The Marketing Forum of PGDM students in association with Indian Oil Corporation organized a seminar on the highly relevant topic of “M-Commerce – It’s Trending”. The nature of business is changing with an increasing number of consumers buying products through mobile apps. The seminar held on the 7th of December shed light on many of the interesting facets of M-commerce. The presence of leading names from the industry added to the attraction of the seminar that further led to interesting discussions and had important takeaways for students.
Some of the big names present on the day included Mr. Ravindra Prasad Elicherla, Head of Engineering & Technology, Tesco, Mr. K.A. Babu, Retail Head, Federal Bank, Dr. Santhosh Kumar K., Head – Product Innovations, InterGlobe Technology Quotient Pvt Ltd., Mr. Abdul Latheef, Fleet Manager, Indian Oil, Mr. Deepak L. Aswani, MD, Presteege Lachmandas Group, Mr. Mohan Thomas, Co-Founder & President at HIFX IT & Media Services Private Limited and Mr. Vishnu K.S., Head of Technology, Chillar Payments.
Prof. RTR Varma set the ball rolling with his welcome speech and offered an overview of the topic. Mr. K. A. Babu, a seasoned professional who works as the Retail Head at Federal Bank, then took over and made interesting points in his talk. According to him, Digital India will have positive impact on connectivity in the coming years. At the moment that 90% of transactions take place through cash basis and only 10% of transactions happen through other mediums. That would change dramatically with the number of Smartphone users growing 4 to 7 fold in the next four years. “70% of payments in e-payments are on cash on delivery basis, which is a challenge for this field. It’s because of lack of consumer trust and connectivity,” he highlighted the issues involved. He then took the participants through the steps initiated by his own organization to get over these problems.
Mr. Ravindra Prasad Elicherla, Engineering & Technology, Tesco on the other hand started by describing how mobile phones enabled thousands of people to gather in the street for save white field campaign. Through an exciting quiz he offered insights into the function of Tesco. He presented an outline of challenges and risks with M-commerce. “Security and safety concerns, small screen sizes, user speed and experience, data size, micro managing moments, backward integration and pricing strategy among channels should be considered carefully. M-commerce is unstoppable and cross-device behavior, big data are crucial.” He also mentioned the importance of club card; a loyalty card for customers at Tesco that has given the organization and its customers a major boost.
Post lunch break, students from the Marketing Forum also presented their studies on the topic ‘M-commerce from a consumer perspective.’
Mr. Abdul Latheef, Fleet Manager, Indian Oil admitted right at the onset that his organization, which has 50% of market share in the oil industry in the country is not technology driven. But he added that the major organization is taking careful steps towards M-commerce and emphasized on different uses of the mobile apps for our times, right from booking of cylinders to helping victims of Chennai floods. He then shed light on different apps of IOC including Fuel@IOC for customers, Mpower for field managers and Xsparsh for dealers. He also spelt out various uses of apps when he said, “Usage of applications is for finding the list of outlets, price, working hours of outlets, whether they facilitate toilets, ATMs, feedback to know whether customer is satisfied or not.”
Dr. Santhosh Kumar K of InterGlobe Technology Quotient Pvt Ltd shared his experiences working with Travel Port GDS (Global Distribution System) product. He reminded the audience that the traditional ideal of travel had changed and his company was the first one to introduce electronic ticketing. “Travel Port will allow customers to search for their travel when they don’t even have a clue regarding it. The good thing about m–commerce is that people can learn it themselves without seeking help from experts. Technology is evolving and will change at a rapid speed, strong investments are happening in mobile services favouring travel industry, which are encouraging signs,” he said. The good thing about the talk was that Mr. Kumar made his points via a video presentation that hit the mark with the audience.
Mr. Deepak L. Aswani, MD, Presteege Lachmandas Group compared a Smartphone to a body organ that we can’t do without. He believes the changes with M-commerce might have huge advantages for people. He also emphasized on the role of Chief Information Officer in today’s environment. “Thanks to M-commerce distribution system has improved drastically. In the present market scenario, investments made at retail shops are at risk because customers have the option of buying products online through e–commerce.”
The next session had Mr. Vishnu K.S., who works as Head Of Technology with Chillar Payments offered insight into his own company and its products. “Our campus wallet uses ID, which can be recharged with money; it works like debit card. What differentiates us from others is the value we bring to the table through innovation. The challenge now is to provide relevant information to users in order to acquire and retain them,” he stated. The seminar also included a session where select groups of students presented their studies on “M-commerce from a consumer perspective.” Through examples of companies like Flipkart, the session revealed the inside outs of M-commerce and its pros and cons.
Finally, Mr. Mohan Thomas, Co-Founder & President, HIFX IT & Media Services Private Limited, shared his views by saying that through E-commerce, people all over the world can buy different types of products. He added that the Internet was maturing on an annual basis and the innovation is at a rapid pace. “Today, 72% of web traffic is driven by smartphones. With M-commerce here to stay, there are different aspects like talent, implementation of best practices, realization of order conversions, security aspect and mode of payments should be thought about carefully. But the fact remains that you need to be a customer only business not just an “app” only business.” Thus ended the highly relevant and informative seminar that had important takeaways for participants.