WhatsApp today announced the launch of the Business API, which allows large businesses to manage and send non-promotional messages to customers — like appointment reminders, shipping info, or event tickets — for a fixed rate. A company spokesperson declined to share the price.
WhatsApp said the API will help manage communications with existing and potential customers at scale. The API will let users initiate chats with business, while business will be able to send “non-promotional content” such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders or event tickets.
WhatsApp will monetize these messages by charging a fixed rate for confirmed delivery. But responses to customers initiated messages will be free within the first 24 hours, after which these will also be charged. WhatsApp hopes users will use the services to request information like a shipping confirmation or boarding pass, start a conversation with a business and get real-time support to resolve an issue. Facebook posts from companies will eventually come with a click-to-chat button that will open up the WhatsApp. However, this is not being rolled out to India now.
WhatsApp clarified that with its approach, which is more consumer-driven, users will continue to have “full control over the messages you receive”. Since businesses will for sending certain messages, the platform hopes these will be selective and won’t clutter the user’s chats. Whatsapp said it will work directly with some companies as well as a select number of companies that specialise in managing customer communications.
The company said it has tested the WhatsApp Business API over the past few months with 20 companies and will be opening it up gradually. So not all organization will have access to it in one go, but it should be rolled out for all enterprises over the next few months.
Article Source: blog.whatsapp.com | techcrunch.com
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