Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

It has been 5 years since Amazon came to India, loaded with $5 Billion worth of committed investment to establish amongst the then home-grown marketplace, Flipkart and Snapdeal. In no time Amazon expanded its wings. Since its inception in June 2013, Amazon has grown both in terms of scale and brand value. Though it may seem to be a simple strategy,

More Units sold => More Customers => More Brand Value

It hasn’t worked as well for many others; brand value is developed through marketing which is not limited to mere advertisements. It is also to come real on those promises and exceed customer expectations in due course. Instead of just fulfilling the customer needs, Amazon is vying to provide customer delight. It is very difficult to make each customer happy but you can attempt to satisfy your customers by adding value to your offerings at the same price point.

There are various customer-centric steps taken by Amazon. These include quick response Customer care team, average product rating criteria wherein Amazon suspends extremely poor rated products, quick & free delivery for Prime products, add-on purchase features like book delivery or leave with neighbour, the latest subscribe & save deliveries, Amazon Pay convenience, early deal access for Prime members, AZ Guarantee, best in class packaging and that’s not it, add-on value services like Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle, Alexa, Prime Now, Fire TV.

These add-on value services & products offered can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Services: 2 day delivery on Prime products, 2-hour deliveries on Amazon Now groceries store, Amazon Pay wallet.
  • Assortment: More depth and width (Merchandising and Assortment), Alexa, Amazon Basics (headphones to office chairs), Solimo, Kindle, firetv stick, Myx, Symbol, 10.or etc.
  • Digital Content: Amazon Prime Video (original domestic content as well), Prime Music.

Amazon’s bouquet of products and services

Many of these benefits and value services are coupled with annual ₹999/- Prime membership. Amazon Prime includes video and music content with additional buying and product delivery based benefits. Amazon has grown beyond the marketplace model; hence, it will be wrong to call it just a marketplace for buying goods. This appears to be the competitive advantage for Amazon’s rapid expansion, which is shrinking space for others in the market. They are playing the cards right through product diversification and this is also visible in their vision and mission statement:

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”

The strategy is right or not, time will tell but Indian E-commerce seems to be in for a new showdown between Amazon and Walmart with Flipkart’s acquisition. With Walmart’s expertise in offline retail and the successful changes it made to its US strategy, Walmart might not stay too far behind for too long. The firm might also utilize Flipkart and its strong ecosystem in India (Myntra, Jabong, PhonePe etc.) to export ideas to the rest of the business offerings.

Just like Amazon, Flipkart has also been developing private label brands such as Roadster, MarQ, Perfect Homes etc. These private label brands can help improve the profitability of these marketplaces in the long run.

When these companies will start looking to move past the revenue growth and towards unit economics, the market will move towards stabilization. However, given the rivalry between these US-based behemoths as well as with other international players such as China’s Alibaba (with its payments subsidiary Alipay holds more than 50% stake in Paytm Mall) this stabilization period might get further delayed.

With a population of 1.3 billion & rising affluence, India is one of the most appealing retail markets currently. As the opportunities for these players are expanding, Indian consumers need to gear up for the upcoming shopping spree offered by these marketplaces. With a bouquet of services aimed at the target segments, Amazon seems to be ahead of the pack. However, for how long will it keep investing & diversifying these services apart from the marketplace could determine the success it is aiming for and how well the other players counter this threat is an interesting development to keep tabs on in this ‘Battle of Giants’.

Author: Shaleen Mishra

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Social Media: Perfect Communication Channel for Startups

Social media has emerged as an integral part of our daily lives. As of April 2018, the active social media users are more than 3.3 billion. This number is staggering and qualifies to be a world in itself. When fabricating a startup, you have to go where your group of onlookers are and engage with them keeping in mind the end goal to develop your business plan. Today, the place to run advertisements is web-based platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the sky is the limit. These social channels act as a bridge between the individuals and brands. They have turned into a vital component to increase exposure, raise brand mindfulness, create leads and boost client transformation rates. This is particularly critical for startups that are working with little spending plans, in an ever-increasing competitive entrepreneurial market. This information-driven advertising approach helps you direct your focus on individuals rapidly so they can be acquainted with the startup offerings at the click of a mouse. Social media hands over an opportunity of easy access for customers and to get a genuine feedback from its potential client in a shorter traverse of time. We can explore different avenues regarding our internet-based content to catch the essence of the offering among clients of various demographics. In order to integrate social media marketing with other communication channel and to have a competitive edge, startups ought to maximize the online presence by working on an effective social media strategy.

