The rise of whatsapp in services
Since the development of whatsapp early 2009 we have not seen many new products and services build on top of whatsapp. The product it self disrupted the messaging market
But they seem to have neglected the value it has in other secors. Offcourse in the core, the main focus was freeing the consumers from paying for messaging so we could communicate all day long.And all it need was 3g, end to end encryption and a smartphone. Then Facebook happened, they bought it for a lousy 19 bln. 2 years later on the otherside of the world, a company named Tencent created Wechat.
Did you know that Wechat connected 580.000 mini programs inside the app
Wechat started offcourse with messaging but they have transformed in to a platform that services 1 billion people. Wechat is a perfect example of a product that transformed in to a company with a killer api strategy. From subscription to service accounts wechat is a fullscale platform that works together with third party api’s. This allows users to build and deploy their own applications on top of the platform. They have a great open ecosystem in which they users can onboard their own services. A small sidestep, One whatsapp Dutch service example i like is mailbook, from Bram Kanstein. Its service to easy collect addresses from friends and family for when you want to send a card or an invitation.
But with wechat we can do so much more.
- financial services
2. doctor appointments
3. public transportation
5. loyalty program
6. search engine
Suddenly an messaging app becomes more than just sending information, becomes a “verb” and could be anything hidden inside a message. (just like , lets google it)This allows us consumers to distribute information,transactions, conversation in a whole different level. It also means that corporations can communicate different with each other. Its API communicating with each other, developers become the sales persons, consumers become the products and that value we create for the company is data.
To make it even more simple, we can send information, retrieve information, purchase information, sell information in a blink of an eye.
Lets dive in to conversational commerce, the world around social messaging is changing. E commerce is the one area that moves fast enough to adapt. We need to understand these concepts better to ideate on them. Trends like: chatbots, whatsapp, api economy, chatbots.
Multi platform strategy within wechat?
Lets remove the marketing layer of Wechat and take a look at the functional layer of the platform. It offers, public api, private api’s, but even more it has on killer multi platform strategy. Just reading in to books like “platform revolution” is a great start, but it just touches the surface. It is the what, but not the how. Going in depth you will find something interesting. Tencent had multiple companies working together and leveraging the networkeffects from each other. Meaning all entities are used for leveraging each other assets and capabilities. For reading more material, this is a paper i have found.
What is the impact using different distribution channels for organisations? Organisations need to work with the eco-system
We accept external communications like email, messaging as a distribution channel to provide add services. Like payments, investments, insurers etc. In payments we will pay for everything via whatsapp. We are used of sending payments and receiving payments. But it could also be a reverse payment, I authorize you to retrieve money from me.
The mindset change should be in changing the objective from payments etc in to 64bit message that could contain a package that has a program designed to do something specific that could be anything. From onboarding, updating information, sending transaction, doing an investment, learning module etc. Having a great API strategy in place with a focus on public and private modules. Which parts of the company should be open and which parts should be private. Which parts can we open so others can build stuff upon your data.
Designing an eco-system or let the eco-system build itself with whatsapp or messenger
You can always pick us up ;), very simple. Send us the link and deport us in the secure location where you want us to be. This is something the future could be, you send a message in whatsapp to uber, saying pick me up. Then the api receive the call to action and knows what to send to the first driver.
Last but not least, what could this mean for financial services.
We started offcourse with adding whatsapp to our communication channels. Banks will have to play with this and because of PSD2 (Payment Service Directive) they will start to create different services. Also because it allows them internally to go outside their own systems. Let others build new services on top of their Api’s. Couple of ideas to tickle your minds:
Investing for groups , p2p Payments , Onboarding new customers, Surveys, Video calling, Sharing documents, buying products on e-commerce, Share risk and onboarding capabilities and many more.
In my next two blogs I will touch upon the growth strategies that Wechat uses and how financial firms can build an investment product by using whatsapp as their eco-system orchestrator