No Brick and Mortar business will survive post 2023 : Amitabh Kant

Chief Architect of startup India campaign and CEO of Niti Ayog feels that brick and mortal businesses will be dead by 2023.  Speaking at an event organized by TIE, Mr Kant Said “India is the only country with a billion mobile phones and biometrics. In the last 6-7 months we have added almost 28 crore bank accounts. In the last 45 years we have given license to 19 banks but in the last nine months we have given license to 23 payment banks, and many of them are telecom companies including Paytm and Airtel. The brick and mortar sector will go dead”.

According to Kant Banking sector will be see a major hit with the launch of many payment banks like PAYTM and Airtel.  According to him it will be more of a technology show and technology will take the driver’s seat. Currently 350 million people use internet via mobile and internet and 1 billion people will be online by 2023.  According to him “It will all be mobile, telephonic transaction. India will leap frog again. This is because today we are about 350 million using the Internet but 2020-23 there will be about 1 billion people in India using the Internet. Similarly, usage of the Internet will increase with more people on smart phones. A billion Indians with access to the Internet, biometric and using the smart phones we will radically alter the world.”

He added that “Across the world, whether you look at trends in Japan, US or Germany, everywhere is getting digitized. It is inevitable.”

Aditya Birla rides on the Startup bandwagon to incubate 25 start ups.

Aditya Birla group will partner with 25 startups to enter into new areas of business pertaining to telecom, retail and financial services. The company started a Biz lab program and has so far added Red Monster Games, Torch, Dressy, ePaisa, Mswipe, Touchfone, Instakash, Bankbazaar, Wealth Pack, Cloud Cherry, Faircent and Coverfox Insurance to its kitty.

These startups will align with the company’s core business and would help them consolidate their position in their respective territory. It is interesting to see as many big enterprises are focusing on startups to keep themselves abreast the technology wave in the country.

Snapdeal on a mission to capture ‘Bharat’.

In order to capture a bigger pie in Indian Ecommerce market Snap deal today initiated “Project Bharat”. The company plans to launch the site in 11 different Indian Languages in a bid to appeal the Non-Metro Audience. The project would enable 130 miilion Indian citizens to access and explore various products on the platform.

The company aims to attract more and more local vendors from different cities across the country and this move would help them connect to deeper cities across the country. In a statement issued on the launch of project the company said that 10% of the Indian population converse in English while 30% of them have access to internet. Thus the company want to join the remaining 20% in the main stream commerce economy.

This is one of its kind initiative by the company and other e-tailers are also expected to follow the suite.

 

Zomato adds in app customer service.

Food e-tailer  Zomato has added a new feature in their app by which the users can chat with the restaurant owners regarding reservations and menu details. User can also connect to Zomato executives and can get updates on promo codes , offers and discounts. User can interact with the Customer service executives between 9 AM to 11 PM.

This a another step by Zomato to convert into a full service food app where users can browse and order food anytime anywhere. The app is available in many countries while the in app customer service is only launched in India and middle east.

Flipkart won’t sell ebooks anymore.

Country’s top etailer Flipkart has decided to stop selling ebooks on their platform. All the existing orders will be served by Canadian E-book supplier Rakuten Kobo.

“The Indian book market is overwhelmingly dominated by physical books and this is a market that is growing at a fast clip. Flipkart will continue to be a leading player in the overall books market in India,” the company said in a statement. “In its overall strategy for books, Flipkart does not see the e-Books service as a strategic fit and hence the decision of transitioning the e-Books service to Kobo.”

This seems to be an interesting move as the rival ecommerce giant is focusing hard on selling e-books through their iconic reading tablet kindle. This is the third biggest category close by flipkart after music service “Flyte”  and payment gateway payzippy.

Flipkart has recently grossed a loss of 200 crore and company is focusing on high value products like electronics  goods.

Paytm will partner with ICICI Bank to launch Prepaid cards.

Mobile commerce company Paytm  is planning a partnership with ICICI bank to launch virtual prepaid cards for its existing users. The partnership would allow its customers add money to their wallet at any ICICI branch. It will be a 16-digit, Paytm-ICICI Bank co-branded, virtual prepaid card that can be used at any retail organisation that accepts Visa, MasterCard and Rupay. It will go a long way towards having our wallet accepted across merchants,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and chief executive of Paytm.

The partnership is one of its kind between an online retailer and a full scale bank. Both the companies are optimistic with the lauch and it will be interesting to see how the card suffices the need of current online savy shopper.

Indian banks have understood that they have to be a part of the mobile payments platform, either organically or inorganically, to preserve continuity of business,” said Jayanth Kolla, partner at research and advisory firm Convergence Catalyst.

