Messaging platform, WhatsApp, officially launched its new WhatsApp Business app, designed to be used by small businesses to better connect with customers. The app was released in select markets ahead of its planned worldwide launch, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Mexico, and Italy.
WhatsApp Business builds upon the original app by adding a series of features to help businesses establish a presence on the platform. The separate app is also designed to generate extra revenue by charging larger businesses for tools to communicate with customers. This strategy is similar to that employed by Facebook, with both platforms boasting over a billion users.
However, WhatsApp is currently focusing on smaller businesses, who can set up their Whatsapp Business profiles by filling out information like email, address, website and business description.
People who have a business number and a personal one can use both apps on the same device with their respective numbers. The app is also compatible with the platforms desktop browser client, WhatsApp Web.
Businesses who will register on the app will have their account listed as “Business Accounts”. The company said that over time, these businesses will receive a confirmation badge on their profile, a sign that the venture has been verified by Whatsapp.
Whatsapp Business will allow users to use an array of tools specially designed for the app, such as “quick replies” that provide fast answers to customers and “greeting messages” that provides customers with details about the business.
Businesses will have the ability to control their experience just like users of the standard app. They can block numbers and other businesses, as well as report spam.
The app is free to download on Android devices at the moment. The company hasn’t provided any details for a potential iOS release yet. A global rollout is expected in the following weeks.
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