Revolution of Indian E-Commerce Industry in 2016

By CIOReview Team | Monday, 30 November -1, 00:00 IST

The e-commerce industry in India experienced exponential growth in the last 5 years, driven by rapid technology adoption, backed by improving supply chains, and pushed by millions of dollars of VC funding. It is expected that mobile technology in particular, will be the major growth driver in 2016 - so much that in the next few years, almost all of India's online shopping will be done on smartphones and other portable devices like tablets. 

India is the second largest mobile phone market in the world, with more than 900 million mobile phone users. In the past, expensive smartphones and unreliable data connectivity hampered mobile based selling. However, as consumers get wealthier and smartphones become less expensive, those days are over. The advent of 3G connectivity has solved the reliability issues and consumers can now shop on mobile without worrying about broken connections. As data connectivity improves in the rural areas too, this gives e-commerce a huge untapped market in villages which can be reached through m-commerce. According to ToI, "Most leading Indian e-commerce players have seen mobile contribute to greater than 50-60 percent of transactions today from under 5 percent a year ago as smartphone penetration has risen exponentially." Snapdeal's mobile sales have increased 25 times from 2014 to 2015. Myntra, one of India's largest fashion e-commerce companies, went only-mobile in 2015. Flipkart and Amazon regularly run app-only offers and discounts. This clearly indicates that companies have an eye on the trend towards m-commerce and are seeking to make the most of it. While Myntra's move was felt to be radical at the time, it has however been a successful one for it.

In the world of e-commerce, where nothing speaks more than price and consumers can switch providers in an instant, companies understand that app-based selling has the potential to create a more personalized, intimate shopping experience than the internet. In addition, apps give sellers the ability to notify the customers about deals in an easier way. Looking forward, that there will be ripe opportunities for more vertically specialized m-commerce companies, as well as large potential for Uber-like ‘sharing economy’ mobile companies in both consumer as well as enterprise markets (source: Deloitte). As consumers in Tier 2 and 3 cities get smartphones, m-commerce will be their preferred medium of shopping to get popular brands, which may not be available in brick and mortar stores in these cities.

There are a few things which app designers and developers need to keep in mind, to ensure that customers have a seamless experience. First, page loads within apps need to be quick - this counts more than all the design beautifications. Second, the interface should be touch friendly and support intuitive gesture-based interaction. Third, native capabilities like barcode scanning, location based products etc. can be leveraged in a big way. And lastly, from the company's business perspective - the data collected from the user interactions should be used to regularly improve the experience.

It is no doubt that mobile is one channel which is set to be the second revolution in the Indian shopping industry - sellers have to gear up for it!

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