WhatsApp to expand partnerships with biz solution providers
WhatsApp on Thursday said it plans to expand its partnerships with business solution providers to help enterprises manage their WhatsApp messages via hosting services that Facebook plans to offer, and charge business customers for some of the services it offers.
In a blogpost, the Facebook-owned company said that over the past few years, it has seen a shift towards messaging apps for personal communication and that people are increasingly relying on WhatsApp to get business done as well.
"The global pandemic has made clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. WhatsApp has become a simple and convenient resource in this time. More than 175 million people every day message a WhatsApp Business account," it added.
It said that for the past two years, the company has provided the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API to help businesses of all sizes manage their chats, and added that it is increasing its investment in certain areas.
In July, WhatsApp had said there are more than 15 million WhatsApp Business app users every month in India and 50 million globally.
"Over the coming months, we plan to expand our partnerships with business solution providers we have worked with over the last two years. Businesses will also have a new option to manage their WhatsApp messages via hosting services that Facebook plans to offer," the blog said.
This will make it easier for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up-to-date, and quickly respond to messages they receive wherever their employees are, it added.
"We will charge business customers for some of the services we offer, which will help WhatsApp continue building a business of our own while we provide and expand free end-to-end encrypted text, video and voice calling for more than two billion people," the blog said.
WhatsApp Business App is free to use for SMBs. The company currently charges businesses using its WhatsApp Business API to send notification messages to their customers and will continue to do so in the future.
"By making it cheaper and easier for businesses all over the world to get started on the WhatsApp Business API through our Facebook hosting solution, we can significantly grow the platform which will help us build a business.
"We'll continue to evaluate the best pricing model for businesses," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.
WhatsApp's blog said the company will expand ways for people to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat.
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"We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions. This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time," the blog said.
The company said it believes these additional experiences on WhatsApp meet a real need for many people and businesses, and it will gradually roll out these services in the months to come.