Gyanesh Sharma is the Co-founder and CTO at DotPe, an O2O platform providing novel digital transformation and host of merchant and consumer-focused commerce solutions to brick and mortar outlets. In his current capacity, he oversees the product and technological architecture at the company utilising breakthrough innovation to arrive at customised solutions for customers. Gyanesh aspires to enchant millions of offline merchants and their customers by creating tailored state-of-the-art and peerless products for their businesses.
Whether it is about transferring payments to the local Kirana stores for the weekly grocery haul through GPay or about making quick payments for online purchases through Paytm, contactless payments have been quite popular in India in the form of UPI. The worldwide pandemic is providing additional impetus for it to become standard. However, the coronavirus outbreak is certainly a reminder for the businesses to raise their game amid the changing consumer behaviour. While digital payment platforms are enabling offline businesses to offer their consumers a faster way of making payments by either a point-of-sale terminal or UPI-based digital wallets through smartphones, there exists real-life problem statements across commerce in the form of digital ordering, payments, billing, order management system and catalogue discovery.
Unlike online retail, for physical storefronts to assume an online presence, a host of provisions are required including developing an all-inclusive product listing, setting up an online storefront proficient in handling payments, managing orders online and connecting with new and returning consumers. Businesses also have to focus on maintaining sufficient inventory and providing seamless user experience. Offline retailers can navigate around these by working with trusted partners who can help them create, sustain and elevate their online business.
During this ongoing economic crisis caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, India’s multi-billion-dollar brick and mortar retail industry needs to be empowered with technological disruption, and tech startups like DotPe are democratising digitisation for such businesses. DotPe is offering digital ordering solutions integrated with payment gateways that can unravel opportunities beyond obvious for businesses like retail and restaurants. Not only will such platforms enable them to update their product catalogue dynamically, but they will also enable the brick and mortar businesses to completely own the customer experience, create their own digital channel for both online and offline ordering, besides managing the expenses and customer data better. Moreover, merchants can transact with their customers over Whatsapp, Facebook, SMS and various other popular open messaging platforms without depending on any third-party payment service providers.
So what are the tech drivers behind such futuristic contactless payment solutions?
So far, online commerce aggregating platforms digitising offline businesses have been adopting the B2C approach. This costs the merchant their customers. For instance, for ordering food or groceries online, customers rely on a third-party app instead of a particular retailer or restaurant. However, new-age digital ordering platforms empower the merchants with digital capabilities so that they can conduct online business and engage directly with their customers in better ways. Machine learning and AI plays a crucial role in streamlining this process and improving customer experience. While ML is leveraged to generate personalised offer recommendations to customers based on their previous purchase choices, AI is used extensively to enable bot ordering, order management and take unbiased feedback to resolve customer queries along with offering sales in a conversational format.
The new and developing social isolation in the post COVID era is shaking up business conduct worldwide, and offline digital ordering solutions are emerging as key drivers of seamless, secure and contactless business transactions. While offline digital ordering is set to become the hygiene factor between offline merchants and online commerce aggregators, the former can foresee additional value in terms of the increased average order value and direct ordering. With such diverse advantages, digital ordering solutions indeed has the potential to redefine the future of contactless payments drastically, not just in India, but the world over.
More About Gyanesh Sharma
Having attained one of the top all-India ranks in the IIT entrance exam, Gyanesh pursued his B.tech in computer science from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi before heading to the US to complete a Nasper’s Harvard program in e-commerce from the eminent Harvard Business School. He commenced his professional journey as a software engineer and solution architect before moving on to assume prolific designations in various companies across a diversity of segments.