Digital Transformation: 84% of Indian retailers use WhatsApp to receive orders – Study

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Retail is one of the sectors that is witnessing digital transformation across the globe and India is no different.  Emerging technologies and developing concepts including mixed reality, artificial intelligence, smart kiosks and conversational computing are a few examples that are transforming the entire retail experience. Also, the retail sector should cross $2 trillion by 2030, out of which more than half will be organised retail and it has already embarked on some level of digital transformation in India.  

Some of them have started exploring how Artificial Intelligence, IoT and other technologies can be leveraged to enhance the customer experience.  This is also happening against the backdrop of ever-growing e-commerce, which has successfully started consumers getting used to technology. But the good thing the that unorganised / semi-organised retail – which is around 89 per cent of the sector and consists of community stores, street vendors, bazaars and mandis – has started to adopt the digital transformation. 

According to a study by Techarc, around 98 per cent of retailers in India accept digital payments and 84 per cent of them are using WhatsApp to receive orders. Interestingly, the majority of them are not using WhatsApp Business. 

“Even though the majority of these retailers don’t use WhatsApp for business, they are increasingly relying on the messaging app to receive orders for groceries, medicine or vegetable lists and also share pictures with customers to make a choice. This is a huge opportunity for Meta to engage the users to start accepting payments through the app as well. I think a lot of awareness and initial incentivisation is required to bring WhatsApp into consideration of users as a platform of payment as well,” Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst and Founder, Techarc said. 

According to the study, factors like nationwide availability of 4G services after 2017, the launch of UPI and the promotion of contactless payment modes during COVID-19 emerge as key factors driving this behavioural change. 

“The innovation introduced by Paytm in the form of soundbox powered by MediaTek is considered a pathbreaking solution that has increased the confidence of retailers in digital payments,” the study summed up.

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