Big Bazaar Direct, the e-Commerce business of Future Group has announced its tie-up with Oxigen Services Pvt. Ltd, India’s largest payment service provider. This association empowers Oxigen’s retailers to sell the wide assortment of Big Bazaar Direct through its network to its end customers. This partnership is aimed at offering convenience to the end consumers by making its large product offering easily accessible at great prices within their vicinity, at their neighbourhood store.
Pramod Saxena, Chairman & Managing Director, Oxigen Services, shares his insights on the new partnership with Big Bazaar Direct, his contribution to ‘Make In India’ and how Sachin Tendulkar further adds to its brand appeal in this exclusive interview with exchange4mdia.
What is the idea behind the synergy between Oxigen and Big bazaar Direct?
We wanted to address the issue that e-commerce is facing i.e. cash on delivery. This happens because some people, even today, don’t have credit cards and they don’t want to pay online. Big Bazaar has a plethora of products and if we can create a payment and booking option for this retail chain to reach customers easily, it is a great business opportunity. Unlike in e-commerce market places where the customer does not know who the supplier is, here you know that the supply is coming from a trusted brand name like Big Bazaar and if there is an issue, one can always go back to Big Bazaar. That’s when we decided that these two trusted brands joining hands would do a whole lot of good.
How do you plan to increase your reach from the current two lakh retailers in urban and rural markets to a larger target group?
We are expanding on a constant basis. Every day we are acquiring more and more retailers in urban and rural markets. This is a continuous process and I see no reason why in the coming years, with e-commerce and wallet payments in place, we cannot reach to a million retailers.
How has the association with Sachin Tendulkar impacted the brand appeal of oxigen?
Sachin has been a great brand ambassador, he is an instant connect and a great recall, so when he comes in, it makes a huge difference. You will also see him in our promotions for our tie-up with Big Bazaar. This gives our customers a lot of confidence that they are dealing with a brand that is associated with a trusted name like Sachin Tendulkar.
‘Make in India’ is in an initiative every corporate is participating in. How do you see oxigen contributing to it?
Products that we already have and are associating with, especially brands like Big Bazaar, offer products that are ‘Made in India’ and I think taking those products to the customers would increase the ability to source more locally manufactured products. The ‘Make in India’ initiative will get a big boost when such products find a way to the market.
How is Oxigen competing with its rivals?
Our rivals are only serving customers online or those with internet connections, they don’t have the reach that we have and that is our strength. Moreover, e-commerce needs the support of reaching to people. Today people may not have credit cards or ways to transact and cannot connect to the internet all the time. 200 million people have a smart phone and not everyone buys products online, on the contrary, our services offer a more convenient and reliable payment options to the consumers.
How is mobile wallet changing the e-commerce game?
It is changing and mobile wallet will become the way to pay in the future even at retail outlets. Today 90% of the transactions still involve cash, so you can’t ignore that fact. However, mobile wallet payments will take time to catch the mass appeal as cash continues to be the easiest mode of payment for now. Moreover, consumers prefer cash on delivery because they don’t trust easily and are not comfortable making payments online. Now companies are realising that offering cash and discounts cannot let your business grow, it has to be sustainable. Ultimately the business has to grow; it cannot work only on discounts and freebies.
In terms of sponsorships we have seen Oxigen partner with Kerala blasters in the ISL, do you look forward to other sports sponsorships as part of your marketing strategy?
We have partnered in the Hockey Indian League too, we are partners with the South African cricket team that will be coming here for the T20 world cup, we sponsored the Masters Champions League in UAE, we even sponsored a cricketing event in the US where Sachin Tendulkar was involved and we recently supported a match between India and Sri Lanka for the specially challenged. So we did involve ourselves with sports for promotions and sponsorships. Cricket has the biggest reach in the country so we will be contributing to that sport and any other sporting event that could add to our brand.