While Indians continue to march towards an aggressive online-only shopping lifestyle, it has become intensely difficult for offline stores to match up even half of their previous sales numbers. However, in a bid to get brick and mortar stores back in business, MobiKwik, one of India’s biggest mobile wallet services, has today announced an exclusive partnership with WHSmith India, to allow its wallet users to shop offline, at all WHSmith outlets across India.
Mobikwik, which recently raised a whopping $25 Million in Series B round from numerous investors (which included CISCO), currently has a userbase of over 17 Million mobile wallet owners, making it one of the biggest mobile wallet solutions provider in the country, within this vertical.
WHSmith India, with which MobiKwik has announced its partnership, has over 55 stores in Delhi and Mumbai, most of them in high footfall locations such as metro stations. With over 50 lakh footfalls per day across Delhi metros, the tie up generates a unique opportunity for the mobile wallet startup to help users make the transition towards a cashless and card-less retail shopping experience.
MobiKwik users will now be able to pay for their books, stationery and snack purchases, using their mobile wallet at WHSmith India stores. This is also, the first time ever users will be able to shop using mobile wallets at offline retail stores in India.
This partnership, apart from encouraging more cashless transactions, will also help Mobikwik further deepen its userbase across the country.
Bipin Preet Singh, Founder and CEO, MobiKwik told us in a prepared statement,
We are proud to play a leading role in mainstreaming mobile wallets in India by making them accessible at offline outlets. Mobile payment has considerable potential to disrupt Indian retail and we aim to create many more such partnerships for mobile wallets to replace cash and cards. We invite customers to visit their nearest WHSmith stores and shop safely and conveniently using their MobiKwik wallets.
Singh further tells me, that WHSmith is the first of a series of exclusive tie-ups that MobiKwik aims to do this year. India has around 30-40 million SMEs, but only 1.1 million deployed POS machines.
And inline with India’s infamously low electronic transaction penetration rate, the number of merchants (online + offline) who accept electronic payments is even less and stands at around 0.7 million. Bipin Preet says, that his company envisions a future where even the local kirana (grocery) store will accept payments made with MobiKwik wallet, with the retailers’ smartphone functioning as effectively as a POS machine.
MobiKwik’s has set itself an ambitious, but achievable target to create 100 million “new” digitally paying users in India and connect them with 2,00,000 retailers by the end of 2015. Out of these 2,00,000 retailers, the startup believes, close to 1,00,000 are expected to be physical offline stores.
WHSMith India tie-up follows from MobiKwik’s similar tie up with Café Coffee Day, wherein Mobikwik mobile wallet owners can now pay for a freshly brewed coffee via their mobile wallets. It has also tied up with ICICI Bank to allow customers deposit money to their wallets using cash. MobiKwik has also applied for a Payments Bank license in February 2015, a distinction currently only with PayTM, who also happens to be Mobikwik’s biggest competitor in this space.