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Exclusive: Paytm launches WeChat-like platform for businesses

Businesses now have a new platform to promote their offerings. Payments player Paytm has launched ‘Paytm Mini Programs’ that enables businesses to showcase their products and services to its user base. This is similar to the WeChat Mini Apps Programs and allows a mobile website or web app to integrate with Paytm’s Mini Programs platform.

At present, more than half a dozen brands including Faasos, Practo, 1mg, Magicpin, Park+ and Zoomcar are using Paytm Mini Programs. 

Paytm Mini Programs seems to be an early experiment to get into hyperlocal commerce after the company failed to scale its offline to online (O2O) format.

Businesses in sectors such as restaurants, cafes, fashion, retail, cinemas, groceries, travel and lifestyle can leverage its 140 million monthly active users to develop a new sales or distribution channel. The mini programs offers a dashboard to track payments, download reports, analytics and initiate refunds.

Partners of the programs can send push notifications through the Paytm app to run campaigns and engage users. Importantly, users are also allowed to share the Paytm Mini Programs’ offerings with their friends.

“The offering seems to be an attempt to create a platform for large as well as small merchants. It’s likely to be rolled out aggressively to tap into more hyperlocal use cases for Paytm,” said one of the investors of Tapzo. Tapzo was one of the early evangelists of the super app concept in India. Tapzo sold out to Amazon Pay in a fire sale.

Paytm declined to offer comment on the story.

Over the past couple of years, PhonePe and Amazon Pay have been trying to evolve as a super app while Google Pay has also been moving in the same direction. In fact, Paytm is also a super app of sorts, but with Paytm Mini Programs, the company has a different strategy laid out. 

“It’s not looking at the aggregate offering of large consumer internet companies. With the Paytm Mini Programs, the firm is taking a leaf out of WeChat’s highly successful mini programs by opening it to small and hyperlocal merchants,” said the above-quoted person.

Paytm has also forayed into social commerce with My Store last year, which hasn’t seen much activity.  Entrackr had exclusively reported the development in February this year.

It would be interesting to see how Paytm’s attempt to crack super app fares up with the mini programs. Will it make a big dent like WeChat with the new strategy? As far as the scale of WeChat’s super app is concerned, users spent $115 billion through mini-programs in 2019.

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