WhatsApp targets small businesses with new United Kingdom app launch

Dora Pope
January 20, 2018

WhatsApp, on Thursday, launched a free to download Android app called WhatsApp Business, which will help companies to connect with their customers, and manage a presence on the messaging platform.

WhatsApp has launched a brand new app that's specifically made for small businesses.

Those customer-facing tools remain, and are now joined by business profiles that display basic contact info such as a bio, email, address, and phone number (in the vein of Instagram's tools for companies).

The company says WhatsApp Business will have multiple benefits.

We do wonder how exactly this will work here in South Africa where many businesses use a land line and not a mobile phone for their business.

The app isn't yet available in South Africa, but is now live in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and United States. It will arrive in other locations "in the coming weeks".

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"WhatsApp Business will make it easier for people to connect with them, and vice versa, in a fast and simple way", the company said.

The tech firm said users can create a business profile for customers to find and get in touch with, as well as create quick reply templates to answer queries or confirm orders in a more timely fashion. People who have separate business and personal numbers can have both versions of the application installed on their handset and register themselves in each with different numbers. After this verification, those businesses will be listed as "Confirmed accounts" and you'll see a green checkmark against their names on WhatsApp. This means that if you already use the traditional WhatsApp service, you will need another number or cancel the account on the standard WhatsApp.

Shortly afterwards, WhatsApp published an FAQ page, which clears up any potential confusion around the app.

Around 80 percent of small businesses in India and Brazil confirmed that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers and expand their businesses, according to a report.

WhatsApp Business is now available to small business owners in the U.S., the U.K., Mexico Italy and Indonesia.

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