For the past few years, WhatsApp has remained a primary medium for a multitude of small as well as medium scale businesses to connect with their customers. Today, the Facebook-owned messaging platform is, however, taking this a step further and introducing a new dedicated app for such purposes to make things a lot more efficient and professional. Simply called “WhatsApp Business”, the free app allows any business to sign up and build a verified, separate profile page for displaying details such as address, description, email address, and more.
WhatsApp Business, in addition to that, also features a bunch of tools to help businesses manage their customer base. For starters, it allows creating quick replies, automated messages for when the moderator is away and even set up a welcome message for when a user contacts it the first time. Moreover, there are a few statistics owners can look into such as how many people have read their messages, how many have been delivered, sent, what have you.
WhatsApp Business can be even accessed on the web for sending as well as receiving messages. The app itself is rather straightforward with a familiar interface and just a couple of additional settings. To ensure that WhatsApp Business doesn’t lead to unnecessary spam and clutter the user experience, the company is offering the ability to block verified business profiles and even report them as spam.
To kick things off, WhatsApp Business will be available only in a handful of regions including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S. It’s also limited to Android phones right now. You can download WhatsApp Business from this link.
Surprisingly, the new app is not yet accessible in India which is possibly where WhatsApp is employed by businesses (80% of the SMBs according to a study) the most. Moreover, the company already has a few partners through the app’s pilot program in the country. Although, that being said, these businesses had plugged their services directly into messaging platform. For instance, BookMyShow forwards the ticket to the customer as soon as he/she confirms it. This functionality seems to be missing in this new app. WhatsApp Business, therefore, looks like it’s intended solely for SMBs who entirely rely on WhatsApp to reach out to their customers and don’t have any other websites or apps.
Back in September last year, a report also revealed it’s planning to monetize this app for enterprises if they want multiple representatives for managing an account and send “high volumes of messages”, AI-powered bot functionality or even e-commerce transactions. WhatsApp has not officially revealed details any of these rumored features yet, however. Perhaps, the company is concurrently working on ways to serve every kind of business out there and seems to be on the track to turn the no-frills messaging app into a commercial platform.