Apple has upgraded its messaging app iMessage—and the app has now been integrated with a new Business Chat feature. It means iMessage no longer serves the purpose of letting you chat with your friends, it also serves as a business chat app for brands.
The Business Chat feature is a part of version 11.3 update of iOS that was recently released. The feature made its debut during last the 2017 WWDC when it was previewed. It [Business Chat] allows you to message companies in iMessage same way Facebook users chat with businesses on Messenger.
Business Chat as a feature could spark some massive competition with Facebook, and could present users a huge opportunity to interact with brands. The feature, according to Mashable, is still only available to users in the US and Canada.
Already, some businesses have already been penciled down as early participants of the new feature. Among such companies include Home Depot, Marriot, and Wells Fargo. The option to chat with businesses will show up for participating businesses as soon as you search for them on Maps, Safari, or Spotlight Search on your iPhone, Mashable reports.
Although Facebook has the edge when it comes to how long it has been doing this on Messenger, the fact that it is battling hard to retain the trust of its users over a recent data issue gives Apple a glimmer of hope. Apple and iMessage may not have the mammoth user base that Facebook and Messenger enjoy at the moment, but it will be a wrong move to underestimate the former in terms of catching up.
Business Chat on iMessage allows you to ask for information, schedule appointments, and make purchases all within the app either on your iPhone or iPad.
In terms of payment, recall that Apple Pay is already a part of iMessage. As a matter of fact, users can send and receive money via Apple Pay on iMessage. Aside from being able to send and receive money on the chat app, you will also be able to spend the balance via a virtual Apple Pay card.
Apple Pay in iMessage will basically allow you to request payment with your contact with a single tap. Most importantly, the new feature will show up a notification when someone says “you owe me $10” and will automatically prompt you to pay your debt.
Apple integrated Apple Pay into iMessage apparently in response to Facebook’s partnership with PayPal in 2016. Facebook’s partnership with PayPal allows users to easily link their PayPal and Messenger accounts. Users will also be able to receive payment alerts directly within the Messenger app.
With Apple launching Business Chat for iMessage, the picture becomes clearer—the Cupertino-based company clearly has Facebook within reach. Competition could be good, especially for consumers and all industry watchers.