The buzz around Paytm competing against Google's Play Store isn't an apple to apple comparison. Mostly because Google's Play Store is a platform of thousands of apps, and comes preinstalled on all Android smartphones, giving users an option to download the ones they want. Whereas, on Paytm platform, these are primarily custom-built mobile website that gives users app-like experience without having to download them. To start with, Paytm has a few hundred developers onboard.
"This is a mini-app store and not an app store. Essentially, without investing a lot of technology bandwidth developers can create their mini web applications, which gives end-user an app-like experience, and can be integrated with Paytm. Any developer needs two things - distribution and payment - and we are offering both, including the entire distribution of Paytm at zero per cent fee along with payments for free," says Narendra Yadav, Vice President, Paytm.
Unlike the Google Play Store where apps are available for download on Android smartphones, the core implementation of Paytm's Mini App Store is a web-based service within the Paytm app. As soon as a user clicks on the respective app icon, the new window pop-us within the Paytm app. One can use the app service, and continue to pay using the Paytm wallet, Paytm Payments Bank account and UPI at zero charges, and other instruments like credit cards (2 per cent charge would be levied).
"Paytm is not only trying to create an App Store alternative but entering into a territory of creating the "Super App" platform. We have seen the success of WeChat in China, Gojek in the South East Asia market, where users of one platform can have access to all other mini-app to avail other services," says Pavel Naiya, Senior Analyst, Devices and Ecosystem, Counterpoint Research.
"By leveraging modern web capabilities, the Paytm Mini App Store essentially provides a collection of custom mobile websites that deliver app-like user experiences for dedicated Paytm users through its app," says Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR.
Also, mini apps work best for non-essential app categories where users often installed them for non-frequent use. Web app interface will remove hurdles for users to install these apps and also reduce the churn rate for non-frequent users.
"Looking at the long-term perspective, as the number of connected devices and digital services is increasing, it is therefore not possible to have a separate app for each service. Eventually, users will only install some small numbers of essential apps for regular use and all other services will be web-based. It, therefore, makes perfect business sense to use Paytm's existing user base as a platform to offer new over-the-top services," adds Naiya.
Clarifying on the security concerns and data breach issue that may arise in the future, "as soon as the user hits the mini app storefront, they are directed to the developer's site, server. All user data remains with the respective app developer and not with Paytm," clarified Yadav.
With this new initiative, Paytm aims to drive the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission while keeping the digital consumer spends within India.