Stitch a plan that works for your need:

Turning to long-range social networking as a method for business advancement doesn’t just mean being available on the web. In actuality, this is a confounded procedure and, accordingly, it requires completing an exhaustive research and building an arrangement that will keep you on course. Startups have to build a strategy that fits well for their business offering. Something that works for one startup would not necessarily work for others. Identify the unique value proposition, the point of parity and disparity of the business with its competitors should be thought out before formulating a road map of implementation.

Target audience segmentation:

To construct a content for your audience, we have to distinguish their identity. Startups need to segment their potential client to get hold of the purchaser persona. By surveying your audience’s experience data such as their occupations, hobbies, interests, training, and additionally, some fundamental statistic factors such as age range, sexual orientation, and wage, could have the capacity to effectively focus on your gathering of people, convey true client experience and stitch deals.

Identify the correct social media marketing channel:

When online networking showcasing plan is figured, a startup needs to distinguish the web-based life stage they have to fabricate their presence. Every internet-based platform is one of a kind in their group of onlookers focusing on and has diverse reasons, new companies need to recognize the channel that fits their need. Focus on the channel that would contact the correct group of onlookers for your business like for B2C business, Facebook and Twitter could be the correct channel however for B2B LinkedIn could be the ideal place.

Learn about your competitors:

Before beginning with social media content creation effort, one should explore their competitors. Begin with distinguishing them by picking the organizations working in the similar space. Consider their advertising technique, content marketing strategy and customize your online presence accordingly. Additionally, keep an eye on the social media campaigns being run by the competitors and work on formulating a marketing strategy to counter the competition.

Knowledge about the end goal:

Make a long-haul objective to be accomplished through social media marketing to accomplish exceptional yield on investment of your time and money. For some producing Facebook likes or Twitter retweets and followers could be the objective yet for others, their frameworks would be centered around creating more prominent activity volume, web referrals, exceptional client target and high conversion rates. Conceptualize about the objective and plan of your road ahead customized to achieve the final goal.

Focus on content creation:

Content is the core of social media advertising. The more engaging and slanting substance one can make, more would be the traffic volume. Substance ought to be influenced creative to connect with the gathering of people to make the buzz about the contributions and to influence them to share content over various profiles. Additionally, content should be in sync with the motto of the startup and should highlight the unique selling proposition about the offerings. They should make utilization of the most recent happenings and inclining points and draw in the crowd by associating the substance with it.

Real-time feedback tracking:

The most ideal approach to benefit as much as possible from your web-based presence is to gather moment criticism by checking your clients’ exchanges. Along these lines, you will have the capacity to discover how your intended interest group feels about your product and utilize the opinions valuable to enhance your approach. In particular, internet-based life enables you to furnish your customers with the continuous service and immediate feedback. On the other hand, you can likewise screen the audience’s feelings about your latest released product and recognize any potential client encounter issues and settle them on time.

Happy Marketing!

Author: Kumar Shreesh

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Changing Consumer Trends: Resource Pooling

With the dawn of modern ages and increased consumerism, there has been a major shift in customer attitudes. The buyer of today is more prudent and very avaricious when it comes to spending, majorly in the case of high involvement goods and services. He asks a million questions before engaging in any transaction, not because he is a Scrooge, but because he has knowledge.

Coupled with his sagacious attitude are the changing demographics and household patterns. The traditional Indian household included husband, wife and their children, but with the rising incomes and job opportunities, there has been a rise in the “DINKS”-Double Income No Kids. This generation is more independent and expedient in utilizing its resources in an effective manner so as to save for their lavish future.

The above phenomenon has given rise to a new trend, i.e. the use of “pooled resources”. The millennials have been dextrous enough in planning their daily as well as monthly expenditures. Take the case of Uber pool or Ola Share which have been affiliated as the prime source of revenue for the cab aggregator. This was a boon for the youngsters who were able to save huge costs on a day to day basis for commutation. Ola reports “Ola Share” to be its prime source of revenue. The prime competitor Uber was forced to launch “Uber Pool” given its losing market share, because of the monopoly Ola had created given its Share services. Airbnb which allows people to rent their properties for a short-term accommodation has also seen a rapid rise in its growth in India in the past years. Be it your holiday in Goa or a short trip to any metro city, Airbnb is an excellent option which people swear by.

