Before we tell you what is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business, let’s get into a quick introduction.
WhatsApp Business is not another marketing blitzkrieg for spray and pray messages. It is a free, hyperlocal small business tool for businesses to engage specific accounts or groups having something in common. So you can’t broadcast messages to any more people than you can with a regular WhatsApp.
If you’re on your customer’s recent contact list or their phone book, you’d be able to nudge them with product links or notifications about an open order. WhatsApp Business allows reply automation, programming predetermined messages, and much more within a template to handle the after-hours inquiry.
Coming to regular WhatsApp, it’s no different from the Business version in certain ways. For instance, the maximum number of accounts to which you can broadcast messages are capped at 256.
Moreover, these accounts can’t be strangers pulled off from the segmented marketing lists. Besides, the business account cannot be substituted with a regular WhatsApp account unless you swap the account type.
If anything, regular WhatsApp is a peer-to-peer messaging platform while the WhatsApp business version is cut out for small businesses to engage with patrons and keep track of interactive conversations.
So there’s no doubt when it comes to messaging, WhatsApp is the king!
What is the Difference Between WhatsApp and WhatsApp for Business
Now that you have understood the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business, let’s dive deeper into a few more things in detail.
Most WhatsApp users fall into two categories which include:
A majority of users fit into this category. In the US, WhatsApp hasn’t penetrated as much as it did in the rest of the world because Americans are satisfied with the call quality and messaging rates of domestic operators. Moreover, data is cheaper in the US than it is elsewhere.
On the contrary, WhatsApp boomed in countries like India, Europe, and the Middle East because it could replace services provided by local telecom operators. With ad-free features, WhatsApp had no competition from any other popular messaging apps.
2. B2C Users
While a majority of adults preferred WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and co-workers, business owners needed something purposeful. Enter WhatsApp Business.
While it started as a company offering barrier-less socializing experience sans ads, WhatsApp Business proved to be ideal for SMBs. It introduced m-commerce features for local businesses like grocery stores, salons, pharmacies etc.
With that, hyper-personalized customer service and mobile marketing found a way to meaningfully engage with end-users.
If you’re not using WhatsApp for business, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table!
A quick gander through the Google Play store is enough to convince anyone that the demand is no longer an issue.
Product managers are looking for apps to walk the customer experience talk. They are trying to get their act together to deliver what is promised to end-users. This is where WhatsApp Business stands out in terms of popularity and scope. It’s simple yet sophisticated.
Pros & Cons of WhatsApp Business
While the numbers look impressive at a glance, there are pros and cons you should be aware of before going ahead with the adoption.
So let’s look at what to expect from WhatsApp Business.
- Catalogs: This helps users know your brand better than a salesperson thirsty to sell. It’s a feature that allows businesses to have a face and catalog showing products, price, photos, and a link redirecting users to your landing page.
- Preset responses: This is a smart time-saving feature that everybody loves WhatsApp Business for. It’s a programmable element where you can press “/” to select a default message from the list. Businesses love it because instantly programmable quick replies are better than a response that sounds out of context.
- Labels: These are perfect for segmenting customers and conversations with specific customers. What it does is make information retrievable without rummaging through past messages. Sorting is simplified with labels to organize messages, groups, and broadcast lists.
- Broadcast lists: This feature in WhatsApp is similar to building an email distribution list but slightly different because the list cannot have contacts that weren’t previously engaged with and also the list size cannot exceed 256 accounts.
- Whatsapp shopping cart: Carts is a handy feature when messaging business-related conversations. It is great for any business that typically sells multiple products at once. For example, a clothing store, bakery, or restaurant. With carts, users can browse through a catalog and select different products, sending the entire order as a single message to the admin or business owner. This makes things simpler for a business and further, keeps track of every order inquiry and helps close sales.
- WhatsApp Pay: This feature helps you send and receive money from anyone, anytime, right from the chat. It's seamless and uses your UPI PIN to help you send money every time. But in no way does WhatsApp stores your card information or PIN data.
- Simple Stats: This feature helps small businesses to measure their activities through in-app KPI because metrics, however simple, hold key pieces of valuable information to adjust goals and strategies. This goes out to show that WhatsApp Business can, and should, be a choice because it does so much more than being a messaging platform.
- Basic automation is one of the drawbacks of WhatsApp Business. While smaller businesses managing a small patron community are satisfied with labels, quick replies, predetermined messages, and social media linking features, a slightly larger business is left wanting more. If you’re expecting chatbot integrations to make a personalized product recommendation, recover abandoned carts, and do more than a communication handrail in the customer journey, you’ll need WhatsApp Business API. This is a step ahead of the standard business version.
- A unique phone number is mandatory for setting up a WhatsApp Business account and it is non-transferrable. Meaning, your employees or co-owners won’t be able to use the dominant account unless they have physical access to your phone. What this implies is that WhatsApp Business is geared for independent proprietors rather than collaborators or delegated staff in the hierarchy. Besides, your regular WhatsApp account linked to a phone number must be converted to a business type before business-ready features are accessible.
While these drawbacks are something to be contemplated upon before signing up, they aren’t necessarily deal-breakers.
Because the WhatsApp Business is 100% free with legit features made for entrepreneurs venturing into markets with a smaller budget and risk appetite.
Configuring Your WhatsApp Business Account isn’t all that Woeful
Let’s say you have decided that WhatsApp Business is right for your business. You now need to set up an account. First, you need to download it on your device.
Remember how we mentioned that you can’t have two WhatsApp accounts linked to the same number?
The same applies here too. While configuring an account, decide whether you will register with a new phone number or convert an existing personal account into a Business account before proceeding.
If you want a dedicated person managing your business account, sign up with a new phone number, else convert your regular account in a two-step process.
After account activation, you will need to configure a profile so that people can identify who you are. Start with the company title, profile image/logo, and a bio describing your business in a few words.
Don’t forget the contact information such as social media links and a physical address. These increase your credibility in the eyes of your prospective customers. If you’re operating from a physical address, its highly recommended that you mention the opening and closing hours in the field within the app.
And voila! You have your account successfully set up on WhatsApp Business.
Standard WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Business
Does the business version look any different from regular WhatsApp? One could argue that the former has elements tuned for slightly advanced users with business-ready features, but besides a few extra settings to automate engagement, the difference is only skin deep.
When you download both versions, the cue to WhatsApp Business is the alphabet “B” enclosed in the speech bubble.
On top of that, if you are using a business account for engagement, over time, you’ll receive a Confirmed Account badge on your profile if the account and business phone number are the same. This would let people know that they are engaging with a business account. These micro features enhance your credibility in your customer’s eyes.
WhatsApp for Business API
You can set up your business account on WhatsApp with just a phone number, but there are a few limitations in what you can do with it. If you are satisfied managing communities and supporting customers who have ordered services or products, then you have found a perfect solution to linearly scale your communication.
The business version has features to automate basic responses to keep your customers notified even if you aren’t around. From simple queries to product cards that help buyers, the app is set up for small businesses.
Suppose you are a mid-size company who want to automate customer interactions beyond auto-replies. Or if you need multiple people (in sales, support, operations) within your organization who need to engage with customers. In these cases, what you’d need is the Business API from WhatsApp. Let us know your needs and we'll help you choose what's best for your business.