Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

WhatsApp Business app starts rolling out in selected markets

WhatsApp Business app starts rolling out in selected markets

WhatsApp also figures that the new app will make it more convenient for the 1.3 billion people around the world that now use WhatsApp to connect with businesses that matter most to them.

The business accounts would be available through a WhatsApp Business application in the Google Play store in the U.S., Italy, Mexico, Britain, and Indonesia.

For everyone else, WhatsApp noted in a blog post that the app will roll out around the world "in the coming weeks".

In recent years, WhatsApp has been trying to monetize its more than 1.3 billion users by highlighting the messaging platform's potential use in business.

WhatsApp is planning to confirm businesses over time, so look out for a green checkmark next to an account's name. WhatsApp Business app is now available only for Android users, and it's free to download as well. It allows the creation of business profiles that include descriptions of a company, email and store addresses, and website links.

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Business accounts will also be marked as such, so users are aware they're engaging with a company, and a Confirmed Account status will be rolled out "over time" to some businesses, although there's no indication of time scales involved.

"With the app, businesses can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages".

WhatsApp for Business is a separate app from the traditional WhatsApp messenger. This version of the app is aimed to make it easy for small businesses to make their presence online. The app was already available for download, but only through the beta program for select testers, however, the company has now finally launched the WhatsApp Business app and it's available to download for everyone. "Greeting messages" can also be sent to customers which introduce the business to them during the initial conversation. For example, businesses can know how numerous intended recipients read the bulk messages they sent. They can also send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on their desktops. They can block any business or even report them as spam.

WhatsApp Business is now only available to Android users living in the UK, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the US.

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. Both the WhatsApp Messenger and WhatsApp Business apps can be used on the same device, according to The Verge.

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