Nestaway, a platform that allows bachelors to rent fully furnished flats on a sharing basis is also a glorious example. It saves you the hassles of hefty deposits, landlord restrictions and provides you with ease of payment. It has also ventured into providing homes for families. Brands have been emulating the trend and some have been instrumental in shaping their value proposition to serve customer needs. For example, Netflix which allows multiple users to share a single account. The customer base for Netflix ranges from teenagers to middle-aged men and women. They have been overwhelmed by the pooled subscription policy brought about by Netflix and this has helped the brand to gain momentum in the Indian market. Falling in the same line are the mammoth telecom operators which provide family pack tariffs and the credit card companies that offer cards which can be tailored to be used by the entire family.

A newly emerging trend is that of “bicycle renting” which can be seen in some cities of India. With the rising awareness about their health and well-being, people are quite impressed by this latest bearing.  With major entrants like OFO and PEDL making their way into the Indian market, customers can rent a bike at dearth cheap prices on an hourly basis. This saves them the cost of investing 2 -6 grand on a new bicycle and the guilt of not using it in future.

To conclude, the trends portray that consumers are getting more and more inclined towards renting or pooling resources rather than investing huge sums of money on them. From shared cab services and shared accommodations to renting furniture and pooling Netflix accounts, the consumers are making the decision of not purchasing but rather, sharing. Understanding the needs of this new generation of consumers, the brands are cashing in on the opportunities which have been a result of the changing demographics and consumption patterns of the millennials and brought in really innovative and valuable product and service offerings.

Author: Bhawna Ahuja

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Vicks – Generations of Care: Marketing beyond Product Promotion

#TouchOfCare: On March 29th, 2017, a new video advertisement promoting the Vicks brand created a sensation by striking the most sensitive nerve of the Indian population. Created by Publicis Singapore, the video, spanning 3 and a half minutes, tells the story of a young girl Gayatri who is on her way to boarding school. 10 years ago, Gayatri lost her mother to a life-threatening disease and was later adopted by Gauri Sawant. Being thrown out of the house at the age of 18, Gauri has seen her own share of struggles in life before she met Gayatri. Gauri raised Gayatri as her own child, pampering and looking after her all along. Gayatri recalls a memory of being ill and Gauri using Vicks to treat her and spending the night by her side. In a span of 10 years, the two grew closer to each other, surpassing the mother-daughter relationship and becoming best friends. Gauri wants Gayatri to become a doctor. But Gayatri aspires to become a lawyer, for her mother Gauri, a transgender woman.

The ad has received 10 million views on YouTube and has been one of the most touching ads to go viral in recent times. This video has been a part of numerous “Try not to cry” challenges as well. A guaranteed tear-jerker for most who have watched it, the video still continues to be shared on social media more than a year after it was released.

Vicks as a Brand: For generations, Vicks has been a part of nearly every household around the world. It’s an easily available over-the-counter medicine for mild fevers, cold and cough. Vicks VapoRub ointment, along with other products under the brand, basks in the glory of a 96.5 market share in the “VapoRub” segment. What began as an innovative new home remedy christened Vick’s Magic Croup Salve in 1905, by pharmacist Lunsford Richardson and Dr. Joshua Vick, was later rebranded as Vicks VapoRub in 1912. In 1985, American multi-national consumer products manufacturer Procter and Gamble Co. bought the Vicks brand and has been manufacturing and distributing its products worldwide. Vicks VapoRub can be found among the common medicines in a large number of households and even in travel kits of people all around the world.

The Evolution of Vicks VapoRub

“Mother”: With a brand image and a market share as immense as it has, why Vicks need to invest in such an emotionally charged advertisement to grab the attention of the masses? The answer lies in the very heart of Indian values and culture. In a typical Indian family, the father is the head of the family, following a patriarchal family system for centuries. But it’s the mother who breathes life into the family. A mother is someone who has borne intense pain to give birth to her children and raise them. And she continues to do so for the rest of her life even after her children have grown up and are capable of taking care of themselves. She spends sleepless nights when one of her children falls ill. Right from working and earning to doing household chores like cooking, a mother always does everything keeping her children in mind. For a majority of children in India, as well as a fair share of adults, there’s no worry in the world that a mother’s touch and soothing words cannot cure. Through this ad, Vicks and Publicis Singapore emphasize this very sentiment which has been the cornerstone of Indian families for ages. And Vicks VapoRub has been one of the instruments of motherly love as most Indians have a memory of falling ill and their mothers applying Vicks VapoRub on their chest, nose and foreheads before they drift off into a peaceful sleep for the night. And the ad reinforces this role that the product plays. But the story does not end there.

