WhatsApp is building an all-new version of its popular messaging app.
The dramatically different app will be designed from the ground-up to enable customers and companies to communicate.
Dubbed WhatsApp Business, the new service will allow Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, to monetise the hugely-successful messenger.
WhatsApp COO Matt Idema talked about WhatsApp Business to Fox earlier this year.
Idema said: “We want to put a basic foundation in place to allow people to message businesses and for them to get the responses that they want.
“We do intend on charging businesses in the future.”
An early version of the service has been made available to testers, although there is no official launch date for the general public.
Technology blog Android Police has trawled through the latest beta version and highlighted a number of new features coming to WhatsApp Business.
WhatsApp will support landline numbers for the first time with WhatsApp Business.
That means customers who call or message your landline number will appear within the WhatsApp client.
Customers who would usually use the chat window on a businesses’ website will also now be able to send them a message within WhatsApp.
Since WhatsApp Business is a standalone app, those who run small businesses can keep their current WhatsApp app and conversations intact – and completely separate – from their customers.
WhatsApp Business looks almost identical to the hugely-popular messaging app.
However, there are two new sections within the Settings menu – Statistics and Business Settings.
The Statistics section currently shows the total of number of messages sent, delivered, read and received, however, more analytics are tipped to roll-out soon.
Business Settings lets users customise their profile page, including adding a webpage for the business, profile picture, and opening hours.
It also lets users set an automated response when customers try to get in touch outside business hours.
You cannot download WhatsApp Business right now, but it is possible to sign-up to test it in the future here.
Companies in Europe, Brazil, India and Indonesia are already believed to be testing the new chat client.
According to The Next Web, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is one of the biggest companies testing the functionality ahead of a wider roll-out.
It’s clear Facebook is looking for ways to monetise WhatsApp after quietly ditching the 69p a year subscription model when it acquired the app back in 2014.
Published at Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:17:00 +0000