WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API : 5 amazing differences

20 June 2024 prachi Uncategorised,

Comparing the WhatsApp API with the WhatsApp Business API sheds light on the distinct functionalities and advantages each offers in the realm of digital communication for businesses. While both serve as conduits for connecting with customers via the ubiquitous messaging platform, their scopes and features cater to different needs and objectives.

The WhatsApp API serves as the foundational interface for personal messaging on WhatsApp, enabling individuals to exchange texts, media, and calls within the platform’s ecosystem. It primarily caters to personal interactions, offering functionalities tailored to individual users’ communication needs.

On the other hand, the WhatsApp Business API extends the platform’s capabilities to businesses, providing a robust suite of tools and features designed specifically for commercial use. This includes functionalities such as automated messaging, message templates, analytics, and integration with CRM systems, empowering businesses to engage with customers more effectively, automate routine tasks, and scale their operations efficiently.

In this introduction, we’ll delve deeper into the distinctions between the WhatsApp API and the WhatsApp Business API, exploring their respective features, use cases, and implications for businesses seeking to leverage WhatsApp as a communication channel. By understanding the unique strengths of each API, businesses can make informed decisions about which solution best aligns with their communication objectives and strategic goals.

 

What is the WhatsApp Business app?

WhatsApp Business is a free to download app available on Android and iPhone, and is built with the small business owner in mind.

It was created to solve an untapped need in the market. Businesses were using WhatsApp to communicate with customers but the app didn’t have the right features to do so effectively.

The WhatsApp Business app solved their problems and helped business owners create complete business profiles, display working hours, showcase their product catalog, link back to their website and even set up automated welcome and away messages.

 

What is WhatsApp Business API?

The WhatsApp Business API was created with the needs of medium to large businesses in mind and can be accessed by requesting access from WhatsApp or by signing up with an API provider.

The API was launched after WhatsApp realized that businesses with larger teams were unable to leverage the Business app due to the 2 active sessions limitation.

The WhatsApp Business API allows developers to build tools that remove these limitations and add features to extend the functionality of WhatsApp. The API is extremely flexible and the features are only limited by the tool businesses integrate with or create.

 

Differences between WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API

 

Let’s dive in a bit deeper into each aspect, as well as some that aren’t covered in the table above.

Designed for

The WhatsApp Business app is a standalone mobile app for small businesses that have fewer customer queries.

The WhatsApp Business API caters to the needs of large businesses that have support teams and handle high volumes of customer messages.

Team Inbox

It’s not possible to share your WhatsApp Business app and phone number with other team members easily. You can perhaps give them access via WhatsApp Web but they could get logged out.

WhatsApp API allows using a Shared Team Inbox, using software. This makes it very easy for your entire team to manage a WhatsApp number and all customer queries from one easy inbox.

Ticket Management

Even if you do manage to share the Business app’s access with some team members, there’s no way for you to know which team member is responding to which customer, whether customers have actually gotten a response and if their problem got resolved.

Whereas a WhatsApp customer support software using Official API, can help you keep track of each WhatsApp conversation, which team member is assigned to it, and when the customer query got resolved by closing the ticket.

Automated Replies

You can set basic auto-responders in the WhatsApp Business app, like a greeting message when a customer messages you for the first time. Or an away message for outside of business hours.

With WhatsApp API, software solutions can help you do this and much more. For example, you could set an automation rule that if the customer sends a message containing the word “refund”, you can automatically tag that conversation as [Urgent] and send a different auto-reply than a regular customer message.

WhatsApp Voice Call

You can initiate and receive WhatsApp calls on the Business app.

Right now, WhatsApp API does not support voice calling. But they might add support for it soon.

Cost

The Business App is completely free to use.

WhatsApp API pricing is on a per-conversation basis. Read our blog post to understand better.

Broadcasts

You can send broadcasts to a maximum of 256 recipients using the Business app. However, even there the message would only be delivered to those recipients that have saved your phone number.

With WhatsApp API, you can send broadcasts to up to 100,000 customers per day, even if the customer has not saved your phone number. This is possible using WhatsApp Marketing Software, that connects with the API.

Button Messages

You can only send regular text or media messages using the Business App.

WhatsApp API has a concept called message templates, which supports button type messages. Buttons can be of three types:

  1. CTA Button – Visit a website
  2. CTA Button – Call a phone number
  3. Quick Reply Buttons (up to 3 per message)

Chatbot

WhatsApp Business app does not allow you to create or use chatbot flows.

Since WhatsApp API can interface with external software, you can easily create chatbot flows.

Groups

A WhatsApp API number cannot be part of Groups, which is possible with a regular Business app number.

Automated Notifications

Using WhatsApp API, you can setup and send automated notifications to your customers such as:

  • Abandoned Cart Recovery
  • Order Confirmation
  • Order tracking
  • Cash on delivery verification

You could technically send these messages manually using the Business app, but it would take too much effort and cannot scale if your business grows.

FB Business Manager Verification

You need a verified Facebook Business Manager before applying for WhatsApp API access. No such requirement for the Business app.

Convert Business number to API number

It is possible to delete your whatsapp business app and convert the same number into a WhatsApp API number.

