On 1 August 2018, Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp launched its WhatsApp Business API as a tool for businesses to easily chat with their customers.
While only customers can initiate the conversations, businesses will be able to reply to their messages and customer service enquiries.
The API also lets businesses send shipping confirmations, order updates, event reminders, and other non-promotional programmed notifications.
WhatsApp will charge businesses at a fixed rate for confirmed delivery, ranging from 0.5 cents to 9 cents per notification depending on the country.
When businesses use the API to reply to customers, it is free of charge within 24 hours of the user’s last message.
Replies later than that will be charged at a fixed rate.
This method ensuring businesses reply promptly may be a smart decision, as quick replies could result in customers preferring to connect through WhatsApp compared to other channels.
According to Tech Crunch, WhatsApp stresses that all messages, including those sent through the API, will be end-to-end encrypted.
Facebook says it had been testing the WhatsApp Business API for months, and has since worked with international clients like Singapore Airlines, Uber and Wish.
At the same time, the company has also launched Facebook ads that click into WhatsApp.
This means businesses can buy ads on Facebook that will lead consumers directly to engage with them on WhatsApp.
Since WhatsApp was bought over by Facebook in 2014, this is the first time the messaging app with 1.5 billion users is being directly monetised.
Previously, when the WhatsApp Business App was launched for communication between small businesses, it was free for use, and will remain that way for its 3 million users.
Featured Image Credit: MyBroadband