Facebook’s WhatsApp messenger has just launched a new app dedicated to small businesses. The WhatsApp Business app is now going live in select markets including the US, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the UK before being rolled out worldwide. It will be free to download on Android for now.
The app has been launched to enable businesses to chat directly with consumers. At the same time, parent Facebook hopes the move will boost revenue by giving businesses advanced communication tools to reach consumers.
It’s essentially a version of a Facebook Page, but tries to emulate what WeChat has achieved in China.
Companies which sign up can now directly connect with their customers and begin to establish a presence across the messenger.
WhatsApp announced plans for Business accounts back in autumn 2017 by adding green check marks to verified accounts.
Consumers are able to see if they are chatting with a business as all business accounts are clearly labelled. As WhatsApp verifies business phone numbers, account statuses are being changed to “confirmed”.
Among the series of messaging tools available to business accounts are quick replies, greetings as well as away notifications.
Data such as message opens can also be viewed to gain a better overview over how well business accounts are performing.
The end user need not worry as WhatsApp continues to take user privacy seriously. As such, businesses can only contact users which provided their number in the first place. Business numbers can also be blocked or reported as spam.
In addition, WhatsApp has plans for a wider Enterprise app solution for large clients such as airlines or banks.