The Hindu Business Line, October 28, 2016
As corporate gifting goes digital, ItzCash, Zeta want big bite of the market
Corporate gifting has been part of employee rewards and recognition programs across many corporations in India. But gifts have historically been distributed as paper-based vouchers, which are beginning to seem out of place in a country that’s gung-ho about a Digital India. They’re also cumbersome to distribute, seeing how large numbers of employees may be scattered across locations, some even working remotely. Players like ItzCash and Zeta see big opportunity in helping corporations turn digital in this area. Corporate gifting has grown 300 per cent, according to some sources and if the market for digital gifting is currently around Rs 3,000 crore, it is expected to touch approximately Rs 10,000 crore by 2018-19. But early movers that fuel the widespread use of digital gift vouchers face a vast playing field and few other contenders.
Although Zeta, a Directi Group company, struck oil when it discovered the opportunity in digital meal vouchers, the company has gone on to offer other solutions that ease the distribution of payments to employees. Over the last few months, it has dedicated the labor of approximately 3 developers from its technology team to add gifts and incentives to the repertoire of reimbursements possible on its platform. Ramki Gaddipati, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer at Zeta, says, “Besides salary, there are many ways corporates disburse money to employees. We now have a comprehensive solution that takes into account the various cases that involve gifts to an employee.
And we have one clear target — to impact a million employees or anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 corporations.” Meanwhile, ItzCash, one of “the largest and pioneer players in the digital payments industry”, claims it is well on target to clock 15 crore worth of transactions and to be fully profitable this year. It has more than 2,000 corporate clients across India in a range of key sectors some years after “pioneering scratch and cash cards in India”. The company, however, serves both consumers as well as corporations. Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, ItzCash, shares, “We were one of the first non-bank companies to launch the ItzCash Gift Card powered by Visa. We took up the business of corporate gifts in 2010, and had select clients. Along the way, we noticed a major transition to electronic vouchers and began to grow our client base.”
Deep, wide strategy
ItzCash claims to do about “one-fourth the entire year’s business in volumes” in the 30 to 45 days before Diwali. Its gift card is reportedly retailed at more than 75,000 outlets across the country. Its shift to ‘digital’ is recent. “We introduced the digital form this year. However, we also have demand for physical gift cards,” Vasa clarifies. Moreover, being invested in a range of verticals such as travel, bill payments and B2B transfers and keen on leveraging e-commerce channels too, the company strategically maintains this “pure multi-service” face even as it pursues the gifting market.
For Zeta, every business opportunity so far has been about its digital platform, keeping its approach deep and focused; the company seeks to achieve breadth within its platform by adding solutions. Zeta doesn’t overlook that a small number of employees still prefer physical cards and it also offers on-demand generation of digital gift vouchers to be redeemed at a specific retail outlet picked by a corporate client. Zeta’s Gaddipati wants payments working offline shortly, “the user never needing to be connected.”