BookMyShow has become the first operator in India to roll out messaging service WhatsApp’s business beta testing services.
BookMyShow will now send its users confirmation messages on WhatsApp when they book any tickets.
WhatsApp has one billion daily active users, sending more than 55 billion messages per day in over 60 languages. India boasts more than 200 million daily WhatsApp users.
A BookMyShow source told the FactoryDaily website: “(We are) not piloting — we have integrated with WhatsApp for sending confirmation… and in more than (one) way… The conversations are on various fronts.”
WhatsApp’s business platform verifies accounts with a green badge, much like Twitter already does with the blue tick. The messaging company is also now reportedly looking at its opportunities for processing payments and commerce through its app.
“WhatsApp will also let you know when you start talking to a business via yellow messages inside a chat. There is no way to delete these messages from the chat,” the messaging platform’s FAQs page reads. “If you don’t have a business’s phone number saved in your address book, the name you will see is the name the business has chosen for themselves.”
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in July gave approval to WhatsApp to allow its users to make payments from within its platform using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
As of today, it is not clear how this will interact with WhatsApp for Business, but users would potentially be able to pay for a movie ticket, airline ticket, hotel room, taxi, much like a mobile wallet or payment apps already do today.
WhatsApp is also in talks with Indian companies such as Uber’s local rival Ola, as well as hotel room aggregator OYO and some airline companies.
However, one of WhatsApp’s most attractive features is its end-to-end encryption that may need to be removed if transactions are conducted over the app.
“We can’t comment on exactly how will it play out, as we are still working on that,” Alan Kao, software engineer at WhatsApp, told FactorDaily recently. “We had to reshape a lot of our thinking because of end-to-end encryption. Our philosophy of how we built products had to change.”
Image: Sam Azgor