WhatsApp already dominates the consumer messaging app segment with over a billion active users, and now it seems the company is now looking to emulate similar success in the business segment. The WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone recently received an update that upgraded the version number to 2.17.234, and added a feature that hints at major changes coming our way. The Facebook-owned app reportedly became more business-friendly with the update, and will help facilitate interactions between businesses and consumers. This WhatsApp beta build also marks the debut of verified profiles of business users.
The latest update of WhatsApp for Windows Phone disallows users to add a "check mark" symbol in front of their name in the app, as pointed out in a report by MSPoweruser. While on surface it might not appear to be a big deal, it is being speculated to have been done in order to avoid confusion regarding the authenticity of the businesses in the future.
As per a report by WABeta Info, which has a history of providing credible information regarding upcoming WhatsApp updates, the app will be verifying business accounts with a check mark, much like the one on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to provide them certain amount of authenticity while dealing with their customers.
WhatsApp has reportedly been planning to introduce a separate app for businesses, called WhatsApp Small and Medium Business, which will be required to be installed by the businesses to contact their customers. Notably, the report suggests that users will not be required to install a separate app and will receive communication from businesses on their regular app. However, they will get the option to prevent communication selectively from certain businesses or all businesses within the app.
As per WABetaInfo, the communication between businesses and the consumers will further be supported with the support for "Structured Messages" that contain text, image, action items, and the translation of the message. There are said to be certain restrictions on the businesses regarding length and nature of their name and even unverified business can use the app to reach its customers. Additionally, businesses will get a feature called "Public Announcement" that will allow them to pass on official announcements to their users.