Currency Note Ban: How Digital Platforms Have Saved the Trade Fair This Year

by November 21, 2016 0 comments

 

The 36th India International Trade Fair opened for public on Saturday in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi with understandably rounded off ticket charges (down from Rs 120 to Rs 100 and free for kids) and the option to pay through credit/debit cards amidst fears of a slump in business due to currency note ban or demonetisation. The first day witnessed decent crowds around 1,00,000 (down 33% from the first day last year) with most people carrying one form of digital support or the other in their pockets—in the form of cards or mobile wallet accounts such as Paytm, Freecharge and Mobikwik. It was a refreshing change for regulars as you could walk and breathe freely without jostling around much with others around. The various state pavilions were decked up with the Digital India theme with each state showcasing the progress it has made in the Digital Transformation journey. While corporates did pitch in with their contributions to the digital transformation journey, for much part of it, digital transformation initiatives in the government sector, form transformation of land records, to bank loans to farmers, manufacturing segment, and so on. Apart from this, the items on sale were the regular mix of specialties from the respective states.

Mobile wallets rule the roost

Most expected a slump in business due to the prevailing cash crunch due to demonetisation and while a 33% drop in visitors was witnessed on the first day, however, what saved the day for sellers and buyers alike was the deep penetration of digital platforms. Most shopkeepers at different pavilions were ready to face the cash crunch and had arranged for PoS terminals or swipe machines. The smaller ones were refreshingly familiar with mobile wallets, in particular Paytm, which proves the company was energetic enough in its marketing and got the message down to where it was needed the most. What made the deal sweeter for customers was that nobody charged anything extra for using the card. Perhaps the prices were already jacked up in keeping with the additional cost or the shopkeepers were willing to pay a small price to keep the business rolling in these cash crunch days.

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