Emerging Ecosystem in Tier II Cities

February 25th, 2018   By Manoj Naudiyal

An outline map of India depicting digital communication technologyA few years back, while working in corporate in the USA, it was always very fascinating and encouraging for me to hear the stories of a changing India from a distance... Being part of that change and contributing to the Indian growth story is the most incredible feeling that I am experiencing at present.
In just about a year, cities like Dehradun (Which is not even Tier – I city of India) have undergone a great transformation and for good. This is a super-fast changing world we live in and the technology around has only increased its speed. It would not be an exaggeration for me to describe a problem which existed 6 months ago as a "Once upon a time" problem.
It′s not been that long when we were chasing down our first ever customer for TaxSo. The kind of problems we used to face during the time seems six feet under now. Let me share few of my experiences in the context of TaxSo′s journey.

1. Improved Internet Connectivity:
During the very early days of our sales/marketing efforts, Mr Bakshi (Changing the name here) from XYZ Corp turned us down completely the moment he learnt that TaxSo was a SAAS based web product. In spite of liking the offerings from the product, he just couldn′t come to terms with the fact that he could rely on a web product, only because of the poor internet connectivity in the city. He basically rejected us and said he’d only be interested if we could offer any offline solution. Same was the case with Mr Sharma/Mr Verma/Mr ABC/Mr PQR – The problem seemed so big that at one point that we actually started thinking about standing up a parallel offline system.

But then 4G showed its power. With the expanding mobile network landscape and more and more towers being setup across the city, internet penetration improved rapidly. And just to confirm the positive impact, I received a call from Mr Bakshi′s office about 3 months back that he wanted to meet me. And guess what ? Mr Bakshi is now one of our happiest clients, leveraging the benefits of TaxSo with almost 100% uptime.

2. Affordable Data Plans:
Many of our clients are small retailers and the way they think about cost saving is just unbelievable. I happened to meet Mr Kapoor(again changing the name here) for a demo. While I was pitching to him, he showed me how he still prefers dot matrix printer to the popular inkjet ones as it saves him good cost. So as far as Taxso was concerned, the burden of purchasing extra internet data plan was a big turn off for him. He shared that his monthly data consumption affordability is only 1 to 2 GB which cost him about 500 to 1000 rupees a month. Likewise, there were many other retailers who seemed uninterested in our product just because of the expensive internet data plans - Another big problem that seemed out of our control.

Now here came our rescuer. Reliance JIO has been a game changer, not only for the customers but also for the existing industry players. With the launch of their 4G service, they just increased people’s data consumption appetite from 1 GB per month to 30 GB per month literally overnight. Suddenly no one seemed to be complaining about internet data being outside the reach of their pocket as JIO brought down the affordability concern to the lowest level ever. All thanks to JIO, we revisited all those retailers to convince them to use TaxSo. I am happy to share that in the last 3-4 months we on-boarded near about 70% of them on to TaxSo′s platform.

3. Rise in online payments:
Collecting subscription fee was another big challenge; customers were not comfortable performing monetary transactions online. Hence, most asked us to send someone to collect a bank cheque. As one can imagine, being a start-up, hiring someone for this job was a question of affordability more than anything else.

The overall rise of online payment culture post demonetization has really helped us. With the increased number of people now learning to pay their electricity bills/ water bills online and more and more people adopting online shopping, Mobile wallets as their new world has shown a positive impact on our business too. And now with the availability of WhatsApp payment feature, I can only imagine how things are going to transform in the payment world.

While there are many other problems we continue to face on a daily basis, the overall eco system is certainly improving in our country. I feel there could not be a better time to be a part of the eco system than today. The whole digitization wave is moving the country forward and there are plenty of opportunities to be worked upon to make a positive impact. Seeing the live transformation not just as a mere spectator but by making an impact to people′s life is all the more satisfying feeling.

See you soon with the next blog. Signing Off for now.

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