WhatsApp says that people all around the world connect with small businesses they care about, right from the WhatsApp client. This includes online clothing companies in India, to auto parts shops in Brazil. The big problem here is that the app was built specifically for people — individuals, conversing with one-another, sending chain messages and YouTube links — and not doing business.

As such, WhatsApp has announced a new WhatsApp Business app. The app, which is free to download on Android, is developed specifically for small businesses in mind. According to the company, the WhatsApp Business app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and be more convenient for the 1.3 billion users on the app.

WhatsApp Business will offer a number of features and tools, catered towards small businesses. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Business Profiles: Help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website.
  • Messaging Tools: Save time with smart messaging tools — quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.
  • Messaging Statistics: Review simple metrics like the number of messages read to see what’s working.
  • WhatsApp Web: Send and receive messages with WhatsApp Business on your desktop.
  • Account Type: People will know that they’re talking about a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number.

The company does say that there is no need to download anything new. The WhatsApp app will still offer all the same features it always has, and for free. This includes blocking numbers, reporting spam, and controlling any messages sent and received. WhatsApp Business is now available in select countries (including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America) on the Google Play store.

[Sources: EWN, iDownbloadblog, TechCrunch, NDTV Gadgets, Whatsapp (official site)]