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WhatsApp Pay is evolution of the platform, not a superapp, says Sinch COO

Sinch’s new business COO, Marcia Asano, believes that the arrival of WhatsApp Pay for commercial transactions (P2M) is part of an evolutionary step for the app. Speaking to Mobile Time, the executive stated that it is not possible to compare Meta’s messaging app with the current superapp concept on the market, which was created by WeChat.

For Asano, the Chinese messaging app is more like a hub with several apps inside, including payment apps. On the other hand, WhatsApp “is fluid” and tries to bring most of its functionality to the chat window, that is, in a single environment.

An example of the platform’s potential is in India. The COO recalled that there are several use cases of WhatsApp Pay after two years of use in the country, including large utility companies and finance, which shows the potential of the platform.

“WhatsApp Pay P2M is disruptive. The market it will unlock is much bigger than messaging. This is because it guarantees conversion and makes the channel effective”, he predicts. “In previous shopping experiences on WhatsApp, but without WhatsApp Pay to complete the payment, the loss of sale was the main obstacle that occurred when the user had to leave the messaging app to complete the payment. It was a truncated experience, but there was always potential,” he adds.

It is important to say, WhatsApp Pay P2M in Brazil will be released only to small and medium entrepreneurs using the WhatsApp Business app (Android, iOS). An API is with Meta Business Partners (BSP) like Sinch.

Having tested WhatsApp’s payment features for eight months, Asano reported that WhatsApp Pay is actually “an improvement in the app”. But he doesn’t see a comparison with e-commerce, for example: “The design thinking of WhatsApp Pay is to think about the conversation experience. The intention is not to turn WhatsApp into an e-commerce. The (emerging) solutions always maintain simplicity and a usage pattern. Meta wants to prevent the app from getting complicated,” he adds.

experiences and challenges

Rodrigo Batella, head of finance and payments at TakeBlip, when he joined the company in 2021 (credit: disclosure)

However, Rodrigo Batella, head of TakeBlip’s finance and payments division, predicts that companies will be able to cross more messaging channels with commercial channels. One example that might happen is combining ERP information with customer service to offer products in new, enriched formats, such as catalogs and supplements.

On the other hand, the executive does not see major changes in the platform for the consumer, as the messenger is easy to use and has empirical knowledge of the population: “The big context is that you don’t need to explain what WhatsApp is. You won’t need to download a guide to explain how you pay or use the catalog. In commerce, there is the possibility of using payment as a complement to messages and voice, and the purchase will be intuitive. It changes a little for the user,” he adds.

Batella also expects WhatsApp Pay P2M to be rolled out to large companies. According to him, the entry of large companies can serve to attract the public more. But for this, support from the participants in the payment ecosystem that are on the Meta platform is also necessary.

“My view is that the distribution of WhatsApp Pay will be massive. The main point comes from the purchase. Since there are big banks behind the buyers, these two sectors will have an exponential mass in the media, in open channels or direct media”, he says.

“Big corporates will be the anchors, but this will be a parallel move (of WhatsApp Pay for SMEs). They are the anchors that give more stability, security and accountability to WhatsApp Pay. It is difficult to have a closed movement. It is enough to see that Meta has made agreements with buyers and brands”, he adds.

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