Will WhatsApp for Business be big in Zimbabwe?

We’ve been talking about WhatsApp for business for a while now. We were quite excited about the whole idea but now to be quite frank the hype is dying down (or rather, let me speak for myself, my hype is dying down) and the reason is probably that I don’t have access to it yet ?

WhatsApp for business is still in the beta testing phase, not just any beta testing but a closed beta testing. This means that not only is WhatsApp for business unavailable to everyone who is not signed up for beta testing but of those that are, only a select few can access it.

Anyway, just in case you haven’t been a part of that conversation; Why is WhatsApp for business such a big deal?
In Zimbabwe, we notice how businesses have moved from just listing landlines, emails, cellphones etc. on their contacts to listing their WhatsApp numbers. This is obviously because of the low costs of communication that WhatsApp presents, hence resulting in the internet of Zimbabwe being WhatsApp.

Therefore, since businesses are already using WhatsApp, WhatsApp for Business would be ideal in that it then verifies the business accounts which improves on credibility. I know the importance of having verified WhatsApp accounts might sound far-fetched until you are duped. Also, for sensitive services like counselling which can be or are done via WhatsApp, it would be really important for the counsellee to know that they are not talking to a phoney account.

Also, the fact that the internet in Zimbabwe is bundled up into mostly social media means most internet users will be found on social media. Therefore, if companies can reach the people on the platforms which they’re at, then that’s a good story. Not only is it good for companies, but for the consumers as well. Due to only having access to social media consumers often miss out on a lot of good deals that are on ‘the rest of the internet’, therefore alternatively having access to them via WhatsApp is ideal.

However, since WhatsApp for business is a different app altogether, question is will Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) bundle it up with the regular WhatsApp or create its own bundle? Moreso, will it be as big as the regular WhatsApp? Of course it can’t possibly be since WhatsApp for Business is for a narrower niche market than the regular WhatsApp, but within that niche will it dominate?

Are you one of those who are Beta testing the app? If yes, do let us know your experience using it so far. Do you think it’s a worthwhile tool for business?–techzim

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