WhatsApp Business: a powerful weapon for startups in emerging markets

It seems that all dreams came through for WhatsApp users in emerging markets. WhatsApp Business, a stand-alone app different from the usual WhatsApp, was rolled out in a few countries in February 2018.

What was WhatsApp really for? Messaging? Well, people in emerging economies countries – specially small and medium businesses – took WhatsApp one step further. About two years ago I wrote the article – “WhatsApp for business: the secret weapon of Brazil” – telling about how Brazilian businesses are using WhatsApp to build a rapport with their customers and even as a pre-sales marketing tool. That’s a lot for a simple messaging app that wasn’t even built with that purpose in mind.

According to Whatsapp Business press release, 80% of small businesses in India and Brazil already use the usual WhatsApp in their business. That’s quite an impressive number. But doesn’t stop there.

80% of small businesses in India and Brazil already use WhatsApp

In Nigeria, both e-commerce startups and traditional retailers in local markets have been using WhatsApp to reach their customers too.
It’s difficult to say how many people in Africa already use WhatsApp, for the lack of mobile usage data in either Africa as a whole or individual countries. But interestingly enough, WhatsApp Business is only available for Android OS, the main operational system in emerging countries. Needless to say, the guys at WhatsApp are eyeing big these emerging markets.

The WhatsApp Business app was built with small business in mind. However, there is nothing stopping bigger businesses to use it. According to Chris Alagboso, a Nigerian media entrepreneur, Africa’s big companies would also jump on the WhatsApp Business train as part of their digital business outreach.

The new app’s features are messaging tools such as quick replies, greeting messages and away messages, metrics and a verified business account listing. And more importantly, people will know they will be talking to a business because the profile will be listed as a business account.
At the moment, WhatsApp Business is available in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S but will be rolled out to the rest of the world soon.

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