However, this is a one-time process and it cannot be reversed.

24-hour rule

In WhatsApp Business app, you can send and receive messages from customers at any time.

However, the API has a concept of 24 hour conversation blocks, where after 24 hours has expired, you can’t reply to the customer.

Compose New WhatsApp Message

With the Business app, you can easily compose and start a new WhatsApp chat with any customer if you have their phone number or their WhatsApp Click to Chat link.

With WhatsApp API, it’s not as straightforward. You would have to send a template message to initiate a conversation with the customer.

Can carrier calling and SMS be used on the WhatsApp number?

Yes, regular calls and SMS would work on the phone number that you use with both WhatsApp Business and API.

WhatsApp Catalog

Both the Business app and API support the WhatsApp’s new Catalog feature.

Features of the WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API

Is it worth adding WhatsApp to your overwhelming support toolkit? Definitely! WhatsApp comes up at the top of the list of messaging apps with over 2 billion active users. This is higher than Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

So being where your customers are, is always good for your business. Take a look at some of the benefits of using the WhatsApp Business app and the API for your ecommerce store.

 

WhatsApp Business App features that make 1-to-1 customer conversations easier

WhatsApp Business app is free to download and use. It is built with small business owners in mind.

The app lets you connect with your customers, showcase your products and services, and answer their questions throughout their shopping journey.

Here are 6 features of the WhatsApp Business app that make communication easier:

1. Business profile to help customers identify your store

Add a logo, a short description, and your business website to your business account so your customers can easily know who they’re talking to.

2. Display business hours so customers know when you’re active

Showing your business hours lets your customers know when you’re available for orders and customer service and when they may have to wait for a response on their query.

3. Show your product catalog to make browsing and ordering products easier

Set up a product catalog and allow customers to browse through your products and services. They can directly highlight a product and ask you to place an order for them. The payment can be completed through the use of the WhatsApp Pay feature within the business app.

4. Set automated welcome and away messages for instant responses to customers

WhatsApp Business app allows you to create a welcome message that is sent when a customer messages you for the first time. An away message can be set to be sent when a customer sends a query off the business hours.

5. Quick replies to answer repetitive questions easily

A lot of queries and responses are repetitive. With quick replies, you can save your common responses and quickly by using /<quick reply name>.

6. Labels to tag customers with for easier management

Tag customers who have paid, or have a pending payment, your regular customers, and more. Create custom tags to help you identify your customers and separate them into categories so you don’t send an irrelevant message to them.

WhatsApp Business API features that help you scale customer support

The WhatsApp Business API is a pay-per-use product for medium to large businesses. It integrates with your existing ecommerce customer support tools and allows your entire team to answer customer queries from a single WhatsApp Business number.

You can purchase an API subscription from a provider who makes it easy for you to get started.

Getting down to brass tacks, let’s look at the most important features of a WhatsApp Business API.

1. Business Profile with a potential verified green tick

Similar to the WhatsApp Business app, you can create a WhatsApp Business profile with the API. You can add details like your business name, description, and website to the business profile.

Additionally, API users can get a verified green tick. For this, you need to submit your business details to Facebook for verification. If you meet the verification criteria, your business profile picture starts displaying a green tick which helps your business profile stand out as credible to WhatsApp users.

An added benefit is that users can see your business name even if you aren’t in their contact list since Facebook has verified your Business.

2. Create chatbots and conversation flows

With the API, your developers can leverage NLPto respond to customer queries instantaneously. The automation capabilities are only limited to your imagination – think of any use-case that can benefit your business and you can create it through WhatsApp’s Business API with the help of a good developer.

Besides that, you can also create interactive chat bots that send messages with embedded buttons for common queries. This increases engagement with the bot, results in faster resolutions to customers, and reduces the workload of your customer support team.

3. Allow unlimited team members to support customers 

Once the API is integrated with a customer support tool, you’re no longer limited to how many users can use the account at a time. Create individual support accounts for each of your team members and allow them to answer customers without ever sharing the main account credentials.

4. Connect the API with your booking and POS systems

Provide instant order and payment confirmations on WhatsApp by integrating with your backend systems. You don’t need to be limited to email/SMS when most of your users are active & engaging on WhatsApp.

Because Facebook ensures that the API isn’t abused, customers aren’t going to be bombarded with spam messages from thousands of businesses and hence are more likely to respond/stay active.

FAQ

What is the difference between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business App is made for small businesses and WhatsApp Business API is made for medium to large businesses. You can easily integrate WhatsApp API with your application to enhance user interaction.

How do I setup WhatsApp Business App?

First, download the app from Playstore or App Store. Then register your business phone number. Setup your business profile with relevant information. Then, what are you waiting for!!! Start communicating with your customers. But, don’t forget to spam your customers. WhatsApp has strict policy for spamming.

How do I setup WhatsApp Business API?

You can setup WhatsApp Business API on your own or you can take help of third party API developer to setup WhatsApp Business API. You need WhatsApp Business Solution Provider to get access to WhatsApp. Then complete the verification of your documents. Then integrate the API with existing systems with the help of technical documentation. Configure message templates and automated response.

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