WhatsApp last week announced the WhatsApp Business app for iOS, according to a company blog post. The app is free to download and is currently available in Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., with plans for further global rollout in the coming weeks.
WhatsApp Business includes features for small businesses including a means of generating a company profile, messaging tools for quick communication with customers, the ability for users to chat from a desktop computer and the option of sending files.
The WhatsApp Business app for Android was released last year and, as of this past January, is currently being utilized by over five million businesses worldwide, according to the company.
WhatsApp's reach is about to grow. The Facebook-owned company already proved that its business approach has been valuable as it was adopted by millions of Android users in only a year. The iOS version will allow small businesses that utilize iPhones the ability to use its services — namely to connect with potential consumers through a wildly popular platform.
The app expansion also means that small businesses will have access to a host of services at a time when mobile is is playing an increasingly pivotal role in retail.
According to a 2018 Opinium Research survey, 65% of consumers said they wanted to use messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger or Apple's iMessage to securely communicate with organizations. Shopping has also been moving into messaging channels, with perhaps the most notable example coming in May of last year when Nike sold out of a sneaker drop on Facebook Messenger in less than an hour.
WhatsApp currently boasts more than 1 billion users in over 180 countries globally, according to the company. The app, which started as an alternative to SMS, offers users a free way to communicate with each other through text, documents, videos, photos and calls.