Hatton National Bank (HNB) won the Best New Entrant category Silver Award at the recently concluded SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2015 for its ground-breaking MOMO product, the first ever low cost mobile Point of Sale (POS) solution in Sri Lanka.
SLIM Brand Excellence is the only national platform which recognizes and rewards brands and is organized annually by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the national body for marketing in Sri Lanka. Themed " Will you race ahead of the rest?” the 14th SLIM Brand Excellence Awards invited brands to take up the challenge of racing ahead of the rest and fighting head-on in the business world to be the “Champion”.
HNB pioneered mobile POS technology in Sri Lanka back in August 2013 with the introduction of HNB MOMO, at a time when card based transactions was a privilege limited to supermarkets and large department stores due to the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining POS machines. The solution was introduced to empower merchants with low transaction volumes who were unable to afford regular point of sales devices which demand stable flow of usage and a fixed telephone connectivity. The product was launched with the ultimate vision of opening up a world of business opportunities for merchants while enabling consumers to have wider access points for card payments, eventually leading to a cash-less and greener society.
At the time of its launch there were 12 million debit cards and one million credit cards in use in Sri Lanka. However, the number of POS machines available was less than 28,000 which resulted in a very low ratio of machines to cards. At the same time, HNB had the highest number of POS machines in the local market and was the leader in the payment card acquiring business with a market share of more than 44% in terms of total turnover.
The bank was intent on filling this gap in the market caused by the lack of POS machines and identified a massive market opportunity in the national mobile penetration rate, which was an impressive 100%. It capitalised on this by introducing HNB MOMO, which converted smart phones into card payment acceptance devices. This was the most convenient technology to enable merchants to accept card-based payments and consisted of a easily affordable POS unit provided by HNB which could be used by simply installing the lightweight MOMO application (app) on a smartphone. The MOMO app was designed with multiple layers of security to safeguard both the customers and merchants and was made available on Android, iOS and Java platforms.
The naming strategy for the product was focused on a name which captures the essence of the product, which would be easy to pronounce and be adopted by any market segment. HNB MOMO stands for ‘More Business, More Money’, perfectly conveying the many possibilities it opens up for small scale shop owners and entrepreneurs to bring in more revenue through card transactions. With this concept HNB MOMO was branded as ‘A partner to grow your business’ and was promoted via print, electronic and digital mediums, as well as HNB’s large branch network in order to reach customers at the bottom of the pyramid. This strategy has paid rich dividends and has even created a generic brand name, with mobile POS machines still being referred to as MOMOs by the general public in Sri Lanka.
The target audiences for the product included self-employed people, Small and Medium scale entrepreneurs, Businessmen and Professionals such as doctors, dentists and lawyers. This group included micro level businesses such as three wheelers, boutique shops up to any large scale business such as home delivery, supermarket chains, clothing stores and luxury cab services. Today the HNB MOMO solution is used all around Sri Lanka, by both small merchants and large companies, including Pizza Hut delivery, KFC delivery, SriLankan Airlines, Chinese Dragon Cafe delivery, Jetwing travels, Harpo’s pizza and Commons etc.
This latest award at SLIM Brand Excellence 2015 follows the international recognition gained by HNB MOMO earlier this year when it received an award for ‘Excellence & Leadership in Branding & Marketing’ at the Golden Globe Tigers Summit Awards 2015 held in Malaysia.