An IIM Bangalore alumnus, Prabhakar Tiwari has led Angel Broking’s marketing transformation since 2019. He has played an instrumental role in expanding the brokerage house visibility through several award-winning campaigns along with a strong focus on performance marketing and technological integrations such as leveraging web and app analytics and AI/ML based retargeting campaigns. He has previously also held key positions across several leading consumer and digital companies such as Marico, CEAT and PayU.
India has come a long way in terms of bridging the gaps and inequities in the country through the use of technology. Since the 90s, liberalization of our economy only fast-forwarded emphasis on developing tech-based solutions, wherein, services began to reach the least common denominator. With the largest demographic of young people, India is at the cusp of an economic boom, and growth momentum is likely to come from digital inclusion.
Ever since demonetization of 2016, speed of digital technologies’ adoption accelerated further. People of all age groups and social strata began using digital payments in the absence of paper currency. While it was a step towards building a cashless economy, it became a popular means to conduct financial transactions, especially among millennials. Gen Z and Millennial population is known to be tech-savvy, and their high digital literacy levels are encouraging service providers to double down on digital-first solutions. The biggest adopters of this are BFSI players, be it brokerage houses, insurance companies, FinTechs, digital payment gateways, and the like. Each of them is investing resources into integrating the latest in tech to simplify services, as millennials are at the center of their expansion strategies.
The appeal of digital-first platforms
Unlike the traditional procedures of financial institutions and other service providers, which involve numerous copies of paperwork, long-awaited onboarding processes, and other delays, digital platforms offer a contrasting experience to users. Firstly, teams of specialists and tech professionals are involved in designing human-centered interfaces, so that even the least digitally literate individual can easily surf through features of the applications. The user-friendly layouts and agile functions are developed to work perfectly on all kinds of smartphones.
Millennials being the digital-first generation, there is a recognition among app developers that this is the age group they must target to make such platforms a success. Millions of young users are well-versed with the interactive nature of social media apps, and they spend hours every day engaging with peers, e-commerce platforms, and even brands for that matter. In 2021, the understanding is that app users prefer all their favorite functions to be on a single platform, where they can talk, share information, data, form groups, exchange media, etc. all at once. Companies and brands today realize that the average user is spending more time on their smartphones and mobile apps than Television and personal computers. It stands true even for the planning of finances, as people now wish to multitask and conduct major money-related decisions remotely.
FinTech innovation, and new growth areas
Digital platforms created by financial services providers are taking a cue from popular social media apps in terms of drawing advertisers and customers in. The idea is to create platforms that become one-stop financial solutions tools, which could be an attractive alternative to existing and obsolete systems. Youngsters cannot imagine standing in line to draw cash, deliver cheques, and visit banks in-person to carry out their decisions. They very much prefer managing their accounts remotely. With a large number of new stock market investors hailing from tier II and III cities, most of whom belong to Gen Z and the Millennial age group, even brokerages have decided to bring down costs and ease out onboarding. By digitizing and operating at scale, they can now afford to offer zero commission rates on onboarding, and inexpensive intraday trading charges, among a plethora of other services.
On the surface, this might seem like a simple task involving some financial allocations. However, the sheer tech ingenuity and innovation often get lost in the larger scheme of things. By integrating technologies like AI, machine learning, data analytics, and several others, FinTechs are aiding financial players with state-of-the-art solutions for every aspect of the value chain, which is transforming their growth across India. Today, a customer’s choices are tracked, analyzed, and recommendations provided, all because of the know-how developed on how to interpret this data and present what the customer needs most. Moreover, AI-driven chatbots can address customer issues and provide a humanistic response, while keeping the processes free from human errors.
Decision making of Millennials and the role of digital
Millennials can today invest in a physical commodity like gold, in the form of gold ETFs. They neither have to visit gold merchants nor banks to acquire assets. They can merely purchase gold as little as one gram on digital payment gateways, which are also providing services like stock investing, mutual funds etc., just because they realize the potential of young investors’ interest towards early investing. New-age digital brokerages are also providing virtual trading features, literature, and learning material about financial markets and the economics behind them, and all these can be optimized by customers while they carry out trades or transactions.
It is the holistic nature of digital-first platforms and their focus on generating high-engagement through tech insights that are working wonders. Millennials feel included and their interests well catered, and the frenzy about securing their financial futures attracts them at many levels only due to the progress made by digital platforms.