Plenty of small businesses use WhatsApp to market and sell. So much so that WhatsApp is already testing its own WhatsApp Yellow Pages to help users find nearby businesses. In this article, we’ll introduce you to this new feature called WhatsApp business directory. We’ll also show you how to register your business and how customers use it to find your business on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Reinvents Yellow Pages: What is the WhatsApp Business Directory?
Business directory is a WhatsApp feature that emulates the Yellow Pages, allowing users to search registered WhatsApp businesses near them directly from the app.
Companies with WhatsApp Business App accounts can register on the directory from the app itself. This way, WhatsApp users within certain proximity are able to find their profiles, view their business information, and interact with them.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to this feature yet. The WhatsApp business directory is only being tested among companies in São Paulo, Brazil.
This is not the first time this country has had firsthand access to a new WhatsApp feature. As one of the biggest contributors to WhatsApp’s userbase, Brazil was also chosen as one of the first countries to test WhatsApp in-app payments in the past.
For now, the business directory is only available for the WhatsApp Business App on Android devices. However, WhatsApp has announced that they intend to release it for the WhatsApp Business App on iOS and WhatsApp Business API in the future.
This feature comes with interesting benefits for businesses, which we'll explain in the next section.
WhatsApp Yellow Pages: Why Use the WhatsApp Business Directory
Here are some reasons why the WhatsApp business directory looks like a promising new addition for companies that use WhatsApp:
- It’s free. Small businesses don’t always have the budget for advertising campaigns. The WhatsApp business directory is an easy way of promoting a business without spending money on ads.
- It allows small businesses to compete. Small and large businesses have equal opportunities to attract customers' attention as currently there are no paid features large businesses can take advantage of.
- Captures local customers, as these are essential for small businesses. In areas where WhatsApp is a popular messaging app, this feature has the potential to connect customers to businesses that would otherwise remain unnoticed.
Now you might be wondering how to register your business on the WhatsApp business directory. We walk you through the requirements and the step-by-step process in the next section.
WhatsApp Yellow Pages: How to Register on WhatsApp Business Directory
To register on the WhatsApp business directory, you’ll need the following things:
- A business incorporated in Brazil’s National Registry of Legal Entities
- A WhatsApp Business account with a phone number starting with +55 11 (São Paulo prefix)
- A phone device with Android OS
If you meet the prerequisites, open WhatsApp Business App and follow these steps:
1. Tap on the triple dots and select Business Tools.
2. Select Business Directory at the bottom.
3. Tap Get Started, read the steps and tap Next.
4. Edit your business profile and tap Next. Remember to set the privacy setting to Everyone for your Profile Picture. WhatsApp has made all of the profile fields compulsory, and the information submitted will be visible to all WhatsApp users.
5. Enter a valid CNPJ (Brazilian Tax ID) and submit your application.
After submitting your business info, you’ll receive a WhatsApp notification indicating that your application for the WhatsApp Yellow Pages is being reviewed.
Once the assessment is complete, you’ll receive a notification informing you if the application has been successful, if more information is required, or if it has been rejected. If your application is successful, your business will be immediately indexed and made visible to customers.
Businesses that violate WhatsApp Business’ Terms of Service or the WhatsApp Commerce Policy will get their submissions rejected. WhatsApp reserves the right to take action against these Business accounts but users will have the option to file a dispute.
But, what about the users? How can they find your business on WhatsApp? Next, we’ll share the process of searching for businesses nearby with the WhatsApp business directory.
WhatsApp Yellow Pages: How Users Find a Business in the WhatsApp Business Directory
On the user’s end, they can search for businesses nearby directly with the WhatsApp app. From the Chats menu, these are the steps they need to follow to find businesses in the directory.
1. Tap on the text chat button on the bottom right of the screen.
2. Select Businesses nearby.
3. Decide between the following options:
- Share your current location. To protect the privacy of its users, WhatsApp claims that neither WhatsApp nor businesses in the directory will be able to know their locations.
- Select a neighborhood. Picking a neighborhood from a list is the best choice for users who don’t want to share their location, as well as for users who aren’t looking for a business in their vicinity.
4. Choose a business category.
5. Select a business from the list.
Businesses listed in the directory will display the following information: Profile image, availability (open/closed) based on business hours, estimated distance from the user’s location, business subcategory and address.
To filter search results, users just have to scroll down to the Refine Results section located at the bottom of the Nearby Businesses list. There, they can choose a business subcategory and then tap on the X button to stop using it as a filter.
We’ve covered most aspects of the WhatsApp business directory for both business owners and users alike. However, you probably want to know the following information to have the best experience using this WhatsApp feature.
WhatsApp Yellow Pages: 3 Common Questions Answered
In this section, we’ll give the answer to some common questions that may arise when using the WhatsApp business directory.
How do I unregister my business from the WhatsApp Business Directory?
To unregister your business from the WhatsApp business directory, simply open the WhatsApp Business App and navigate to Business Directory again. Then, tap More Options > Remove from directory.
How do I change or stop using my location as a user?
Please note that the users’ location won’t be tracked in real-time. Instead, the location data will be saved on their phones and updated every time the location is manually changed again.
To change your location, you’ll need to reset it first. Tap the location on the Businesses Nearby screen. Then select More options > Clear location > CLEAR. Now you’ll be able to update your current phone location or select a neighborhood again.
To stop sharing your location, open Settings on your phone device. Then, select Location > App access to location > WhatsApp > Deny.
How can users interact with WhatsApp businesses listed in the directory?
After selecting a business from the directory, WhatsApp users are able to access more in-detail business information or carry out the following actions.
- Start a conversation. The business will receive a notification informing them that you have found them using the WhatsApp Business Nearby feature.
- Call the business via WhatsApp Calls
- View the business’ products and pricing through WhatsApp Catalog
- Send the business profile to contacts in the user’s WhatsApp contact list
That’s all you need to know to get started with this exciting WhatsApp feature. But there is still one question left to answer — what is the bigger plan behind the WhatsApp business directory?
WhatsApp Yellow Pages: What’s Next?
From the beginning, WhatsApp made clear that it wouldn’t profit from in-app advertising. For this reason, the company is looking for alternative ways to generate profit from its massive userbase.
The WhatsApp business directory is one of WhatsApp’s attempts to pivot towards e-shopping, as it was designed to work in conjunction with WhatsApp Pay, WhatsApp Catalog and WhatsApp Shopping Cart for a holistic in-app shopping experience.
Messaging apps such as WeChat or Line are already being used as payment methods, especially in Asian countries. Only time will tell if WhatsApp will be able to consolidate itself as a popular shopping and payment platform.
Want to know more about other WhatsApp features? Here are some readings that might interest you.