It has been a month since our government announced its demonetization move (8th November 2016). While demonetization had come with big promises and assurances, it has been relatively sluggish in its execution. But we are not here today to discuss its merits and demerits or what would it do to fight black money or benefit India’s economy in the long run. What we have seen ever since demonetization commenced, is that the country has been hit by a sudden cash crunch. People across the nation are standing in banks and ATM queues for hours and the job market has been affected big time. However, there is someone who is having a good business in the meantime! Guess who?
In most of the shops, stores, boutiques, supermarkets and even roadside stalls these days, we get to see this poster!
Yes, Paytm is making it big, in fact, bigger with each passing day!
When demonetization was announced a month back, for a few days everything came to a kind of a standstill. People were running frantically here and there for cash, some cursing the government while others welcoming the move. Every possible kind of market got affected. Things became even more difficult for small vendors. Roadside tea and food stalls, which obviously do not accept credit/debit cards, were hit the most. Footpath markets became empty all on a sudden, with shopkeepers staring blankly and helplessly. (And the helplessness was mutual as even passersby would stare at the shops with very little or absolutely no cash in their pocket).
But this phase was temporary, extremely temporary as India turned digital almost overnight! In the next two-three days, we witnessed that the shops have started accepting payments through e-commerce wallet Paytm! Tea stalls, samosa and panipuri stalls in every nook and corner of the country gradually started transacting through this digital platform! Even Fish markets, sweet shops, vegetable and fruit vendors went digital! With this, customers too heaved a sigh of relief! The reason was obvious. This meant that they would not run out of cash every now and then and would obviously be spared the horror of standing and straining their legs in the never-ending ATM queues (with the minimum waiting time being one hour) to withdraw a limited amount of cash!
E-commerce wallet Paytm now claims to have about 165 million users. The company’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma recently revealed that Paytm is on its way to complete two billion transactions this year! This is a figure, which superseded even their expectations! Overwhelmed with the sudden and huge response countrywide, Paytm has just enabled offline payment for potential customers who do not use the internet. This means Paytm as a mode of payment is no longer restricted to smartphone users only and is reaching out to the masses. Consumers and merchants who do not have an internet connection can now register on Paytm’s newly announced toll-free number to carry out various transactions including mobile recharge in a hassle-free manner. Not just new users, Paytm’s existing user base has also gained from the move as they are now able to use their wallet at diverse places.
With Paytm making it big with a stroke of serendipity, competition definitely became stiffer for its rival e-commerce wallets. For instance, Snapdeal-owned Freecharge has suddenly started advertising more. Its wallet-on-delivery service has been welcomed by consumers in a country hit by a cash crunch. It is needless to say that our cash-strapped citizens are opting for such methods more and more. For the uninitiated, wallet-on-delivery is the e-version of cash-on-delivery, where the customer gets to pay digital money to the delivery person.
We all dreamt of a digital India, but never imagined that it would happen so soon!