WhatsApp starts rolling out new app for small businesses

Friday 19 January 2018 | 09:20 CET | News

WhatsApp has launched its new WhatsApp Business service in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the US and the UK, ahead of a worldwide launch that will follow over the coming weeks. The idea behind WhatsApp Business, a free Android app for small businesses, is to make it easier for companies to establish a profile and to connect with customers, and for WhatsApp users to chat with businesses. 

With the new app, users will be able to access business profiles, with a description, email or store address and website. They will be able to use smart messaging; these will include tools for frequently asked questions, greeting messages to introduce customers to a business and away messages for when they are busy. 

The app will also provide messaging statistics and metrics so companies can see what is working. Finally, businesses will be able to send and receive messages on their desktop and have a business account type. 

People will be able to continue using WhatsApp as usual, with no need to download anything new. 

WhatsApp says it has 1.3 billion users worldwide. The company quoted a study that showed how over 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil say WhatsApp helps them both communicate with customers and grow their business (Morning Consult study). 

WhatsApp first said in early 2016 that it would explore business services, after the app dropped its annual fee. It started testing the business services in 2017 with selected customers. 

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