WhatsApp Business App vs API: Same Same, But Different?
The world’s most popular chat app launched its offering to businesses last year. Since then, companies have been busy using WhatsApp to improve their communication with customers.
Tracking deliveries, personal movie recommendations and instant customer feedback are all classic options to make customers feel wanted and cared for. And it’s important to communicate on the channels your customers feel most comfortable on.
The addition of the WhatsApp Business API means you can go further than just communicating on your customer’s favourite platform. As we discussed in early case studies, the WhatsApp API opens the door to richer content and advanced two-way chatting.
The WhatsApp Business App – For Small Businesses
The WhatsApp Business App is a wonderful tool for small businesses looking to offer a smooth digital communication channel to customers. With the ability to create a Business Profile, your messages will look as sleek as any big corporations’. And it’s free!
As WhatsApp themselves say, the app was built with the small business owner in mind. With the app, you can have 2-way conversations with your customers easily with template responses to quickly respond to messages.
All of this is great if you need a simple, free and effective way to communicate with a relatively small customer base. It works across borders, and can even support pictures and audio. The WhatsApp Business App is a great first step for smaller businesses. However, those who really want to improve their value proposition through great customer communication will need much more.
The WhatsApp Business API – For Larger Audiences
Although the operator advertises WhatsApp Business API for ‘medium and large businesses’, we’d suggest it is the best choice for businesses aiming their communication channels for a mass market. Due to the expansive capabilities that come with the API, it is a paid-for product. You will also have to apply and be accepted by WhatsApp before you start using the API.
Simplified onboarding for chat apps with 8x8's Chat Apps solution
Once you’re a member, the API allows you to tailor and automate many of the messaging processes in a way that just isn’t possible using the free Business App.
The WhatsApp Business API lets you create a Business Profile with your company’s details. WhatsApp, at their discretion, may even provide you with their coveted “green check-mark”, giving you “Official Business Account” status!
With the API, you can run an advanced, digital communications strategy that builds relationships. You can automate notifications and transactional messages to start conversations with your customers. A neat feature of the API is that if your customer replies to one of your template messages, it opens up a 24-hour window for you to have a 2-way conversation with them, for free.
Not sure how template messages work? Check out our WhatsApp Business FAQ!
The API also offers integration functions, allowing you to continue using you favourite CRMs for your customer communications. This will be crucial for any business wanting to use chatbots or contact centre platforms to reach out to their customers. Imagine bringing customer support to your customers’ fingertips through a simple Zendesk Integration!
So, Which One Should You Choose?
The WhatsApp Business App is great if you want to keep using actual individuals – perhaps yourself as a business owner – to communicate with a small number of high-value clients. We generally recommend the App for local retailers or boutique stores, who have the resources to talk to customers individually.
For those targeting larger customer groups, the WhatsApp Business API has many advantages. The API is also for you if you are looking for more customisation and integration capabilities.
A good API provider will simplify the onboarding and implementation processes for you. This trusted partner will be a source of ideas for adding excellent communication and delivering value-adding digital services to your customers.
8x8 (then Wavecell) became an early partner of WhatsApp and can now offer this popular channel as part of its agnostic Chat Apps solution package. In 8x8, you have a provider who will offer you more than just the WhatsApp API.
8x8's Chat Apps solution gives you access to LINE, Viber, Messenger and more, and even a fallback to SMS, should you require one. We can help you to revolutionise your communication with customers, reaching hundreds of thousands of people while maintaining an individual touch.
Chat Apps, including WhatsApp, can improve the efficiency and productivity of your business, making you a key player in this new era of technology. To learn how we can help expand your business’s growth through WhatsApp and other chat apps, check out our chat apps page.
To learn more about 8x8's Chat Apps API, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.