Indian WhatsApp plans for 2021
Last month, WhatsApp India received the green light from the NPCI to be uploaded to the UPI network in the multi-bank model
The company also launched a “Shopping” button as well as a “Shopping Carts” feature on its WhatsApp Business app to facilitate e-commerce transactions through the platform.
WhatsApp’s partnership with JioMart is expected to intensify in 2021, while the platform’s use for social commerce and resale is also expected to increase in the new year.
For the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging platform, which has 2 billion users worldwide, India is the largest and most influential market, with over 400 million users. It is only natural that the company seeks to expand its user base in the country by deploying products and services tailored to the Indian market.
To this end, the company has launched several products around the world and in India this year, while some, long in limbo, have received the green light from Indian regulators.
Among these is WhatsApp’s digital payment app, WhatsApp Payments (WhatsApp Pay), which the company had been beta testing for two years pending approval. Last month, WhatsApp Pay received the green light from NPCI to go live on the UPI network in the multi-bank model. However, to avoid the overload of the UPI infrastructure, WhatsApp Pay was allowed to onboard 20 million users for initial purposes. However, it is not clear how long this limit on the app user base in India will apply.
At the same time, the company launched a “Shopping” button, which looks like a storefront and is visible to WhatsApp Business accounts that have a product catalog. If a user, while chatting with a business account, sees the “Shopping” button, then it is understood that the business has a product catalog.
Earlier this month, the company also launched a new feature “Trolleys”, allowing users to select multiple items to purchase from the product catalog of WhatsApp Business accounts and send the chosen entries as a message to the business.
While the focus in the new year will be on expanding its recently launched offerings in India, WhatsApp also plans to roll out more products and services to meet the needs of its Indian customers.
Below, we take a look at what to expect from WhatsApp in India in 2021.
Digital loan and insurance
In July, Abhijit Bose, Director of WhatsApp in India said the company will partner with banks and financial institutions for the expansion of banking services in rural areas. To ensure people’s access to financial services such as insurance, microcredit and retirement, the platform owned by Facebook Inc also planned to pilot certain products and services, Bose said at Global Fintech Fest.
WhatsApp Pay has so far partnered with five Indian banks namely State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Jio Payments Bank. Meanwhile, the Bengaluru-based fintech app ZestMoney is already leveraging the reach of WhatsApp to make it easier for new users to sign up, also helping customers know their credit limit for IMEs that don’t require that l user has a credit card, debit card, or credit score.
“We now want to open up to more banks… in the coming year to help simplify and expand banking services, especially to rural and low-income segments… financial services, starting with micro-pensions and insurance, ”Bose said in July.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp Global Director Will Cathcart reiterated the company’s commitment to Bose’s plans. “We work in partnership with banks and financial institutions so that people can get help and services without going to a local branch. Even though WhatsApp has become a way for hundreds of millions of people in India to communicate, we believe we are just getting started. “
WhatsApp-JioMart partnership and expansion of social commerce
WhatsApp and JioMart, Reliance’s online grocery store, have limited integration in place. Users can send a “Hi” message to a phone number for JioMart, after which a chat with the store’s virtual assistant would be initiated. Thanks to this chat, you can follow the status of your orders and make an item or requests related to reimbursement.
It has been reported that at some point in the future, JioMart could become a “mini-app” on WhatsApp. If such a partnership materializes, it would be a conspicuous win-win for both. For JioMart, this would allow the company to access the more than 400 million WhatsApp users in India.
For WhatsApp, users shopping through its platform would mean an opportunity to increase payments through its new payment app WhatsApp Pay. WhatsApp Business is already facilitating the social commerce model for several Indian startups that aim to leverage the community-driven resale model to gain sales.
Several Indian e-commerce startups are leveraging the reach of WhatsApp to realize their social commerce ambitions. For example, Jaipur-based online grocery startup DealShare has reportedly created more than 100 WhatsApp groups with 15,000 customers to notify them of deals and offers.
Another startup, based in Bengaluru Meesho also relies heavily on WhatsApp to fuel its resale model. The company allows individuals to set up their retail business without any investment. A user can register as a seller on Meesho, browse their product catalog and order the products from Meesho wholesalers, for which the individual feels there is demand within their social network.
The user can add a markup to the prices of these products and sell them to interested buyers. Social commerce and reselling work because in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well as rural areas, there may be some mistrust when buying from online retailers. On the other hand, online sales can increase if the purchase is made through a friend or acquaintance of the buyer, who is responsible for reselling the products.
Meesho resellers mainly chat with their customers through WhatsApp Business accounts, where they can use automated messages and product catalogs to ensure a smooth customer experience.
WhatsApp Business to grow in India
In July, WhatsApp claimed that there were 50 million WhatsApp Business accounts worldwide, of which 15 million were in India. The company has announced plans to provide businesses with QR codes. QR codes can be displayed on a business storefront or on the sales receipt and packaging material. Instead of having to register a business number and then start a chat, users can simply scan the QR code to start a WhatsApp chat with the business. Last year, the company introduced the catalog feature for WhatsApp Business, allowing businesses to showcase the products or services they offer.
In the future, WhatsApp plans to expand the offers it offers through WhatsApp Business. The company is looking to offer businesses the ability to manage their WhatsApp messages through the hosting services that Facebook plans to offer.
“This will make it easier for small and medium businesses to start up, sell products, keep their inventory up to date and respond quickly to messages they receive, no matter where their employees are,” WhatsApp said.
The company plans to expand its partnerships with business solution providers and will charge WhatsApp Business users if they choose to take advantage of these advanced services.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp also competes with Indian foodtech unicorns Zomato and Swiggy as a channel to place direct orders from restaurants. For restaurants that object to the 20% commission charged by Zomato and Swiggy for per-order delivery charges, WhatsApp is giving them an alternative, as well as a way to grow their D2C revenue channels. The arrival of WhatsApp Pay would further end restaurants’ reliance on aggregators for payment options. However, the possibility of reducing delivery costs using WhatsApp Business depends on whether last mile logistics solution providers such as Dunzo, Shadowfax and Delhivery can provide a better deal at these restaurants.
a Inc42 More story from last month, titled, “WhatsApp Payments – A House of Cards or a Monster in the Making?Contains an analysis of the company’s ambitions for fintech and e-commerce in India.