WhatsApp is laying down the foundation that will see the messaging platform finally monetize its services by charging big businesses enterprises a fee to use their tools, which they will use to communicate more effectively with their target consumers. WhatsApp will also provide a free app to other small and medium sized firms, however the exact details as to the functionality of this app have not yet been disclosed. The new tools will enable global Enterprises “to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates”.
“We do intend on charging businesses in the future,” WhatsApp’s Chief Operating Officer Matt Idema told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t have the details of monetization figured out.”
The messaging platform did write that it wants to facilitate “someone placing an order with a local bakery or looking at new styles from a clothing store” and “shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone”, plus offer “an easier way to respond to messages.”
The company is looking into charging big companies such as airlines, banks and e-commerce sites to have various representatives managing a WhatsApp account and sending out high volumes of brand messages. They can also charge for could artificial intelligence bot functionality or ecommerce transactions. WhatsApp also officially announced its closed pilot program for verifying business accounts with a green checkmark to distinguish them from personal accounts and fakes.
Last week, WhatsApp started testing out verified accounts for businesses. The conversation with these businesses is encrypted and can even be blocked. Moreover if a business isn’t already in the consumer contact list then their name can appear as whatever name they pick when registering instead of their phone number. This creates an opportunity for WhatsApp to become a business search engine with optional sponsored results.