WhatsApp Business launched in India for Android users; needs a dedicated mobile number

The need to have a separate mobile number is a bit of a roadblock, but it does make things easier for WhatsApp when it comes to verification of businesses or WhatsApp Business Profiles.

After announcing WhatsApp Business just a few days ago for markets like Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, UK and the United States, the app is finally available in India.

Image: WhatsApp

WhatsApp Business logo. WhatsApp

While we were surprised as to how the messaging giant, owned by Facebook, left out India at launch, it is now finally here, and users can jump on to the system and create the respective Business Profiles and more.

At the time of writing, the app is only available on the Google Play Store for Android users. We could not find the WhatsApp Business app on the Apple App Store, meaning iOS users will have to wait a bit.

If you were thinking of trying out the app for kicks, you will be in for a rude shock. The WhatsApp service, is different from the WhatsApp Business service, which caters more to business owners. So you will have to verify and register your mobile number once again.

But since it is a separate service meant for different users, WhatsApp Business will ask for a separate mobile number, one that is different from the one you use for your regular WhatsApp application.

It is a bit of a roadblock, but it does make for easier verification of businesses, for WhatsApp. For those stuck with one mobile number you can choose to move it to WhatsApp Business or simply use a second number for verification, (if you happen to have one). WhatsApp warns that hitting 'Continue' will "move" and not share the number with its other service.

You cannot use your existing WhatsApp registered number for WhatsApp Business.

You cannot use your existing WhatsApp registered number for WhatsApp Business.

The company explained all the new features in a detailed blog post on its WhatsApp blog highlighting how small business owners use WhatsApp to connect with their customers and other business partners. WhatsApp acknowledged that the normal ‘WhatsApp’ app is not meant for business owners and instead, it is meant for people. ‘WhatsApp for Business’ is a free to download app for Android users which will make it easier for business owners to connect with their customers.

According to the post, the new features include ‘Business Profiles’, ‘Messaging Tools’, ‘Messaging Statistics’, ‘WhatsApp Web’ and ‘Account Type’. Let's run down on what additional features ‘WhatsApp Business’ has in addition to the regular ‘WhatsApp’ mobile app.

1. ‘Business Profiles’ will help customers get additional information such as the email or the store address, website or any extra description of the business.
2. ‘Messaging Tools’ allow business owners to set quick replies to ensure that they can quickly send answers to frequently asked questions in addition to greeting messages that introduce customers to their business or custom away messages when the owners are busy or during off hours.
3. ‘Messaging Statistics’ provides business owners with a simple metric about the number of messages that were read so that they can tweak the content of quick replies or their strategy of contacting their customers.
4.‘WhatsApp Web’ is the regular web interface of ‘WhatsApp Business’ allowing owners to send or receive messages using a desktop.
5. ‘Account Type’ One of the most important parts here is the fact that business owners can list themselves as businesses after installing the app to ensure that the customers contacting them know that they are business owners. WhatsApp pointed out that over the time business accounts will get ‘confirmed accounts’ after it is confirmed that the operator of the WhatsApp Business account is using the same number as the actual business contact number.

The company clarified that normal users can continue to use WhatsApp without change and there is no need to download anything new. Users have full control on the messages that they receive as they can block any number including the messages coming from a business account. Users can also report the messages from Business accounts as spam if they are spammy in nature.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.