At it's core, an app is supposed to help you get something done, as easily as possible. But with threats of data sharing with other companies, of lengthy sign up processes, and not to forget large app sizes and restricted availability in cases, are apps really as easy as they could be?
Taking a step back to what the world was before apps. If you wanted to shop, you went to the shop and asked for what you wanted. If you wanted to order in, you called the restaurant and asked for what you wanted. If you were booking a hotel, you called the hotel to ask for availability and booked.
We'd go as far as to say that this interaction, where two parties exchange information in a conversational manner, is what makes us humans, Human. With a surge of people feeling a sense of loneliness and depression from over exposure and usage of technology, conversation, is making a grand return.
A case in point is the rise and eventual out performance in terms of monthly active users of the big 4 Chat Apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) against the big 4 Social Media Apps (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter). To converse, is natural.
The above presents a limited case of how humans prefer chat. This coupled with the fact that everything can be done on chat makes it an extremely exciting space to be in.
We explore what three of India's Unicorns could look like if they were build on top of WhatsApp (India's most popular Chat Application) as Chat Bots.
OYO, Swiggy, The Rest
We'd explain how these apps would work when built onto WhatsApp, but the reality is, that they would in fact be much the same! There are several bells and whistles that each business can add to tweak their experience on this chat app. For example, Swiggy can ask their drivers to share "Live Location" (Order Tracking) with the customers and OYO may also share the hotels location as a map. A simple translate API could also make your entire database multilingual, something that companies such as Amazon has spent millions doing.
We think Chat is inevitably the way things will operate. Perhaps your vision of the future is different. Let's chat about it.
From a technical standpoint, you have four core actions - discover, select, purchase, and share location. Each of these features is available on WhatsApp and may even be more seamless than the app itself. Here's how it would work:
Discover - Flipkart has a huge database and if a user searches for say an "Electric Kettle", we can crawl the Flipkart database using a simple google advance search to list the top 5 products by relevance.
Select - The user can select an product by simply replying "This" or equivalent. A price is suggested and the user prompted to place the order.
Purchase - The consumer makes their choice and then simply transfers the money without even having to leave WhatsApp by using the built-in payment feature. No OTPs, no verification, no hassle. A user doesn't even need to sign in or verify anything, as all verification essentially use a phone number anyway. When using WhatsApp, your number is verified and can't be faked so you bypass a huge security hurdle in this way. Add to that WhatsApp end to end encryption,and your data is safe even in transit.
Location - Once the money is received, Flipkart can share a invoice and a user can share their location on WhatsApp - so much easier than filling in several fields of landmark, pincode, and on and on.
The whole process is light, easy and efficient. Sure, there are some advantages to an App designed specifically for one purpose, but for a huge range of apps, this flow works beautifully. And, you'll save on resources trying to get people to download your app in the first place.