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Digital is a 2-way street.

Going digital is a two way street. That is, both the business and the consumers are going digital. It’s easy to see why. For either parties, digital is added value. Take the banking industry for example. There is now a concerted drive to focus on digital expansion, and slow down the 'physical'. Banks are cutting back on branches, and expanding their mobile and internet presence. These both allow them to save on costs and enhance conveniences for their customers.  Taking the physical banking route brings with it multiple inconveniences for customers too. The hassles to get to a physical bank and transact are both time consuming, and stressful. Contrast that with banking via the phone or the computer. The bank for the digital customer is just a click away. Time saved, and zero hassles! It’s no wonder then the adoption of online banking and related services is on the rise in India. A great thing about digital models is its ability to scale and spread quickly. Banking customers in semi-urban and rural areas in India too are getting on the virtual banking bandwagon. It’s easy convincing them to get on especially when they see how opening savings accounts with the aid of digital platforms is both quick and hassle-free. So is transferring and withdrawing money.

Banks that have thrived are those that have pre-empted the needs of the customer and built a digital model with enough banking products to boot. Take for example, Yes Bank and its mobile technology product SIMsePAY. Winner of the Golden Peacock Innovative Product / Service Award 2017, this mobile application has been instrumental in bringing the unbanked and under-banked into formal banking.  The bank has also innovated in the way it offers its retail financial products. Teaming up with Paisaabazaar.com, the bank has in a first of its kind allied with an online financial marketplace to take its retail products to its target customers. The drive behind this partnership is based on the belief that providing banking products and services to customers can be a hassle-free and a seamless act.

Digital buyers are subsets of digital citizens. Though the primary reason to go digital may not have been commercial transactions, netizens have nevertheless taken to engaging with business firms on digital platforms. As mentioned earlier, the digital buyer numbers have climbed due to the added value the platform delivers to them. For business, the payoffs from such buyers has been immense. Most businesses tend to look at the digital buyer as a threat due to his/her access to buying information. However, the truth is that web shoppers are becoming even more loyal. A recent survey found that ‘avid’ online shoppers, those defined as buyers who make two or more purchases on the web in a typical three-month period, revealed that more than half of the purchases they made during that time frame were done online. Engaging and earning the patronage of today’s buyers needs a quantum shift in the way businesses and marketers take their value creating models, products and services to the buyers. What will also be required is a focus on continuous innovation, both incremental and radical. The firms who will make it through the next decade will surely be those that embrace the power and the opportunities digital presents.

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