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article imageWhatsApp Business gives companies another way to communicate

By James Walker     Jan 19, 2018 in Technology
WhatsApp has launched a dedicated Business app for small business owners. The standalone product is intended to save businesses time by making it simpler to contact customers. Businesses can also create an "official presence" on the app.
The launch marks WhatsApp's first real attempt to engage businesses on its platform. Parent company Facebook has been emphasising communications with businesses through its Messenger app for a while. That same focus is now coming to WhatsApp, albeit in a different implementation.
WhatsApp Business is a separate app for business owners that allows them to manage their business profile, access messaging statistics and use some unique tools. The app can be downloaded independently of the main WhatsApp client, so a business owner can keep their company chats separate from their personal ones. WhatsApp Business can also integrate with the WhatsApp web app for access from desktop devices.
According to WhatsApp, the new app is meant to reflect the way people already use its service. It said people rely on WhatsApp to talk to local companies. Businesses use it to create responses and stay connected with regular clients. The new Business service is built to further facilitate these behaviours, making it easier for companies to engage with their customers on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business profile
WhatsApp Business profile
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WhatsApp Business users will get a business profile where they can describe their services and provide contact details. In the main WhatsApp app, businesses will be clearly distinguished from regular users and will eventually receive confirmation badges.
Once a profile has been set up, businesses will be able to configure smart messaging tools that assist them in responding to customers. These include "quick replies," providing immediate responses to commonly asked questions, and automatic greeting and away messages. The app will also measure simple engagement metrics to help businesses understand their WhatsApp presence.
"Today we're launching WhatsApp Business – a free-to-download Android app for small businesses. Our new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them," said WhatsApp. "Over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil say WhatsApp helps them both communicate with customers and grow their business today," the company added.
For now, WhatsApp Business is only available on Android and is restricted to certain regional markets. Business owners in Indonesia, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S. are currently able to try out the app. Support for more countries and platforms is expected to be added over the coming months.
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