Discrimination against Transgender Women: India has a population of roughly 4.9 lakh transgender women. Discrimination against them is on the rise. Every day, they are subject to harassment in public, often even of a sexual nature. They are despised and looked down on by “normal” people as an abomination. There have been cases of doctors refusing to examine transgender women or trying to molest them during an examination. Humiliation has become a daily routine in their lives. In recent times, a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Institutions such as Sahodari Foundation and The Transgender Welfare Society have taken the bold initiative to stand up for transgender rights and welfare. But a lot more needs to be done so that the discrimination is curbed and transgender women are treated and respected as a member of the society that we all are a part of.

Marketing beyond Product Promotion: With subtle product placement in the video, the Vicks VapoRub ad calls the attention of the vast Indian society towards the concerns of the neglected and harassed transgender women of India. It showcases the capability and calibre of such a woman in raising and taking care of a girl child all by herself through the true story of Gauri Sawant and her daughter Gayatri. The adoption law makes it difficult for a single man or a woman to adopt a child. And it makes it much more difficult for a transgender woman to do so, owing to societal norms and taboos. Gauri Sawant sets an example by fighting all odds in making the right choices in life with pride.

Watch the heart-touching video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zeeVEKaDLM

Author: Bruno Nellissery

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

Has 21st Century Competition led to the Abolishment of Business Ethics?

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”- George Orwell

On September 18th, 2015, United States Environmental protection agency issued a notice of violation of Clean Air Act against Volkswagen for tweaking its diesel engine in order to bypass the emission test. 11 million Cars, worldwide, between model year 2009 and 2015 were identified to have faulty systems. This proves how contemplating an unethical decision with its apparent short-term benefits is eventually a recipe for disaster.

For a business entity, ethics can be categorised as its responsibilities towards (i) its customers, (ii) its employees, (iii) the government and (iv) the ecological balance of our planet. We need ethics as they are vital for the proper functioning of the economic, political and social network which will eventually lead to the overall development of the human race.

So, how and why does unethical behaviour creeps into a system and make highly intellectual business leaders lose track of their ethical responsibilities? The answer lies in the fact that any deviation from ethical practices is mostly the result of the current competitive corporate culture or pressure from the higher managerial food chain, which can emerge when a company is unable to live up to its financial expectations. To overcome these bottlenecks, leaders eventually end up bending the rules and this is when ethics and policies collide.

Let us take an example of child labour. If a firm hires children as its major workforce, it can drive down its prices. Now to remain competitive, the rival firm has to relook into its cost structure and come up with an optimized price point. Should the firm also look to hire children in its workforce? Is it ethical? Will this help in cutting costs? The instinctive answers to these questions may be yes but in the long run, it will not serve the purpose of growth. History is full of references to organisations which have linked good ethical practices with their performance and have eventually outperformed their competitors financially.

Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices has listed Tata Steel and Wipro as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the year 2017 and 2018. Points are awarded to an organization based on; ethics and compliance program (35%), culture of ethics (20%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%). Prior to 2017, the Indian Steel giant, Tata Steel had also bagged this award in years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Over decades, ethics has been a major driver for Tata Group. One of the core ethic business principles that the company follows is to fully support the development and operation of competitive open markets. It may be pointed out that this policy hampers the organization’s revenue, but In the long run, these policies promote a strong public image based on trust and relationship.

The challenge for those in business is to identify ways to do what is ethically correct while maximizing a shareholder’s wealth. Before taking any decision, the leadership of an organization must introspect what impact their decision will have on the organization and society as a whole in both the short and long run. The importance of ethics has been reinforced into business organisations and business individuals time and again.

As Henry Ford once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business”. Ethics in businesses is present; the difficult question is how to make it more prevalent.

 

Authors: Saurav Dhar & Rishi Raj

PGPM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

The Rise & Fall of Nirma

“Washing powder Nirma, Washing Powder Nirma”, this jingle can make every 90s kid go down the nostalgia lane. Nirma, an FMCG company, once a successful brand and a strong rival of Hindustan Lever limited (Currently named as Hindustan Unilever (HUL)), still maintains a strong brand image in the minds of Indian consumers. But despite its formidable market presence between 1970 and 2000, it is now in the declining stage of its product life cycle.

