Businesses have a new reason to cheer. Facebook will be soon rolling out a “Business” feature on the world’s largest messaging platform – Whatsapp. For the uninitiated, Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion. And the questions about how Facebook intends to monetise the platform are finally laid to rest with this new feature.
What is Whatsapp Business?
Facebook aims to provide the user with an option to manage their personal and professional communications separately, enabling the user to have a business presence on WhatsApp and communicate more efficiently with its customers, and help them grow their business.
While the entire feature list is still a mystery, there are some features that we do know of currently:
- The WhatsApp Business Account: The user has the option to maintain and manage a business page wherein the user can give a brief description about their business so that customers can know about their business. If the user runs a website or blog then they also type their blog address or for an offline business they can give their office address. Ensuring all the details of the business are evident and easily accessible to the customers.
- Auto Reply (Away): Considering it is a messaging platform, for small businesses who cannot be answering queries 24/7, there is a “Away” feature with an auto response, quite similar to the Pages Auto Response features.
- Statistics and Analytics: Another new feature introduced in WhatsApp Business is the ability to have statistics of the customer interactions with analytics like: Messages Sent, Messages Delivered, Messages Received, and Messages Read ensuring a proper reach.
Some people have gotten access to WhatsApp Business in the Beta phase. MakeMyTrip seems to be one of them (Is it?), going by the recent WhatsApp messages from the company. MakeMyTrip, which previously would just send an email and a text message of booking confirmations, now has the option of sending the confirmation as a PDF on WhatsApp as well. This is particularly helpful for travelers, who do not want to access their emails while on the road.
Read The Official WhatsApp Blog Announcement here.
These are confirmed reports by people who have access to the Beta version.
However, as Branding Specialists, there are some key features that we would Love to have in WhatsApp Business:
- Payments: This could be an important feature and obvious one, considering the rumours that WhatsApp will be introducing payment features in-app soon. For small businesses (who currently love PayPal and PayTM), this could be a boon!
- Syncing Page & Instagram Messages to Whatsapp:
Facebook pages & Instagram are important. Communication is important. Now, if there was a way I could get all my brand messages Facebook / Instagram platforms on Whatsapp, it would make management so much easier!
- Live Newsletters or Posts:
WhatsApp has over a billion users. Yes, the founders (and everyone else) did say that they wouldn’t ever commit the sin of having ads or making WhatsApp paid, it was inevitable that they had to monetise someway. Ads are expected soon, so those billion users make for a great audience! I’d pay to have my ads in Whatsapp! Data sharing is already a part of Whatsapp-Facebook’s policies. If not ads, I’d love to send out little announcements and posts via Whatsapp to my Broadcast list.
Are there other features you’d love on WhatsApp Business? Tell us in the comments section
Whatsapp Business is currently not available for public release but can be downloaded as an APK File from the internet.
When is it expected to release? No official confirmation from WhatsApp – yet.