The company saw ‘WhatsApp for Business’ as an opportunity
It is hard to imagine that more than a decade ago, online ticket booking was unheard of. People would stand in queues to buy tickets for the latest blockbuster, a music festival or a big sports event.
All this changed when BookMyShow was launched in 2007. It started by selling ticket software developed by New Zealand based company to multiplexes and soon plunged into booking online tickets for movies, events, concerts, and sports. It survived the dot-com bust and today, has a net worth of INR 1,000 crores.
From the exterior, BookMyShow still operates like a startup – keeping innovation at its core and convenience as a ploy to enhance customer experience. With these two things in mind, it decided to participate in the ‘WhatsApp for Business’ pilot program and in turn, became the first Indian online ticketing brand to do so.
With this new implementation, users who book tickets o BookMyShow can receive a message on WhatsApp with the confirmation text or an mobile ticket, QR Code along with an email.
“It makes it very easy for the customer to keep the booking handy while entering a cinema theatre. We are continuously scaling it up to cover our entire customer base,” said Ravdeep Chawla, Head of Product at BookMyShow
The company saw ‘WhatsApp for Business’ as an opportunity. We observed the shift that our customers were making from an SMS to WhatsApp. As WhatsApp became more relevant to our customers than an SMS, we wanted to definitely try.
“The pilot has been quite successful and we are continuously scaling it up to cover our entire customer base,” said Chawla.
And why not? As of 2017, WhatsApp’s monthly user base— stood at 1.3 billion. In a statement early this, the company has revealed that about 55 billion messages and 4.5 billion photos are shared every day globally on its platform. The app, which supports 60 languages, also sees 1 billion videos being shared on a daily basis. India is the largest market for WhatsApp with over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2017.
According to Chawla, “WhatsApp is one of the most widely used communication platforms today. It’s become a very subtle yet critical part of millions of lives for all kinds of communication- personal and professional. The app is easy to access, use, stores all the communication at a single place, comes with a classic simple interface and is loaded with features. We could definitely enhance the user experience through it. We have received great feedback for this pilot.”
The company is now working with machine learning and looking for purchase patterns, buying behaviors, browsing methods to better understand their users and customize their experiences on BookMyShow. The mobile app, according to Chawla, is already far more intuitive and we are continuously working on enhancing this experience.
In early September, WhatsApp announced that it is gearing up to monetize its messaging app by charging large enterprise businesses for tools to better communicate with customers. In addition, it would offer a free app to small-to-medium sized businesses to provide customers with useful notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, and other updates etcetera. In November, Whatsapp for Business was officially available in India. The company is also in the process of launching a standalone business app.