WhatsApp Adds Features To Initiate Chats

Giving businesses more ways to connect with consumers, WhatsApp is adding retail-themed stickers, easier access to catalogs, and QR codes designed to quickly initiate chats.

Previously, consumers could only contact a business on WhatsApp by adding its number to their contact list.

Now, users can just scan a QR code on a business display, storefront, product packaging or receipt to initiate a chat.

To start a conversation, businesses can add pre-populated messages to these chats. At present, the WhatsApp Business app boasts approximately 50 million users.

WhatsApp’s catalog offering has proven to be one of its more popular marketing tools. Launched last year, more than 40 million people now view a business catalog on WhatsApp each month.

Encouraging even greater adoption, WhatsApp will now let users share catalogs and individual items as links on Web sites, Facebook and Instagram.

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After backing off an ill-fated ad strategy, Facebook is reportedly focused on building out premium WhatsApp features for businesses, including those that assist with customer communication, payments and ecommerce.

Now one of the world’s largest private messages apps, WhatsApp surpassed 2 billion users worldwide earlier this year.

Complicating the app’s outlook, lawmakers recently took aim at WhatsApp and other apps and digital services that allow end-to-end encryption.

In what they are calling the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) said “warrant-proof” encryption features jeopardize national security.

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