Nihir Parikh, Chief Strategy Officer, www.nykaa.com, speaks exclusively to Thinking Aloud on how digital payments would be a key enabler for the future growth of e-Commerce in India.
TA: How can India move towards cashless society? What are the challenges and how can it be addressed?
NP: I believe that e-commerce or banking will not play a critical role to transform India into a cashless society, the value proposition is not strong enough to change a very old habit of using cash. The challenge is not in cities or towns but rather in the millions who make up the tail end. To really make a radical shift we need to piggy back on a stronger value proposition, say guaranteed 10 year life extension using an implanted microchip, which also allows you to store money, or one of many other such ideas…
To be clear, even if the change is slow with the current model, we have to continue chipping at this day by day 1 cashless person at a time, we can’t stop, though I recommend looking at alternate/collaborative ways to make a big change.
TA: With a dozen options available at disposable, how complicated can it be to choose the best payment gateway for e-Commerce businesses?
NP: There is no perfect payment gateway today. One is the best at desktop conversions, one is the best at android app, one is the best at IOS app, one is best at marketing strategy, one is best at commercials, one is best at customization, one is best at security. At this point e-commerce companies have now partnered with multiple payment gateways and wallets. With an explosion in these the question soon will change from selection of one ‘best payment gateway’ & ‘one best wallet’ to ‘one best integrator.’ for this the answer will be easier – the one providing the best overall commercial package (rate + marketing), because by then the integrators will have made the payment gateway technology a commodity with 100’s of people capable of building this.
TA: How many checkout buttons does a merchant need? How big a role will single click checkout play in the future?
NP: Single click checkout is a no brainer, it is what the consumer wants! No two ways about it. Today we worry about giving a consumer all the options and he has to select what he feels like, but we see an individual consumer normally has a preferred way of paying. In the near future once the consumer has told the ‘internet’ that a method is what he prefers to use then all sites will ‘personalize’ the checkout and use only this single checkout button!
TA: Apple Pay was the first one to use EMV payment tokenization. What’s in store for card networks looking to don the role of (TSPs) token service providers in India?
NP: I don’t have a strong view on how this will evolve.
TA: Central Bank has allowed E-payments for import & export transactions. How big a role will this development play in bringing digital currency in the center of all transactions?
NP: This is definitely a positive move, with the large Rupee Values involved in import and export transactions this will make a decent impact. It also allows Indians to provide new types of International services, this will bring many innovative models from the savvy individuals or the SME sector. The potential is big, but don’t think this will affect a lot of individuals.
TA: In recent times, the growth of the middle class & the expansion of consumer activity has proved to be a vast untapped pools for digital payments. What role will e-Commerce play in tapping the potential?
NP: Huge… the middle class defines the future of India and so also the future of e-commerce. They are large in number, and spread all over the country, and ecommerce is the best way for them to access anything and everything in terms of goods and services.