(By Radhakrishna Venketeshwaran)
Historically, pandemics have triggered societal changes and a surge in innovation. The current situation is no exception and has proved to be a catalyst towards digitization. When it comes to payments, experiences and consumer expectations have changed significantly over the last few years. Developments in the digital payments section is driving the market for worldwide Financial Technology.
Now more than ever, consumers are adopting digital modes of payments across the globe. Furthermore, various unprecedented concerns related to virus transmission via cash have also surfaced thus intensifying the role of digital payments beyond just providing speed and convenience. In other words, Covid-19 has underscored the need for new contactless payment solutions and with its increasing adoption, technology has become the nerve centre. With the growing need for innovation and industry’s preparedness to embrace disruption, defining the technological trajectory of this category could be a turning point in an engineer’s career.
Digital Push – A Post COVID mandate
Peering through the window near your workstation, during the pandemic that has affected almost all aspects of human life, have you deliberated what could be the next game-changer?
Predicting the post Covid-19 world is incredibly challenging, given that the situation is still unfurling and expanding in real-time. A report by Gartner, a leading IT service management company, says that 54 per cent of the companies in India do not have enough technology and resources for employees to work from home. Digital-only interactions unquestionably will be the new norm with nearly every organization, institution, and person darting to transform digitally to ensure survival. Moreover, people will be seeking newer ways to transact, function, and operate digitally. 2020 has indeed begun with this digital shift. The opportunity, fundamental role of financial services in our lives, and industry’s readiness to be disrupted make for an irresistible focus.
With the right collaborative approach to develop innovative digital solutions, you can be the next showstopper not only in the Fintech sector but also many others.
Employees are the ‘new’ consumers
Today with numerous changes and challenges in people’s lifestyle, particularly for employees trying to acclimatize themselves to work from home routine, it has become crucial for organizations to keep the employee morale high.
Technology has revolutionized the conversation/relationship between consumers and companies. It’s now time for organizations to leverage technology to better engage with employees. Announcing ‘Employee of the Month’ for employee recognition has become obsolete. In tech-driven ‘work from home’ spaces, rewards and recognition programs are becoming more interactive. Digital rewards are increasingly being adopted by various organizations as a go-to component of their reward strategies and, evidently, there is no stopping in this trend (even after the pandemic settles down).
Providing the modern workforce, the flexibility to choose their own rewards that fit their lifestyle is the basis of its appeal. As Gen Z starts to dominate a major portion of the current workforce in India and around the world, various organizations will also seek newer ideas and solutions to reward appropriately. Thus, innovating branded payments has a huge scope now and in future.
Customer Experience is Driving Digital Transformations
While most organizations are going through rigorous and much-awaited digital transformation, the truly interesting changes are the ones that are not yet in the spotlight – enabled by consumers who have now lived a digital-only life and have created new routines and expectations. Restricting most of the activities to their homes, consumers’ patterns and habits are now largely transformed.
In India, the shift towards digital payments is particularly noticeable. Consumer behavior is evolving across different segments, including older consumers who have traditionally preferred cash for transactions as per Capgemini’s study. The study highlights that 80% of the consumers in India between the age group of 56-60 years will show the highest usage of digital payment channels. Accessibility and excellent user experience are making “Digital Adoption” super easy, with a large part of customer interaction happening digitally, great customer service has evolved beyond discounts or quick product fixes Just consider smartphones that unlock themselves with fingerprint and facial recognition. For example, biometric security is becoming the new normal. Inventing an innovative payment method full of added value features, brands can create and capture new markets.
Interestingly, being the world’s youngest country, the major share of consumers remains millennials demanding closer attention to their needs and desires. New age innovation will not only be battling the pandemic but also making an impact on customers.
It is a challenging yet an interesting area to work towards making your customers’ lives safer and more convenient. And with our consumers better prepared to adapt to changes and respond in an agile fashion, the payments revolution is well underway, and the future belongs to the innovators.
(The author is the VP – Head of Strategic Development Centre, Product & Engineering, Blackhawk Network India)
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