Facebook announces brand new features for Whatsapp Business

This week has been a huge one for Facebook with announcements coming in left, right and centre. Now it’s been revealed that Whatsapp will be getting three game-changing features. 

Facebook has been making big strides in trying to become the go-to platform for small-midsize businesses, and this new announcement only reinforces that rhetoric.

The move follows in suit with Facebook’s other announcements this week in moves to turn Facebook, Instagram and Messenger into primary mobile shopping drivers. 

Businesses will now be able to sell directly to consumers through Whatsapp. Shoppers will be able to make purchases and receive order confirmations directly in Whatsapp chats. This is made possible by the social media giant’s new product; Facebook Hosting Services.

This will allow businesses to host online assets and activity directly within Whatsapp. After years of free service, Facebook will now be charging businesses who use Whatsapp for Business.

Shopping ‘In-chat’ 

Whatsapp is already used by companies to communicate with their customers, this can be seen with Facebook’s announcement in July adding Whatsapp QR codes and catalogue sharing. 

Buy buttons will be an option for businesses, which will enable purchases through Whatsapp itself. 

“We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions” Facebook said. 

Facebook continued “This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time.” It’s clear Facebook has businesses hit hard by the pandemic in mind.

Facebook Hosting Services

There isn’t a specific release date for this new service as of yet, but it will be available in the coming months. 

“We’re sharing our plans now while we work with our partners to make these services available”.

Facebook seems to be targeting Small and Midsize Business (SMB) who currently use Facebook and Whatsapp. Especially those who haven’t had much of an e-commerce presence but now must due to the world being how it is these days. 

“Today, all businesses using our API are using either an on-premise solution or leverage a solutions provider, both of which require costly servers to maintain” They said.

Facebook continued “With this change, businesses will be able to choose to use Facebook’s own secure hosting infrastructure for free, which helps remove a costly item for every company that wants to use the WhatsApp Business API, including our business service providers, and will help them all save money.”

Costs and charging

As we all know Facebook hasn’t currently been charging for Whatsapp Business, this was to encourage usage and early adoption. With these new features being added it was of course expected that Facebook would move to a paid model.

“What we’ve heard over the past couple years is how the conversational nature of business messaging is really valuable to people. So in the future we may look at ways to update how we charge businesses that better reflect how it’s used” Facebook said.

Facebook continued “As always, it’s free for people to send a business a message”.

Although, there is currently no specification on which services Facebook will start charging for or how much these services will cost, which is slightly annoying.

“We will charge business customers for some of the services we offer, which will help WhatsApp continue building a business of our own while we provide and expand free end-to-end encrypted text, video and voice calling for more than two billion people”

With Whatsapp having over 50 million businesses and well over 175 million people using whatsapp each and every day, this news is massive for the industry. 

This week’s announcements have shown where Facebook seems to be headed and there isn’t a better time to start using Facebook’s wide range of applications to promote your business. 

That seems to be the end of Facebook’s announcements for the week but we’ll keep you posted on anymore updates. (and breathe).

Want to optimise your business for Facebook, Instagram and the likes? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.