Unleashing the benefits of WhatsApp Business Platform: a comprehensive guide for businesses
With new terms popping out from various sources of information about WhatsApp Business, such as WhatsApp Business Platform, WhatsApp Business App, WhatsApp Business API, and WhatsApp Cloud API, it can all be a little confusing.
Worry no more; let SleekFlow explain all you need to know about the WhatsApp Business Platform and how to differentiate it from the other WhatsApp Business terms.
What is WhatsApp Business Platform?
WhatsApp Business Platform is a programming language interface which includes the on-premise WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Cloud API, and the WhatsApp Business Management API. It is a paid solution that allows businesses to connect with customers on WhatsApp at scale, consisting of a collection of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allows businesses to build custom integrations and automate customer interactions on a messaging platform.
With the WhatsApp platform for business, brands can send and receive messages, automate customer service, and track key metrics such as message delivery and read rates. It is designed for larger businesses and enterprise companies that need to handle a large volume of customer communication and have a more complex business process. It also offers more advanced features such as Template Messages, Session Messages, and multi-agent support. Businesses can also use the WhatsApp Business API to integrate WhatsApp with their existing systems, including CRM software such as Salesforce and HubSpot and e-commerce platforms such as Shopify.
To find out more about the differences between WhatsApp Cloud API vs on-premise WhatsApp Business API, check out the table below:
WhatsApp Business Platform vs WhatsApp Business App
The differences between the WhatsApp Business Platform vs. WhatsApp Business App can be summarized as follows:
Read more about the limitations of WhatsApp Broadcast on the free WhatsApp Business App.
WhatsApp Business Platform refers to the set of tools and APIs that allow businesses to integrate WhatsApp functionality into their existing systems and automate messaging. This includes both on-premise WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Cloud API, which allows businesses to send and receive messages. Using a WhatsApp Business Manager or a WhatsApp BSP, businesses can get more detailed insights and analytics about their messaging while exploring more advanced features and integrations.
WhatsApp Business App, on the other hand, is a messaging app that businesses can use to communicate with customers directly on their mobile devices. The app includes features such as quick replies, labels, and a basic chatbot. It is intended for small businesses or individual entrepreneurs who want to use WhatsApp as a communication tool.
Businesses suitable for using the WhatsApp Business Platform
WhatsApp Business Platform is suitable for a wide range of industries, but it can be particularly useful for businesses that require automation and integration capabilities and want to personalize customer communication at scale. Some examples of industries that could benefit from using the WhatsApp platform for business include:
E-commerce: to handle customer queries and automate responses, such as order confirmations, shipping updates, and returns
Customer service: businesses such as airlines and banks can automate responses to common customer queries, such as account balance inquiries and flight status updates using a consistent brand tone
Healthcare: to communicate with patients, providing them with information about appointments, test results, and other health-related information
Retail: to communicate with customers about new products, sales and promotions, and personalized recommendations to increase customer engagement and drive sales
Travel and Tourism: to inform customers about booking confirmations, itineraries, and other travel-related information
Just a simple act of sending a promotional WhatsApp message can result in hundreds of responses. This helps our operations team confidently plan early-bird sales and budget for events, flights, and hotels.
Head of PR and Marketing, EGL Tours Hong Kong
WhatsApp Business Platform goes way beyond these examples. Want to find out if your business or industry is suitable?
How to choose between WhatsApp Business Platform vs. WhatsApp Business App
Choosing between WhatsApp Business Platform vs. WhatsApp Business App depends on the specific needs and use cases of your brand. Here are some factors to consider when making the decision:
1. Volume of messages
If your business needs to handle a high volume of messages and automate customer service, WhatsApp Business Platform is the better option. It allows businesses to use APIs to integrate WhatsApp messaging platform into their existing systems and automate responses to common customer queries.
2. Personalization and two-way communication
If your business wants to communicate with customers on a more personal level, WhatsApp Business App is the better option. It allows businesses to create a verified business account and engage in two-way communication with customers, as well as providing features such as quick replies, labels, filters, and chat buttons. You can also automate personalized messages without copying and pasting each message manually.
WhatsApp Business Platform offers more automation features compared to the WhatsApp Business App. With WhatsApp Business Platform you can set up automatic responses to frequently asked questions, quick replies, and message templates.
WhatsApp Business Platform allows businesses to integrate the platform with their existing systems, such as e-commerce systems, CRM software, and customer service platforms. Customer details such as lead stage and order history can be viewed right next to the chatbox.
WhatsApp Business App is free to use, while WhatsApp Business Platform may have conversation fees depending on country, the volume of messages, and subscription fees from your WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).
