WhatsApp launches an app for small businesses: WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app, announced Thursday, January 18, the launch of an app for small business owners, WhatsApp Business. Despite its 1.3 billion users, features dedicated to businesses fail WhatsApp. The Facebook subsidiary has developed this new tool to help companies communicate more easily with their customers.

WhatsApp Business offers a battery of communication tools

By downloading the application, companies can create a professional profile and fill in practical information: the address, description, contact details or opening hours of their store.

WhatsApp Business also offers a battery of communication tools. The quick replies feature allows you to save standard messages and send them by offering a single key to automatically answer detected questions. Businesses can add to this automatic replies like a greeting or away message when the customer initiates the conversation…

Companies will also have access to statistics and will be able to manage this messaging from a computer with WhatsApp Web.

Verified accounts: a fake good idea?

On the customer side, nothing changes and there will be no need to install a new application to communicate with professional profiles. They will also have the option of blocking a company’s number if they no longer wish to receive their messages.

Businesses could have their account certified. For this, WhatsApp will have to verify that the phone number of the account corresponds to that of the company but WhatsApp did not give more details on this feature.

The verification system seems innocuous and yet it gives Twitter a lot of trouble. Will “black” businesses be certified in the same way as legal structures? Won’t WhatsApp suffer a blowback if politically run companies are verified? In November 2017, embarrassed to have given a badge to the account of an American neo-Nazi, Twitter had to suspend its account verification process.

A global launch in the last few weeks

For now, the app is available for free download from Google Play in the United States, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. WhatsApp announces that it should be rolled out to the rest of the world in the coming weeks. On the other hand, the company has not yet communicated on a possible launch on smartphones under iOS.

Simon Chodorge


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