WhatsApp Launches New Business Features
November 8, 2020
Article Overview10min read
One of the world’s most reliable instant messaging platforms, WhatsApp recently made an announcement of launching a suite of new business sales and shopping tools, to help businesses increase their sales by allowing brands to sell their products through the platform.
Facebook Turning WhatsApp into an End-To-End Platform
When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, the company wanted to follow their traditional monetization strategies – like inserting ads into certain elements and generating significant income from WhatsApp users. But then, with WhatsApp, this approach hasn’t worked out over the last few years, as people are relying on the app not only for personal communication but also to get the business done as well.
Therefore, earlier this year, Facebook confirmed that it has quit its plans to push ads onto the WhatsApp Status and other attempts to include paid promotions. Instead, Facebook with the help of the internet is looking to interface with the wider world to become a go-to partner for small and medium businesses. This is because; there has been a big shift in the choice of business communication technologies and preferences over recent years.
More and more business owners and professionals wanted end-to-end platforms that can offer a range of one-stop-shop services. The old ways by which the people and businesses used to communicate in the past are not working now. While still, many businesses are spending billions of dollars annually to manage phone calls, send emails, and SMS’, people don’t have the time to wait on hold, they no longer want to waste their valuable time getting passed from person to person or wonder if their messages were received or not.
Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. WhatsApp is one of the apps that has become a simple and convenient resource during these trying times. Facebook’s research found that more than 175 million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day. The research also witnessed people preferring messages to get help and they’re more likely to make a purchase with a business when they can do so.
WhatsApp Business App and Business API
Facebook always wanted to make it easier for businesses to chat and close sales with WhatsApp. That’s why Facebook launched WhatsApp Business app in early 2018 as it was designed to allow customers to browse through all the products, select, and pay for them, all while communicating with a business. In August 2018, Facebook launched the Business API, which helps businesses to interact smoothly with their customers.
For the past two years, Facebook has been working on both WhatsApp Business App and the Business API to help small, medium, and even larger businesses to manage their communication effectively with their clients.
As more than 2 billion users daily utilize WhatsApp to keep in touch with their loved ones and more than 175 million people use this messaging service for business purposes, Facebook announced that it is increasing its investment into shopping with WhatsApp.
After listening to the user’s feedback on both WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API about what’s worked, they are planning to offer more, expansive tools to help businesses sell their products online through WhatsApp. They want to make it easier for businesses to chat and close sales with the messaging platform and for that they made announcements launching new business features on the WhatsApp Business API.
WhatsApp’s New Business Features
The new business tools mainly focus on three areas:
- Facebook Hosting Services
- Business Sales
Shopping: Facebook is expanding ways for people to purchase an available product and check out right from the chat. All sizes of businesses – from small to large – can use their WhatsApp accounts and integrate in-chat shopping features to allow their customers an easier, and far less time-consuming way to continue their shopping, checking out the catalogs of the products, while remaining in the chat window.
The company is also aiming at incorporating WhatsApp with existing eCommerce applications that businesses are already using, as it will mainly help small businesses who have been impacted the most during the pandemic.
Facebook Hosting Services: Facebook stated that they are going to introduce a new alternative for businesses to manage their WhatsApp messages through hosting services. This will make it easier for small to medium-sized businesses to manage their chat and sales presence through remote workers on different management platforms.
The company further added that their systems will make it easier for businesses to conduct transactions as now employees are working from home. It will make it extremely feasible for businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date, and rapidly respond to messages they receive.
However, this plan will be executed in the upcoming months and is not available for immediate use at the moment.
Business Sales: Facebook announced that the company will charge business customers for some of the services they offer. Though Facebook will be seeking to monetize WhatsApp by charging small fees for merchants, as opposed to pushing ads in-stream, there is no official statement on what exactly WhatsApp will begin charging for and how much they will charge.
However, those who use WhatsApp for regular communication for their personal use can continue to chat, video call, and message for free of cost as always. Facebook anticipates business messaging as an effective way for businesses to directly interact with their prospects and customers who are browsing for products. They look to have them close the sale right there at the moment to reap the utmost benefits for the business.
At the same time, Facebook also knows that most people will continue to use WhatsApp simply to communicate with friends and family. So, to keep the right balance between these two, Facebook will keep developing great new features and also protect people’s private conversations in an efficient manner.