WhatsApp has confirmed that it is building and testing new solutions for businesses – including a free WhatsApp Business app for SMBs, and a paid enterprise solution for larger companies.
WhatsApp has always been about people. People communicating with each other – family, friends, strangers – for free. But WhatsApp wants to monetise its platform, and the only way to do that now, is to court businesses.
With over 1 billion people using WhatsApp each and every day to communicate with another, more and more of them are are using the app to communicate with businesses they care about as well. There are many connections taking place each day, “whether it’s someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store.”
However, the way this happens is “pretty rudimentary.” As WhatsApp explains in a recent blog post,
We’ve heard stories of shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone, and from people who are unsure about whether or not a business on WhatsApp is authentic.
So, in the next few months, the company will be testing new features that will help people better communicate with businesses. One of these features, verified business profiles, is already being tested today. Additionally, WhatsApp says it’s building and testing tools within a free WhatsApp Business app that SMBs can use for their presence on the platform and communication with their customers.
Finally, WhatsApp says it is also working on an “enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers.” Those companies will include airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks; and they will be able to take use the solutions to
provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates.
So far, there is no news as to how much WhatsApp will charge for its enterprise solution, or exactly what features businesses will have access to, but we will update you once this information is public.