WhatsApp Business Platform pricing 2023
The WhatsApp Business Platform pricing is divided into 2 parts: conversation fees and provider subscription fees.
Conversation fees for WhatsApp Business Platform
The conversation fees are charged depending on the number and type of conversations exchanged on the WhatsApp Business Platform:
1. Business-initated conversations
A business-initiated conversation starts when businesses reach out to the customers by sending a message. Only Template Messages can be used for this type of conversation, and they will need to be sent to WhatsApp for approval before they can be used. From June 2023 onwards, business-initiated conversations are also subdivided into:
Different fees will be applied for these conversations, and businesses can be charged for two distinctive conversations if Template Messages of each conversation type are sent within the same 24 hour window.
For more detailed information about WhatsApp Business Platform pricing from June 2023, read our complete guide.
2. User-initiated conversations
A user-initiated conversation begins when messages are sent to reply to customers. This means that the customer is the one who sent your business a message first. For this type of conversation, businesses can send free-form messages instead of just Template Messages.
Each conversation, no matter the type, can have as many messages as possible as long as the customer replies and interacts with your business within the 24-hour timeframe. However, if the customer does not reply to you within the 24-hour window, you will have to begin a new conversation with a Template Message.
Every WhatsApp Business (WABA) account will get first 1,000 service conversations, also known as user-initiated conversations, for free each month. These conversations are not charged unless the business replies.
The conversation fees for your WhatsApp Business Platform pricing also depend on the country in which your business is sending these WhatsApp messages:
New WhatsApp Business Platform pricing from June 2023:
Too much maths? Talk to our professional team to estimate your budget.
Subscription fee for WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP)
For the provider subscription fees, it will depend on the official WhatsApp BSP you choose. Some WhatsApp BSPs have rather high markup charges for the conversation fees on top of their subscription fees. Choose wisely.
See SleekFlow’s subscription fee on the pricing page.
How to set up a WhatsApp Business account on the WhatsApp Business Platform
Before beginning your journey on the WhatsApp Business Platform, you must first own a WhatsApp Business account. You can apply for a WhatsApp Business account on the WhatsApp Business Platform (WABA) to enjoy the benefits of WhatsApp Business API.
If you already have an existing account on the free WhatsApp Business App, you can do the following:
Backup your chat files
Delete the account on the free WhatsApp Business App
Apply for a new WABA account on the WhatsApp Business Platform/WhatsApp Business API
Note: While you complete the application process, the messages your phone number receives will be queued in the WhatsApp server and sent to your WABA account once the setup is complete. You will not lose your messages.
Jump to the section below about applying for an account on the WhatsApp Business Platform or read our quick guide for applying WhatsApp Cloud API.
Requirements for using the WhatsApp Business Platform
To use the WhatsApp Business Platform, businesses must meet the following requirements:
Verified business phone number
WhatsApp Business account (create through the free WhatsApp Business app or directly on the WhatsApp Business API)
Business documentation, including a business registration certificate, tax registration certificate, or other official documents
Tips for verifying your business account
Verifying your account on the WhatsApp Business Platform is a vital step in ensuring that you gain your customers’ trust with brand authenticity and reliability on the messaging platform. Your business name will then appear when customers send you a WhatsApp message even though they have not saved your phone number. To complete the WhastApp Business verification process, make sure that your WhatsApp Business account:
Has website links to show your brand’s trustworthiness
Maintain a high quality rating on WhatsApp Business
Get showcased on other media channels to prove popularity
Looking to apply WhatsApp Business green tick verification? Check out our guide.
A step-by-step guide to applying for an account on the WhatsApp Business Platform
Essentially, there are two ways to create an account on the WhatsApp Business Platform and use the WhatsApp Business API:
Apply directly through Meta using your own developer resources
Apply through a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) such as SleekFlow
The first option is definitely more time and effort-consuming as it requires you to build an app on your own. If your company is looking to use the WhatsApp platform for business to kickstart on your conversational commerce strategy, go for the second option and apply via a WhatsApp BSP.
Step 1: Create Facebook and WhatsApp Business accounts
Step 2: Create a WhatsApp Business Profile
Step 3: Verify a WhatsApp Business number
Step 4: Connect the phone numbers/ WhatsApp Business Accounts to SleekFlow
Step 5: Set a channel name for your WhatsApp Business Accounts
Step 6: Select a monthly subscription plan that suits your need
Get started now with a 3-min onboarding process for WhatsApp Business Platform via SleekFlow.
Using WhatsApp Business Platform for sales, marketing, and customer support
Many businesses tend to think that WhatsApp Business Platform is only for customer support, as it involves messaging and solving customer inquiries. However, WhatsApp Business Platform offer a wide range of features that can help businesses boost sales and marketing performance as well.
