WhatsApp Tests Enterprise Product For Business

WhatsApp has resolved to improve business-to-consumer communications -- and make a load of money in the process.

“We want to apply what we’ve learned helping people connect with each other to helping people connect with businesses,” the Facebook messaging unit notes in a new blog post.

To that end, WhatsApp says it is currently building and testing new tools via its free WhatsApp Business app for small companies, along with what it’s calling an “enterprise solution” for larger companies operating at a broader scale.

While little is known about the enterprise product, it will not be free. It offers a fresh -- and potentially vast -- revenue opportunity for WhatsApp and Facebook.  

For WhatsApp, the revenue opportunity can’t come soon enough, analysts have noted.

“Although Messenger is widely used … consumers have been slow to warm up to the idea of interacting with chatbots and paid advertising in messaging applications,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson, said earlier this year.

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Thinking big, ideal clients for the forthcoming enterprise product include airlines, e-commerce sites and banks, according to WhatsApp.

“These businesses will be able to use our solutions to provide customers with useful notifications, like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates,” the unit explains.

Worldwide, more than 1 billion consumers use WhatsApp on a daily basis, according to internal estimates.

Paving the way for its enterprise expansion, WhatsApp recently began verifying business accounts.

On the consumer-facing side, Facebook recently made it more fun to send and receive messages via WhatsApp. When sending out Status updates, WhatsApp users can now overlay text messages onto colorful backgrounds, per the change.

Unveiled in February, Status is WhatsApp’s version of Snapchat Stories. With it, users can share photos, videos and GIFs, which disappear after 24 hours.

Like other Snapchat-like features, Status has proven a hit among users. At the end of July, the feature surpassed 250 million daily active users, according to internal figures.

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