Large banks are fighting for a piece of their customers’ shopping cake


Banks are upgrading their mobile apps with virtual marketplaces for discounted products and services in order to retain them and thus gain insights into their shopping preferences.

Banks like Kotak Mahindra Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and State Bank of India (SBI) already offer such functions, some of them also through internet banking.

These lenders allow customers to access ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart through their in-house apps and take advantage of discounts.

Experts believe that such super apps would help banks track and analyze their customers’ spending behavior and sell more products.

The KayMall section of the Kotak Mahindra Bank App guides users to travel and hotel bookings, grocery, fashion, home appliances and electronics e-commerce websites, and magazine subscriptions.

“Over 80% of our customers are active in mobile banking, so they have used the mobile banking app at least once in the last 60 days. In the past three months, however, over 25% of the active mobile banking base have visited the KayMall, ”said Deepak Sharma, President and Chief Digital Officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Sharma added that this is part of Kotak’s strategy to become a one-stop, super-app that meets all customer needs, including banking, lifestyle and investing.

Private lender Axis Bank has an online marketplace called Grab Deals, which has exclusive deals for debit and credit card holders. Last month the bank ran a 10-day sale called Grab Deals Fest that offered 15% cashback on ecommerce purchases.

“These offerings outperform all other offerings available to customers through other channels. The bank believes that offering these discounts strengthens the bank’s relationship with its customers and is a win-win for both of them over time, “said Sameer Shetty, President and Head (Digital Business and Transformation) of Axis Bank .

Industry experts said big banks will pursue this strategy, and more are likely to join in as benefits like customer loyalty improve. While customers get more discounts than a regular e-commerce portal, banks can get their hands on one thing every retail lender is tracking today: data.

“The bank has more transparency about the finances of its customers and can more easily grant loans. But for many players, especially the smaller ones, this may not be seen as a core function and more of a distraction for the main business, ”said Raj Khosla, founder and managing director of the financial services marketplace MyMoneyMantra.

The journey will certainly not be easy for lenders, as large fintech players such as Google Pay are already present with large bouquets of such services.

A December PwC report said these apps not only enable digital payments, but also offer services such as ticket booking, games, online shopping, banking and consumer finance.

“The emergence of super apps is one of the main reasons that the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions have increased since demonetization,” said the report, referring to the government’s decision in November 2016, high-quality banknotes from ₹1,000 and ₹500.

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