Moving away from an era that regarded the use of cell phones as being impolite, new mobile app payment systems now have people holding on to their mobiles perpetually, no matter where they are. Saving time is the number one convenience factor in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. Progressive Grocer India team caught up with the founders of Momoe app, to understand the nitty-gritties of the payment apps.
The five member Momoe team comprising Utkarsh Biradar, Neelesh Bam, Karthik Vaidyanathan, Ganesh Balakrishnan and Aiman Ashraf is a mélange of talent from the fields of design, marketing and technology. These young experts see a huge potential in expanding their horizons in the mobile app payment systems. Utkarsh Biradar, CEO, who drives design, user experience and product at Momoe, is cock-a-hoop about business prospects.
“We have 75,000 users on our app and we have managed this in only 6-8 months.” Starting out just seven months ago, the Momoe app, which can be downloaded over the internet, has already succeeded in bringing to its fold over 330 restaurants and is on the way to acquiring as many consumers as possible.
Although, a significant number (probably 10 million, according to Biradar) of people use mobile apps to make payments for recharging phone credits or to make purchases through e-commerce portals, the Momoe app payment system has been able to bring in another dimension, which is making it immensely popular with users. The Momoe team has decided to bring to its apps platform what Biradar refers to as the ‘real world’ element. Directed towards restaurants and grocery retailers, the Momoe apps payment system has no limitation on the amount of money that a customer can spend, which has made it extremely popular with both consumers and enterprises.
The five founders started out with an initial investment of Rs.30-40 lakh.
“Soon, we were able to get funding with the help of venture capitalists and managed to raise a million and a half rupees,” says Biradar, adding, “we do not expect to break even anytime soon, even in the next two to three years.”
The money received over the past few months was invested in acquiring new customers. For instance, every customer who registers for the Momoe app gets a Rs 100 gift voucher. Thanks to such smart and aggressive marketing, Biradar is confident that the app will grow popular in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.
In its sights, Momoe has consumers from Hyderabad and Chennai as well. To propel higher consumer traction, the company has tied up with over 2,000 merchants so far.
Apart from targeting restaurants, groceries and apparel business currently, the Momoe mobile app will provide payment service for chemists, spas and salons as well. The idea, according to Biradar, is to target as many repeats from customers as possible. On an average, he feels that a customer may visit a restaurant one or twice, a grocery store once and a chemist twice or thrice a month.
“Merchants themselves are very keen. We are growing at 3,000- 4,000 customers per day,” states Utkarsh. “We have also tied up with events like Sunday Soul Sante as our payment partners. All merchants at such events do not have card machines. Such partnerships give us access to a lot of potential customers,” he adds.
To promote the app directly with consumers, Momoe has set up a dedicated team of people, who seek out customers at restaurants and bars. “We talk to them directly and inform them of the kinds of offers on our mobile app payment,” says Utkarsh.
According to Biradar, it is mostly the 18-35 years old age group, which is more receptive to mobile app payment systems. The demographic comprises outgoing college students as well as working professionals, who are looking out for convenience and so readily take to mobile app systems.
Says Biradar, “If you were to start using this, in a couple of years you will be paying for everything through your app. We do not target only premium restaurants because we stand for the consumer. We try to define what is convenient and what is not convenient, where a consumer would like to or not like to eat.” The only drawback with the payment system is when customers run up against non-responsive PP address or when a network connection does not respond. According to e-commerce experts, every online purchase has an 88 per cent success ratio.
The Convenience Factor
Paying by a mobile app can all together do away with the hassle we face in having to put down the exact cash payment, produce credit and debit card details along with security PIN details and printouts for signatures.
According to Neelesh Bam, business development and partnership driver at Momoe, “In the case of Momoe app, it takes the data of the customer’s order at a restaurant, which shows immediately on the phone. So each time you order, the bill updates itself. This way you will always know what you had ordered. So once you are done with the meal, you can pay immediately, get up and leave. This approach also gives more elbow room to the waiters, who can better concentrate on their tasks such as to keep track of the number of customers and try to up-sell some of their dishes.”
The Momoe team has innovated a couple of models in which customers no longer have to wait in a queue for their grocery billing. Instead a customer can walk into a high street grocery store with a tag and cart, and write his number on the tag. This way, everything he puts in the cart gets automatically tagged and billed. Meanwhile, as the customer relaxes at a neighbourhood cafe, the grocery retailer will send him his bill to his mobile phone and he can pay from wherever he is at that moment. The customer receives a confirmation for payment and then collects his shopping bag.
Says Bam, “This also works for independent grocery stores so when you place a home delivery you can pay the amount by phone rather than through cash on delivery. Even in the case of home delivery, the bill will be sent to your phone while the delivery boy is on the way to your home. Here all that hassle for change and carrying the right amount is eliminated. We do not work like a credit card or a debit card, so we don’t ask customers to put their money in either. It is a whole new convenience of payments.”