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What is WhatsApp Business and how is it different?

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As WhatsApp cements its dominance in the online messaging space, businesses are increasingly discovering that they too can take advantage of it, since their customers already have WhatsApp installed on their phones. But the regular WhatsApp is not suited to businesses, so Facebook brought out a WhatsApp Business version to address the shortfall. But how do you use it and what benefits does it offer small businesses?

Read more: How to use WhatsApp — a step-by-step beginner’s guide

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WhatsApp Business is a version of WhatsApp specifically catering to the needs of businesses. Using the app, businesses can communicate with customers one-on-one, promote their latest goods and special deals, and generally make themselves easier to contact for business queries.


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What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is another free version of WhatsApp designed for businesses to communicate with their customers. Since many people already have WhatsApp installed on their phones, WhatsApp Business is designed for those customers to contact their favorite businesses on the same platform to ask questions, place orders, and so on. The app is able to push the business’s latest offers and deals, and much more.

What is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business has various business-related features, which are not available on the regular WhatsApp app.

Business profile

whatsapp business profile

The user profile on the regular WhatsApp is rather barebones. You can add a name, profile picture, status, phone number, and that’s pretty much it. On WhatsApp Business, however, you can add a whole lot more, such as:

  • Opening hours
  • Company website
  • A custom message describing your business
  • Your business name, address, and phone number
  • A profile picture. This can for example be your company logo or an image of what you sell.

Note that you cannot use personal names for a business account. You have to use a business name, and even then, WhatsApp has strict guidelines on what words and characters are allowed and not allowed to be in that name. This can prove to be quite awkward if your personal name is part of your company name. A bit of creativity is required to get around this problem.

Personally connect with customers

whatsapp business chat

Customers naturally like the personal touch from businesses, and messaging apps like WhatsApp enable businesses to give customers personal attention. Orders and questions can also be dealt with a lot faster, by real people instead of automated bots. If you’re in a highly competitive business niche, this can make all the difference to a customer giving you repeat business in the future.

Highlight products and services

whatsapp business catalog

Mark O’Neill / Android Authority

WhatsApp Business also gives you the option of setting up a product catalog. This catalog can be shared through social media, allowing people to browse the listings, and if they want to order something, they simply click a link to be connected to the business via WhatsApp to start the order.

Automated messages

whatsapp business automated messages

Busy businesses can’t always reply to messages right away. So you can set up a custom automated welcome message to let the customer know that you have received their message and you’ll get back to them as quickly as possible.

Quick replies

whatsapp business2

Again, if time is of the essence in a busy business, being able to send quick replies is a lifesaver. So you can set up common replies to frequently asked questions, and you simply have to tap on the reply for it to be sent.

Put labels on chats to categorize each customer

whatsapp business labels

If your business starts to increase in WhatsApp, you will need some kind of filing system to keep track of order statuses, and which customers are new. So you can set up colored labels and then tag each conversation with the correct label to keep track of where that conversation is at. Are you still waiting on a payment? Have you sent out the package yet?

Integrate a WhatsApp button into your Facebook business page

facebook page whatsapp button

Finally, this is not strictly a WhatsApp Business feature — it is also available for regular WhatsApp as well. But if you have a Facebook business page, you can add a WhatsApp call button at the top of the page. This will help to encourage new customers to contact you on WhatsApp.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business app is meant for small businesses. But if your business is on a medium to large scale, then you should look at the WhatsApp Business API. This is meant for businesses with customer support teams, large numbers of customers, and who need to be able to scale up their customer communications as they grow.

No. You can only use one or the other. It’s for that reason that it’s highly recommended to get a second mobile phone for your business and install WhatsApp Business on that device.

How much does WhatsApp Business cost?

The smartphone app is free of charge.

How much does WhatsApp Business API cost?

The API itself is free, but you need to pay the monthly and set-up fees charged by the communication platform you sign up with. These fees can vary considerably, so you need to do your homework to find the best deal.

Can WhatsApp Business be used on the desktop and web clients?

Yes. You must first install the mobile app and set it up there. But afterward, logging into the desktop or web client will sync everything over.

Can you send bulk sales messages to customers using WhatsApp Business?

No. WhatsApp has been very clear that sending unsolicited bulk sales messages is not allowed, and this is grounds for your account to be closed. WhatsApp Business is there to personally interact one-to-one with individual customers.

If you want to build a WhatsApp customer community, better to set up a WhatsApp group and invite everyone there (making it clear that by doing so, they consent to messages being sent to them.)


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