Here’s everything you need to know about the new WhatsApp business API

Topic: Developers, Esendex news

Nearly a year after announcing that businesses would be charged for using their messaging chat platform, WhatsApp have released their much anticipated business API. This will allow a business to send messages to their customers using integrations with CRM systems, eCommerce websites and other messaging platforms.

What will the WhatsApp API give businesses the power to do?

WhatsApp are working with big name brands such as, Uber, and Singapore Airlines on applications including sending information about products and services, delivering boarding passes, and sending delivery updates.
As well as features like image, video and audio support, the new API will also offer businesses the ability to set up business profiles which can include their address, description, contact details and web-links.
The WhatsApp API supports two-way chat interactions, meaning that customer service interactions can now take place in a familiar and comfortable environment, without the need to use a live-chat service hosted on a webpage.
What are the opportunities that the WhatsApp API unlocks for businesses?
In its current form, the WhatsApp business API won’t radically change how businesses connect with their audiences – just provide another route to doing it. If you currently send delivery updates via email and/or SMS, for example, you’ll have the option of sending this information via WhatsApp in addition to, or instead of, these channels.
How can I encourage my customers to make ‘first contact’ via WhatsApp?
Businesses will need to ask their customers for permission before contacting them via WhatsApp. This will often be via an SMS with a link to trigger the sign up.
After contact is initiated by a customer, can businesses proactively message them on related subjects on WhatsApp?
Like the Facebook Messenger API before it, WhatsApp have limited a brand’s ability to send adhoc messages. A brand can only message a recipient within 24 hours of the last contact from them. However, there is an exception to the 24 hour rule for pre-defined templates, which have to be approved by WhatsApp. So for alerts and notifications, a business will most likely be able to continue sending these, but with the benefit of offering a broader communication choice for their customers.
The API is being billed as an ‘enterprise communications’ solution- does this mean its value for SMEs is limited?
Not at all; in fact, many small to medium businesses may be able to adapt their processes more quickly than larger enterprises to provide rich content messaging to their customers. Companies without access to developers may find it more convenient to use the WhatsApp for Business app rather than the API, but this doesn’t limit the use or applications of the platform.
How do Esendex plan to support their customers who are interested in rich messaging, and in particular WhatsApp?
To ensure that our customers can use the latest communication channels, we’ve launched our next generation business messaging platform – Studio. Studio supports the creation of rich content messages using SMS, RCS and, in the near future, WhatsApp. Our customers will create their messages in Studio, then the platform takes care of getting it to the recipient via the best channel.

We’re interested to find out more. What’s next?

Using the WhatsApp API will require some investment to get up and running, and to also ensure that it’s scalable and robust. This is where partnering with Esendex can take the stress out of the implementation.
To register your interest, businesses should contact their account managers or alternatively contact our sales team on 0345 356 5758. We’ll then work with you to set up WhatsApp rich messaging.

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Michael Power