Despite having 1.3 billion monthly active users on board, WhatsApp, in a bid to make its platform more user-friendly for small businesses, has finally launched the WhatsApp Business App. The Facebook-owned company believes that this new app will help businesses engage with a large number of users more easily. WhatsApp business can already be downloaded from Google Play Store in the US, the UK, Italy, Indonesia and Mexico and will be available in India in the next few weeks.
Even though the app is available for free download initially, the company plans to monetise it in the coming days. Now, the bigger question is that how exactly will this app help the small businesses and was there a need to introduce a paid app when the users were already very much active on WhatsApp.
The new app will allow businesses to create a profile with more information so that they can convey what they do and sell along with their address, website and contact number. The customers will also be able to reach out to these businesses through messages or calls.
The businesses will be provided with smarter messaging tools such as quick replies, which are a bunch of custom messages prepared by them in advance and can be used to provide a quick answer to frequently asked questions. This will eventually help them solve the queries in less time.
For a country like India, which is home to over 200 million WhatsApp users, SMEs will be able to help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses. They will also be able to review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what’s working, the statement said from the company.
Interestingly, over 80 per cent of small businesses in India and Brazil said that WhatsApp helped them both communicate with customers and grow their business, the Facebook-owned company said citing reports.
There is a statistics section in the app which will help the businesses identify messages to get more traction.
All the business accounts, after being confirmed by WhatsApp will have an icon in front of them, which will allow the users to identify verified merchants. They will also be allowed to block a merchant in the same manner they can block an individual user on WhatsApp.