At Meta's (previously Facebook) inaugural business messaging conference, Conversations, founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced updates to WhatsApp Business Messaging offerings. The updates to the messaging app's business account offering are going to make it easier for businesses of any size to get started on WhatsApp. This will be made possible by offering free, secure cloud hosting services provided by Meta.
This will allow businesses and developers to get up and running on WhatsApp in a matter of minutes. It will allow them to build directly on top of WhatsApp to further customize their experience and increase the speed at which they can respond to their customers.
“The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They're reaching out for help, to find products and services and to buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I am excited to announce that we're opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API,” said Zuckerberg.
“In just a few minutes, any business or developer can easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers by using our secure WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta. And this is an important step to help more businesses connect with people and help more people message the businesses that they want to support – big and small,” said Zuckerberg.
For apps’ partners, this new service will eliminate costly server expenses and give them instant access to new features. And for people, this means they’ll be able to chat with more of their favourite businesses on WhatsApp. People would be in control of the businesses they chat with and businesses cannot message people unless they have requested to be contacted.
WhatsApp would support small businesses with additional tools. It expects some SMBs (small and medium businesses) will want to use the Cloud-based API though many will continue to use the WhatsApp Business app. WhatsApp is also working on advanced features for these businesses to help them run their operations beyond just a few people and further amplify their brand online. This includes the ability to manage chats across up to 10 devices so they can better handle an influx of chats.
WhatsApp would also provide new customizable WhatsApp click-to-chat links to help businesses attract customers across their online presence. It plans to offer these as additional, optional features for a fee in the WhatsApp Business app as part of a new premium service.
“At Meta, we run some of the world's best messaging platforms, from WhatsApp to Messenger to Instagram DM's. We are constantly working to improve them to make it easier to communicate with friends, family, and the close-knit groups that matter most to you. Increasingly, we're seeing that people want the same ease of communication with businesses, too,” said Zuckerberg.