“People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about — from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil. But WhatsApp was built for people and we want to improve the business experience,” says the company in a blog post. According to Morning Consult study, more than 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil say WhatsApp helps them both communicate with customers and grow their business today.
Enter WhatsApp Business.
Despite mentioning India and Brazil in its post, the app is not launching in those markets just yet. Instead, it is available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, US, and UK.
A global rollout is scheduled for the coming weeks.
The launch will not affect regular users, says WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Business app will allow:
- Business Profiles featuring basic information including description, address and contact details
- Quick messages for standard greetings and FAQs
- Analytics to see statistics such as number of messages read
These profiles will be marked as a “Business Account” and over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.
Experts forecast that this is a step toward monetizing WhatsApp although the strategy is unclear as yet. Premium or enhanced listings or a paid version for larger business, for instance, could be a few such options.
At the time of writing, Facebook/WhatsApp had not replied to our request for comment.