Over the last few years, we’ve seen a real shift towards messaging apps for personal communication and increasingly people are relying on WhatsApp to get business done as well.
Many of the old ways in which people and businesses communicate are not working. While businesses spend billions of dollars annually managing phone calls, e-mails, and SMS, people do not want to wait on hold, get passed from person to person, or wonder if their messages were received.
The global pandemic has made clear that businesses need fast and efficient ways to service their customers and make sales. WhatsApp has become a simple and convenient resource in this time. More than 175 million people every day message a WhatsApp Business account. Our research shows people prefer to message a business to get help and they’re more likely to make a purchase when they can do so.
Though there is much more we need to build. For the last two years, we’ve provided the WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API to help businesses of all sizes manage their chats. We’ve listened to feedback on what’s worked and believe WhatsApp can help make messaging the best way for consumers and businesses to connect. To that end we are increasing our investment in the following areas:
Shopping - We will expand ways for people to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat. We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions. This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time.
Facebook Hosting Services - Businesses have varying technology needs and want choice in the companies they work with to host and manage customer communications, particularly with remote work increasing. Which is why over the coming months, we plan to expand our partnerships with business solution providers we've worked with over the last two years. We will also provide a new option for businesses to manage their WhatsApp messages via hosting services that Facebook plans to offer. Providing this option will make it easier for small and medium size businesses to get started, sell products, keep their inventory up to date, and quickly respond to messages they receive - wherever their employees are.
Business Sales - 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.
We know that most people will continue to use WhatsApp simply to communicate with friends and family, which is why we will keep developing great new features and protect people’s private conversations.
We believe these additional experiences on WhatsApp meet a real need for many people and businesses whether they are around the corner or across the world. We’re excited about what lies ahead and we'll gradually roll out these services in the months to come.