From Digital Payments to Digital Transformation: The next BIG opportunity for India's growth!
When was the last time you bought something with hard cash? At-least I don't remember using hard cash anywhere in the last couple of months and one of the primary reason is the rise of digital payments and adoption of this technology by vendors including street side vendors. The whole world is going through a transformation in how we buy something and how we pay for it. A lot of us are shifting to buying more and more through online channels like Amazon, Flipkart, Jio Mart, Tata Neu etc. in India but the fact is that a lot of goods and services are still sold off-line or through brick-and-mortar big and small stores and even street side vendors who sell stuff on the carts in India and primarily used to take cash only. But this is changing fast, very fast! Specially after COVID-19 struck the off-line business world where everybody became very cautious to accept any physical goods even if its currency notes or coins, a lot of people switched to or were forced to switch to the digital currency modes like Amazon Pay, Google Pay, PayTM or UPI.
A vegetable vendor accepting digital payments on streets of India.
India has seen a significant increase in the adoption of digital payments in recent years. This has been driven by a number of factors, including the government's push towards a cashless society, the proliferation of smartphones and internet access, and the convenience and security of digital payments.
Some specific factors that have contributed to the growth of digital payments in India include:
Government initiatives: The Indian government has implemented several measures to promote the adoption of digital payments, including the launch of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and the demonetization of certain bank notes in 2016.
Increased access to technology: The number of internet users and smartphone owners in India has grown significantly in recent years, making it easier for people to use digital payment platforms.
Convenience and security: Digital payments offer a convenient and secure alternative to cash, with the added benefit of not having to carry physical currency.
Growth of e-commerce: The growth of online shopping in India has also contributed to the adoption of digital payments, as more people are making purchases online and using digital payment methods.
Overall, the adoption of digital payments in India has been driven by a combination of government initiatives, increased access to technology, the convenience and security of digital payments, and the growth of e-commerce BUT is this the end of Digital revolution in India or there's something more in store?
I believe adoption of Digital Payments is just a start for the Digital Transformation revolution in India and it's not going to stop here. Digital transformation helps businesses
Improving customer experience: By using digital technologies such as mobile apps and social media, businesses can improve the customer experience by making it easier for customers to access products and services, and by providing more personalized and convenient experiences.
Enhancing operational efficiency: Digital technologies can help businesses streamline their operations, reduce costs, and improve efficiency by automating manual processes, tracking and analyzing data, and enabling remote collaboration.
Enabling new business models: Digital transformation can also enable businesses to create new products and services, or to deliver existing products and services in new and innovative ways.
Enhancing competitiveness: By adopting digital technologies, businesses in India can gain a competitive advantage over their rivals by differentiating themselves through improved customer experiences, greater operational efficiency, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing market conditions.
Overall, digital transformation is having a significant impact on businesses in India, and is helping to drive economic growth and development in the country BUT currently this is limited to a very small bunch of big businesses who can afford to spend money on digital transformation projects, adopt a digital mindset and build a digital culture.
I really believe that India has a massive potential to leverage technology for adopting a true digital transformative culture not only to benefit the big businesses only but also make technology available to smallest of vendors, enable them digitally and make this a level playing field for everyone. Think about the time when even a road side small vendor will be able to send you daily/weekly offers, send you discount coupons, inform you of new stock or new products arrival, provide catalog of products/services, enable seamless ordering and returns, enable you to provide feedback and ship the product to you in the shortest time possible all in a digitally enabled direct-to-customer (D2C) format without building an app on their own or even spending money on hefty commissions like on some of the current platform providers with limited & restrictive functionality. I think this will be the real win-win situation for businesses + customers and will set India to rise even faster and further. This is certainly not easy and may take couple of years or even a decade but I'm sure that this is the future of India and maybe the world! This will be the true democratisation of technology! The ONDC platform initiative by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of Government of India is a step in this direction and I'm hopeful that it will be a success!
Various street side vendors accepting Digital Payments
* Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to how the business operates and delivers value to customers. In India, digital transformation has been driven by a number of factors, including the proliferation of mobile devices and internet access, the growth of e-commerce and online services, and the increasing importance of data-driven decision making.
** ONDC - Open Network for Digital Commerce
The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is an initiative to create a global network of digital marketplaces that enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access new markets and customers around the world. The goal of the ONDC is to help SMEs leverage the power of digital technologies to expand their businesses and increase their competitiveness.
The ONDC is being developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The ITC aims to provide SMEs with access to training, tools, and support to help them take advantage of the opportunities presented by digital marketplaces. Some of the key components of the ONDC include:
Digital marketplaces: The ONDC will connect SMEs with a network of digital marketplaces around the world, allowing them to sell their products and services to a global audience.
Training and support: The ONDC will provide SMEs with training and support to help them understand how to use digital marketplaces effectively, and to take advantage of the opportunities they present.
Tools and resources: The ONDC will also provide SMEs with access to a range of tools and resources, including marketing and branding support, to help them grow their businesses.
Overall, the Open Network for Digital Commerce is an ambitious initiative that aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises around the world access new markets and customers through digital technologies.