With few alternatives available during the widespread lockdowns all through 2020, e-commerce quickly became a necessity for consumers around the globe. A few months later, the initial reliance on e-commerce expanded into a fundamental dependence on still-evolving omnichannel shopping experiences.
The concept of omnichannel consumption certainly wasn’t borne out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the global health crisis has dramatically elevated consumers’ use of both online and offline channels in tandem, whether for click-and-collect, contactless delivery, or an array of other fulfillment options. The evolution toward online reliance among consumers stands at odds with the pre-COVID-19 perception that e-commerce would gain the most traction among consumers with the greater financial muscle to flex. However, we all witnessed that the trend is towards micro-payments, where we saw users transacting for as little as two rupees, and through technology, they were able to do it seamlessly.
The pandemic fuelled Omni-consumption patterns across the value chain of the consumer sector which further motivated the financial industry to build new business models and technologies such as AI, ML, RRN, QR codes, microservices, cybersecurity, etc, made them data-driven, redefined payments architecture, and the delivery of their services. Although this transformation promises robust security and cost-efficiency, its true potential lies in delivering “value” to customers. Having people's trust at its core continues to drive up GDP growth and follow regulations and mandates to avoid any economic disruption. New omnichannel solutions can better manage the daily data deluge, understand customers from every angle and surpass their growing expectations for enhanced services.
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However, the new set of opportunities comes with its own set of new challenges and issues to sustain and retain users adequately. The prominent question is how to monitor and manage the abundance of data, who is consuming it and from which channel, how to increase the value of transactions, how to meet the customers’ growing expectations, and sustain their loyalty. To further understand omni-consumption patterns and its futuristic viewpoint in the BFSI sector, TechCircle organized the third edition of its Pay-IT Conclave 2021 sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel. The digital conclave was powered by Mint and was held on January 21, 2021, where the industry experts and torchbearers shared their experience and viewpoints on the importance of omnichannel presence for the growth of the entire economy.
With the changing buying behaviors and digitized payments, companies need to be data-driven to make strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation to provide a holistic customer experience. Industry leaders from the payments ecosystem such as Vishwas Patel, Director Infibeam Avenues Ltd., Major Ashish Ahuja, Chief Operating Officer of Fino Payments Bank, Kush Mehra, Chief Business Officer, Pine Labs Pvt. Ltd, Vikram K., Senior Director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Vishal Gupta, VP and Head of product management, PhonePe shared their insights during a discussion on Omni Consumption Setting New Expectations. The discussion was moderated by Shalil Gupta. The digital symposium stressed the changes this shift has brought in payments architecture, the importance of data and understanding it as well as evaluating it, risk sharing, security, and scalability with stability, simplicity, and transparency in the digital economy. Trust and loyalty remain at the core of adding value to the services provided digitally.
Major Ashish Ahuja stressed the importance of the efficient collection of data and data-mining. Tomorrow that small bits of data can help you join the dots and offer new things to the customer and organization that you would not be able to if you're not looking at the data sets". He added, "Things like speed of delivery, predictability of service are givens today, these are hygiene factors if you don't have them, and you are not there in the marketplace, so best to invest in data in a non-intrusive fashion, and build a culture of feedback. And keep looking at what worked on those data campaigns for you or did not work for you and keep building from there on."
Vishwas Patel added on this and raised an important point of ethical data usage and how they went about it in utilising their data sets and innovations they brought along. He quoted, "We worked hard to make data available to our merchants in a way that even the smallest Kirana store owner or a new doctor who started collecting his consultation fees online, can make sense of it. And what he can do to make it better and ease transactions or figure out other convenient ways of using the data collected either by sending a payment link via WhatsApp, etc."
Besides being data-driven, innovation in building new models of payment transactions by introducing new applications and simplicity to use becomes the second pillar towards restructuring the payment ecosystem and delivering services over and above payments. To maintain the unchanged experience, the trust of the users, security issues, and scalability at the time becomes the core to tackle omnichannel challenges. Maintaining transparency and building partnerships with the merchants would aid to retain their loyalty and trust in the long run.
Quoting Vishwas Patel “So now, while people are building all sorts of solutions to enhance customers experience and seamless transactions, but unless the backend systems or the banks don't improve, it's not gonna go anywhere.” Inadequacy in linking banks and the backend systems has proved to be another obstacle.
Kush Mehra suggests “The real opportunity is the bunch of value-added services, new use cases, new dimensions, and opportunities for revenue generation, both for merchants and payment companies is the next big area of focus.”
For more details on this exciting panel discussion, log on to payit.techcircle.in