Nirma was born when a chemist (Mr. Patel from Gujarat) manufactured a phosphate free detergent and started selling it locally. It was the time when the Pioneer of Detergents, Surf (a product of HUL) priced its product at Rs.15 per Kg. As Nirma was priced at Rs.3.5 per kg, it rapidly became popular in the rural market and acquired the status of a beloved “Low-cost value-for-money” household detergent in the minds of the consumers.

In the 90s, the popularity of the brand made it attain 15% of market share in India while Surf was the undisputed champion of detergents with 65% market share and targeted premium segment. Nirma, despite being a household name for detergents, started manufacturing beauty soaps and widened its portfolio by introducing salt, soda ash, and scouring products.

The Unbranded competition

It spent only 3-4% of revenue for Marketing communications (Advertisement campaigns) while other companies spent 6-8% on advertising. Nirma followed the same campaign throughout the years and it started advertising its beauty soaps with Sonali Bendre, who was not very popular at that time. These were the classic times in marketing when your brand ambassador would reflect on your brand image.

Nirma gained a market share of 38% in the year 2000, beating Hindustan Unilever’s product Surf, the share of which got reduced to 31 per cent.

Nirma started widening its portfolio again by introducing hair care product line such as Shika kai shampoos and tooth pastes. The company followed the same strategy of “low cost, value for money”.

The Fall Season

Nirma, despite being a 17 billion company started losing its market share to the unbranded competitive rivals. It failed to retain the interest of the consumers as low-cost products would not work anymore since customers started perceiving such products as cheap.  They slowly tried to introduce Nirma blue and Nirma cake but could not differentiate the product and its positioning.

Unfortunately, the growing income level of Indian consumers made them perceive Nirma as an inferior brand. While other brands went viral with their unique advertisement campaigns and diversified product lines, Nirma followed the same campaign and failed to penetrate into the premium segment.

Currently, Nirma is concentrating on Nirma cement as its FMCG body care products are not gaining acceptable profits and has made its product portfolio even wider.

What made Nirma jump from the hill?

  • Lack of innovation – Nirma failed to innovate its product line as they considered themselves a market leader and failed to observe the environment.
  • Diversification – They diversified by widening the product portfolio; failed to feel the pulse of the market as diversification did not help them.
  • Consumer Perception – Consumers perceived Nirma as an inferior brand as its products were available at a low price.
  • Lack of Focus –  Nirma failed to understand what they are good at.

Rescue the Fall

  • Nirma’s success lies in detergent products and that segment started declining when it tried to introduce products in other product lines.
  • Nirma still has the brand recall in the minds of Generation Y and thus, Brand Revitalization is possible.
  • Brand Revitalization can be done by repositioning the existing products and introducing new and innovative product variants in the same product lines. The advertisement campaigns can be organized in a way to induce nostalgia into customers for its re-entry.

Challenges

The major challenge for Nirma lies in penetrating the premium segment of the market while maintaining a strong presence in the low price segment

 

Author: Arvind K

PGDM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

[Reference- Statistical data and brand insights from #Live mint #Business Standard #Economic Times]

Will Strategic Acquisition of Free charge revive Axis Bank from Declining Profits?

Will Strategic Acquisition of Free charge revive Axis Bank from Declining Profits?

Strategic Acquisitions have become the order of the day in the recent corporate world. Corporate Players who estimate their future survival in the market through current earnings, investor’s confidence and changing customer base are becoming prudent enough to strategize their investments in highly probable winning deals.

Axis Bank which is reputed as India’s third largest private lender is no exception to this. The bank has been choking to sustain its profit margins with increasing bad loan provisions which had resulted in a steep decline of its asset value. As a cascading impact, the bank had ended up reporting 16.06% decline in net earnings in the first quarter of the year despite a marginal increase in the top line revenue by 1.45% during the same quarter of last year. The lender’s asset quality has also worsened by a steep increase in Gross Non Performing Assets (NPA) to 5.03% during FY17 Q1 compared to 2.54% for the same quarter of previous year. The market has instantly reacted to this discouraging trend of financial performance by 3% fall in stock prices on the same day which reflects the loss of investor’s trust.

