Sustainability, not size is the new mantra for investors

The country's top eCommerce player Flipkart is expecting connected devices to become mainstream very soon

Last month, I was at the eCommerce Summit organised by CMO Asia and Asia Retail Congress, as an awardee and a speaker. As a speaker, I was asked to comment on ‘Future Innovation: How Technology will change the face of Indian eCommerce.’ I spoke a bit about 5G and how I see it as a disruptive force, but today, I will share additional thoughts that could never make it to the mic.

Even before I delve in to this topic, let me answer the question (of Why) that came to my mind when I was asked to be on the panel of speaker for the topic, and it was a profound answer:

Sustainability, not size is the new mantra for investors of eCommerce ecosystem.

To me, this mantra will force Innovation at all levels and from a technology point of view, we will see this broadly at two levels:
1. At the product level
2. At the process level

At both levels, we have some interesting developments and I have taken creative liberty to jot down some of them that I feel will be heard at a higher frequency.

The country's top eCommerce player Flipkart is expecting connected devices to become mainstream very soon. It is seeing robust uptake in products which fulfil lifestyle, fitness, health, entertainment and security needs and foresees the so-called ‘Smart Homes’ category as one of the top verticals for the firm in the next couple of years.

According to research by Markets and Markets, the smart appliances market is estimated to reach $37.2 Billion by 2020, a growth of 15.4 per cent between 2015 and 2020 while IDC predicts that by 2020, IoT will consist of 212 billion things, including 30 billion smart autonomous devices, dwarfing the conventional internet.

We then have, Amazon that is already piloting Amazon Dash in the US. Amazon Dash allows anyone in the family to easily add items to the shopping list. Imagine the ease of shopping that solves for re-ordering your recurring product needs from your favourite brands. To me, that's seamless eCommerce shopping experience.

Beacon is another technology where a lot of R&D (even locally) is being done to make seamless shopping a reality. You will continue to hear a lot of innovative solutions around beacons from players trying their hands on making Omni-channel the next big retail revolution in India.

Looking at the global trends, robotics and automation are the expected to be the next frontiers for growth. Imagine robots replacing warehousing operations for commerce. Some industry experts peg a savings of 60% in their operational costs.

The other technology that will be a disruptive force for eCommerce is 5G. Even as 40 percent of the population will be covered by LTE or 4G, we are already hearing about 5G that represents the next generation of mobile networks that will start to become commercially available in 2020.

From a technical perspective, 5G will be a bit different from previous generations, in that it will include both an evolution of today's LTE in addition to new radio access technology, sometimes referred to as NX. 5G promises to deliver higher performance with user speeds of 10 Gbps and more, and millisecond latency, but it is the 5G use cases that will make things really interesting. This will be instrumental in getting the next billion users online.

Of the 300 million connected users today, 100 million are in rural India of which only 10 per cent are women. This is an area of opportunity and true to the words, Indian eCommerce has only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Obviously, these are just a few that I've been passionately following and would love to hear your thoughts around this topic. Leave them as comments.

Author's Bio: This article is authored by Rahul Tripuraneni, Growth Hacker, Speaker & Startup Consultant

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