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Visa rides on e-commerce to drive usage in tier 2 towns

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The recent spurt in the Indian e-commerce industry has widened the scope of electronic or online financial transactions. It has further driven accessibility for consumers across the geography of India to purchase almost anything online. Cashing on this evolving trend Visa Debit has shifted focus on further encouraging internet transaction in smaller towns. The company is targeting mass consumers to adopt and understand the convenience of electronic payment through Visa Debit.

In addition, the debit card brand has recently launched a television campaign, created by BBDO Proximity India, in seven different Indian languages to reach out to the young and aspirational youth of the country. The company feels that for consumers particularly youth, belonging to non-metro areas, the shift is empowering and creates a level-playing field as they can now buy the same products that their urban counterparts can. This has helped both e-commerce and the adoption of electronic payments in India’s hinterland.

Shubhranshu Singh

Shubhranshu Singh, Marketing Director, India & South Asia, Visa

Hence, with the e-commerce boom, the marketing focus of the company is that people should use visa while making online purchase.According to Shubhranshu Singh, Marketing Director, India and South Asia, Visa, India has become a priority market for the brand. This has been propelled by the fact that the number of online buyers and per capita online spending is increasing rapidly in the country. According to a recent study by global research and advisory firm – Forrester, the e-commerce market in India is set to grow the fastest within the Asia-Pacific Region at a CAGR of over 57 per centfrom 2012-16. The industry is expected to surpass the $ 1 billion mark by this year. Hence, Visa is leveraging on the e-commerce explosion in the country.

The company will be investing substantially in digital play because of the nature of the industry being similar. Additionally, the brand is also focusing on radio in tier 2 cities to create tailor made campaigns for those geographies. “Thus, we are committed to helping the growth of e-commerce and online payments and grow our business across portfolios,” Singh divulges.

Based on the company’s consumer insight Singh adds, “Ecommerce is exploding in the country and according to internal metrics debit card usage is going up. There is an increasing trend to use cards online where there has been a traditional progression from people booking train tickets to now e-shopping across brands and segments. Familiarity with online debit usage has built up and people’s participation is increasing.” In addition, electronic payment thrives on the factors of convenience and on the global and local nature of e-commerce in India. Singh exemplifies this with the global exposure Indian consumers get on social media sites like Facebook and local leanings of consumers as seen in the growth of matrimonial sites.

Talking about changing consumerism, Singhalso points out that today’s Indian consumer has become more aspirational and ambitious and Visa plays upon this growing optimism in its latest marketing campaign. He explains, “There is a rise of something I would like to call the ‘Indianvidualistic’ generation, which wants more from life and is shaping its own reality. However, the constraints are in the form of lack of retail presence in smaller towns, where brands haven’t really reached. Hence, Visa plus the power of technology, that is internet, can democratise this growing opportunity and provide consumers accessibility to goods and services.”

Thus, the brand is pushing the freedom to operate and active involvement in the growing e-commerce industry, through the emotional route as shown in the latest campaign. However, Singh says that the brand’s positioning is based on both rational and non-rational attributes. “Indian consumers are familiar with the brand name and know that it is a leading name in the payment space. Thus, on the rational side Visa is a highly recognised brand both when it comes to superior technology and reliability;and on the non-rational side we are providing meaningful experiences to our consumers,” he adds. The company currently claims to have a large portfolio of cardholders and tie ups with 50 issuers across industries.

Though Singh emphatically points out that the TG for the brand cuts across all age groups as age brackets need not necessarily profile the debit consumer; the company feels that earlier movers are the younger audience. That is why the new ad called ‘Dream to Advance’ uses the younger brother as the voice of the youth consumer. “He makes a short but emphatic statement, which is about the safe nature of Visa,” Singh adds. He opines that India’s demography is turning younger and it is this TG, which truly understands the potential of technology.

However, looking at global statistics, Indians are still wary of using their debit cards for online transactions and this may pose a challenge to Visa’s efforts. Though, Singh also feels that it is a hurdle, yet it does not stem from actual consumer experience. “These are mere apprehensions and could be because of the inability to use technology, varying levels of consumer awareness and a large part of the trend is based on evolving consumer evolution. We are trying to address both the inability to operate online and insecurity of consumers through our communication efforts.” Hence, according to him,Visa in its successive campaigns will continue to focus on building safety, trust and reach out to mass consumers through the use of regional languages.

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