support is something that actually happens in pre-sales already. What do I mean by that? If you're targeting the wrong audience, if you're marketing your product based on false claims, you will have an endless support problem. You will have huge claims, you will have huge returns, PayPal will block you, your business will be a mess. 

If you start the user journey, actually educating people about your product, then raising interest, desire action, then they will actually understand how to prepare a market, how to work on a market, and how to actually convert a market. 

And that's why you are so successful because you deeply understand user journeys. That's why your clients are so successful because they actually have the perfect balance between support and sales. And that's also why WhatsApp is such an important leverage because it can serve all along the user journey. 

How to Stay Lean: Validate Before Launching

Christian Hoppe
Let's speak about one example here for waterdrop, one of your flagship clients. 

I remember how we tried to position products that were not how customers saw the products. We found out that customers, for example, with natural caffeine flavor, they didn't like the taste of coffee and the reason was they were looking for an alternative. 

That was not how the product was intended. That was not how we would have positioned it, but this is because you get customer feedback. They ask you basically about the flavor. You see that those that tried it, they like it, and it gives them the same energy kick, but it tastes differently than coffee. 

So, yeah, absolutely. There is a lot of information out there that, as you said, understands customers better, and that can help go after the right clients, go after the right markets, go after niches that you haven't thought of before. 

Johannes Mansbart
Yeah, and let's be aware of one thing. There is companies that are scaling crazily with shitty products. There is this US-based company that used to fill Austrian water into cans and they're making 100 million in revenue. 

So, we're both aware that it's not only about product market fit, it's also about message market fit. And there is so much crowded space. You'll have to find different angles and message market fit. 

And if all of your competitors who are doing the same product, or maybe better, or maybe worse, are just marketing their products and how healthy they are, and how beautiful you will look when you consume them, it's one angle. 

But if you tell them, “Hey, you will not have the headaches that you have due to loss of caffeine consumption, so you need the caffeine to stay on your addiction, but you actually don't want the coffee, here's the solution.” I'm pretty sure this angle is not being tested a lot. 

And if you have such a deep customer understanding of all the steps of the user journey, it's an absolute no-brainer to inject WhatsApp in the right way or to work with the right YouTube ads agency, such as you guys. 

Christian Hoppe
Yeah, let's have one last use case. I would love to hear how you implement that because, also at waterdrop, we did a lot of product launches and campaigns. 

I also know, for example, in jewelry brands, it's always hard to predict how will the new designs, how will customers like the new designs, how will collections work. You also have this case, at least on your website, maybe you have some case or something you can share to validate products instead of having these floppy launches. 

Often brands depend on the revenue. It's the end of the month, we need the revenue, we calculate that the launch works. How can you prepare that? 

Johannes Mansbart
It makes a lot of sense, but actually the validation for future launches, etc. We would just every time recommend other entrepreneurs put the paywall because there is no better validation than a paywall. 

And even though the product might not exist yet, or you might need three months to ship it; if there's many people requesting or paying for it, you have the validation, WhatsApp is not the game changer here. So, it's not a use case that we or our clients focus on. 

Christian Hoppe
Got it. But I think that with WhatsApp, I think you have access to the most loyal, most interested customers and direct access. So, it can still be one of the cases. Maybe it's not a game changer because you can also use other channels, but you can still send to a small segment of customers and see how they react to a product. 

Johannes Mansbart
And not just communicating with your most important clients but actually creating them, right? Because every most important client has been a guy who has just seen your brand somewhere randomly at some point. 

How to Nurture Ecommerce Leads with Educational Content 

Christian Hoppe

I think one interesting move or trend that we've seen is the move to more educational content. And I think one thing also with waterdrop, what we did is a drink more water challenge. In supplements, beauty, there are these 30 day challenges. So, this is something that I think is ideal for WhatsApp. 

So, you can also use that to directly funnel new customers. Instead of making them purchase directly, you can basically create a funnel where you can make them sign up for a WhatsApp newsletter for a 30 day challenge, and then convert them with content and education. 

For Which Businesses Does WhatsApp Work Best?

Johannes Mansbart
Yeah, sure. Let's share some WhatsApp knowledge. 

So, the best cases are 100% good retention cases, right? So supplements, stuff like waterdrop, FMCG brands that are not available in retail, etc. some stuff that people just continuously buy and have a high recurring revenue rate and high returning customer rate. So, these are the no-brainer WhatsApp cases where WhatsApp should, definitely, be implemented as a number two retention channel after email marketing. 

The next one is pet cases. So people are so crazy about their horses, dogs and cats that they just spend a lot of money. So, naturally, if you have a strong brand with product message, market fit, you will just have success on WhatsApp as well. 

