As the past couple of years witnessed a drop in data costs, WhatsApp has successfully replaced the traditional offline messaging service as the primary mode of text communication in India. Leveraging this fact, this messaging platform launched WhatsApp Business – the pilot for a dedicated mobile app exclusively for businesses – in early September 2017. Since its launch, popular brands in India such as BookMyShow and MakeMyTrip have been using this Facebook-owned WhatsApp business strategy to connect with their target audience.
Though there are many apps that cater to business users, a messaging platform like WhatsApp provides a wider scope for a larger number of businesses, be it the local grocery store, professional services, medical institutions, and even the government.
WhatsApp Business in India is present only on the Play Store; so you will need an Android smartphone to use the app. As every WhatsApp account can be linked to unique mobile numbers, you register on this WhatsApp for business by using your official business number or your office landline. Keep these ready before you set up the WhatsApp Business app, the steps for which are given below:-
1. Back up your chat data to cloud storage if you already have a number that is primarily used for business with WhatsApp. Click on Chats>>Chat Backup>>Backup to upload to the cloud.
2. Download the app from the Google Play Store, install it and then launch it by tapping on the new WhatsApp Business icon.
3. Enter your business phone number that will be used to communicate to your customers, and verify it using the SMS (for mobile phones) or ‘call me’ option (for landlines).
4. Restore the previous chat related to the number once verification is complete (from Step 1).
5. Fill in the name of your business and from the chat section, tap on the menu button and head to Settings>> Business settings>> Profile. Here, you can fill in all the details that you want to share with your customers.
WhatsApp Business is extended only to small businesses, an exclusivity that budding entrepreneurs can use to their advantage. WhatsApp for business marketing aims at streamlining and extending the reach of small businesses without making hefty investments in website development, mobile app creation, customer support, and more.
Moreover, it helps notch up the idea of personalized marketing, as you can use the app to share images of products and promotions periodically to your loyal band of customers. The WhatsApp Business app also offers credibility to small businesses – a green tick against the name of your enterprise verifies the genuineness of your services and operations, an aspect that will help a majority of SMEs to reach out to a wider audience.
There are nearly 230 million WhatsApp users in India, and the fact that everyone knows how to use this WhatsApp for business use eliminates the time required to learn the nuances of a mobile application for businesses. Thus, WhatsApp Business is a ground-breaking solution to the communication and marketing needs of small businesses. We expect the introduction of WhatsApp Payments to act as a catalyst for this business with WhatsApp's option to implement artificial intelligence, data analytics, and voice recognition technology to optimize it into a powerful sales and marketing channel for small businesses.
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