Mr. Rajiv Kumar, a qualified Software Engineer, who has a 20+ years of experience, has offered his service to the Companies like Tata Infotech, ST Microelectronics, HCL Technologies, E-Trade Financial, Oracle, Waterfall Mobile, Tavant Technologies. With vast experience and deep knowledge of handling Technical Architecture and Technical Design Projects, he has started his own Operation of providing E-Commerce Solutions to the Small Medium Entrepreneurs and Individual Entrepreneurs.
2020 witnessed several new trends and developments across the globe. The pandemic has managed to transform our lives, the world of work and how people shop, live, and interact with others. While the business operations in almost every industry globally have been significantly affected with the increasing dependence on technology, the retail sector is also adopting new technologies in order to continue business as usual, keep up with consumer needs and offer a hassle-free shopping experience. As a result, e-commerce sector has witnessed a huge growth over the year.
According to Indian e-commerce industry analysis by IBEF, the e-commerce players are expecting strong sales growth in 2021 despite depressed and uncertain situation created by the second wave of COVID-19. The industry is expected to surpass the US and become the second largest e-commerce market by 2034. It will likely grow from US$30 billion in 2019 to US$99 billion by 2024. Much of the growth of the Indian e-commerce sector has been triggered by an increase in the penetration of internet and smartphones.
With the rise of retail e-commerce in the country and the increasing number of online shoppers, there comes a growth opportunity for the sector to explore new trends and tap on the evolving consumer behaviour for business growth. If it would not have been for the pandemic, the industry would have probably taken as many as 5-6 years to reach this stage of growth. From Kiranas to grocery and pharma, nearly all retail businesses have adopted digital practices to sail better through the tough times.
The Emerging World of Retail
The retail brands were gradually recovering after the first wave of the pandemic but the second wave has yet again thrown a survival challenge in front of them. Of course, they cannot afford to wait for the situation to get normal and rely completely on offline presence. They need to go online and redefine their business models to increase sales and continue business as usual. Retailers switching to online platforms should offer innovative shopping experience by analysing evolving buying behaviour and allocate resources accordingly. Upgrading to Omni-channel ecosystem is equally important for e-commerce retail brands.
While one takes their business online, it is important to ensure that the website is equipped with features that reduce the gap between online-offline like high-quality zoom-in facility, customization, detailed shots, 360-views, and much more.
Let us explore some trends that are reshaping the e-commerce industry:
- Increasing Adoption of Omni-channel Approach
Consumer preferences are evolving rapidly and today’s consumer not just wants a perfect product that suits his needs, but he also wants a seamless buying experience. Now, e-commerce has a broader perspective – wider product availability, convenience, and experience. The accelerated growth of e-commerce has pushed brands to adopt Omni-channel solutions to meet the demands of the evolved consumers.
Further, 73% of Indian respondents are willing to spend more money on convenience as revealed by the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker,. As a result, brands are ramping up efforts to ensure an exceptional shopping experience for customers across various channels. They are moving to customer-centric business models rather than sticking to channel-centric ones. This in turn is enhancing customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction.
- Headless Commerce
Headless commerce is another significant trend among brands. It decouples the front end of a website from its back end and ensures an extremely personalised experience for users. This experience-led strategy is the ultimate move towards providing hyper-personalisation for experience-focused brands like lifestyle products. Hyper-personalization is the most advanced way brands are marketing their products. It helps the brands to meaningfully engage customers , drive willingness to spend and brand loyalty.
- Integrated Payments
The payments segment is one of the most significant aspects of online retail which got a massive upsurge in the number of users during the pandemic. As more consumers are now opting for contactless payment options, brands are focusing on payment integrations to expand their customer base and retention. E-commerce brands are tapping on frictionless checkouts by incorporating multiple payment channels like debit cards, e-wallets, UPI, credit cards, net banking etc.
Brands are adopting m-commerce solutions to attract more customers, ensure the success of the brand, increase sales and ensure sustainability. Moreover, m-commerce helps in customer engagement, increased revenue, better efficiency and brand recognition. With m-commerce, brands can also create special deals for in-app purchases.
- Robust Logistics Infrastructure
A robust logistics infrastructure is a key differentiator among D2C sellers in the e-commerce space. Many platforms have integrated logistics solutions that help with efficient inventory management as well as ensure a last-mile delivery system to reach customers faster and efficiently. There also exists an automated delivery boy management system which allows brands to manage their own fleet of delivery agents to get better control of hyperlocal e-commerce deliveries. Fleet management tools ensure that there are no hiccups in the delivery process and also facilitate customers with live order status, increasing transparency in the supply chain, and enhancing their trust in the brand.
The growing concerns around the pandemic have induced big changes in businesses as well as customers. Every brand is exploring innovative ideas to showcase their products through virtual formats and provide a better customer experience. Digital activities like virtual product tours, podcasts, showroom presentations, webinars etc. are marking a tipping point for the adaption of e-commerce.
To summarise, today, technology has a key presence in the industrial ecosystem and it will continue to enhance as we step ahead in new times. Thus, the only available option for business survival is to prioritize online presence and offer a pleasant customer experience right from their visit to the platform till the point of delivery.