However, the Board has now come with a new strategy of venturing and broadening their presence into the digital space by acquiring Snapdeal’s ‘Free Charge’. The Bank was desperate to close this deal as they have offered an attractive price compared to ‘PayTm’ which was also competing to acquire this asset. This deal also gives a big sigh of relief to Free Charge’s parent, ‘Snapdeal’, which is already in talks for selling itself to its rival ‘Flipkart’ due to its declining fortune since the beginning of this year and struggling for independent survival. Free Charge was acquired by Snapdeal in early 2015 for $ 400 million. However, it has now been sold to Axis Bank at a massively discounted valuation of 85% at $ 59 million (384 Crores INR).

This clearly indicates a strategic acquisition with great anticipated outcomes. Axis Bank would get a popular digital payment brand backed up by a high-quality technology platform, which can be leveraged towards tapping into current market opportunities that are booming in the digital space. The benefits of this acquisition will begin to bear fruit in the next couple of years. Another big competitive advantage which the bank would gain on this acquisition is access to small value transactions and Utility Bill Payments which are the key customer service segments of Free Charge.

It is also quite rational to think that the Bank already has a significant presence in the Digital Space through ‘Axis Pay’ and there was no need for the acquisition. However, the digital market of India is in its boom days buoyanced by the ‘Demonetization’ Move of the Government last year. Telecom Giants like ‘Reliance Jio’ have further intensified this growth by their rapid penetration into the Digital markets by making Internet Connectivity as the common man’s amenity in India. A recent survey published in ‘The Economic Times’ on 27th May’17 says that the Debit Card transactions have surged to 1 billion at Point of Sales of merchant locations in January 2017 compared to 817 million during the same time last year against the ATM transactions which was almost static at 700 million. This clearly substantiates the fact that the Indian Economy is rapidly shifting towards ‘Digital Cashless Mode’ and people prefer to make more cashless payments compared to cash transactions. It has also been evidenced by the annual report (2016-17) of Axis bank that the bank had reported 66% share of digital transactions in India in FY17 Q4 compared to 51% during last year. Also, the spends on Credit/Debit Cards of Axis Bank have increased to 47% in 2016-17.

Image Source – Annual Report of 2016-17 (Axis Bank)

The above facts and figures substantiate that this acquisition is a focused strategy of Axis Bank towards an inorganic expansion into the Digital Payment Space without duplicity of efforts on the customer acquisition and emerging as a ‘Key Contributor’ to the ‘Digital India’ drive amongst the BFSI Sector. The appetite of the market is so large that the bank cannot afford to spend time and resources on building a new platform from scratch, rather it is wise to leverage the market opportunities as a forerunner amidst other competitive market players. The integration of Free charge with Axis Pay would further increase the ease of the payment by the customers as Axis Bank already has a mobile wallet ‘LIME’ which has been interfaced for UPI Payments with Axis Pay.

The bank also needs to focus on retaining the acquired customers by offering them loyalty programs and cross selling products by understanding their needs. As per one of the updates that was given by Free charge late last year, the number of registered users on its platform has peaked at 30 million and 20% of them for utility bill payments. Also, the market leader ‘PayTm’ claims to have 122 million active users and hosts 90 million transactions per month on its platform. The other rival ‘Mobikwik’ has reported 35 million users and 45 million monthly transactions during the same period last year. Also, a market research throws light on the fact that India’s Digital Payment Segment has handled almost 600 million transactions in the year 2015-16 whose mean economic value rising to 400-450 INR.

Another ray of hope is that the digital payments industry in India is expected to grow by 10 times to $500 billion by the year 2020 as per the recent study by Google and Boston Consulting Group. It also predicts that more than 50% of India’s Internet users are likely to use digital payments by 2020, and the top 100 million users are likely to drive 70% of digital payments by value. If the above mentioned promising predictions turn into reality, Axis Bank can significantly tap this humungous market opportunity with its unique ‘FinTech’ flavor and competencies.  This would eventually pour in into its revenue bucket and would help the bank with some breathing air to compensate for its massive bad debt provisions eating into their bottom line, while RBI figures out a sustaining solution for increasing menace of NPAs. Though this was primarily aimed at market penetration, the bank can think of stepping into other niche products in digital space apart from payment service based on the customers’ expectations and demands. This acquisition would be the first step for building a better brand equity for the bank and an opportunity to explore and serve more customers as a ‘Digital Player’.

 

Author: Yogesh Sundararajan

PGDM, Class of 2018, Great Lakes, Gurgaon