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Avijit Nanda

President | 10 Nov 2011

The remittance market globally is driven by migration. Migration is broadly segregated into two types – one is that of knowledge workers and the other is the unskilled labour force. The key segment drivers are migration and skilled/ unskilled labour force demand globally. The migration story is pretty strong and India is a strong base for both these categories. Also, India is the largest receiver of remittances globally, with more than $55 billion coming in annually from Indians overseas.

TimesofMoney is India’s leading digital payment service provider and serves a varied client database, both in India and around the world. Avijit Nanda heads TimesofMoney with primary focus on cross border remittance products. At TimesofMoney, Nanda has played a key role in driving business development and alliances with banks and institutions to launch the remittance platforms across the globe. With strong customer orientation, excellent networking, negotiations and project management skills, Nanda is a well-known personality on the subject of cross-border remittances, e-Payments services and M-commerce.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Priyanka Nair, Nanda provides an overview on the Indian remittance market and the various initiatives taken by TimesofMoney.

Q. How does the remittance market in India look like today?

The remittance market globally is driven by migration. Migration is broadly segregated into two types – one is that of knowledge workers and the other is the unskilled labour force. The key segment drivers are migration and skilled/ unskilled labour force demand globally. The migration story is pretty strong and India is a strong base for both these categories. Also, India is the largest receiver of remittances globally, with more than $55 billion coming in annually from Indians overseas. And since the rupee is further weakening against the dollar, remittances from the US, Europe and Gulf might grow at the rate of least 10 per cent this year to cross the $60-billion mark.

Q. What are the challenges faced in terms of reaching out to NRIs across the globe?

Like most online companies, the challenge for us, too, has been to establish ourselves and guide our customers step by step through the entire product experience. Over the past 10 years we have faced numerous challenges of product acceptance online and have evolved from educating customers about the online industry to being now recognised as a pioneer in online remittance and e-payments. The toughest challenge is getting consumers to adopt such services. People have been habituated to do wire transfers through banks or using agents for decades. So the real challenge is how to break the mindset and get customers to adopt such superior/ convenient services.

With a unique challenge of targeting NRIs globally without a physical presence, our flagship brand, Remit2India, has relied on online to reach out to its target audience. With a focussed approach through carefully learning their behaviour, Remit2India has extensively targeted its base through modern modes of search engine optimisation (SEO), social media optimisation (SMO) and online advertising through partners and publishers. However, with the NRI community (Remit2India’s target audience) being spread across the world, our major challenge has been to optimise our marketing spends and acquisition strategies. Not to mention, communicating across continents with a non-personal approach itself is challenging.

In a market that consists of 80 per cent cash in India and 20 per cent electronic, the vision is to turn it around on its head and make electronic payments more efficient the way that it is. We are trying to make it more favourable for our customers than what it currently is.

Q. What are the various marketing initiatives taken by TimesofMoney currently?

Being an Internet-based company where we acquire and serve customers online, it has traditionally followed extensive marketing activities online. A well-defined and measured matrix is followed to check results of campaigns executed. From modern tools of acquiring to conversion of its in-house managed system, the idea is to track every movement of the customer life cycle. We also have an in-house customer services call center that not only takes care of customer queries, but also serves as active on call sales force. While the business is online, we have also carried out above the line (ATL) and below the line (BTL) activities to reach out to our audience. From television, print, radio campaigns to local area catchments activity to participating in India-based community shows – we have always been innovative when it comes to acquiring customers, which are spread around the world. Marking our 10th anniversary this year, we institutionalised an award called ‘Remit2India The Light of India Awards’ to recognise and honour the contribution of the Global Indian community. The first of its kind award ceremony took place in New York. It was well received with eminent NRI and special invitees at the event. We intend to continue this on a yearly basis.

Q. What are the effective services offered by TimesofMoney?

The various services offered by TimesofMoney are:
Remit2India: Personalised remittance service from TimesofMoney. A flagship brand of TimesofMoney, Remit2India facilitates money transfers to India for Non-Resident Indians from around the world. With its pioneering technology and unmatched reach, Remit2India now allows NRIs across 23 countries to conveniently and safely send money to any bank and any location in India.

Window2India: TimesofMoney’s exclusive service for NRIs. An amalgamation of products, services and information, Window2India is a comprehensive destination for NRIs to shop, gift and stay up-to-date. Value-added services on the website include gifting opportunities for families back in India, a showcase of exclusive properties from leading builders, etc.

Remit2Home: Following the success of Remit2India, TimesofMoney launched Remit2Home, a leading global money transfer service provider. Envisioned to become the largest global market player in over 80 countries, Remit2Home offers specialised web-based remittance and financial services.

DirecPay: DirecPay is a unique payment gateway service in the e-commerce space of India. It offers merchants with cost effective solutions, a wide range of payment acceptance modes and secure technology platforms. The DirecPay Payment Gateway is a secure Internet bridge between merchant businesses and the credit card and electronic check payment processing networks.

Q. Could you elaborate on your customer profile?

We are a payment processing company, we facilitate domestic as well as cross border payments. Hence, we segregate our target customers into two types: B2C that includes NRIs across the world wishing to send money to their home countries.

We also offer white label solutions to banks, money transfer companies, financial institutions and retail institutions – which comprises our B2B set of customers. On the B2C segment our customers include predominately males in the 30-45 age group.

Q. How has the year-on-year growth been for TimesofMoney?

Ours is a profitable venture, which has shown a compounded annual growth of 25 per cent in revenues over the past five years. Our flagship brand Remit2India accounts for 60 per cent of the company’s revenues, while 30 per cent comes from tie-ups with Indian banks to offer remittance platforms and 10 per cent from the domestic business of merchant acquisition for e-commerce transactions.

Q. What has TimesofMoney planned for the recent future?

Currently, we have tie-ups with 21 banks to offer remittance platforms, with three more in the pipeline. All major public sector and private sector banks are part of these tie-ups. We will have some new product launches and innovations by the last quarter of this financial year to enhance our service offerings. We are also evaluating various bank alliances to provide customers a secure, efficient and cost effective way to send money to their families back home. By March 2012, we are targeting to expand our reach to serve more and more NRIs and Non-Indian Diaspora across countries by providing them the opportunity to remit money back to their homes.

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