CMO Fea­ture

MAK­ING THE BEST OF ON­LINE AND OFF­LINE AMIT SINHA, CHIEF OP­ER­AT­ING OF­FI­CER, PAYTM MALL

Impact - - CONTENTS - BY NEETA NAIR

Q] It was the first fes­tive sea­son sale for Paytm Mall, what kind of re­sponse did you get?

It was a big suc­cess from a busi­ness point of view. From ev­ery pa­ram­e­ter that we could think of, we hit the high­est ever re­sults his­tor­i­cally for Paytm Mall, and that too by a huge mar­gin. We saw traf­fic go up by 30X and saw a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in sales. So, we were able to test our sys­tems on all the pa­ram­e­ters, which thank­fully didn’t crash. We saw trans­ac­tions com­ing from more than 850 towns in the coun­try in those four days it­self, from Akhnoor in Kash­mir to the North-east, which was amaz­ing be­cause we were not aware that peo­ple from such lo­ca­tions also pur­chased from Paytm Mall. And on the seller side, shop-keep­ers from more than 250 ci­ties were aligned to our plat­form. We were present in ev­ery nook and corner of the coun­try. Be­fore the sale, we were ex­pect­ing about five mil­lion new buy­ers on our plat­form. We crossed that.

Q] Over­all, how many sell­ers do you have on your plat­form today?

Right now, we have around 60,000-70,000 sell­ers on our plat­form. All of these are bran­dau­tho­rized sell­ers, do­ing sales on their be­half. The ac­tual sales are done by the shop­keeper who is ei­ther as­signed by the brands, or who has a real world store­front shop some­where.

Q] You have re­cently en­tered the ad­ver­tis­ing game, with an am­bi­tious Rs 1000 crore ear­marked for pro­mo­tions and mar­ket­ing in the fes­tive sea­son, how did your first TVC help?

The ad re­ally helped in in­creas­ing or­ganic traf­fic on our web­site. Also, a lot of peo­ple com­mented that it is a great ad and very In­dian in essence -- it showed a lot of things In­di­ans do specif­i­cally. Apart from the TVC, we did Print ads. A lot of Print ads are be­ing placed by our part­ners- small re­tail­ers who al­low the use of the Paytm QR code. I have seen so many hoard­ings which have the Paytm QR code. There is this brand called Khadim in Cal­cutta, their foot­fall is so huge that they need to call the po­lice to con­trol the crowds at their flag­ship store in Park Street dur­ing Durga Puja. They brought in Print ads with our QR code and also dis­played it in their stores. Khadim store is now on Paytm Mall, we in­vest a lot in the re­la­tion­ship. Sell­ers and shop­keep­ers are part­ner­ing with us be­cause they see a value in it, oth­er­wise who does it for free?

Q] Not just the sell­ers, even brands are show­ing ads with Paytm at the fore­front, like the re­cent Coke ad. How do such part­ner­ships work?

Yes, the Coke ad, brought out the fla­vor of the fes­tive sea­son well. It has re­ally done won­ders for us. In fact, we are work­ing very closely with all the ma­jor brands. For ex­am­ple, Sam­sung and LG, among ap­pli­ance brands, have a store on Paytm and we are very deeply in­te­grated with their chan­nel, their emo­tions, etc. Sim­i­larly in footwear, we have brands like Puma, and Red Tape. In FMCG, all the ma­jor brands like Hin­dus­tan Unilever, Cad­bury and P&G are work­ing with us. So, across the whole jour­ney, there are mul­ti­ple places where we typ­i­cally would part­ner with a brand. We don’t just buy in­ven­tory and then do what­ever we want with in­ven­tory. We have to work with the brand, be­cause at the end of the day, we are cham­pi­oning them.

Q] Your mother com­pany Paytm is the num­ber one player in the pay­ments space. How soon do you think you will get to that po­si­tion?

