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Paper Money Crisis Signals The Move To A Cashless India

India’s scrapping of big denomination bank notes shows just how vital homegrown Internet Retail will become.

As per Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, this week’s shock move to eradicate high face value notes is all about helping the country move towards a cashless economy. New Delhi also wants to try and cut down on corruption and tax evasion, problems policy makers are convinced are made worse by the Sub Continent’s addiction to paper money.

The move may be causing chaos in major cities, as endless queues form outside banks and ATMs. But, for the Indian online retail world, government’s bold move promises much more business, as it will underline the value of card-based ecommerce. In fact, the Indian government has just made the position of traditional brick and mortar retailers a little more perilous – and the shift to moving retail online that’s much more inevitable and necessary.

Indian retailers have a risk losing big time, if they miss the boat by not equipping themselves and investing in the right technology to support that transition. For example, one of India’s successful fashion retailers, lingerie innovator, Pretty Secrets is winning because it translated a decade’s worth of offline experience into an online business model, buttressed by great, modern IT systems. As Karan Behal, the entrepreneur behind Pretty Secrets, has said, “The only way to reach the consumer we want and for them to be excited about us is with the aid of retail analytics.”

Visibility of the market, in real time

The start up’s strategy is to make online-shopping as easy as possible, via network of partnerships with core e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart. While a dedicated B2C e-commerce portal allows offline retailers and consumers to get more choice to stock its products, it’s the main website, which is the prime engine for the company’s growth.

Technology provides all dynamic Indian firms an invaluable edge on the competition, allowing their leadership to make decisions, which keep saving a considerable amount of time and money by helping them identify gaps and strengths in the competitors’ catalogue.

Firms like Pretty Secrets, but many others too, are already seeing the results from its investment in retail analytics. By being able to measure visibility online, the team can see how customers are responding and if launch products are set to succeed.

And as we move to a cashless India, these are lessons all Indians, be they retailers or consumers, will also need to learn.

This article is authored by Sanjeev Sularia, Founder & CEO, Intelligence Node, (a New York and Mumbai-based retail analytics firm).