A new version of WhatsApp has hit the Google Play Store in selected markets. Aptly named WhatsApp Business, the app is purpose-built for helping small business communicate with their customers via the Facebook-owned messaging service.
As of today, small business owners in the US, UK, Italy, Indonesia, and Mexico can take the app for a spin by downloading the app and registering a new business account. This can later become a Confirmed Account – like those launched last year – once WhatsApp checks the phone number details match your business.
As well as profile space for details like a company email, address, website, and a general business description, the app also includes “smart messaging” tools such as automated replies to frequently asked questions, greeting messages, and customizable away messages during non-work hours.
In addition, WhatsApp Business provides simple analytics so business owners know which messages are the most effective. It’s also compatible with WhatsApp Web, so you can check your messages and respond via a desktop browser.
Android Police also note that users have the option of registering a landline number. This differs greatly from the regular app which restricts accounts to a mobile number.
The business-focused account doesn’t interfere with the regular WhatsApp experience either, as users can happily use both apps on the same device. You can try the app for yourself – as long as you’re in one of the five selected countries – by clicking the Play Store button below.
For everyone else, WhatsApp noted in a blog post that the app will roll out around the world “in the coming weeks”. Considering the same blog post notes that “over 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil” use WhatsApp for business purposes, it’s safe to expect those two countries will be next in the pipeline.