The E-commerce Era has slated the step-up of developments in the technology sector with the emergence of online shopping. India’s retail market is the fourth largest market in the World, succeeded by United States, China, and the European Union. With its ever-growing customers Indian retail has been able to successfully cope with the hindrances of putting the technology available for sustainable use. This shift has enabled small business growth in the industry and empowers both the buyer and the seller to shape the retail market and its functioning. The Indian e-retail market expects to see a significant increase of 300-350 million shoppers (Gross Merchandise Value of $100 to 120 billion) by 2025.
E-commerce has substantially democratized the entire shopping experience wherein both the buyer and seller contribute to the process of economic development, making retail a wonderful and ever-evolving experience. It has also enabled small start-ups and sellers to break market barriers and maintain a firm position in their niche environments. Which, in turn, has inspired many young entrepreneurs to participate in the process. Facebook for Business, Instagram, and LinkedIn have been the key contributors towards spreading the word and facilitating business across the globe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people all over the globe. Businesses were at a standstill, and many innocents lost their job in the wake of the extensive furlough at several setups. E-commerce was the dream solution that helped businesses and organizations. With the crisis and the challenges that the pandemic posed, it was essential to cope with the mass unemployment and, The ‘online mode’ of doing things is now at the forefront of all businesses.
Online retail has not only empowered young budding entrepreneurs but has also empowered the consumers to have access to a wide variety of products that too on a 24/7 basis. It has helped the retail sector retain and simultaneously build a firm user base. With products being just a click away from entering the user’s home, there has been a 40% increase in online sales, whereas 13% additionally started engaging themselves in online purchase and sale of goods.
The online mode has also been able to remove social barriers like income inequality since the products are accessible and available to all users at the same time. Irrespective of their economic background and their geographical presence. Giants like Amazon and other web apps like Ajio, Myntra, Tata Cliq and Flipkart, etc., have been the major contributors. Alongside these, customized product stores and green products have also gained considerable momentum, promoting small retailers to establish themselves and contribute to the retailing process. The developing countries with no access to the internet in various parts of the country are also a part of the retail regime. A considerable amount of shift was observed in the number of schools that have now decided to educate their students technologically as well. It was the need of the hour, which in turn paid off for good.
HOW HAS E-COMMERCE BECOME GLOBALLY DRIVEN PLATFORM?
Covid-19 has driven the Global Markets to safe and convenient delivery of goods and services. What did it bring for the online e-commerce platforms? Online shopping gained resilience from the surge of demand due to the dreadful epidemic. Going digital is table stakes for all the brands in the wake of the prolonged lockdowns. Consumer behavior is evolving following the need to indulge in safety measures and adapting accordingly to digital advancements in the global economy.
The E-commerce platform is flexible and has access to almost 95% of the Indian pin-codes available. It enables the small-scale industries to enlist their products and ship them digitally with the help of e-websites. The resilience has combated the go-to-market barriers for the insurgent and the incumbent brands. Across India, E-retail has benefitted millions of customers by exponentially increasing merchandise choice, price flexibility, and augmenting access and convenience.
It is sagacious for the companies to look forward to capitalizing on this digital transformation so that they can profit themselves in the upcoming months. The market was on the cusp of a transformation, and with the resurgence of the E-retail industry in the last five years, there is significant headroom for higher growth to the vast chain of manufacturers.
HOW TO CAPITALIZE IN THE ONLINE MARKETPLACE, WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THAT NEEDS WORKING TOGETHER:
Optimal assortment and merchandising:
Brands would need to materialize their assortment to suit the online needs, which includes better packaging, bundles, ease of delivery, etc. Cost-effective techniques should adapt into the system to provide an economical experience to the customers. For eg: FMCGs have innovated their packaging by reducing the extent of plastic and water. It makes the shipment lighter, and attractive as most people avoid having bulky and heaving products in their households.
Swiftly driven Supply Chain
The festive season calls for higher demand for trending products. Various offers are made available to the customers to increase the incremental revenue of the businesses. Brands should ensure sufficient supply of the products, and their chain should be highly agile in inventory planning capabilities, and the associated demand forecasting as well. The focal line of online businesses is to manage spiky demands by foreseeing the trends before the engagement.
Brands could dominate the proceedings by their digital marketing skills. Whether the company thinks if such channels would be beneficial, it is proven worthy over time that the organizations should indulge in optimal spending across digital channels and digital properties.
Targeting customers who have the same cohorts like the company is the biggest aspect of digital marketing and enables the brands in getting a higher Return on Investment.
Depending on the goal, brands should optimize spending among various digital properties such as banner advertisements, social media, website rankings, etc. If the brands are nimble enough about the consumer importunity, then it would be able to clinch the markets with its fists around the air.
Higher online conversion rates
Promotional activities are imperative for higher online conversion rates. They play a vital role in fascinating the eyes of the consumers in buying the products of a particular brand.
Honing the trifecta of Product Display Page(PDP), pricing/ promotions, and visibility can massively improve the brand’s reputation.
Within the PDP, there are almost 20 elements that the brands can utilize for reaping better results in the dynamic markets across the online shopping websites.
The success of the brands depends on tweaking things when the ship is about to sail or when the things are bound to strike a staggering deep hole. Creativity and consistency can help the brands to tune things up, and also refreshing the content is what separates the digital stakeholders from the rest of the lot.
Adapting to the latest upgrades, track and tweak online pricing/promotions in real-time, rapidly responding to customer reviews is what attains the brand’s customer loyalty and trust.
Along with the supply chain, the back-end staff needs to be responsive and agile to any complaints or queries from the customers. People acquired for the job should be technically proficient enough to handle systems and automate real-time decision-making to be a successful business franchise.
HAS THE AFTER EFFECTS OF COVID-19 OBLIGED INDIA TO DIGITALIZE, LET’S LOOKOUT:
Covid-19 has infected a state of concern for the economic growth of in-house production units. With the consumers not feeling secure to bound against the barriers set up, they looked to change their mindset and indulge in online shopping.
Convenient delivery of goods and services at affordable rates over a large geographical distribution has enthralled the hopes of the manufacturers who were almost down and out during the announcement of the prolonged lockdown in India.
Digitalism is the need of the nation, and steps have been put forward by web apps like Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra to maximize their domestic reach to the international level. Government hands support to the revolution of the sector, which has scaled the production and enhanced the supply chain to a handful of people.
On 25th March 2020, BigBasket – a key online grocery player in India, had the following message: We will be back soon! We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand. In light of this, we are restricting access to our website to existing customers only. Please try again in a few hours.
Lately, the segment of ignorant buyers or the people not accessible to a data plan has made a switch to online shopping as the existing shopping websites enroll more range of products varying from essentials to affluent products under one single basket.
The spike fills the gaps of supply shortage and adversity in remote locations, as people have been suffering since long before the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although the B2C service platforms come across problems, like disappointing customer feedback, the return of defective products, they should not be demotivated in their pursuit and hence improve their scale line activities for better response.
The surge of online shopping is moving in an upward direction, as more shoppers are keeping their faith in the process and not being held back by any rumors. What happens in the next few quarters is likely to be seen? Apart from the increase of Coronavirus cases, the world is moving forward towards digitization in the modern era.