For a while now, some e-commerce companies in India have been using WhatsApp to communicate with their customers. Online ticketing brand BookMyShow had announced in September that it is one of the brands in India participating in the WhatsApp business pilot. MakeMyTrip and Goibibo are some of the brands that are part of this pilot in India.
WhatsApp has not disclosed the total number of brands it has tied up with for this experiment. But in a recent FAQ 'Chatting with businesses' on its website, WhatsApp has shared some information about the standalone app, which it might roll out soon.
The instant messaging platform has explained the three different types of business accounts that are likely to be present on its platform and how users can identify them - a verified account, a confirmed account and a business account. A verified account would have a green checkmark badge on its profile and would be verified by WhatsApp. A confirmed account would have a grey checkmark badge on its profile and WhatsApp has confirmed that the phone number of this account would match the phone number for the business account. A business account would have a grey question mark badge on its profile and the user would be using the WhatsApp Business app, but won't be confirmed or verified by WhatsApp.
The company also informed that it has added tools for users to control this experience, and they can block business accounts and report them as spam at any time, within the chat itself.
WhatsApp had announced in September it is exploring ways to connect its users with the businesses, and now it seems the company is ready for the roll out.
The move could be a game changer for its parent company Facebook, as WhatsApp has over 1.3 billion monthly active users, but its potential remains untapped as the company has been focussing on growth and not on monetisation. However, it is not clear yet whether the company would monetise the new app or not. Still the move would also be a great opportunity for businesses and a lot of SMBs are already using the platform for communication.
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