WhatsApp has announced their free-to-download mobile app for small businesses. The app is called WhatsApp Business, which is currently available in select countries like UK, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States. WhatsApp also mentioned in their official blog post that majority of small businesses in India and Brazil rely on WhatsApp. In spite of that, Facebook-owned instant messenger decided to ignore these two countries in their initial roll-out phase of WhatsApp Business, which was no less than a shocker. But given that WhatsApp was courteous enough at showing some level of importance towards India in their blog post, we are expecting the app to launch in India in the coming weeks anyway.
WhatsApp Business profiles will offer information in the form of business description in addition to email, store addresses and website. It enables quick replies that can provide prompt answers to frequently asked questions. Business accounts can also configure default, greeting messages for the sake of introductions as well as away messages to let customers know that they are busy.
Another important aspect is about keeping a track of statistics. This way, business profiles can review simple metrics to determine what is working and what is not. Interestingly, existing WhatsApp users don’t require any special privileges to be able to contact businesses. So, they can also connect with businesses using WhatsApp Web.
WhatsApp Business is currently limited to Android users. It is not clear if it will come to iOS or Windows anytime soon, at least WhatsApp didn’t mention anything other than Android. But we don’t see a reason why the app shouldn’t hit other platforms. So, we should wait for WhatsApp to reveal something concrete since we are yet to learn more about their expansion plans beyond a certain point.
Currently, WhatsApp serves over 1.3 billion active users worldwide including over 200 million of them across India.