To help businesses communicate better with their customers globally including in India, WhatsApp on Thursday launched "WhatsApp Business" - a free-to-download Android app for small businesses.
The new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.
"People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil," the Facebook-owned app said in a statement.
Currently, "WhatsApp Business" is free to download on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. The app will roll out for other countries, and in India, in the coming weeks.
"WhatsApp Business will make it easier for people to connect with them, and vice versa, in a fast and simple way," the company said.
The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website.
â€˜It will also save time with smart messaging tools - quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you're busy.
"People will know that they're talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it's been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number," WhatsApp said.
People can continue using WhatsApp as usual as there's no need to download anything new.
"People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam," the company added.
For over 80 per cent of small businesses in India and Brazil, WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers and grow their business.
In India, 84 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, andA80 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.
Glassics is a fashion eyewear company that tested WhatsApp Business first-hand to message customers quickly and build personal relationships with them.
"WhatsApp Business helped us develop stronger relationships with our customers. We were able to respond faster to customers with features like away messages and quick replies, and offer a better overall experience," said its co-founder Devesh Nichani.