Paytm looks to focus on merchant base to drive next phase of growth

Paytm looks to focus on merchant base to drive next phase of growth

Paytm is looking at a comprehensive set of offers for its merchant base in order to drive its next phase of growth, according to two top executives.

From Internet-of-Things (IoT)-enabled hardware solutions to its Paytm for Business app, the e-commerce and payments firm is engaging more and more with its merchant base.

“When it comes to P2P (peer-to-peer) and merchant payments, the focus is obviously more on merchant payment. The P2P side of the business is taken care of by the payments bank which is already doing very well. When it comes to merchant payments, you need to create an entire ecosystem, and that is actually the area that requires a lot of investment,” said Narendra Singh Yadav, vice-president at Paytm.

He added that Paytm’s people budget over the last financial year has gone up by 50 to 60 per cent, and while the geography of incremental recruitment may change, overall hiring for expansion of these businesses will continue to rise.

Earlier this month, Paytm rolled out several solutions to address the problems of small merchants — the Paytm for Business app, Paytm Business Khata, Paytm PoS (point of sale) device and Paytm Sound Box.

“Over the last three to four years, we have come across various merchant use cases, merchant needs, which we felt that we can fulfill through technology… So, if we can solve for them, there is always scope to solve upwards from there,” said Sajal Bhatnagar, vice-president, business at Paytm.

An area which is a big focus for serving merchants is IoT-enabled devices such as Sound Box. It is a voice-activated PoS machine which works on a SIM card embedded in the device, and is available to a merchant at one-time deposit of Rs 700 and a Rs 50 per month thereon.

The Paytm for Business app enables large and small businesses to simplify and digitise payments through tracking and making bulk payments to bank accounts, UPI addresses and Paytm’s wallet. The app has about 15 million downloads at present, according to Bhatnagar.

The need for the app came from simple day-to-day requirements of merchants. “One very unique use case we found was that merchants were asking their employees to scan QR code and do one or two rupees transactions. Why would they do that is just so that they can see the employee is present at the shop,” said Bhatnagar. The app has an in-built attendance system to meet this requirement.

The Paytm Business Khata is an integrated feature in Paytm for Business app, and helps set a payment date, send automated reminders from the merchant to customers and get payment notifications on the user's mobile phone. It also downloads reports, tracks daily sales, and collects payments via UPI or an e-wallet at no extra cost.

The Android PoS is a hand-held device which helps merchants make payments from any UPI-based app, Paytm Wallet, Rupay Cards and cash. It also helps merchants generate goods and services tax compliant bills, manage transactions and settlements through Paytm for Business app.

Though Paytm is largely thought of as a late entrant in the PoS space, the company thinks differently. Bhatnagar said the PoS device market was commoditised for a long time, and now it has started to innovate very quickly.

In the pilot Paytm ran for the PoS, its partners were large merchants such as IRCTS, oil companies, Bharatgas. “So the fact that even in a pilot we were able to attract some big name players and people with multiple specific use cases means there is a lot of demand in the market,” he added.

The demand is also use case driven. For example, a cafeteria would want a PoS device because using an app for payments would be cumbersome.