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WhatsApp Business API is getting a slew of updates aimed at making it easier for businesses to get started with the social messaging platform, and allowing customers to quickly communicate with those businesses, the Facebook-owned messaging company announced during Facebook’s F8 Refresh on Wednesday. The company said that it had tweaked the WhatsApp Business API to make onboarding possible in just five minutes, from “weeks”. WhatsApp is also bringing new messaging features to ease communication between people and businesses. The latest announcements are likely to help WhatsApp attract new businesses and bring them closer to their potential customers.

One big change that WhatsApp announced at F8 Refresh is the faster experience for businesses to start using the WhatsApp Business API. “Whether a business wants to work with a business solution provider or get support directly from Facebook in the future, these improvements will make it easier for more medium and larger businesses to have customer conversations on WhatsApp,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

In addition to faster onboarding, WhatsApp is improving the way businesses communicate with their customers using the API. It said that since businesses were limited to sending timely notifications, it is bringing support for more types of messages. These will, for instance, allow people to know when an item is back in stock or simply receive additional information about a listed product.

WhatsApp also said that it saw how periodic updates from health authorities had been helpful in responding to the pandemic and that helped design a similar service available for more types of conversations.

Additionally, WhatsApp is rolling out a way to let businesses show a menu of up to 10 message options from where customers can pick one — without requiring them to type out their response. There will also be reply buttons with up to three options that the customers will be able select just with a quick tap.

The new experiences designed by WhatsApp are projected to bring some ease for businesses to connect with their potential customers. The options to respond to businesses will especially bring some automation that could help business clients using WhatsApp to receive speedy responses.

WhatsApp is also bringing new features to let people give feedback about their experience, when blocking a business.

For the last few months, WhatsApp has tried to bring a series of improvements to the way businesses could communicate with customers on its platform. The company in April introduced the option to let businesses manage their catalogues via WhatsApp Web and desktop clients. It also brought a shopping button last year to allow customers to see what businesses are selling through the app.

Last year, WhatsApp revealed that there were over 50 million WhatsApp Business app users around the world, of which 15 million were from India.

WhatsApp faced criticism over updating its privacy policy to favour businesses and give additional data access to Facebook and its subsidiaries. However, the company seems to have prioritised its interest in leveraging the user base of over two billion users worldwide to start giving more emphasis on businesses that would ultimately help monetise the platform.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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