Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) is there to disrupt the ever-increasing B2C e-commerce industry for better and 2018 could be the year where all these changes start to take shape in their true calibre.
The past decade has seen tremendous shift in the way India trades. Ever since its advent e-commerce has brought about a drastic shift in the retail dynamics of India. The phenomenal manner in which e-commerce has allowed the indian shopper to indulge has been one of the strongest reasons for the advancement the sector has seen. If this robust growth continues uninterrupted over the next few years, the e retail industry is expected to rise to 20 billion dollars by 2020.
E-Commerce is broadly understood as buying, selling, goods and services over the internet where transactions are entirely performed electronically. E-Commerce emanated in the early 1990s, and its use has been ever increasing since then. There are multiple verticals of e-commerce, which can be broadly classified into divided into B2B, B2C, C2B, and C2C business models.
B2C (Business to Consumer) model can be understood as an inventory-led or a supply-led model where exchange of goods and services takes place between online stores and individual customers.Since the rise of e-commerce, there are over 100,000 B2C model interventions in US alone. Business to Consumer e-commerce model could be an important enabler in the ‘Make-In-India’ initiative. This is bound to empower specially the mid-tier and low-tier sellers to tap both domestic as well as global markets by utilizing the channel of e-commerce marketplaces.
Over the past few years internet users in India have increased manifold which explains the growth of e-commerce sector that is largely dependent on the penetration of internet and tech savviness of the customers and sellers. Revenue in the e-commerce market in India has risen to US$20,059m in 2017 with China occupying the leading position amounting to US$499,150m. Revenue is expected to demonstrate a further annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2022) of 21.1 % resulting in a market volume of US$52,301m in 2022 coming around to US$26,507.4m by the year 2018. The user penetration in India is at 13.2 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 23.9 % five years down the line.India boasts of having the second largest internet user base of 450 million as of July 2017, which is roughly 40% of the entire population and is growing at an unprecedented rate, adding around 6 million new entrants every month.The popular industry consensus is that growth is at its inflection point.
Increasing mass of Internet users: Reduced cost of Internet facilities and ever-increasing smartphone penetration in untapped demographics of the country.
Multiple Payment modes: Introducing COD (Cash on Delivery) as a mode of payment has helped the growth of ecommerce considering the usage of credit cards is still not a popular concept in India. In India COD accumulates 75% of the e-retail activities.
Far and Wide Reach: Difficult demographics such as suburban and rural areas where people do not have access to good marketplaces in their vicinity, the option of shopping over e-commerce platforms is a blessing.
Enhanced user experience: With the rise of competition in ecommerce sector the in companies have started focussing even more on the customer experience they offer which includes fast delivery and return options, availability of multiple payment methods etc. Eventually in the strive to be the the best in business e-commerce companies have put customers in a win win situation.
Customised Solutions: The ECommerce space is brimming with customised solutions for its customers. In order to realise the idea of a Multi-vendor marketplace tailormade solutions are being made available to the sellers. It facilitates the coming together of multiple vendors at a common platform with features that ensure that vendors sell more and customers buy the best products available on the web. Marketplaces have become a thriving hub of business in no time at all.
India is undoubtedly home to a profitable e-commerce market despite being posed a few challenges such as low internet penetration amongst the indian population and the budget requirement for branding and marketing of an ecommerce website to bring in traffic and boost sales.
In Spite of these challenges the e commerce sector is growing with every passing minute. Below mentioned are the future trends which can shape the future of ecommerce:
Drone serviced deliveries: Companies have been continuously contemplating ways and means to fasten the delivery process. Use of drones would not only ensure efficient delivery but also reduce human intervention.
App only solutions: Approximately 600 million people would be using internet by 2018 more than half of which would be accessing internet over their smartphones.Thus with the increasing number of smartphone users many prominent players in the e commerce sector are expected to make the switch from web-based portals to entirely app oriented platforms.
Social Media Platforms: The growth and immense popularity of social media platforms such as facebook, instagram, pinterest, google+, twitter etc is undeniable in the present day and age. This resource can be tapped by ecommerce companies for marketing and branding of their website. This would ensure cutting down the huge budget that needs to be allocated to marketing. The advertising and promotions on these social networking sites can increase the chances of success of generating sales to many folds. Moreover, the prospective and regulag zr customers can stay updated via the posts published on such media.
Data Analytic and AI (Artificial Intelligence): AI and Machine Learning when deployed by companies will help them have a better understanding of the demands of their consumer even before the customer can express it. This would result in throwing up relevant results quickly. Flipkart and Myntra are betting big time on AI techniques to provide to their customers engaging shopping experiences.
Considering the holistic view of the prevalent trends in e-commerce sector it can be said that B2C e-commerce is gearing up for an exploding growth 5-10 years down the line. Undoubtedly it is the customers who would emerge as the ultimate winners as they would be the ones on the receiving end of innovative interventions and some game-changing business models.