Our guest author, Shashank Rathore, writes about the top trends your brand can leverage to win its next wave of Internet-savvy shoppers.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the country’s e-commerce market is expected to become a $350 billion opportunity by 2030. While marketers had anticipated a 'degrowth' of e-commerce in the post-pandemic era, consumers continue to buy online, despite offline footfalls recovering back to pre-COVID levels. Yet despite this success, India’s e-commerce landscape remains highly fragmented, with multiple platforms, marketplaces and payment gateways to navigate.
Here are the top five trends your brand can leverage to win its next wave of Internet-savvy shoppers:
1: Rise of niche marketplaces: With the e-commerce landscape becoming more crowded than ever, shoppers (especially affluent ones) are looking beyond mass players, like Amazon and Flipkart, for specific needs. Whether it’s fashion, furniture, kids’ products or luxury goods, brands can explore specialised marketplaces, like Nykaa, Urban Ladder and FirstCry, to connect with niche audiences efficiently.
2: Automation tools to enhance efficiencies: With data and automation as the backbone, today, there are several cutting edge adtech and analytics tools to help businesses tap new e-commerce opportunities, reduce manual effort and unlock actionable insights in real-time. There are several areas where such technologies can help enhance efficiencies – catalogue management, precision targeting, digital shelf monitoring, to name a few. An experienced e-commerce partner can help brands to select the right tools and leverage them to set up multiple digital storefronts and list hundreds of products in minutes.
3: E-shopping explosion in Tier-II/III cities: Increasing Internet penetration and access to smartphones, along with the mass reverse migration that happened during COVID, have boosted online purchasing in smaller cities. According to strategy consultants RedSeer, Tier-II locations and beyond will account for as much as 88% of online shoppers by 2030.
The youth in these cities are keen to sport new gadgets, flaunt latest fashion trends and try new products. To reach these regional audiences, brands will need to localise their communication and ensure a seamless user experience in vernacular languages.
4 Mobile-commerce to lead the way: The availability of branded shopping apps, 5G wireless and social media shopping, are driving more and more people to shop on their phones. Shoppers can now use the “buy now” buttons on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to easily shop, without leaving the platform. M-commerce is unlocking new marketing opportunities, and brands can now target users according to their location, service provider, type of device and various other criteria.
5 Augmented reality is redefining possibilities: With AR, customers can get much more information, than with an image or even a video. They can get answers to important questions like, “What will this outfit really look like on me?” or “How big will that television screen appear on my wall?”
Businesses can use this technology to not only help consumers effectively visualise products in their own space, but also virtually try clothing, makeup, accessories, and more. Using innovative AR lenses on platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram, can also help brands boost audience engagement and break through the social media clutter.
With 50k-plus digital-first brands racing to ace the e-commerce game, India’s online marketplace is more crowded than ever. While the recently announced open network for digital commerce (ONDC), aims to democratise and integrate digital commerce for Indian retailers, its on-ground impact, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, businesses must focus on eliminating friction points and seamlessly moving customers down the path to purchase using a combination of media, experience and content strategies. An experienced agency, with a 360-degree bundled e-commerce offering (right from strategising and catalogue management to running the entire online business), can help brands to create impact and drive business results.
(The author, Shashank Rathore, is vice president, e-commerce, Interactive Avenues)