WhatsApp Launches New App for Small Businesses

WhatsApp is getting a lot more business-friendly.

The Facebook-owned chat service just released a new Android app called WhatsApp Business, which aims to "make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for our 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them," WhatsApp wrote in a blog post.

The app is available for download via Google Play in the US, UK, Mexico, Italy, and Indonesia, and is expected to start rolling out worldwide "in the coming weeks."

Small business owners can use the app to set up a profile with useful information people might need, including a company description, email, store address, and website. The app also offers messaging tools business owners might find helpful, like quick replies for frequently asked questions, greeting messages to help people get to know your business, and away messages to let customers know you're busy.

WhatsApp Business is also available on the web, so business owners send and receive messages from a desktop. The platform offers simple metrics, like how many people read a company's messages, for example.

One India-based startup called Instalocate, which makes an AI-powered travel assistant that can help people get compensated for flight delays and cancellations, has been testing WhatsApp Business and said its "response rate has improved by 30 to 40 percent and we've grown our business by 25 to 30 percent."

Non-business users can continue using WhatsApp like usual. Businesses will now be listed as business accounts on the app, which should make it easier to tell when you're talking to a company representative.

"People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam," WhatsApp wrote.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.