There is good news for large number of Indian small and medium enterprises (SMBs) who have been using WhatsApp for sharing messages, videos and photos. Now, they will have a dedicated app for their business, with similar ease and functionality. But this news may be a bad news for companies that sells propriety collaboration and communication tools like Microsoft Kaizala and Skype, Spark of Cisco and Google Business and Hangout. From your local grocer to the big ticket closing brand that’s just moved to town, all business will be able to connect with their customers via the new WhatsApp Business app which goes live in many markets today. The a free-to-download Android app for small businesses will be available today and free to download on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US. The app will roll out to other markets, including India, soon.
Whatsapp claims the new app will make it “easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them”. The app will offer business profiles that will give customers useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website. There will, of course, be messaging tools like quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions and backed up with statistics that show reach and effectiveness. Plus, the popular WhatsApp Web will bring WhatsApp Business also to the your desktop.
While people will clearly know they are interacting with a listed Business Account, WhatsApp will take this a step ahead and offer ‘Confirmed Accounts’ to some businesses later. Regular users will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam. In India, 84 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, and 80 per cent think the app helps them grow their business.