Messaging app WhatsApp has finally rolled out its new WhatsApp Business app in India. The app is currently available for Android platform.
Last week, the WhatsApp Business app was rolled out in select markets including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US.
Reportedly, the company has been testing the beta version of WhatsApp Business in India with players like BookMyShow, 1mg, and MakeMyTrip amongst others. WhatsApp had previously announced the app’s arrival and begun verifying business accounts as part of its WhatsApp Business pilot program back in September 2017.
The free-to-download Android app for small businesses is available on Google Play. Post installation, the businesses will require a separate number to register on the WhatsApp Business app, from the number used in WhatsApp Messenger.
One can even use a landline number to register on the app. Once verification is done, one can set his/her business name on the app. To be noted, once set, the business name cannot be changed with the similar contact details.
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WhatsApp Business App: Making Easy To Connect With Consumers
As claimed by WhatsApp in the blog post, “The new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 Bn users to chat with businesses that matter to them.”
The Business app will offer business profiles that will give customers useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website. It will also have messaging tools like quick replies “that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.”
Additionally, it will also provide messaging statistics to businesses to review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what’s working. People will know that they’re talking about a business because it will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.
The blog claims that “over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil say WhatsApp helps them both communicate with customers and grow their business today (Source: Morning Consult study).”
With an Indian user base of 200 Mn, the instant messaging service WhatsApp is already been used by businesses to convert clients and drive sales. In India, 84% of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers.
In such a scenario, without any doubt, WhatsApp Business is expected to have a smooth growth curve ahead in the Indian landscape. Although the service is available for free right now, the messaging app plans on charging for additional capabilities in the future, working on a freemium model.
Further, WhatsApp is also gearing towards the launch of its digital payment feature. The messaging app is at various stages of integrating its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based digital payments platform with SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank.
With WhatsApp Business app in place and digital payment feature added to it, the possibilities of an increased competition with digital payment giants such as Paytm cannot be negated. To be noted, Paytm also recently rolled out its Paytm for the Business app on Android Play Store and will enable new merchants to sign up quickly and get a Paytm QR code to start accepting digital payments.
Not only this, Paytm has already launched its instant messaging service, Paytm Inbox to allow users to chat and transact at the same time.
Both Paytm and WhatsApp Business App have their own unique feature set and a loyal consumer base. Going ahead, with digital payment, messaging services and SME’s intersecting together, it will be worth watching what new turn the Indian digital and SME ecosystem will take.