Key trends that will redefine India’s ecommerce industry in 2021

Despite the pandemic, the Indian ecommerce industry significantly progressed in 2020. Let’s take a look at some of the key trends that will redefine the course of the sector in 2021.
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2020 will unquestionably be remembered as a year that transformed the world in almost every aspect. From a business standpoint, the year has been a rollercoaster ride with multiple disruptions, widespread uncertainty, and a recently kickstarted revival process.

However, for certain sectors such as ed-tech, ecommerce, etc., the year has been unexpectedly good. Although the ecommerce sector underwent major transformation, it triumphed against all odds in this decidedly challenging year.

With a transformative journey, the Indian ecommerce industry has significantly progressed even amidst the pandemic, further enlarging the sector’s scope for growth in the future. As the year draws to an end and businesses gear up to step into the new year, here are some trends that will redefine the course of India’s ecommerce industry in 2021.

Technology: The silver lining

Over the past few years, there has been rapid adoption of technology across sectors and the pandemic has further accelerated it. Increased internet proliferation and easy access to technology along with rising smartphone usage have paved the way for consumers to shift to online shopping methods such as mobile commerce and social commerce on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook.

Moreover, with leading-edge technology making its way in almost every business function of the ecommerce industry, players in the sector are expected to deliver impeccable consumer experience by leveraging AI/ML-based systems including chatbots, online assistance, virtual trial rooms, etc.

Ecommerce brands will also be exploring live and pre-recorded video commerce with third-party platforms as well as their own platforms. This will help them integrate social commerce as an added sub-channel.

Bolstering omnichannel strategies

Consumer preferences and expectations are constantly evolving, and this year has seen consumers prioritise safety and convenience. According to the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, 73 percent of Indian respondents were willing to pay more money for convenience. In response to this, ecommerce players have adapted to the new normal by bolstering efforts to create consistency in consumer experience across various channels.

Further, they have also started to focus more on creating targeted and personalised experiences to boost customer retention, satisfaction, and acquisition. Moving to consumer-centric business models, brands are now fortifying their omnichannel strategies.

For example, the ‘Buy Online Pickup In-Store’ (BOPIS) trend has become increasingly popular and is expected to become mainstream in the upcoming year, particularly with low order value and FMCG clients.

Integrated payment solutions

For any business, payments are crucial, and offering seamless payment solutions will provide a major boost to sales as consumers prefer integrated payments with numerous options available.

Today, customers are becoming increasingly digitally-savvy with the pandemic facilitating a major upsurge in consumers adopting digital payments. Alongside this, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is urging people to steer clear of using cash for transactions and even consumers who aren’t tech-savvy or first-time users have jumped onto the digital payments bandwagon.

With the world leaning towards all things contactless, going forward, consumers will be more comfortable in opting for digital payment methods.

Ecommerce brands will also be shifting their focus to boosting their customer base through loyalty programmes and will be introducing membership and subscription programmes similar to Amazon Prime.

‘Make in India’

In the recent years, the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement has been in sync with India’s vision of becoming Aatmanirbhar, gain immense traction. 2020 saw a rise in inclination towards ‘Made in India’ products with increased awareness among consumers and encouragement from brands.

Consumers are now making a conscious effort to support local businesses and brands will leverage virtue-signalling online through positive attributions such as ‘Vocal for Local’, ‘Made in India’, and ‘Locally Sourced’.

Besides the ‘Make in India’ initiatives, another trend that has caught on and is likely to prevail is consumers’ preference for sustainability. There has been an upsurge in awareness amongst consumers concerning eco-friendliness and sustainability, and without a doubt, they will prefer brands that advocate environmentally-friendly products and sustainability. These brands will observe a significant increase in their consumer base over the next year.

The Indian ecommerce industry has weathered the storm and is on the right course to achieve exponential growth soon. The above-mentioned trends are some of the vital ones that will carve a path for the industry’s success in the new year.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)