WhatsApp has revealed details of its plans to target the enterprise market with the launch of a dedicated app.
The new WhatsApp Business application gives companies the opportunity to set up official profiles and provides dedicated tools, such as automated messages, and analytics.
The app is free to download in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US.
It will be available “around the world in the coming weeks” the company said.
The Facebook-owned business announced back in 2016 that it wanted to give enterprises access to its 1.3 billion customers.
Customers and businesses have been connecting on WhatsApp for years, particularly in countries such as Brazil and India.
WhatsApp cited figures from Morning Consult that showed 80 percent of small businesses in the two countries used its service.
It claimed the new app makes it easier for businesses to connect with customers, who do not need to download anything new.
Customers will know they are talking to a company as it will be listed as a Business Account.
In the future, businesses will get Confirmed Accounts once their details have been verified.
Customers will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, WhatsApp said, with the ability to block any numbers and report spam.
Early reviews of the new app on Google Play were mixed.
One user, Adam Keys, said: “A good idea in theory but not so much in practice.
“It’s just the same as regular WhatsApp, meaning customers need to have your number saved in their phone to contact you.”