WhatsApp officially introduces Business App for small businesses

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WhatsApp launches standalone Android app for businesses

Firms would have the opportunity to set up their WhatsApp Business profiles on the new app by filling out important information like a business description, email, address and website, etc. It is built and developed with the sole goal of to ease the communication between the businesses and their client/customer, on a personal level in the form of chat. WhatsApp used to charge a $1 annual subscription fee but dropped it in 2016, leaving the service without a source of revenue. WhatsApp will also have some Confirmed Accounts over time for a few businesses. And WhatsApp Business will make it easier for people to connect with them, and vice versa, in a fast and simple way. The app has at least 200 million daily active users in the country. Currently, the application is only available on Android and is only rolling out to supported markets. It is not yet available in India and will be made available in the coming weeks, according to a WhatsApp blog post.

With BookMyShow and now even MakeMyTrip on its side, WhatsApp Business seems to be gearing up for a big play in business and ecommerce as well as monetising its platform. WhatsApp Business is compatible with landline phone numbers as well, not just mobile.

As for businesses, they will be able to maintain a profile containing details of their business operations, times of the day when they are available, physical addresses and so on.

WhatsApp has made it pretty clear from early on that businesses will only be able to send messages to customers who agree to receive them. These include quick replies, which allow you to craft pre-made replies to frequently asked questions. In addition to that, this forthcoming platform will also let businesses to plug their web services directly to WhatsApp for automating tasks like forwarding confirmations for flight booking. During verification, select the "Call me" option to receive the code over a phone call.

While people will clearly know they are interacting with a listed Business Account, WhatsApp will take this a step ahead and offer "Confirmed Accounts" to some businesses later. This data will allow you to see what is working, the number of messages read and give you information to make changes if necessary.

Though businesses must download the new app to communicate to customers, the everyday WhatsApp user can continue using the general version.

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