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WhatsApp announces updates to its business offering for SMBs

The messaging app's new features will enable small businesses to customise their experience and increase the speed at which they can respond to their customers.

At Meta's inaugural business messaging conference, Conversations, founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced updates to WhatsApp Business Messaging offerings. The updates to the messaging app's business account offering is going to make it easier for businesses of any size to get started on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp will now offer free and secure cloud hosting services provided by Meta. This will allow businesses and developers to get up and running on WhatsApp in a matter of minutes. Hence, enable them to build directly and customise their experience and increase the speed at which they can respond to their customers on WhatsApp.

Announcing this development, Zuckerberg said, "The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They're reaching out for help, to find products and services and to buy anything from big ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I am excited to announce that we're opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API."

"In just a few minutes, any business or developer can easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and speed up their response time to customers by using our secure WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta. And this is an important step to help more businesses connect with people and help more people message the businesses that they want to support – big and small," he added.

For the app's partners, this new service will eliminate costly server expenses and give them instant access to new features. And for others, this means that they will be able to chat with more of their favorite businesses on WhatsApp. Users will be in control of the businesses they chat with and businesses cannot message people unless they have requested to be contacted.

WhatsApp will also support small businesses with additional tools. These advanced features for businesses will help SMBs to run their operations beyond just a few people and further amplify their brand online. For example, users will be able to manage chats across up to ten devices so they can better handle an influx of chats.

WhatsApp will also provide customizable click-to-chat links to help businesses attract customers across their online presence. These features will be additional and optional and would be provided to business account users for a fee.

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