Evolving with the Customer to Leverage M-commerce – Mr. Vipul Doshi, CEO – IGT
January 15, 2015
According to Vipul Doshi, CEO of Gurgaon based InterGlobe Technologies (IGT), mobile devices have come a long way from being just a transmitter of patchy conversations to offering top-of-the-line computing and revolutionizing the way we connect and engage with fellow beings. Smartphones have penetrated all strata of society and have led to the evolution of an always-on customer who is connected to the internet all the time.
The Indian connected mobile user segment is growing exponentially at a blistering pace with the potential revenue opportunities expected to reach over USD 20 billion by 2020.
While the smartphones market is still in nascent stages in India, the confluence of critical factors – ubiquitous connectivity, affordability and convenience offered by the mobile devices hasaltered the foundations of the consumer behaviour. Consumers are now looking for quicker, more convenient and more personalized shopping experiences on-the-go, which is altering the entire buying ecosystem.
Change in customer behaviour
Vipul believes that shopping is no longer an iterative process where the consumer selects a product, goes to a store and buys the item. Today, consumers indulge themselves in looking up for information, researching and comparing items on-the-go, scouring for deals, filling their virtual shopping carts and sharing their experiences on social media. In order to capture this new mobile internet customer base, many companies are in fact embracing a mobile first strategy where their products and services are also made available through mobiles. However, 80 percent of mobile applications being developed today fail and around 97 percent of m-carts get abandoned, making it essential to analyze the consumer shopping patterns across the mobile landscape. Having a dual competency in Big Data and mobile platforms becomes it necessary for organizations to leverage the deluge of data and information available through m-commerce.
The m-commerce industry relies on three facets of a convenient shopping experience: real-time update on inventory, a simplified buying process and a secure payment mechanism.It is important to have a sustainable and reliable foundation to support these three pillars and deliver instant gratification to mobile users. The travel domain adds another layer of complexity to this m-commerce landscape with travelers scouring for last minute deals and looking for location-based services while traveling.
Cost effective m-commerce
Most organizations recognize the strategic importance of mobile as a sales channel with the always-on customer; however they struggle to reconcile huge technology costs with uncertain returns. InterGlobe Technologies has based its m-commerce offering on the premise that both the stakeholders (IGT and the client) would incur minimum costs and at the same time receive high return on investments. “We utilized open source-based solutions and cloud infrastructure for reduced software and hardware costs, and used existing third party Central Reservation System (CRS) frameworks, connectors and social media integrators to build market-ready deployable mobile solutions for the client. The user of the app is provided with an interactive, feature rich interface that provides easy booking experience through minimum number of clicks. The result – increase in bookings per day being made through the mobile app is followed by enhanced sales revenue, increased brand reach and improved customer service.” says Vipul.
Talking about the philosophy for IGT’s m-commerce solutions, Vipul says that the requisite financial information from the payment aggregator should be stored on a secure remote server (cloud). “Our mobile solutions process the actionable financial information remotely and send only tokens or authorizations to the actual mobile phone to initiate and authorize the payment at the point-of-sale (POS). The sensitive financial information is stored in the cloud, not on the mobile phone.” shares Vipul.
He feels that lack of connectivity and access to high speed networks is a major barrier for wide scale adoption of m-commerce applications, making it prudent for organizations to offer SMS as commerce channel. “We at IGT have also developed a trusted SMS based logistics and payment solution that enables real-time information exchange between different stakeholders to generate sales. IGT’s SMS solution enables agents and resellers to update real-time hotel prices and information in Global Distribution Systems (GDS) through SMS to yield better revenue per available room (RevPar) and ticket sales.” explains Vipul.
Business transactions have come a long way from barter to cash and credit and then internet banking to mobile commerce. Mobile has transformed the way consumers spend and businesses conduct themselves. “The time has come for us to ride this wave of disruption lest it crushes the contours of those who stay at the shores.” signs off Vipul.