WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API: which one to choose?

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API: which one to choose?

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and the APIs of WhatsApp can help companies to improve customers’ experience and sell more through conversational commerce.
WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API: which one to choose?
Ilaria Carofiglio | Head of Growth
Ilaria Carofiglio | Head of Growth
November 20, 2023

To succeed in online sales, it is essential to create direct communication channels with customers and WhatsApp can be the right solution. Over the years, WhatsApp has become one of the most widely used messaging applications in the world and has developed specific tools for business users and companies.

In this guide, we will analyze the main features and differences between WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API. We will also see how this messaging application can be useful for conversational commerce, especially when used with artificial intelligence tools.

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, and WhatsApp Business API: Features and Differences

WhatsApp is used by 2.2 millions of monthly active users worldwide. The vast user base makes this app an excellent communication channel between companies and customers. Let's see the main differences between the classic version and the business versions. 


The first version of WhatsApp was developed for private customers. It is a free messaging application that allows communication through text messages and multimedia content (photos, videos, audio). Users can create groups to communicate with multiple people simultaneously without any difficulty.

For private customers using the basic version of WhatsApp, automation tools and data analysis tools are not available. Access to the basic messaging tools is free and no subscription or monthly payment is required.

Lately, the first version of WhatsApp has been enriched by features like “Whatsapp Community” and “Whatsapp Channels” available in selected countries. 

Communities on WhatsApp bring members together in topic-based groups. Anyone can create a WhatsApp community. You can create new topic-based groups or add existing WhatsApp groups. Community admins can reach members with important updates by sending announcements, and community members can stay connected by exploring and chatting in groups that matter to them. 

Channels on WhatsApp are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. To help you select channels to follow, we’re building a searchable directory where you can find your hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.

WhatsApp Business 

WhatsApp Business has been developed for freelancers and SME - small and medium businesses. This version includes all the messaging features available in the basic version, with the addition of tools specifically designed for business purposes.

With WhatsApp Business, you can use automation tools that make it easier to manage messages, multiple conversations and automated responses. The business version also provides tools for conversation and data analysis, from which valuable insights can be obtained, for example to optimize conversion rates

Furthermore, WhatsApp Business has “catalog” and “cart” functionality that can show up to 500 products with prices and pictures and automatically add them to a virtual cart. Customers can access their cart by tapping the cart icon in the catalog menu or in their message with the business and complete the order in a few clicks.

The basic version of WhatsApp Business is free, but the features of this application can be expanded by choosing to integrate WhatsApp Business APIs.

WhatsApp Business APIs

WhatsApp Business APIs have been developed for medium to large companies and enterprises, and are tools that can be integrated into the messaging app to enhance its performance and tailor it to business needs. APIs can be used, for example, to create a push notification system, integrate the messaging app with the eCommerce CRM, organize conversations more precisely, or provide timely support to customers.

Unlike the solely Messaging app and the basic WhatsApp Business version, the APIs are not free. The cost varies depending on the country and the size of the company subscribing to the service. Your investment will only include conversation-based pricing instead of individual messages. In this context, a conversation encompasses the entire 24-hour thread of messages between you and your prospective prospects or leads.

Moreover, you can enjoy the first 1000 conversations per month completely free of cost.

Usually, freelancers and small companies can manage professional messaging with the basic version of WhatsApp Business. Larger companies with a more integrated tech stack, and especially many more clients to manage, can benefit from using the APIs.

One of the first reasons that brings a company to switch from WhatsApp Business to WhatsApp Business API is the limit of people per broadcast list. In Whatsapp Business it is of 256 people per list, however, there's no limit to the number of broadcast lists you can create. In the API there is no maximum number of people per broadcast list but there are some tiers to follow to ensure a good quality ratings from customers and no spams. The first tier is capped at 1.000 messages a week, the second one at 10.000 a week and the third one at 100.000 a week. 

All these cost-related calculations can be avoided if you only use WhatsApp for inbound customer service conversations, which have little to no cost and no GDPR requirement since it’s the customer initiating the conversion. Indeed, WhatsApp API providers like TextYess mainly focus on customer shopping assistance from inbound conversations that is extremely easy anche cheap to implement.

Benefits of WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API for Businesses

WhatsApp Business and the APIs of this messaging application offer several advantages for businesses. Using WhatsApp Business provides an official communication channel with customers, who can use the app already installed on their smartphones to get in touch with the company from which they want to make online purchases.

Creating a business account also allows you to obtain the verification badge. This assures customers of the profile's reliability, reduces the risk of online scams and makes customers more inclined to purchase from the eCommerce platform.

To fully leverage the potential of the business version, you can integrate WhatsApp APIs. APIs are useful, first of all, to introduce this messaging tool within the eCommerce platform, achieving seamless integration with the website.

The APIs also help automate messages, improve the management of multiple conversations and increase customer satisfaction rates for those seeking chat support. For companies that sell in international markets, integrating multilingual support directly through WhatsApp chat is advantageous since the messaging app is available in most countries. TextYess AI solution for WhatsApp offers instant 24/7 chat support in many languages. The lack of a timely support is one of the main reasons why customers may not convert on the eCommerce platform.

Among the benefits of WhatsApp Business, there is also the ability to implement a push notification system. This allows you to alert customers about special initiatives, price changes, limited-time discounts and much more.

Conversational Commerce with WhatsApp and Artificial Intelligence

The interest in conversational commerce is growing among companies that sell online. This is a particular approach to online commerce that allows customers to make purchases directly via chat. As one of the world's most famous messaging apps, WhatsApp can be the first choice to introduce this approach into your eCommerce.

To harness the potential of artificial intelligence and enable customers to effortlessly make purchases through WhatsApp, you can use TextYess. TextYess is the AI shopping assistant on WhatsApp that uses artificial intelligence to have human conversations with customers and transforms the WhatsApp chat into a sales channel.

This shopping assistant has been listed among the best AI marketing tools that eCommerce should use to enhance the customer experience and increase sales. Companies like Balato, Manebì, Layla Cosmetics, TBD Eyewear… that have tested this AI shopping assistant have been very satisfied. The data collected so far shows a 25% chat conversion rate, with a very cost-effective solution for eCommerce. TextYess is the evolution of traditional chatbots and ensures personalized, real-time conversations with multilingual support and brings the use of WhatsApp to its maximum potential at an affordable price and with ease.

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and WhatsApp Business API

These are just the key details about WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business and the APIs of this messaging application. Compare the available alternatives, choose which one might be more effective for your business and join the revolution of conversational commerce with an AI shopping assistant on WhatsApp!