Uber recently announced the launch and expansion of the WhatsApp to Ride (WA2R) product feature for users in Delhi NCR, one of Uber’s top cities globally by volume. Through this integration, riders across Delhi NCR will be able to book an Uber ride via its official WhatsApp chatbot, one of India’s most popular chat apps.
Following a successful pilot in Lucknow in December last year, the Delhi NCR launch marks a superior and more intuitive product experience as well as multilingual capabilities in English and Hindi for enhanced user experience. Built on the WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber’s mobility services to a new segment of consumers through integration in two languages.
The Lucknow Pilot revealed that the WA2R audience is younger than the average Uber App user with almost 50% of them being less than 25 years old. The fact that 33% of the inbounds during this pilot were received from new users shows the potential of new user acquisition through this partnership. With the expansion of this partnership to Delhi NCR, WA2R will unlock the magical Uber experience to the previously unaddressed market.
Talking about the expansion, Manikandan Thangarathnam, Sr. Director, Mobility and Platforms, Uber, said, “Encouraged by the positive response from our Lucknow pilot, we are excited to roll out the WhatsApp to Ride experience in Delhi NCR. Our team of engineers at the Bangalore Tech Center worked behind the scenes to build this product and the integration. They completed the development process for the feature in less than three months, in time for the Lucknow launch. Looking at the needs of the local market, the team also provided Hindi language support while booking a ride through WhatsApp. Making the booking process more interactive with the integration of buttons and go-to actions was one of our top priorities. Future product iterations of WA2R will allow existing users of the Uber app to also book trips through WhatsApp.”
Welcoming this launch to Delhi NCR, Ravi Garg, Director, WhatsApp Partnerships, India said, “After a successful implementation of the ‘WhatsApp to ride’ experience in Lucknow, we are excited to expand WhatsApp’s partnership with Uber and launch this service for users in Delhi NCR. The simplicity of ride-booking experience within the WhatsApp interface has helped Uber acquire new riders and we look forward to supporting them in their growth trajectory. Uber and businesses across sectors are leveraging the WhatsApp Business Platform to build a variety of scaled custom solutions that help advance customer convenience and enable richer customer engagement. We look forward to continuing building partnerships with businesses to help them unlock avenues of access to new audience cohorts who use WhatsApp extensively everyday.”
Uber’s official chatbot on WhatsApp is powered by Infobip, a global business solution provider to both Uber and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp users in Delhi NCR can book an Uber ride through three simple ways: messaging to Uber’s business account number; scanning a QR code; or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat. They will then be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations, followed by upfront fare information and the driver’s expected time of arrival.
Riders get access to the same safety features and insurance protection as those who book trips via the Uber app directly. They will be informed of the name of the driver and license plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.
The WhatsApp chat flow will inform the rider about safety guidelines, including how to reach Uber in case of emergencies (type help on-trip). If the user selects the “emergency” option while on the trip, they will receive an inbound call from Uber’s customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends. This video explains the WA2R flow while booking an Uber ride.
Drivers on Uber’s platform, however, will see no change in their experience with rides booked via WhatsApp. The service is available to both new and existing users who registered with only a phone number on Uber.