A move beyond the pen and papers.
Our own Newspaper, Milk, Broadband, Hotels from where we order food by calling them. These are the vendors whom we talk and are in contact every day as our lives cannot work in absence of any of these. Our focus is on the vendors who keep supplying the products and services to you yet operate offline and collect cash.
The intention behind developing One Wallet is to help these vendors to go online and save their time completely on collecting cash from you, sending you bills and keeping records on pen and paper.
Problem - To Vendors
(Your Newspaper, Milk vendor)
1. Making bills on papers and by hand. On an average, they serve 500+ households. Every month, due to the lack of any technology, computers, spreadsheet they have to manually track how much newspaper, the milk they have supplied to you, the rates, holidays and more. This takes more than 2 weeks to make bills.
2. Handing over bills by knocking your door. Yes, that is how they give bills to you. They don't SMS you, they don't call you, they just come at any random time and give you the bill. If they are lucky they get paid instantly or else they have to visit again.
3. They pay on your behalf, mostly run business in debts. Newspaper, Milk bills are always paid by households after a month of consumption of it. But these vendors they make the payment upfront to the publishers and producers. The delay in payment collection from households put them in heavy debts all the time.
4. No record of your billing history, poor accounting. They are not able to keep the record of your bills and collection status as every month they have to print a new bill book and if you reach their home, you will find dozens of bills book lying somewhere.
5. Payment apps like Paytm, Google Tez, Free Charges etc are not of much help to them. As some pays in cash, some pays via this and that is why they avoid using any online payment completely. The issues are keeping the record of who paid what and which mode. This is why they still operate in cash.
6. Data Loss: Nothing is stored in their emails or cloud. All customer records is 100% offline.
Problem - To Households (You and Me)
1. Least priority bills. We never give them importance in paying. As there are no late fee charges, we wait for them to knock our doors, if they come at the odd time we can easily deny paying them. We know they will keep supplying us product and service even if we don't pay on time.
2. Surprise Visits. They can knock your door anytime. We have to be ready and keep cash for them.
3. No billing record. How many times you have kept the record of your monthly newspaper and milk bill. I bet no. If I ask you what was your bill three months back or even last month, only a few of us can answer it.
4. Blind Trust on their bill amount. Due to the absence of product supply recording, we just pay them what they ask for. Only a few of us do calculations. This is because we do not have any mechanism to track the rates of product every day and how much we have received.
5. No online payment option. They don't ask online, we don't pay them online. It's this simple.
Shifting these vendors on technology, who have always worked on pen and paper.
All the above problem can be solved if the communication and bill exchange happens via technology.
Most companies focus on payment collection part of these vendors who are uneducated. The payment collection is just a part but it does not solve the problem of customer management, bill generation, accounting and more.
Focusing on software and take their whole business online, rather than just taking payment collection online is the solution.
Concept, Process and Product
Making a mobile-based enterprise app and replicate the process of how these vendors work without technology. The app should be easy to use, generate bills on its own, store customer data, and send bills on the 1st day of every month to all the customers. The customers, on other side should be able to track and see their bills, how it is calculated and option to pay online.
Process of development
Step 1 : We met newspaper and milk vendors first and understand their process. This involved us waking up at 3 am for many days and visiting their depots where they collect paper, milk. We went with them to drop newspapers too.
Step 2: Launching an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and testing with 10 vendors and 1000 households.
Step 3: Mass vendor education. We realised, as its the first time they are shifting on technology we have to train them and do mass education. We conducted series of seminars and speaking events calling vendors from various places of Mumbai, India.
Step 4: After initial trial and error, we modified the product and added another 100 vendors and close to 8000 households on the app. We launched a detailed version of the app in 2016 mid and eventually, we launched all the apps for milk and hotel. You can see here.