WhatsApp on Thursday launched its standalone WhatsApp Business app in some countries. The app, which is available for Android users via the Google Play Store, gives business a platform to connect with 1.3 billion WhatsApp users around the world. It aims to make it convenient for small companies, in particular, to reach out to people to promote their business.
WhatsApp: The WhatsApp Business app is currently an ad-free and free-to-use, but the company hopes to monetize it in the future. WhatsApp in its blog post highlights that the app will help small business in emerging countries like India and Brazil to connect with people. Essentially, people will be able to interact with companies in a way similar to Facebook pages. The app will not only bring business-customer interaction to a more personal level with real-time conversations but will also help small business expand their reach.
Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday formally announced the launch of a new ‘Business’ application. Called WhatsApp Business, it’s a free-to-download Android application for business users.
The application, which was available in beta for almost a month, is currently available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. The app will roll out for other countries, and in India, in the coming weeks.
Business will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.
“People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil,” the Facebook-owned app said in a statement.
The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
It will also save time with smart messaging tools – quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.
HERE ARE 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WHATSAPP BUSINESS
- The WhatsApp Business app is currently available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US. Businesses can download the Android app via the Google Play Store.
- As of now, the app is free to download, but WhatsApp may introduce a freemium model in the future to monetize the app.
- Companies can create their own profile with information like a description of the business, email or store address as well as a link to their official website, among other things.
- The WhatsApp Business app comes with tools like quick replies for fast answers to FAQs, greeting messages to introduce your business to customers and away messages to let customers know you’re unable to answer at the moment.
- The app also provides metrics to help businesses know how many messages have been read an also understand which messages are working with users. You can also send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
- WhatsApp says that people will know they are talking to businesses because they’ll be listed as Business Accounts. They will also have “Confirmed Accounts” once the company verifies the account phone number and business phone number matches, making it safer for people to interact with them.
- General WhatsApp users who don’t own a business do not have to download the new app. Users will have full control over the messages they receive and can block any number, including businesses. They can also report if a business starts spamming.
- WhatsApp sees the new app as a convenient platform to help small business connect with 1.3 billion users. As per a study, over 80 percent businesses in India and Brazil say that WhatsApp helps them to not only communicate with customers but also grow their business.
- Despite highlighting India as one of its prime markets for WhatsApp Business, the app is currently unavailable in the country. The Facebook-owned company says the app will roll out to more countries in the coming weeks.
- The app is currently available for Android users and WhatsApp may soon launch it on other platforms as well.
“People will know that they’re talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” WhatsApp said.
People can continue using WhatsApp as usual as there’s no need to download anything new.
“People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam,”
For over 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil, It helps them communicate with customers and grow their business.
In India, 84 percent of SMBs think that it helps them communicate with customers, and A80 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.
“ Business helped us develop stronger relationships with our customers. We were able to respond faster to customers with features like away messages and quick replies, and offer a better overall experience,” said its co-founder Devesh Nichani.
Managing Personal and Business accounts
The app will be a standalone listing on the Play Store so it will make things easier for account managers who want to separate between their personal and business conversations. it explains how to manage these two accounts depending on a few scenarios.
The most intriguing to me is landline phone number support. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t support that now, so it’s amazing to see it coming.