The Future of RCS Messaging in India

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Mr. Radipkumar Gupta, MD & Group CEO, Route Mobile Limited

RCS Business Messaging (RBM) is clearly a new channel for enhanced business communication to increase customer engagement. With CCMI and +Message initiatives, we can even see joint operator movements have started in North America and Japan, as it offers a variety of aspects of SMS with a new set of features to not only capture the attention of the customer but also to augment their imagination. Till date, business communications have always been dominated by SMS, this can be easily upgraded to RCS (Rich Communication Services). The new diverse and flexible range of technology functions and chatbot-based services can also be enabled via RBM. This will introduce a diverse and more flexible range of functions that will also facilitate the implementation of chatbot-based services.

With RBM, brands and small & medium businesses can now communicate with their customers by delivering rich and contextual messages seamlessly. RCS Business Messaging comes with unified features such as carousel, rich cards, suggested replies, suggested actions, branding, verified sender, chatbot integration, QR codes, high-resolution image, and video sharing, call to action buttons, location sharing, mapping directions and more. Enterprises can benefit from it as it delivers a hyper-personalized customer experience from customer care, through sales, branding, marketing and advertising without the need to invest in a standalone product or app. It can redefine and transform business communications between enterprises and customers.

RBM can enable enterprises to send notifications like important alerts, OTP (one-time password), QR codes of e-tickets, product catalogue, offers etc. It can also be integrated with a chatbot that can initiate dialogues that can enable two-way communication flow like enquiries, customer support, feedback requests, bill payments, online ordering, sending invoices, requesting a product or a service to name a few.

Apart from its host of features, it also provides read receipts, delivery receipts, and intelligent customization of information for customers for taking insight based actions. RCS Business Messaging is a universal communication platform that can benefit across industries like retail, tours and travels, hospitality, entertainment, healthcare and many more. Extremely flexible in nature, it can be moulded as per the requirement of each of these industries thereby making the entire communication process a fulfilling experience.

As global aggregators help the businesses and brands to have seamless communications with its customers by helping them implementing and streamlining the RBM services. These aggregators enable brands and enterprises of all sizes to enhance its messaging services instead of using the simple SMS services making their business messaging future proof.

RBM and the Indian Market: RCS has been widely supported by mobile phone networks, software, and devices. It’s supported by the stock Google Messages app available on Android. A recent research predicts that by 2022, 36% of the mobile phone users in the country would use a smartphone and the smartphone users in India is expected to rise by 84% to 859 million by the end of 2020. This clearly shows that there’s a huge potential of Android phones in India.

Since there are many companies that manufacture Android phones, it becomes difficult for the brands to avail all the features of RBM, as they use their own messaging apps. For enjoying features of RBM, the end-user needs to use the native Android messaging app. All the android users need to commonly use this app so that the RBM benefits can be availed at a country level. Globally there are 1Bn+ users using this App. According to a research done in early 2020, there are approximately 450 million+ smartphone users in India and over 10% of smart users have the Android messaging app.

Wallets & Enhanced Business Messaging: The adoption of devices and apps for day-to-day activities in India has shown tremendous growth. Digital wallets have been trending rapidly owing to the increasing usage of innovative technology. The acceptance and usage of digital wallets have grown manifolds in India. As per recent data by a leading research organization, 46% of online transactions are done using mobile devices in India, making India a global leader in the mobile app-based payment methods and there is still enough potential and scope to grow further. Earlier, banking cards dominated as the most user online payment method which is being rapidly replaced by E-wallets which are growing at the CAGR of 80%. E-wallets will soon become the primary online payment mode.

Now imagine a scenario where Google, WhatsApp launch wallets in its enhanced business messaging apps with a complete backend payment gateway integration. A new genre of bot driven business message-based mobile ecommerce will re-define and revolutionize the way finance communication can enable the transactions for UPI/Wallet ecosystem.

Conclusion: This clearly proves that the Indian market is rapidly evolving with changing market demands and customer behaviour. It is safe to say that now is the time for Indian operators and aggregators to come up with initiatives that are similar to CCMI or Message+ to enhance messaging ways in RCS and its implementation in RBM.

About the Author: Rajdipkumar Gupta is MD & and Group CEO of Route Mobile Limited (RML or Route Mobile). He is a qualified software engineer and had over 16 years of experience in the IT industry, prior to founding RML.