WhatsApp Just Rolled Out an Android App for Small Businesses

It’s available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.

Business profiles contain information including descriptions, email addresses, store addresses and websites

Businesses on Facebook have the Facebook Pages Manager application, and businesses on Messenger have Analytics for Apps data for their Messenger bots. And now, businesses on WhatsApp have some tools of their own.

The Facebook-owned messaging app announced the launch of WhatsApp Business, a free Android application for small business owners on the platform, which it originally discussed last September.

WhatsApp Business is available via Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., with a global rollout schedule for “the coming weeks,” and the app’s features include:

  • Business profiles, which provide information including descriptions, email addresses, store addresses and websites.
  • Smart messaging tools including quick replies to frequently asked questions, greeting messages to introduce businesses and away messages when no one is available to respond.
  • “Simple metrics” such as the number of messages read to give businesses an idea of what is and isn’t working.
  • The ability to send and receive messages via desktop.
  • Listings as business accounts, which will let people know they are conversing with businesses. WhatsApp added, “Over time, some businesses will have confirmed accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.”

WhatsApp said the launch of the WhatsApp Business app will have no effect on the user experience, and people will still have full control and the ability to block any number on the messaging app, including those of businesses, and to report spam.

Moves to begin monetizing WhatsApp and providing services for businesses began when the app revealed that it was testing verified business accounts late last August.

Just a few days later, in early September 2017, WhatsApp revealed that it was building and testing other tools for businesses via both a free WhatsApp Business app for small and midsized businesses and an enterprise solution for larger companies, such as airlines, e-commerce sites and banks.

And corporate synergy made its mark last December, when Facebook announced that advertisers on the social network could include buttons on their boosted organic posts enabling people to contact them via WhatsApp.

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