Procurement · 6 September 2017

What small firms can expect from the incoming WhatsApp business app

A WhatsApp business app could enable small business owners to improve customer experiences
A WhatsApp business app could enable small business owners to improve customer experiences
Messaging app WhatsApp has confirmed development of a dedicated chat tool to connectusers with small companies, giving business owners a direct line of communication with customers.

In an official blog post published on Tuesday 5 September, the Facebook-owned messaging service confirmed rumours of a WhatsApp business app that began circulating back in March. Reuters initially reported WhatsApp was trialling a new feature to allow companies tointeract with customers, as part of its strategy to monetise its service.

Later, Mashable reported that a WhatsApp for Business? was being tested to specifically “help enterprises with ten employees or less to manage their clients better, touting a trial pilot to take place in India.

Declining to comment on all initial reports, WhatsApp latest blog post confirmed the early rumours and elaborated on what small business owners could expect from the app.

we’re building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp business app for small companies, the blog post read.

It added further detail to the operational capabilities, suggesting firms would be able to send customers other useful? notifications such as delivery confirmations and other updates.

According to the post, the WhatsApp business app will make it easier for people to communicate with the businesses they want to reach.

Companies will be verified? in a similar way to Twitter’s blue tick model, with a green badge used to show legitimate businesses. Founders will be able to display their address and other relevant information to help potential customers discover their products and services.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, WhatsApp chief operating officer, Matt Idema, outlined how to app could work in practice giving an immediate line of communication between business owners and customers.

?[It could see] someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store.

As with its regular chat service, messages between businesses and customers will be encrypted, with users able to block unwanted companies.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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