Our model and the busi­ness that we are op­er­at­ing in is sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from the oth­ers. In fact, only 2% of the com­merce busi­ness in this coun­try hap­pens through the e-com­merce plat­form. 98% hap­pens in the real, phys­i­cal world. And that is where we are work­ing right now-- as tech­nol­ogy part­ners to the shop­keep­ers, to the brands, chan­nel, to help them reach out to con­sumers and bring in bet­ter ser­vices. So our fo­cus is not on be­ing num­ber 1 or 2, what we look at is, how much of busi­ness were we able to drive for our shop-keep­ers. The re­sults have been very en­cour­ag­ing in the first 4-5 months it­self. There are shop­keep­ers who ac­tu­ally have seen in­crease of more than 20% of sales ow­ing to as­so­ci­at­ing with Paytm Mall. That is a pa­ram­e­ter we would like to eval­u­ate our­selves on, and if we hit that, we are suc­cess­ful, and the busi­ness will get built in that process. By the end of this fi­nan­cial year, we are tar­get­ing an an­nu­alised run rate of USD 4 bil­lion.

Q] Where is the big money - in phys­i­cal stores or e-com­merce web­sites?

The point is that there is a value in hav­ing a shopfront in a phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion, and that’s why the con­sumer still walks into it. Not ev­ery­thing can be done on­line, not ev­ery­thing can be done off­line. Both have their own pros and cons. What we are try­ing to bring in is a mix of both.

From our per­spec­tive, the con­sumer should have a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence across all plat­forms. And in this process, ob­vi­ously we have to en­able the shop­keep­ers to en­sure that they are able to of­fer the best pos­si­ble ser­vices to the con­sumer which is where the com­merce plat­form and the tech­nol­ogy en­able­ment of the shop­keep­ers comes in.

Q] What per­cent­age of Paytm Mall sales come from these phys­i­cal stores where you can scan the QR code and what comes from the app or web­site?

It’s ac­tu­ally a very in­ter­meshed model, thus dif­fi­cult to give num­bers. The way it hap­pens is, you can scan the QR code, and if the shop­keeper doesn’t have that SKU avail­able, he can get it shipped from some­where else. For e.g. It solves the prob­lem of shop­keep­ers who can’t keep all sizes of a par­tic­u­lar shoe due to lim­ited space. Shop­keep­ers re­ally are lov­ing it, be­cause more than 40% of the sales ac­tu­ally get turned down in the shop be­cause you might not have the right SKU at that point. What Paytm Mall helps him do is en­sure that he doesn’t lose the sale at that point in time and gives him the op­tion of de­liv­er­ing the prod­uct to the cus­tomer. So the dis­cov­ery is hap­pen­ing off­line, while the sale is hap­pen­ing on­line.

Q] What’s the big plan post the fes­tive sea­son?

For us the fes­tive sea­son doesn’t end be­cause we are so well pen­e­trated in the coun­try, where there is al­ways some fes­ti­val or the other that we can ride on. We can’t say that we are an off­line-also player and not be present there. So, there is go­ing to be a lot of ac­tiv­ity even post this sea­son. Our en­tire model is in­no­va­tive and at ev­ery bend, we strive to in­no­vate. The app it­self has un­der­gone a mas­sive change in terms of fea­tures. No­body has brand stores like us, which is a huge in­no­va­tion.

Q] I was go­ing through a Red­seer re­port which tracks e-com­merce sales dur­ing fes­tive sea­son. It showed Ama­zon and Flip­kart, and had no men­tion of Paytm Mall… does that worry you?

We are in a very dif­fer­ent space. We don’t un­der­stand re­tail­ing, but what we know best is how we can bring in tech­nol­ogy to con­sumers through re­tail in a way that everybody in the value chain -- the con­sumer, shop­keeper, dis­trib­u­tor and brand--gains. And that’s where our strength lies. We know how to build tech­nol­ogy at scale, great tech­nol­ogy which is very con­sumer friendly. And that is what we are fo­cus­ing on. It doesn’t mat­ter if peo­ple say we are small or large. We at Paytm be­lieve that we should do some­thing that is re­ally dif­fer­ent from what everybody else is do­ing. That would give real value to peo­ple. If we can’t dis­rupt or in­no­vate, there is no fun. We don’t want to be just an­other player.

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