Understanding customer experience vital for retailers' growth | SupportBiz

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Understanding customer experience vital for retailers' growth

India’s evolving retail market needs to innovate to understand customer behaviour. Lokvir Kapoor started Pine Labs in 2004 in a bid to become the leading provider of innovative financial transaction solutions. Over a period of eight years, his company has created an impact on the market.

“It is extremely important to understand and analyse the customer’s experience at the payment counter. We work exactly in the area of enhancing this experience so that the customer-retailer relationship can be fruitful,” said Kapoor, in a conversation with SupportBiz. Edited excerpts:

What is Pine Labs’ core focus?

Our focus is India’s retail industry. We felt the need to work on streamlining the industry’s payment processes and it was also understood that it is important to enhance the customer experience at the point of sales. We work closely with retailers in these areas. We deliver attractive and efficient payment processes to enable an enriching customer experience at the point of sales.

Our basic aim is to analyse the customer and cashier’s interaction, and based on this conversation we draft our action plan for product and solution development.

How is India’s retail market evolving with respect to payment processes?

The bigger retail companies have very well understood the potential of understanding the customer behaviour. Smaller retail outlets are also coming forward in the area of increasing the level of quality of customer experience. Retailers are aggressively implementing loyalty programs for their customers. Since we understand the crux of engagement between the customer and retailer, we help define such solutions.

What are the challenges in this segment, specially with regards to smaller retail outlets?

Infrastructure is a major challenge with smaller retailers. Manpower is also an issue for most of the small retailers. In some cases, employees’ overall understanding of payment systems and customer behaviour, are also their challenges.

What are the emerging trends in the retail industry?

Mobile is emerging as a great enabler in this space. Industry has understood the potential and can do several things with mobile. For example, reaching out to the consumer, financial transactions, running promotional schemes etc are some of the advantages of  mobile. Mobile is an interactive tool which can share valuable information about the customer; as well as customer feedback.

Also, there is a strong demand from retailers about controlling the cost of financial transactions. We are working on all these areas.

How has been your business journey so far?

We are witnessing good growth. We started in 2004 with small investments. We raised a venture capital of around $4 million in 2009. We used the funds raised to establish our technology infrastructure. We had diversified into services. The last four quarters have been very exciting for us; we are registering a 40 percent growth, quarter on quarter. Pine Labs have over  400 retail chains as our customers today. More than 3,000 petroleum outlets across the country are using our payment solutions.

What are your expansion plans?

We are planning to venture into global markets such as Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. We will enhance our product portfolio with new product categories. We have already started the customer loyalty programs for our customers. We will also enter the data analytics and business intelligence spaces.