WhatsApp's UPI based P2P payments feature will give greater momentum to the digital payments revolution

By going the UPI route, WhatsApp will seemingly avoid the regulatory hassles involved with setting up a payments bank or digital wallet.

With WhatsApp deciding to launch its own UPI-based P2P payments feature, the digital payments revolution in the country is guaranteed to gain greater momentum. Entering an already competitive space, WhatsApp will begin with an advantage of targeting its over 200 million monthly active user base with this new feature.

A 3D printed Whatsapp logo. Reuters

A 3D printed Whatsapp logo. Reuters

While it is likely to offer users another convenient and easy-to-use payment option right off their smartphones, data security will remain a key concern in a generally cautious market. By going the UPI route, WhatsApp will seemingly avoid the regulatory hassles involved with setting up a payments bank or digital wallet.

The impending payments feature will embed greater utility in WhatsApp, making it more than just a major instant messaging communication platform. This sort of innovation aimed at delivering multi-purpose value for users will encourage them to launch WhatsApp more often, spend more time within the app, and increase overall user engagement and retention — provided of course that the entire user experience is satisfactory.

WhatsApp will need to err on the side of caution and ensure that it addresses all online payment related risks adequately before launching this feature commercially. Also, it needs to ensure that early adopters of this feature kickstart a wave of positive sentiment as word-of-mouth becomes a powerful motivator for such products and features.

 Whatsapp. Reuters

Whatsapp. Reuters

Keeping in line with what WhatsApp is attempting to do, mobile apps today have to think beyond what users need and want. Set in this backdrop, the next wave of disruption in the app world will come on the back of cutting-edge technological development.

Greater use of data captured from users’ location sharing, can be leveraged to drive hyper-personalized, contextual, and meaningful omni-channel engagement campaigns by apps in the retail, fashion, travel, health, and food delivery space. Couple this with a robust digital payments backbone, and life becomes exponentially easier for users, especially in better-connected metropolitan regions.

The advent and growing popularity of the smart wearables market — touted to be worth over $34 billion by 2020 — is likely to spawn the rapid growth of apps in the health, fitness, sports, apparel, and travel industries. The rise of AI/VR creates scope for app businesses in the fashion, media, entertainment, gaming, and social engagement sectors.

The idea is to offer engaging, interactive and immersive user experiences. Apps revolving around the Internet of Things (IoT) — particularly in the home automation space — must aim to be the sole touchpoint across devices and platforms. The objective must be to better understand end user personas and behavioral trends, so as to engineer the most satisfactory user experience.

To remain one step ahead of competition, apps are now beginning to leverage the power of data-driven mobile marketing and predictive analysis to suitably identify, segment, target, and engage with their users. Gone are the days when decision-making could be based on mere quantum of data.

The WhatsApp app logo. Reuters

The WhatsApp app logo. Reuters

User loyalty is often fickle in an already fragmented and competitive market. Aimlessly pitching price discounts in the hope of bringing users back to the app is not the way forward. Sooner or later, users are smart enough to see through this ruse and may choose to abandon the app.

App businesses need to empower themselves with concrete actionable insights that can help shape the future of their data-driven marketing efforts. The golden rule still remains the same, apps that effectively create, deliver, and communicate value to their users are likely to succeed.

 The author is the Marketing Manager of CleverTap which is a SaaS-based behavioral analytics company based in Sunnyvale, California.

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