Last September, WhatsApp announced that it is working on a tool that will allow small businesses to communicate with their customers on WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned company on Saturday officially launched the WhatsApp Business app. The app is designed to enable small businesses to communicate more efficiently with their customers and help grow their business.
WhatsApp Business is built on top of the already existing WhatsApp Messenger. The app has all the features currently available on WhatsApp Messenger plus a lot more added features for business connectivity. These include dedicated business profiles for details like email address, business description, store addresses and website. WhatsApp Business also has an option to register a landline number.
The new app also comes with smart messaging tools like greetings, quick replies and away messages. Furthermore, there's messaging statistics, for reviewing how many messages were sent, delivered and read. WhatsApp Business also provides simple analytics so business owners know which messages are the most effective.
Business accounts that have confirmed their account phone number will receive a confirmation badge on their profile. That's similar to the green verification badge the company added to select business accounts last year in the Messenger app. WhatsApp Business has been built without compromising the security and privacy of the standard Messenger app. This effectively means other users can continue using WhatsApp Messenger and will still have full control over the messages they receive like blocking numbers and reporting spam.
For users who want to keep their business account and personal account separate, the can happily do so as both WhatsApp Messenger and WhatsApp Business can run simultaneously on the same device. WhatsApp Business is also compatible with WhatsApp Web, the app's desktop web browser client.
WhatsApp Business is free and available to download for Android users in the UK, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the US. A WhatsApp blog noted that "over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil use WhatsApp for business purposes." So it shouldn't be wrong to assume that these two countries will be next in the pipeline. WhatsApp will be rolling-out a global release and a wider platform support including iOS in the coming weeks.