For the first time WhatsApp has opened up to businesses, debuting its new ‘WhatsApp Business App’ for owners and staff to better communicate with customers.
The news comes as the free app tries to implement a monetisation plan, to funnel money back to parent organisation Facebook Inc. The company bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
WhatsApp formerly charged users $1 in annual subscription, however, the company dropped the fee in 2016, leaving it without a source of revenue.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, once said that advertising on WhatsApp would not be a consideration.
Businesses can utilise the new WhatsApp Business app to set-up automatic greetings, a profile page with operational hours and contact information, plus more.
More information on the WhatsApp Business App can be obtained here.
The app will also feature messaging tools, and provide quick replies to frequently asked questions.
Users will be specifically marked as a Business account, and WhatsApp will soon verify accounts over time.
WhatsApp’s Business app is releasing on Thursday for Android devices in the United States & UK, plus a few other countries such as Indonesia and Italy. The company states it intends to roll out to other countries in the coming weeks, and will eventually release a version for iPhones.
WhatsApp Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema states that the company intends to charge businesses at some point in the future.