WhatsApp Vs PhonePe war is dead 🔴
487 million users on WhatsApp & only 0.05% UPI market share.
Meta is a beast.
So are Facebook & WhatsApp in their respective domains.
Quick back story
2018, WhatsApp Pay was launched in India. With a user base of 487 million users, launching peer-to-peer payments seemed the only next obvious step. But 4 years into this & the product hasn’t really found a place.
So how come WhatsApp pay failed in India?
First, discoverability 📶
Think about the last time you wanted to send money to someone.
What came first? Your bank app? PhonePe? PayTm? GPay? WhatsApp’s two core discoverability problems ☹️
Discoverability on the app
The discovery on the app was something like this. A rupee symbol beside a text & payment option embedded inside a chat is terrible when you have an urgency to pay.
Awareness about payment features outside the app
Similarly, it’s quite dead on awareness outside the app for to someone who uses WhatsApp to send messages/files & have status images (who are majority of WhatsApp base in India).
The only push WhatsApp did was when they launched payments, but it's evident that it wasn’t enough.
Second, Bureaucratic roadblocks 🗂
WhatsApp had a hard time getting through NCPI in India, period. The brand started with 20 million users on payment feature rollout & slowly moved the cap to 40 million users in Nov’21. The strict regulation comes from NCPI’s fear over localised data storage regulations.
Third, user trust ❤️
Facebook’s reputation when it comes to users’ privacy and data is pretty bad, which is why Indian users were incredibility apprehensive in using WhatsApp for payments. It’s a sentiment widely talked about by some of WhatsApp’s core users.
So what could potentially unlock market share for WhatsApp pay?
There are multiple schools of thought. Some hint towards building a cashback product → some hinting to the new limit of 100 million users for WhatsApp pay to serve Indian users. But, the most important theme to fix for WhatsApp could be summarised in these three pointers.
1. Fix the discovery → Get a freaking icon on the homepage of WhatsApp
2. Fix the start to payment flow → Make it only a single screen UI to pay.
3. Solve for merchant store front visibility → It’s effectively non-existent right now.
That’s all for now ❤️
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