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WhatsApp For Business Is Big Business…

Watch out Slack, watch out Microsoft Teams… it was inevitable that with Facebook Workplace we would get WhatsApp for Business in some shape or form.

Next up Instagram Enterprise? Will companies expect employees at conferences, corporate retreats and more to upload their images and videos to their company, shared Instagram?

Just how many FB apps are we going to end up with on BYOD handsets in the workplace and what is this going to mean for a work culture where people are always connected and apps like WhatsApp promote an expectation of real-time response no matter the hour.

The Reality: WhatsApp for Business

This is not what WhatsApp are planning. They are too smart to overload personal devices with duplicate apps. There is no added advantage to a separate app (skype vs Skype for Business anyone?)

The WhatsApp FAQ refers to the roll-out of Verified Business numbers:

WhatsApp for Business - verified business accounts

Since starting to write this, WhatsApp have expanded on what WhatsApp for Businesses actually means. They refer to several key elements worth noting: –

WhatsApp for Business - Major features

The Warptest POV

First the earlier comparison to Slack or Teams is wrong. WhatsApp are not looking to build a workplace group chat app in this case. WhatsApp for Business is to connect businesses to their customers. Furthermore, we can expect this connection to enable actions that until now occurred in the real world or the web: Customer Support, E-Commerce and more.

WhatsApp will become a channel for businesses to make money without they or their customers ever having to leave the app.

Facebook have mastered the business model of building apps into platforms for personal engagement, leveraging these into business tools and allowing their customers to monetize through their ecosystem. This is going to be no different. The real beauty of WhatsApp for Business is the comfort zone. Users confronted with support ticketing or commerce will engage thru a familiar UI / UX and there will be no learning curve. This is the same app they use for school groups, family chats and other everyday scenarios. WhatsApp’s ubiquity makes it ideal for business adoption but to make it a true success it needs the ability to create integrations with external tools and data-sources.

Personally, I find WhatsApp to be a huge daily annoyance. Truthfully, it’s probably not the app itself, it’s how people use it and that the web-app is not standalone. Amongst my groups, there are groups treating it as a workplace chat app. I have people who send endless streams of multiple photos. Come on folks, this is thoughtless and eats the battery of other people’s devices, even if they aren’t downloading all your photos.

I’m not a huge fan of WhatsApp and I feel the need to frequently cull conversations. For me it’s all about signal to noise ratio and the psychology of the app. That said, the WhatsApp for Business team are smart enough to acknowledge the potential for abuse by spammers or advertisers, so the FAQs explain how consumers can block businesses they don’t wish to hear from.

I think we can safely assume that there will be a clear monetization strategy behind businesses verifying and maintaining engagement through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp for Business - WhatsAppocalypse

So, WhatsApp for business, a shining hope or potential for WhatsAppocalypse? What do you think?