WhatsApp users now soon be able to book an Uber cab by just sending a text message as the popular messaging platform and ride-hailing service provider have entered in partnership. Currently, the partner programme is being offered in Lucknow as of now, and will likely be extended to the other parts of the country in coming weeks.
The introduction of the WhatsApp chatbot-based booking method also means that users will no longer be compulsorily required to download and use the Uber app in order to hail a ride through its service. A statement by Uber said that even user registrations for its services can be handled through WhatsApp itself.
Nandini Maheshwari, senior director of business development for Uber Asia Pacific, said, “Our partnership with WhatsApp gives riders a new way to get a ride through a simple, familiar and trusted channel. This is a global-first integration for Uber, and we will be rolling it out across India.”
Uber is not the first venture that seeks to use the WhatsApp Business platform to reach out to users. A number of services have pivoted to using WhatsApp instead of SMS messaging to convey purchase invoices and related business information to users. Platforms such as Yatra and BookMyShow offer optional WhatsApp onboarding for users.
Recently, it has been stated that JioMart, the hyperlocal grocery service arm that seeks to take on Amazon Fresh in the grocery delivery department, will use WhatsApp as the platform for users to order through — instead of a dedicated app.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if users start pivoting to use services such as Uber through WhatsApp itself, or if the use of a dedicated app still holds value.