Technology Startups

Repeat customers key to mobile monetisation, say panellists at VCCircle Mobile Forum

30 Jun, 2016

Mobile_forum2A good user experience, reliable digital payment processes and value-added services can ensure what cashbacks and discounts have not been able to achieve: loyal customers who keep coming back for more, thus opening the route to mobile monetisation.

At a session titled "Monetising Mobile: What Clicks?" at the one-day VCCircle Mobile Forum 2016, founders and senior executives of startups providing mobile-based solutions agreed that companies need to look for a viable business model that does not depend on cashbacks to bring the customers.

"Multiple use cases are key to mobile monetisation," said Sunil Kulkarni, deputy managing director, Oxigen Services, emphasising that repeat customers hold the key to profitability in this segment. An advertising-led revenue model could help in such a scenario, suggested the panellists, pointing out that such advertising needs to be seamless and unobtrusive so that customers are not forced to go for an adblocker.

"Deep integration for a unified experience has to happen, and we have to develop the technology for that," said Arun Gupta, co-founder, MagicTel Solutions.

Vasuta Agarwal, vice president and general manager – India, InMobi, pointed out that while customers are piqued by the convenience offered by mobile commerce, they are still hesitant about making high-value transactions through the phone, which can hinder monetisation.

"The number of smartphone devices has increased. Though consumer interest has grown, advertiser interest in the same hasn't caught up. When that happens, the revenue pie will increase," she said.

"We need an infrastructure around converting cash to digital money," said Kulkarni, adding that the newly introduced Unified Payments Interface (UPI) could help in overcoming such problems. "UPI is just like IMPS, its introduction is meant to give the user an experience as good as giving a Rs 500 note," he said.

IMPS, or immediate payment service, is a round-the-clock process for transferring funds. UPI is an advanced version of IMPS.

Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO, Haptik, also agreed that reliable mobile financial services are essential for tasting success in this segment. He added that the chat concierge service had completed thousands of transactions without giving any cashbacks.

Emphasing the importance of expanding services, Vikas Agarwal, general manager – India, OnePlus, said that even though smartphones, at present, are earning a premium on the hardware, going forward, phone companies will have to develop the services as well, and build a monetisation model around it.

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