WhatsApp has clearly become a go-to channel for businesses to communicate with customers. From promoting their new deals, discounts and products, to taking orders, businesses can be using WhatsApp for various purposes. But the approach they take to managing WhatsApp as a marketing and sales channel, and the ability to scale the same as business grows, depends on the type of WhatsApp account they have.
Since WhatsApp caters to a wide target audience, they have different account types to offer - which can often be confusing when you’re getting started with WhatsApp marketing.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the different types of WhatsApp accounts and how to choose the right one.
Types of WhatsApp accounts available to users
Whether you’re an individual selling custom products, a small business or an enterprise company using WhatsApp as a marketing and sales channel, here are the different types of WhatsApp accounts you need to know about:
1. Personal WhatsApp account
This is the regular WhatsApp account that is used by individuals for day-to-day communication with their friends and family. The account is absolutely free to operate and can be used extensively by the user, but does not come with any features that enable automation or the ability to showcase products in the profile.
While some businesses use the personal WhatsApp account to initially get started, everything is manual. For instance, adding customers to their contact list, creating groups, sharing product information or replying to the incoming messages; everything gets handled manually and can be time-consuming.
2. WhatsApp Business account
This type of WhatsApp account was launched by the messaging platform in 2018 to cater to the needs of small businesses. Their goal was to help business owners keep their personal and business conversations separate, and manage chats more methodically.
A WhatsApp Business account comes with more features like the ability to set up a business profile - logo, description, address, website links, catalog and more. It also comes with the ability to set up quick replies to commonly asked questions and set up away messages, introducing small businesses to some forms of WhatsApp automation.
3. WhatsApp Business API account
Now the WhatsApp Business API account is what introduces businesses to using the messaging platform like marketing and sales channel. While it requires the business to apply for access, comply with certain policies and work with a solution provider like QuickReply.ai, it opens doors to using more advanced features of WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Business API allows businesses to set up advanced automation workflows for broadcasts, customer engagement, customer retention, transactional messages, shipping notifications and more. It basically lets businesses of large scale use WhatsApp in a much similar manner as emails.
Here’s summarizing the difference between the three types of WhatsApp accounts:
How to choose the right type of WhatsApp account for your business?
As you can gather, WhatsApp has introduced multiple types of accounts to cater to different audience segments. They understand that all businesses may not be at the same stage of using their messaging platform to sell - so while your start could be from the personal WhatsApp account, you get access to the most advanced features when using the WhatsApp Business API.
But let’s take a look at the parameters on the basis of which you should be making the decision for your starting point:
1. Consider your business size
If you’re an individual who sells a product or two every month, taking orders on your personal account can be a good starting point. But if you take in requests proactively during the month, we recommend using the WhatsApp Business account to keep your personal and professional chats well segregated. As soon as you start catering to a wider or larger customer base, we recommend using the WhatsApp Business API.
2. Number of users required to manage WhatsApp
A personal WhatsApp account is exactly that; it can be used by a single user only on one phone and one connected device at a time. If you want to add multiple users to manage customer conversations, using the WhatsApp Business account lets you use up to four linked devices and one phone number at a time, and the WhatsApp Business API lets you add even more by creating a Shared Inbox.
Recommended read: WhatsApp Business Multiple Users - Business App Vs WhatsApp Business API
3. Take into account the pricing
The WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business app is free to use. But the WhatsApp Business API is charged per conversation based on the template you’re making use of, and the solution provider you’re setting up campaigns through.
4. Consider the automations required
Based on what you’re using WhatsApp for - customer support, sales or marketing, you may require setting up automations to manage conversations and offer a good turnaround time to buyers. A personal WhatsApp account has no automations to offer and the Business account only lets you automate a few quick replies and away messages. The most suited type of WhatsApp account to set up automations is the WhatsApp Business API.
Recommended read: WhatsApp Business vs WhatsApp Business API - Which is Best for your Business?
5. Managing orders
If you’re taking orders on WhatsApp, the best suited type of WhatsApp account is the Business API. This is because with a solution provider like QuickReply.ai, you can integrate the WhatsApp Business API with your online store. This helps you sync customer and order data in real-time, keeping track of sales and revenue from the channel more accurately.
6. Scaling plans
It is important to note that you can always upgrade from a personal account to a business account, and then to a WhatsApp Business API account. But you cannot downgrade in the reverse order. For instance, if you want to switch from API to Business account, you will need to delete your account and register all over again.
Simply put, if you are looking at using WhatsApp proactively as a marketing and sales channel, we recommend setting up a WhatsApp Business API account.
With WhatsApp marketing tools like QuickReply.ai, getting started with the WhatsApp Business API is easy. Right from the point of registration to setting up the business profile, WhatsApp catalog, WhatsApp automations and more, to sending broadcast campaigns, we take care of it all to ensure you get to sell on WhatsApp with ease.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use WhatsApp API and WhatsApp Business on the same number?
No, you cannot use the same phone number for a personal account and WhatsApp Business. If you register the phone number for a WhatsApp business account, your personal account automatically gets converted into a business profile.
Can I have 2 WhatsApp Business accounts?
WhatsApp does not let you use the same number for both personal and business apps at the same time. Although, you can register two separate numbers to create multiple WhatsApp Business accounts that are used on different devices.
Is WhatsApp Business API free?
The WhatsApp API itself is free but messages are charged per conversation session, based on the WhatsApp templates you make use of for campaigns. In this case, working with a WhatsApp marketing solution like QuickReply.ai can help you keep your spends optimized for higher returns.
Can we use WhatsApp Business API without BSP?
The Cloud API hosted by Meta is open to businesses of any size. You can choose to access the Cloud API service directly from Meta, but it can take extensive in-house developer resources to start using WhatsApp automations. A better approach is to get started with a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) like QuickReply.ai that offers an easy-to-use interface like email marketing tools to get started with selling on the messaging platform.
Which is the best WhatsApp marketing tool for eCommerce?
There are several WhatsApp marketing tools available to online businesses. QuickReply.ai is one of the best WhatsApp business providers as it is built exclusively for eCommerce businesses, and comes with 40+ customizable workflows to help optimize WhatsApp marketing for more sales.