With over a billion users across the globe, Whatsapp is probably the world’s most popular messaging application. Bought by Facebook in 2014, the app has long claimed to be free for users and without advertising. But Whatsapp could well come under pressure from Facebook to make its application profitable. In August, Whatsapp announced it would be open to businesses, just like Messenger, and will soon offer paying options for businesses that want to use the app to communicate with their target audiences. Whatsapp is currently conducting initial tests with selected companies with the aim of opening “Whatsapp Business”.
Whatsapp Business: What does this mean for businesses?
It’s a big change for professionals whose commercial targets are on Whatsapp. Don’t forget that the app has more than a billion users worldwide! Professionals will be able to create business accounts and communicate directly with users.
This new feature will allow users to better communicate with customers who regularly use the platform. On its website, Whatsapp says: “Our approach is simple – we want to apply what we’ve learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses that are important to them.”
The company plans to create a free accessible solution for small and medium businesses, and a solution for larger accounts with additional features. Users will be able to receive notifications such as confirmations and order tracking for example.
Verified business accounts
Whatsapp will offer businesses verified accounts in the same way as Twitter and Snapchat. Verified accounts allow businesses using these networks to reassure users about possible scams. On Whatsapp, this will work as follows:
- Verified accounts will be indicated by a small green sign next to the business’s name (as on Twitter).
- Exchanges with certified businesses will appear in yellow in conversations.
- These messages cannot be deleted (data security).
- Users will be able to block businesses they no longer want to hear from.
- Businesses will also be able to show their opening hours, as on Google My Business, and even provide an ‘out of office’ message as with traditional messaging services.
How will Whatsapp Business actually work?
You create a Whatsapp account dedicated to your business. It’s the same as creating a personal profile except that your account must be verified beforehand.
Communication via Whatsapp will offer your business many advantages. The application uses traditional channels (exploiting existing databases via telephone numbers) but also offers the benefits of new channels – all communication happens through the internet (avoiding routing costs).
We don’t know much at the moment, but these features will be released in 2018 and are currently reserved for a handful of companies. myElefant will keep you up to date on new products and will of course be there for their release!