What’s Your Customer Experience in India’s Trillion-Dollar Economy Going to Be?

Kulmeet Bawa, Managing Director, South Asia, Adobe delivers welcome address at Adobe Symposium 2019.

India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is on its way to reaching $1 trillion by 2030. While in the first 40 years of its independence the country grew at a modest 3.5% or less annually, it’s more recently experienced consistent 7–8% growth. That growth positioned India as the world’s sixth-largest economy and, looking ahead, it’s slated to become the third-largest in just over a decade.

Digital innovation is a major factor contributing to this unprecedented growth, and at Adobe Symposium 2019 in Mumbai, over 1,600 Experience Makers — the marketers, business leaders, and innovators that focus on delivering superlative customer experiences — converged to explore the trends, strategies, and tools to help develop India as an experience economy.

The second-phase of the customer-centric business transformation — Customer Experience Management (CXM) — took center stage at Symposium. Now a clear-cut mandate for all businesses, participants from a range of industries discussed their unique CXM experiences and workflows. Sessions and speakers dug into data, content, and creativity, and how these powerful forces can come together to drive customer experience success in a rapidly changing India.

Digital experiences fuel economic growth

With more than 500 million internet subscribers, India is experiencing unprecedented digital transformation. And as a digital infrastructure emerges and evolves, the country is creating opportunity at an unparalleled rate.

Companies that understand India’s catalysts for growth are taking advantage of these unique opportunities by investing in digital experiences — and it’s paying off. Experience-driven businesses are proven to consistently show stronger revenue, increased customer loyalty, stronger brand advocacy, and higher levels of repeat business.

Nykaa’s growth journey is a great example that comes to mind here. Falguni Nayar, Founder & CEO, Nykaa during the keynote at Symposium said, “We grew very rapidly from early days in 2015, from a small turnover to ending this year with 1200 crore net revenue, 1650 crore GMV, and recording an accelerated growth of 2.1X from past year. We would like to continue this growth momentum by focusing on ‘customer account experience.’”

Falguni Nayar, Founder & CEO, Nykaa takes the stage at Adobe Symposium 2019 to talk about the company’s incredible growth story.

This shift to experiences is eliminating the designations of B2B or B2C for marketing. Instead, organizations of all types that are focused on experiences are putting on a business-to-experience (B2E) lens. B2E requires knowing your individual customer and segments so deeply that you can offer each a tailored marketing experience that inspires them to engage.

Indian businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of delivering superior customer experiences at every touchpoint. But to succeed at this new method of customer engagement, service providers need to adapt to several important aspects of this shift.

Deliver experiences to a mobile-first and millennial-first economy

Reaching customers on mobile phones with engaging, personalized content is the number one rule for harnessing the energy of India’s growth.

Morgan Stanley sees India as being in the midst of a smartphone revolution, and predicts that it’s on its way to becoming a mobile-only country. Experience-led businesses must focus on making the mobile experience the best experience from start to finish.

Another aspect to consider is India’s younger, yet prominent, population of knowledge workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. One-third of the country’s population is millennials — more than 400 million of them — and they make up 46% of the workforce.

Despite their youth, millennials are most often their households’ chief breadwinners, bringing in 70% of household income. Eighty-four percent already using mobile devices exclusively, and those who do average 17 hours online per week.

These digital natives are looking for transformative technology and inspiring leadership that’s designed for a unique market need instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. They’re also positioned to be the future leaders of digital-first businesses as this new digital economy in India evolves.

Chief Digital Transformation Officer at Vodafone-Idea, Kavita Nair stressed that personalized and tailored experiences are key. She shared her 3-point message for aspiring leaders, while in conversation with Alvaro Del Pozo, VP of Marketing, Asia Pacific, Adobe, at India Symposium: raise your hand for new roles, have a hip-pocket skill that is uniquely your own, and women should support women.

Kavita Nair, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Vodafone Idea Limited in conversation with Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of Marketing, Adobe Asia Pacific.

Engage with customers as partners in an ongoing relationship

Underscoring all of this was, again, CXM. CXM has fast become the most important factor in defining your brand and the customer experiences your brand delivers. As presenters echoed over and over, though, delivering exceptional experiences everywhere, every time is no small feat. Getting here requires integrating five pillars:

  1. Open, real-time unified profiles that weave customer data together into actionable, cross-channel profiles
  2. Content velocity enabling you to harness content in real-time, creating personalised content experiences at scale
  3. Cross-channel orchestration facilitating experience design, connection, delivery, and management across diverse channels and devices
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that amplifies the impact of data and content
  5. A platform that’s open and flexible for integrations, with internal systems that connect to rich partner ecosystems — because, try as we might, no one organisation can be everything to everyone

Pallavi Singh, Head of Marketing for MG Motor India, expanded on why CXM and succeeding in the digital age requires a change in mindset from today’s business leaders. “Learn, learn, and learn some more! Hire the right set of people. Don’t forget to have some fun along the way. Humanising the brand is very important.”

Pallavi Singh, Head-Marketing, MG Motor India in conversation with Aseem Chandra, Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Digital Experience Business, Adobe.

While on stage for the keynote, she said, “Adobe has enabled us to merge our promise of product quality with excellent experiences. Partnerships like these enable organizations to flourish and create an impact in the market and at the same time gives structure and a strong foothold to the companies”.

This shift to a CXM focus — and a commitment to these key pillars — represents a massive change when it comes to how brand develop and execute customer experiences. Given the importance of CXM in ecommerce, these considerations were particularly central to Adobe’s recent Magento and Marketo acquisitions. Now aligned, Adobe Experience Cloud, Marketo Engage, and Magento’s Commerce Cloud facilitate enterprise-level engagement with a full suite of user-friendly digital tools that are integrated with intuitive features.

Claim your leadership role in the Experience Economy

Coming out of Symposium it’s clear that technology and an experience-first mindset are major factors driving India towards its trillion-dollar goal post — at least 60% of India’s GDP is expected to derive from digital products and services by 2021.

However, most Indian businesses are still in the early stages of their digital and experience transformations — 90% of Indian companies say they’re embracing digital transformation, but just 7% see themselves as digital leaders. As highlighted at Symposium, the customer-experience mindset and subsequent approach is often the exception, not the rule.

This gap represents an enormous opportunity for success in India. Businesses that take a leadership role in delivering experiences in a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy will gain the most advantage from the possibilities presented by such massive change.

Adobe can help you fundamentally transform your customers’ experiences, their businesses, and our economy into a data-driven, results-oriented force that is fueled by creativity, innovation, and the human spirit.

Couldn’t join us at Adobe Symposium 2019 in Mumbai in person? You can still see the future of customer experience management by watching the keynote here.