WhatsApp launches standalone WhatsApp Business app for Android

WhatsApp Business could be a big boon in developing nations, where more informal platforms, like WhatsApp, are used by small businesses to advertise, liaise and sell to customers.

As of January 18th it is only available through Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Accounts should also include a business description, email or store addresses and website. On the other hand, brands will have an easier time communicating with customers, but also with employees.

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Ultimately, the default won't change, and functionality of the service as a whole won't either. WhatsApp also claimed that 84 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, andA80 percent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business. Businesses can also get a Twitter-style "Verified Account" badge once WhatsApp verifies its phone number. WhatsApp users will know if they're talking to a business when they see that it's listed as a Business Account. Once a profile has been set up, businesses will be able to configure smart messaging tools that assist them in responding to customers. With "Away messages", businesses can automatically send preset messages while they are offline, similar to what already exists in Facebook Messenger.

Consumers using the standard versiono of WhatsApp will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block numbers, including businesses, and report them as spam.

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The Business App seems like the foundation stone to the bigger enterprise solution that WhatsApp plans to create. The enterprise version will be aimed at generating revenue, which the company isn't doing now.

WhatsApp had earlier stated that it is important to serve businesses as they heavily rely on the platform to communicate with their customers.

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"People can continue using WhatsApp as usual - there's no need to download anything new", the company said via a blog post.


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