What WhatsApp does not do is turn out of an ugly swan, a beautiful swan, right? We cannot solve your marketing issues if you don't scale, if you don't have product market fit. WhatsApp will just be another broken channel that you will create. 

The third one might be jewelry, stuff that turns over like drops of fashion brands. We have a very successful case, olakala from Tim Gabel, or Paul Valentine with jewelry, stuff that people buy all two or three months and just can't get enough of. 

And what is then long after that is stuff that people actually don't need and doesn't solve the pain, right? So, maybe you would buy once, let's say, a leather jacket that is seasonal, but come on, how often do you buy a leather jacket or how often do you buy some stuff that is very clunky and you just buy it once in your life? So, you have to be really aware of your user journey once again, create the right user base and target the right audience, and then use WhatsApp in the right steps of the user journey. 

The second point that you mentioned was that you can directly funnel clients through their WhatsApp ads. So, click on Chat Start ads. Basically, it's just the idea for free lead generation from, for example, Instagram to WhatsApp, clicking on the CTAs and the ads to get directly into the WhatsApp of the brand. 

So, you have this CLTV uplift, you have this extension of the user journey, you have this very close touch point, very fast, the very good conversion rate, without having to send people to a non-performing website or what else do we see, like brands sending from their ads with a special angel to their website, right? 

Just crazy to build your funnels but let go of typeforms that don't perform, funnel people directly into mobile-first user-friendly journeys. Right now the click to WhatsApp feature is broken, Meta hasn't fixed it for months, so our clients are funneling people onto landing pages with the WhatsApp chat start link, but generally, it's a fantastic idea, it will be live again soon and then it will be a game changer for the lead generation for our DTC brands clients as well. 

WhatsApp as Lead Generation Channel

Christian Hoppe
100%. We are now still early in the year, but Black Friday will come as well. And the whole lead generation hype will also, the machine will start rolling. 

And I just wanted to add also to what you said, I just had an interesting discussion about subscriptions with Matthew Holman. And he said that, you know, sometimes you can think as a business also how to extend that because even, even if you buy a letter jacket, you know, at some point you will buy another one. It's probably a higher-priced item. So, there's also a lot of content that, you know, you can also retain customers or at least stay top of mind, even if the next purchase is further out. 

So, I think also for those businesses, it's highly relevant to work on content and keeping in touch with customers. 

Johannes Mansbart
I mean, we have crazy cases like I will send you the link, maybe put it in the caption somewhere. 

They are selling e-bikes for like 3,000 euros and they are making direct purchases through their WhatsApp campaigns, which is crazy because it's so high AOV and it's such a sales and support case where it's a critical point to convert the user somewhere down the journey, which is so unanticipatedly. 

So, on they're scaling crazy out of Fulda with the leading, market leader for pergolas, with, like, insane AOVs, WhatsApp works for them. So, it needs to be case specific always, but what we can generally say is that usually brands that don't have message market fit or product market fit yet, or have trouble scaling, they shouldn't touch another marketing channel, right? They should fix their basics. They should start scaling either on YouTube or on Meta or on TikTok. 

Find one distribution channel that works. Then fix your setup on CRM with the Klaviyo setup that some agency can build for you for 2,000 euros. Start scaling to solid six-digit revenue, low seven-digit revenue, and then I think it will become relevant to think about the second CRM channel that will uplift your CLTV somewhere between 10% to 50%, depending on your metrics. 

Christian Hoppe
100% agree. Help winners win more is always, always good. And yeah, everyone starts out and you need iterations. We all know that. 

So, first get your fundamentals right before jumping around and thinking the next big thing will solve everything. That's really good. So, I think that also touches the topic. what mistakes do you see brands make when starting with WhatsApp? 

Focus Beats Diversification—Stick to One Thing & Don’t Stop Too Early

Johannes Mansbart
Regarding what you just said, Chris, I think the main fallacy for founders and entrepreneurs is to do too much. They're not focusing on the winners, they scale to some level somehow and then they start the next thing. 

How can you do that? How do you not see the potential that you still have? If you found one winning distribution channel, one sales channel, 10X down on it, please before you touch the next thing. It's so insane in my opinion what people are doing. But that's maybe a topic for a whole different podcast. 

Christian Hoppe

Johannes Mansbart
So, do's and don'ts, what we see on a daily basis, it's so insane, people don't test their campaigns. Our clients don't test what they're sending out. They just send out to thousands of users and they haven't built the flows based upon the buzzwords that they embed as a click to CTA on their WhatsApp campaigns. 

