Brand that pays

With innovation becoming part of our daily lives, it was imperative that the process of billing was made much more convenient to the ones that existed. Mr. Rahul Munjal, MD & CEO, Easy Bill, tells us about the unique concept.
Rahul Munjal

With innovation becoming part of our daily lives, it was imperative that the process of billing was made much more convenient to the ones that existed. Mr. Rahul Munjal, MD & CEO, Easy Bill, tells us about the unique concept.

Aadeetya Sriram (AS): What is Easy Bill all about? How did this concept of billing come to fore? When did you start-up?

Rahul Munjal (RM):  Easy bill is a network of outlets for payment of bills (mobile telephones, electricity, and insurance), booking of tickets (Air, Rail, Bus, Sports and Movie) and prepaid recharge (DTH and Mobile). Nurtured from the seed of a single great idea - to empower the common man – Easy Bill has become a household name.  Easy Bill was started in 2003 and initially collected payments through its network of retail agents. Since then, Easy Bill has successfully added to its client base, grown its retail network, developed new services and now has a huge bouquet of services. Easy Bill is currently operational in more than 100 cities all across India, offering bill payment, ticketing, and recharge services. On the retailing end, The Easy Bill branded network in India numbers over 10,000 terminals located in local shops. Easy bill's retail agents include convenience stores, medical shops, travel agents, grocery stores, telecom shops etc.

AS: How is Easy Bill as a bill-payment model being carried out? Please elaborate. What's the technology and process involved?

RM: Easy Bill uses a unique model which leverages cutting edge technology and uses the existing conventional retail network to deliver consumer convenience. This model has the potential to convert an ordinary neighbourhood outlet (grocery, chemist, telecommunication or petrol pump) into a transaction centre. One in which the consumer can complete all his important transactions in the course of his every day routine. Easy Bill outlets are equipped with POS terminal/PC to do several different transactions. Easy Bill concept replicates the experience of paying at a regular collection counter by giving a human interface and an instant electronic receipt for payment.

AS: What revenue models have you adopted in this business; how have the changes been brought about over the years?

RM: For bills generally we charge the Bill Issuer but in some cases we charge customers as well. In case of a customer, the service charge is on per bill basis and is not more than Rs.5/- which customer can easily afford and free in most of the cases. For Air tickets we charge no service fee to end customer and for rail it is as per Indian Railway norms which typically ranges between Rs.10/- to 20/- per ticket. Over the past we have not increased our service charge which is still the same as it was in year 2003.

AS: What promotional strategies have you taken up to popularise the concept?

RM: Our Push strategy for EBL retailers: Regular Incentive schemes, Trade promotions, Loyalty schemes. Pull strategy: Increasing footfalls at Easy Bill outlets through; Consumer promos: Freebies to customers paying bills. As for our ATL strategy we have; Print campaigns, Outdoor campaigns, TV campaigns. For BTL; on ground promotions, Door to door Leaflet distribution, Shop branding & merchandising. BI co-marketing includes Co-promotion with Bill issuers such as using space on bills or leaflet inserts and Direct marketing; E-mailers, SMS.

AS: What are the criterias a retailer needs to fulfill for becoming an Easy Bill franchisee? What are the benefits an Easy Bill franchisee gets in lieu?

RM: First and foremost, the franchisee attitude should be attuned to that of the company. Secondly, he must have a good location. Thirdly, he must have a sound financial backing as this business is an add on revenue and it cannot be used as primary business. We look for franchisees who have an existing footfall and are good at customer service.

AS: The services that you provide is quite extensive, do you have staff centric training set-up in place?

RM: Our Feet on Street give regular training to retailers.We train the retailers on new products / new services and also on periodic basis.

AS: Your concept is unique, what are the distinct features Easy Bill's services offers. What were the challenges that you came across building up the model?

RM: We create a friendly neighbourhood outlet into a transaction processing centre where customer can do all his transactions. Secondly, customer can do all his transactions in cash for both bill payment and tickets, thirdly customer gets authorised receipt for transaction and lastly, our air tickets are competitively priced for end customers. Customers can walk into neighbourhood outlet and do all his transactions. Customers need not own a PC or credit card or put his credit card number on Pc and yet enjoy advantages of internet commerce through Easy Bill outlet.

AS: Your nationwide expansion plans for Easy Bill?

RM:  Our business expansion plan for the year is going to be done at four different levels. Firstly, we would like to penetrate the cities we are in presently and increase the retailer base. Secondly, we are currently present in 100 cities and would like to go upto 200 cities by next year. Thirdly, we have recently added tickets domain – air, bus, rail and would like to add more such services to our portfolio. Last but not the least we have recently started collecting payments for insurance companies and would like to venture into more such new services.

 

Rahul Munjal
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