WhatsApp has been working on and testing its business integration for years. The chat platform currently doesn’t have a direct revenue model, but the new innovations and updates may open up a massive revenue stream for the company.
Businesses on WhatsApp can now have their own verified badge (a green tick) with the functionality to send direct messages to customers. The company ran a beta version of the feature with some selected customers.
The chat with businesses will be encrypted and interestingly, the name of the business will appear as whatever they register themselves instead of the phone number if the contact is not already in your phone’s contact book.
This could allow WhatsApp to create a business search engine with optional sponsored results, or let businesses, cold-message people, possibly for a fee. However, experts say that WhatsApp may avoid cold-messaging function as it may affect user experience.
We do intend on charging businesses in the future,” WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t have the details of monetization figured out.”
The company also says that the enterprise solution will initially be free but it does plan to charge businesses. Some functionality that will be offered by the Business app and enterprise solution includes the ability to create a verified profile with info like address, description, and hours, plus “Features for helping manage customer chats like away messages for when businesses are not able to respond at the moment.”
One of the customers of the pilot test was BookMyShow. The movie ticket marketplace is using WhatsApp chat to send a booking confirmation to customers. BookMyShow appears to have integrated a basic chatbot over the system instead of a simple mono-route exchange of information.
Customers can simply message “Stop” to abandon receiving the messages from the company. Though the feature may not sound quite impressive at the moment, it may open up gates to develop a lot of functionality and customized features around this API (Application Programming Interface).
The WhatsApp chat form businesses are much similar to regular WhatsApp conversations with some differences. The messages sent to businesses in and out on these chats can’t be deleted.
This would prevent fraud by enabling permanence of information just like email. Yellow messages displayed inside the chat will help people know when they actually started the conversation with the business. End users will also be able to block messages from any particular business.Not yet. For now, WhatsApp’s chat seems to be much like a chatbot, providing
The feature seems like a game changer from one perception while nothing great from another point of view. The function is very similar to SMS or email and doesn’t seem to be doing anything that can’t be done over SMS or email. However, the activeness of users on WhatsApp in comparison to Email clients and SMS inbox is much higher which adds to optimism of the innovation.
WhatsApp has been working on one of the most disruptive (possibly) features that’s long been rumoured over media reports – payments. The company has been searching for ways to integrate UPI (Unified Payments Interface) into the app for a long time. A few months ago, the co-founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton had visited India to meet senior government officials.
WhatsApp also advertised a job opening for a UPI engineers on its website a few months ago. If the chat platform is able to integrate payments into the app along with the current Business account and verified badge functionality, it would be a game changer. That means a user can choose a seat, pay for the seat, and receive a confirmation without leaving WhatsApp (in case of BookMyShow).