The biggest advantage for the user will be that with this card they can shop not only on Paytm but also on other ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. The additional service of loading money into Paytm Wallets at over 4,000 ICICI Bank branches is yet another initiative to popularize the usage of electronic payments in the country, We don’t need to integrate our payments platform with all merchants, and this, in turn, will give universal access to consumers, who can shop at any establishment that accepts, credit, debit and prepaid cards.” said Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director, ICICI Bank.

Myntra to launch its mobile site.

Following the footsteps of its parent Flipkart , Myntra is planning to launch a mobile web platform to allow its users browse and buy its products from the web. The moves comes 8 months after the company planned to shut down its website and go “app- only”. The decision was taken due to the fact that 90% of its traffic while 70% of its business came from mobile . The move created a debate in tech circles making companies think on a mobile first mobile only strategy .

According to Myntra CTO Shamik Sharma , It isn’t about the money but just the realisation that if we don’t build (a mobile-only product), somebody else is going to build it and whoever builds that is going to be the winner.

Flipkart was planning on a same mobile strategy but changed its plans and launched Flipkart Lite , a mobile site which gives app like user experience to its audience . This has again changed the strategy being followed by many companies as app has more limitations and it becomes difficult for the company to update the same on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see how the business fares up with this launch.

Snapdeal makes Aamir Khan the 19th most viewed Ad personality.

E-commerce giant Snap deal has helped Aamir Khan to grow his ad volume by 441% in last one year. His rank improved from mere 57th to 19th in terms of total amount of time he was seen in Television . The actor has endorsed 10 brands from January to October 2014 while this year he endorsed only 2 brands Incredible India and Snapdeal in the same period .

It was not easy for Snap deal to rope in Khan as they had to convince the actor with various factors and trust quotients before he signed with them. According to a senior snap deal executive “We wanted to change Snapdeal’s branding and Khan was the right candidate for the job. He decided to do it after a very long presentation.”  It is believed that the actor charged 15 crores for a four day shoot with the company. According to sources he is one of the highest paid endorser of the country .Salman Khan is the costliest as he charges Rs 6 crore a day for a brand campaign.

The current controversy made Snap deal’s story a bit difficult as he people took on google play store and social media to decrease the app Star rating and also uninstall the application. People started a campaign naming #appwapsi and uninstalled the application in the protest to what the star said about growing in tolerance in the country .Snap deal later issued a statement stating that they distance itself from the star and his opinion in this topic.

The controversy won’t affect the star much as he has said that he will stand by his words. According to brand expert Harish Bijoor “Contrary to public opinion, Aamir Khan’s brand value will not suffer because of this one incident. He did a good thing by standing by his statement. People expect their heroes to do the same. One more hit, and he will be up there. The share in ad volumes for Aamir Khan in 2015 between Incredible India and Snapdeal is around 55:45”.

No deep discounts on Abof.com.

Online shopping venture from Aditya Birla group will not follow other ecommerce players by providing deep discounts on top brands that will be sold on the platform. The company will focus on personalization instead in order to gain more user traction.

The e- tailer will be competing with top online fashion platforms like Myntra and Jabong . The company is planning to achieve a market share of 15% by 2020.The company also plans to work on a model in order to achieve greater profitability and reach break even in next five years.

In a statement issued by company’s CEO Prashant Gupta , he said “We will never go for deep discounts for the biggest brands, unlike other portals. Rather, we would give customers personalised experience through our portal. We are in the business for a segment of consumers who are looking to see more curated, selected merchandise and not the largest range. We tried to check if any acquisitions were possible before starting our own venture.”

The company is working on many innovative ideas in order to lure customer and 3D trail room is one such initiative. The company has partnered with a UK tech firm to create a platform for 3D trial. The initiative would help customer make a buying decision much faster.

This is the second ecommerce venture of the group first one being trendin.in where customers can buy in house products from the portal. According to Gupta “TrendIn is basically for a certain section of consumers who are looking for Madura and Pantaloons brands, whereas abof.com is targeting millennials with 55+ brands”.

Snapdeal parts away from Aamir Khan’s comments.

E-tailers facing heat because of intolerance comments by Aamir Khan issued as statement in public stating that it is distancing itself from the star actor’s point of view and would not agree or disagree to what he said .

The company said “Snapdeal is neither connected nor plays a role in comments made by Aamir Khan in his personal capacity. Snapdeal is a proud Indian company built by passionate young Indians focused on building an inclusive digital India,”

Company’s popular blog hashtagged as #SnapdealForIndia said. “Every day we are positively impacting thousands of small businesses and millions of consumers in India. We will continue towards our mission of creating one million successful online entrepreneurs in India,” .

Meanwhile Flipkart’s boss Sachin Bansal came out in defense of Snap deal and said “This is a flawed logic. Brands don’t buy into brand ambassadors personal opinions. @snapdeal shouldn’t face this”. Internet users downrated the application and also started a campaign on social media to uninstall the app from their phones and name the campaign as #appwapsi.