WhatsApp Business Platform for sales
Promotions, discounts, product & event updates through WhatsApp Broadcast
Businesses can use WhatsApp Business Platform to send promotional messages and discounts to customers to increase sales. Brands can also organize personalized broadcast campaigns and send messages in bulk to a large number of customers at once, such as for promotional campaigns or event updates. WhatsApp can also be used to provide customers with updates on new products or services, and to promote special deals or sales.
Read the article about the complete walkthrough of WhatsApp Broadcast.
Shorten sales cycles with e-commerce, payment, and CRM integrations
WhatsApp Business Platform offers many powerful integrations with other apps and platform that can help the sales team close deals faster. For example, by integrating your WhatsApp Business account with Shopify, Stripe, and Salesforce or HubSpot, your sales team will be able to draft orders in the chat every time a customer decides to drop an order after concluding their enquiries. Then, you can generate an in-chat payment link to collect the payment immediately. You can even track the contacts, leads, and the campaign source of that specific customer with details right next to the chat box, making the seamless process quick, convenient, and efficient.
WhatsApp Business Platform for marketing
Lead generation through click-to-WhatsApp ads
Businesses can use WhatsApp to connect with potential customers and generate leads. From March 2023, businesses can message customers on the WhatsApp Business Platform for free if the customers starts a conversation through click to WhatsApp ads. You can publish these ads on Facebook and target the right audience through social engagement.
WhatsApp's one-on-one communication feature allows businesses to recommend personalized products or services based on customer's previous interactions or purchase history. Using detailed analytics from marketing campaigns, you can automate suggestions for customer through WhatsApp and use variables to set up personalized messages.
WhatsApp can be used to send automated messages to customers on a schedule, such as welcome messages, follow-up messages, and re-engagement campaigns. A WhatsApp Business drip campaign involves sending a series of pre-written messages to customers over a period of time. These messages can be customized to provide valuable information, promote products and services, or simply maintain a connection with customers. Since WhatsApp has an open rate of over 99%, WhatsApp campaigns often lead to better engagement and higher conversion rates.
Building brand awareness
WhatsApp can be used to build brand awareness by regularly communicating with customers, sharing company news and updates, and engaging with customers through polls, quizzes, and other interactive content.
WhatsApp Business Platform for customer support
Automated messages and chatbots
Businesses can use automation and set up WhatsApp chatbots on the WhatsApp Business Platform to automatically send welcome messages and away messages or answer common FAQs. They can also use chat buttons to guide customers through the product discovery journey when customer service representatives are unavailable.
What are WhatsApp chat buttons? Watch our video to find out.
Surveys and feedback
WhatsApp can be used to conduct surveys and gather customer feedback, which can be used to improve products and services.
Quick response to customer inquiries
Businesses can use WhatsApp to quickly respond to customer questions and concerns in real-time.
Order tracking and updates
Businesses can use WhatsApp to provide customers with updates on their orders, including delivery status and tracking information.
Multi-language and out-of-office-hour support
WhatsApp can be configured to support multiple languages, making it easy for businesses to communicate with customers in their preferred language. It can also be integrated with CRM systems and chatbots to offer customer support even out of office hours, increasing customer satisfaction.
Examples of WhatsApp Business Platform and its use cases
LUBUDS Group: an interactive dining experience with personalized marketing
LUBUDS Group, a dynamic F&B group with almost 40 outlets in Hong Kong, has implemented WhatsApp CRM to offer its customers with a first-class customer experience. Using WhatsApp QR code and automated replies, LUBUDS Group managed to expand their customer database and send targeted broadcast messages using proper data labeling and segmentation.
Alfred24: 4X increase in campaign message open rates with WhatsApp Business API
Alfred24, a fast-growing delivery solution provider, has achieved great improvements with their work operations since they started using features from the WhatsApp Business platform on SleekFlow. As WhatsApp is a popular messaging channels for its customers, they have utilized automation to improve work efficiency and broadcast messages to expand customer reach. As a result, they managed to:
Increase open rates by 300%
Reduce response time by 60%
Decrease manpower by 80%
Interested in discovering more success stories for the WhatsApp Business Platform? Explore our customer success stories.
Using WhatsApp Business Platform to boost sales on SleekFlow
Before you begin your journey with the WhatsApp Business Platform, you must choose a WhatsApp BSP if you don’t have your own team of developers. Here’s why SleekFlow is the best WhatsApp Business Solution Provider:
User-friendly web and mobile versions
3-min speedy onboarding process for WhatsApp Cloud API
Stable connection for your WABA accounts, unlike REST API that pulls HTTP requests and frequently results in failure
Offers free features such as auto replies for chats and comments on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook Lead Ads integration, and more