We don't see A/B testing in flows or campaigns. We don't see operational excellence. So we see someone who has a campaign going out at 5 p.m. on a Saturday to 10,000 people for a very crucial launch and he just doesn't tag us @channel on Slack, so nobody reads it. 

And he says, “Hey guys, do you have time for a meeting in the next days? Bro, it's Saturday 5 p.m. You want your campaign to go out? Call me. My phone number is on our imprint. You know where we are. So it's just operational stuff and a lack of expertise, lack of good employees in the teams. 

And obviously in Slack Connect, we try to educate. We have a, we have a Wiki page for our clients. We try to go on YouTube everywhere to really educate the market. But there are so many fuckups. I could already write a book about it. 

And I'm urging every one of our listeners to reach out to other brands who are doing WhatsApp, to educate themselves, to really think about if they want to do it, and if they do it, please do it in a right, considerate way, and don't do all the stuff I just mentioned, because it's crazy what we witness on a daily operational basis, and it just hurts our souls because everyone's burning money. 

Christian Hoppe
Yeah, you want your clients to be successful, obviously. And you said, like, brands should reach out to other brands. What are some of the most creative ways or what are brands that really leverage WhatsApp really well? Who should they reach out to? 

Johannes Mansbart
So, first of all, Michael Kästner, nobody knows him. In my opinion, the best WhatsApp marketer in the world. Maybe if you have luck at some point, he might consult you, but just ask him, he's so nice, he will answer your LinkedIn messages. If you don't manage to touch base with him, just contact all those who you like. 

Go on my LinkedIn to find some cases, go on's landing page, look who does a good job, who's performing to your liking, and then just cold outreach on LinkedIn to those CRM managers and they will all love to let's say, like, that to share. 

I wanted to say to be good to their ego, right? Because why are we sharing? Because it just gives us a good feeling. It strokes our ego. Reach out to all the CRM marketers. You will have 20 good calls about WhatsApp marketing strategies in the next three weeks, a hundred percent if you follow this approach, and then you know more about WhatsApp marketing than 99.9% of any CRM and online marketing and email marketing managers in this world without spending a single dime on it. 

And we can reduce the setup fee because we don't have so much operational setup in the beginning. And you can basically show us the way and you don't have those fuckups that others are doing all the time. 

Christian Hoppe
Oh, there's been a lot of value here. I really thought that we were going to speak mostly about WhatsApp, but I feel that everything that you shared, there's so much value also in how to run a business and yeah, advice for entrepreneurs. 

Is there anything else, any other advice that you have for business owners or also for those who want to start out and become? 

Advice for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Johannes Mansbart
What is so crazy to me, Chris, is that everyone is just sharing their successes, ridiculing themselves and nobody shows their losses. I think this is a thing that is very spread in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

We have this mindset problem that lets many people also in ecommerce flee to the US or to Dubai or some other places where other mindset cultures are being lived. 

I think this is the number one bottleneck for all of us to get better. It starts with education, goes over politics and lands in ecommerce, LinkedIn. Nobody's really sharing. And this is something that I really, um, I'd say I would prefer if people would just be honest on social media. This is not how our society works. 

So, we need people like you and me who don't bullshit in sales calls, who do some good podcasts, and I think if you're honest to yourself, you will be able to be honest to your environment and then life will reward you if you really work hard. 

And if it doesn't, you're probably not working hard enough. That's probably what makes us successful to some point. And that's what I would love to contribute in this podcast. Work hard, do all the stuff that we talked about to reach out to people who know better, be ready to learn, be humble and hungry. 

And then success will come anywhere in life, no matter what you do. 

Christian Hoppe
Johannes, how can people get in touch with you, follow you, learn more about your entrepreneurial journey and about chatarmin— what's the best way? 

Johannes Mansbart
For everyone who wants to start WhatsApp marketing, send an email or just reach out to me via LinkedIn or send me an email at Thanks for having me. If that's the wrap up. 

Christian Hoppe
Thank you so much. Thank you for your time. 

Johannes Mansbart

About Me

Hey, I'm Chris 👋

I started out in marketing & ecommerce 15 years ago.

Building websites, online shops and running ads.

In 2019, I built waterdrop's direct-to-consumer business, growing it from $5 to $100 million in three years.

And worked as a fractional CMO with several 7- to 9-fig brands.

Today, I help winning ecommerce brands grow faster & more profitably with Forwrd Agency.

I also run my own businesses and invest in the ecommerce sector.

People know me for my straightforward, honest, and critical insights.

Stay in the know

Get the latest product and management insights.

Keep Reading