WhatsApp launches new initiative for small businesses to go digital

Technology for MSMEs: The company said trained volunteers are providing digital training to businesses one-on-one around building a digital presence on the WhatsApp Business App to help them better manage incoming leads and queries, build a product/services showcase and market to key audiences using online tools.

whatsapp for small business
The initiative was rolled out in partnership with social media platform Josh Talks. (Image: pexels)

Technology for MSMEs: Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp, which has India as its biggest market, on Tuesday launched SMBSaathi Utsav initiative to help small businesses get onto its WhatsApp Business app for growth. The pilot project launched in Jaipur’s Johri and Bapu Bazaar has already onboarded over 500 businesses enabling them to leverage the various features of the Business App and promote the ease of doing business, WhatsApp said in a statement. The initiative was rolled out in partnership with social media platform Josh Talks that had raised $3.5 million in funding in May this year. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and technology has the potential to further boost their business. During the pandemic, we saw several small business owners thriving by using simple platforms such as WhatsApp Business App to stay connected with their customers,” said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India. 

The company said trained volunteers are providing digital training to businesses one-on-one around building a digital presence on the WhatsApp Business App to help them better manage incoming leads and queries, build a product/services showcase and market to key audiences using online tools. 

Businesses in traditional arts and handicrafts, jewellery, fashion and apparel, food and beverage outlets and other others are being trained on using the different features of the WhatsApp Business App and also guided on how they can market their product to the right audiences, WhatsApp said. 

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The business app by WhatsApp was launched back in 2018 for small and medium enterprises. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in December 2020 at the Facebook Fuel for India 2020 event had said that the WhatsApp Business app has over 50 million users globally of which around 15 million are in India.

In its efforts to monetise the business app, the company had also added a Shopping Button for customers to discover business catalogue of small businesses and purchase goods from within the app. WhatsApp had earlier also announced the launch of a feature called Carts to double down on its push towards chat-based buying and selling of products between merchants or small businesses and customers. Overall, WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India.

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