Facebook to launch brand new features for ‘Whatsapp Business’ to aid MSMEs

In February 2014, Facebook purchased the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion, and WhatsApp Business was built later to aid small businesses.

After years of free service, Facebook will now be charging businesses that use Whatsapp for Business.

Brands, both large and small will now be able to sell directly to consumers through Whatsapp. Shoppers will be able to make purchases and receive order confirmations directly in Whatsapp chats with the introduction of Facebook’s Hosting Services. This will allow businesses to host online assets and activity directly within Whatsapp. .

With Whatsapp having over 50 million businesses and over 175 million people using the app every day, this news is massive for the industry.

The new features include:

Shopping ‘In-chat’

Whatsapp is already used by companies to communicate with their customers; this can be seen with Facebook’s announcement in July adding Whatsapp QR codes and catalogue sharing.  ‘Buy’ buttons will be an option for businesses, which will enable purchases through Whatsapp itself.

“We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions,” Facebook said.

Facebook explained “This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time.” Its clear Facebook has businesses hit hard by the pandemic in mind.

Facebook Hosting Services

“We’re sharing our plans now while we work with our partners to make these services available,” Facebook announced.

“Today, all businesses using our API are using either an on-premise solution or leverage a solutions provider, both of which require costly servers to maintain. With this change, businesses will be able to choose to use Facebook’s own secure hosting infrastructure for free, which helps remove a costly item for every company that wants to use the WhatsApp Business API, including our business service providers, and will help them all save money.”

Costs and charging

Till date, Whatsapp Business has been a free platform; to encourage early adoption and usage. With these new features, it is expected that Facebook would move to a paid model.

Facebook said:”What we’ve heard over the past couple years is how the conversational nature of business messaging is really valuable to people. So in the future we may look at ways to update how we charge businesses that better reflect how it’s used. As always, it’s free for people to send a business a message.”

Currently, there are no specifications on which services Facebook will start charging for or how much they would cost.

“We will charge business customers for some of the services we offer, which will help WhatsApp continue building a business of our own while we provide and expand free end-to-end encrypted text, video and voice calling for more than two billion people.”

The Facebook Company builds technologies that give people the power to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses.


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