The SMB Industry Is Having Its 'Moneyball' Moment

Krishi Fagwani, Founder, Hashtag Loyalty
Monday, December 14, 2015
Krishi Fagwani, Founder, Hashtag Loyalty
When I was in school, the happiest time of the day, for me, was when I stopped at my neighbourhood cafe on my way home. As soon as I walked into the cafe, I was greeted by a warm and welcoming "Hello Krishi, how was your day at school?" The staff personally knew me, my favourite sandwiches and even knew about my shellfish allergies. Nothing would put a smile on my face like when I found a complimentary pastry at the bottom of my carry out bag. I soon moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and when I returned home 7 years later, I experienced a drastic change in the environment of my favorite cafe. There were no familiar faces, no greetings and no free pastries. This little anecdote from my early life has forced me to think, what it that has caused this changes and how can I get my childhood experience back.

Over the last 5-10 years, due to globalization, what we are experiencing is a rapid depersonalization in the way businesses work. There are thousands of businesses catering to crores of customers, but the businesses don't know who these customers are. In this day and age where customers have multiple options available for their each need - viable business cannot afford to not know their customers. This is where the need for smart data arises for SMBs.

In mature markets like the U.S., CRM is very advanced. However, In India, companies are just realizing that if their customers suddenly stop coming, they wouldn't know where to look for them. Today, even though organizations are growing and their sales are increasing, companies are in severe need of technologies and processes that manage their relationship with their customers. The importance of customer data cannot be stressed upon more. The faster the businesses adapt to the changing technology landscape and start leveraging data, the farther they will go to drive profitability in the future.

With more than 900 million mobile subscribers, India has an increasing desire for internet on mobile and the same should be expected for payments and commerce on mobile. Social Media, Cashless Payment and Digital Loyalty serve as a few channels that businesses today can leverage to collect swaths of customer data.

Even though Social Media is an effective channel for businesses to generate actionable data and to engage with customers, it doesn't help them clearly identify who their customers are. There is no guarantee that a customer following you on Instagram has actually ever visited your business. This is where a need for an in-store solution comes in. Businesses need to know who is actually walking into their outlet and need an interface to directly engage with these people once they have left.

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