Experience is the one differentiation that can draw and keep customers in an era where pricing has become a commodity

Gen Z and millennials have very distinct consumer habits, technological preferences, and future outlooks. Businesses all over the world have adapted to the most recent technological landscape while keeping the customer-centric strategy in mind in order to meet the expanding and changing wants of the next generation of consumers.

Vijay Chandok, Managing Director, ICICI Securities shares his thoughts and expertise on how consumers’ preferences are changing as a result of the volatility of the stock market, how to respond to the growing market disruption, and how to satisfy investor needs.

Q: Investors have been spooked by stock market volatility in recent years. Could you tell us how ICICI Securities has adapted to shifting consumer preferences?

A: A large number of new investors coming to the market are millennials and Gen Z, and from tier II and below cities. Being new to the market, they need proper advice and also a great digital experience in their investment journey. ICICIdirect provides research backed actionable investment advice and also a frictionless journey through our website and app. This has been a great draw.

Then there are other unique attractions we offer like instant credit of money on selling shares (vs min 2 days by others), slab based brokerage plans, curated research baskets, investor education content, etc. These have been very popular with our new and early customers.

Q: How has ICICI securities catered to the unique demands of its customers?

A: Our endeavour is to provide a safe, reliable, and smooth user experience to our customers on our platform across their investment, protection, and loan needs. And we have digitised the entire customer lifecycle journey.

In an era where price has become a commodity, experience is the only differentiator which can attract and retain customers. In order to make the customer’s journey on our platform superlative, we are constantly innovating across the entire value chain, be in on products, services, tools, or UI/UX.

Over the years, we have introduced a number of innovative products and services to help investors make money from the markets and many of these have gone on to become industry standard. We have democratised research and made it actionable for investors thereby partnering clients in their wealth creation journey.

Q: Can you shed light on how the firm has catered to the demands of consumers given the disruption in markets?

A: ICICIdirect is the original disruptor. We were the pioneers who launched online share trading in India way back in 2000. Since then we have constantly kept our innovation engine chugging and have introduced a slew of products and services for the first time in the market. These include eATM (instant liquidity), Systematic Equity Plan (similar to MF SIP. Here one customers can invest in equity for a specified amount or quantity at regular interval), Valid Till Cancel Order (place orders which remain valid for 45 days), Price Improvement Order (buy or sell with an auto trailing order to get better prices), One Click thematic investment basket etc. Many of these have since being adopted by other players.

Q: Can you highlight the ways in which technological disruption has enabled your firm with meeting the needs of your investors?

A: We strive on disruptions. During the pandemic, when businesses moved online, ours also benefitted disproportionately. We are a completely digital business, carry zero inventory, have no supply chain dependency and have very low credit risk.

We follow an open architecture model and technology is our moat to achieve it.

During the pandemic, we have quickly pivoted to a completely digital customer journey against earlier when some part of the customer on-boarding process had a physical leg. Today, one can become our customers in 20 mins and begin trading from anywhere.

Q: Give us an overview of the future of investing across avenues, and how the industry has changed over the years?

A: In the future we foresee increase use of AI/ML/Big Data and analytics by both, investors looking at making profitable trades and platforms like us, who would these to customise their products and services to individual investors based on his or her risk appetite and investment and objectives. Research is invariably becoming democratised and advanced tools allowing investors to back-test their strategies would proliferate.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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