WhatsApp Business was a long time coming. We got our first glimpse of it back in the summer of 2017 and further images of the new app from WhatsApp leaked onto the internet later that year. The beta version dropped a little later the same year, just before Halloween, and the app finally received a wider roll-out in January last year. At least it did if you use WhatsApp on Android.
For iOS users, WhatsApp Business was nowhere to be seen, and it has remained that way until now. Almost 16 months after it became available on Android, WhatsApp Business is now available for iOS users, too.
WhatsApp Business brings a number of commerce-focused features to iPhone
According to WhatsApp, millions of businesses have started using WhatsApp Business since it first launched on Android. The WhatsApp blog post announcing the move to bring WhatsApp Business to iPhone users says that the team behind the app has received a lot of requests to give small business owners the chance use the app on their device of choice, rather than being forced to use it on Android. In answer to these requests, WhatsApp Business is now available for free on the Apple App Store.
As you may have guessed, WhatsApp Business isn’t aimed at the individual user, but rather business owners. As WhatsApp Business levies a charge for its use, it provides businesses a way to communicate with their customers while also offering WhatsApp a way to monetize its use. WhatsApp has long struggled to make money, and WhatsApp Business is one of the latest ways it is trying to do so.
WhatsApp Business employs a number of enterprise-friendly features, to help businesses stay in touch with their clientele. These include:
- “Business Profile: Share useful information about your business such as a business description, email or store addresses, and website.
- Messaging Tools: Respond to customers easily with efficient messaging tools — quick replies to provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages to introduce customers to your business and away messages to let them know when to expect a reply.
- WhatsApp Web: Chat from your desktop to manage conversations and send files to customers.”
If you’re a business user who uses an iPhone, then this will be good news as it offers you a new way to communicate with your users. For now, though, that is only true if you’re in one of the countries where the app is available. WhatsApp Business is now available in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. but WhatsApp has promised that it will be available all over the world in the coming weeks.