PhonePe to widen number of in-app stores on its platform
Bengaluru: Flipkart’s mobile payments arm PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd will offer a range of services, including bus ticket bookings and food ordering, through tie-ups with service providers, starting with ticketing platform RedBus, as it looks to extend its platform and compete with market leader Paytm.
PhonePe, which launched the RedBus store on its app this week, will introduce food ordering, groceries ordering, travel and entertainment apps from service providers over the coming months, said Rituraj Rautela, head of in-app partner stores at PhonePe.
PhonePe will add two such in-app stores every quarter, Rautela added.
“The experience for customers is seamless and their payments history and preferences will be integrated in the in-app stores,” chief technology officer Rahul Chari said. “Apart from the experience, customers will also be getting multiple apps in the same app. For service providers, this will allow them to focus on service offerings instead of worrying about distribution. Our customer base is actually bigger than that of many businesses, so the stores will allow these businesses to reach a much wider base without spending on distribution.”
The in-app stores are aimed at retaining PhonePe’s 65 million customer base and increasing the transaction volume on the app. PhonePe currently offers peer-to-peer payments, ordering on Flipkart and its group companies, mobile recharges and a few other services.
“With the RedBus launch, we are basically saying to other service providers that we’re open for business. It will be anywhere between two to four weeks for a business to launch on PhonePe. Currently, we think that businesses with high-frequency use cases and on-demand services where a seamless and quick customer experience is important are ideal for PhonePe. But as we add newer businesses, this may change,” Chari said.
PhonePe is Flipkart’s big bet in digital payments after several failed attempts. In October, Flipkart said it will invest $500 million to expand PhonePe. The commitment is in addition to the $75 million infused by Flipkart in the mobile payments businesses since it acquired the latter in April 2016.
Apart from offering payments on digital platforms, PhonePe is also expanding offline. Late last year, the company launched its own point of sale (PoS) device based on Bluetooth technology for kirana stores, petrol pumps, food chains and other merchants to accept digital payments. It has sold roughly 7,000 of these devices so far and plans to have one million devices by the end of the year.