Finding that product you always wanted to buy easily and receiving it in the comfort of your home it’s not anymore a rare thing nowadays. Although classic shop-based retail is still common and preferred, the e-commerce (or electronic commerce), namely the online shopping of products and services exclusively through electronic channels, is gaining ground. Have you noticed? Is not only possible shopping using your laptop and desktop, but your smartphone, tablet and other online devices also.
Everybody knows that Indian marketing is huge, and so is the number of internet active users. According to a research made by We Are Social, a specialized global-marketing agency, 375 million are online this year, and there’s a 19% growth trend in the number of internet users since 2015. Over the last two decades, the rising of internet and mobile phone penetration has changed the way we communicate and shop in India, so “ecommerce” may be relatively a novel, but not weak, concept. India’s e-commerce market was worth US$ 12.5 billion (INR 81.5 billion) in 2014, due to consumer’s new behavior.
A quick look on the demographic profile of internet users further predicts that ecommerce will rise even more in coming years rapidly. Around 75% of Indian internet users are in the age group of 15 to 34 years, one category that shops more than the remaining population. Peer pressure, rising aspirations with career growth, rising standards of living and upwardly mobile middle class, fashion and trends encourage this segment to shop even more than any other category and India. Therefore, it clearly signs for online retailers that they’re catering to a very lively and high powered consumer base, that It’s favorable for the growth of ecommerce. In coming years, as internet and mobile presence increases in rural areas, the rural India can probably yield more ecommerce business.
It’s also already possible to notice that the rapid growth of e-commerce in India is being driven by the broadband Internet’s increase and 3G penetration, the rising standards of burgeoning, upwardly mobile middle class with high disposable incomes, lower prices, availability of a much wider product range (including direct imports), greater customer choice and improved convenience, combined with a busy population’s lifestyle and lack of time for offline shopping.
The consumer’s purchasing behavior involves an initial overall inspection of the product from different perspectives and then paying subsequently. Further, customers in India generally don’t extend much trust on the transit facilities for the delivery of the products. This fact turned the ‘cash-on-delivery’ (COD) option possible and resulted it as the favorite one of majority of the Indian consumers buying online. They also expect a seamless and convenient return process, to feel that the online store is a good alternative. That’s why online shoppers have made available the option to return the purchased items at the behest of the retailer. Retailers have considered this option of returning and refund to develop trust and confidence which results in seamless subsequent purchases and also positive word of mouth support. And as you may know, building consumer confidence is the key for any successful business.
Free (or cheap) and quick home delivery is another characteristic of the e-commerce industry that helped its popularization in India. E-retailers sometimes offer free delivery of the products within a promised timeline.
To achieve even more popularity in the online environment, weekly discounts, daily price-cuts, seasonal sales, online discount festivals, heavy advertising, coupon codes and exclusive offers promoted by e-mail are a usual strategy to gain footing in the ecommerce domain. In that kind of business, everything is valid to catch the customer’s eye. These deals can even define the permanent success or failure of a shopping platform. The top three online retail websites that dominated the Indian ecommerce market last year (with a combined market share of 83%) are Flipkart (including Myntra), which maintained its first position with a 45% market share conquered by the famous “The Big Billion Day Sale”, followed by Snapdeal Dil ki Deal at 26% and Amazon.in (known by its famous Great Indian Festive Sale) at 12%. This year, the most accessed Indian ecommerce sites, according to Alexa, are: Amazon.in, Flipkart and Snapdeal.
Since the Indian market has huge potential of growth, the mobile commerce is the next logical step for Indian merchants. The country has 1,012 million mobile connections (about 77% of the population) with the growth of mobile phones and increased issuing and use of debit and credit cards, mobile commerce will deliver strong growth over the coming years.
Books, electronics, apparel and accessories are the favorite customer’s categories and also the largest selling products through ecommerce, constituting around 80% of product distribution. Online sales for apparel and digital products, such as Amazon electronics deals are set to grow four times in coming years, including exclusive deals for mobile apps.
It will be also the right time to pay special attention to social media. It may still only drive a small share of total online retail sales today, but its future’s impact will be hard to ignore. India has 136 million active social media users nowadays, most of them on Facebook. And one very clear way that it has impacted the commerce online is through real-time feedback. Social media channels, allow brands and consumers to have instantaneous interaction. That’s why social-driven retail sales and referral traffic are rising at a faster pace than all other online channels. Another factor to think about in this regard, is the fact that these powerful social sites are still young. Just as many of them are still trying to figure out the evolving world of utilizing social media for business, the social networks themselves are already innovating and adapting the online scenario to a changing business climate.