The uptrend in online shopping and the ever evolving world of smart-phone applications have changed the landscape of retailing in multiple ways.
Looking back would almost startle us to reflect on how swiftly and smoothly we have evolved from our brick-and-mortar stores to eCommerce and now mCommerce. Though this phenomenon is already prevalent in India, but it’s a new and evolving concept, so most retailers and consumers are not aware of the term per say. M-commerce is nothing but an off-shoot of e-commerce that involves using hand-held devices instead of a wired device to make commercial online transactions. With shifting trends in consumer behaviour and deeper penetration of internet, it is predicted that m-commerce is soon going to take Indian markets by storm as well.
The word ‘retail therapy’ was coined for a reason; shopping is the kind of thing that can elevate our spirit at any point of time on any given day. In the rat race of our life, we have increasingly started associating desktops with our working hours whereas smart-phones are what we fall back on in our leisure. To top this, smart-phone usage has increased manifold in the last two years and the penetration is also increasing daily world over. There could not be a time riper than this to widen the base of mCommerce in India, especially with 4G technology entering our market and making the digital interface even more user friendly.
In this world of cut-throat competition, no single brand has an absolute monopoly in any market. Buyers are spoilt for choices and opt for their desired product from a plethora of options that are provided to them. No buy is a casual buy these days; consumers take informed decisions to zero in on the company that suits their demand and offers the best deal. Such activities require thorough research from the buyers’ end to be able to compare and decide what is best. M-commerce has done the most to empower buyers in this regard by providing them the required set of info-graphics.
So there is a bright side to everything, even India’s booming population! Recent studies have revealed that the youth in India contribute to around fifty per cent of the population. Globally and in India, the youth adapt fastest to new technologies and are the largest users of smart-phones too. Increasing number of youth in India are spending more time on their personal devices which indicates without doubt why marketers should employ mCommerce plans in their retailing and marketing strategies more rigorously. Mobile phone usage for commercial transactions is growing steadily hence a shift in focus towards it will help the retail sector benefit immensely.
Love thy customer
Application based advertising, coupon based discount schemes, product preview options for loyal app users, all of these schemes not only facilitate buyers and sellers a closer exchange but also help in easing out the life of the consumers. Customer services have taken colossal steps in the last few years and more and more brands are coming up with lucrative offers and ways to connect with the buyers. Clearly, most buyers remain busy for most part of the day and expect their transactions to be fast and smooth. Consumers look for retailers who enable them to place orders and pay for them on-the-fly.
Mobile Wallets, though a very young concept in India, it has created a niche for itself in consumer psyche. The number of consumers using mobile wallets like Paytm is increasing and so is the number of mobile wallets in the country. According to TechSci Research, the Indian mobile wallet market will reach approximately 6.6 billion dollars by 2020, with a projected annual growth rate of thirty per cent. Though not exactly related to retailing on mobile apps, mobile wallets have allowed people to make transactions using their phones more convenient and hiked up the security factor too. It is after all, always easier to click on your tabloid or smart-phone screen to buy a product, than go around places with a wad of notes in your hand any time.
To this day, if we look around, there will definitely be a larger number of buyers who still flock to the stores and conduct their transaction in cash. However, this cannot suffice to substantiate any fact contradicting the growing popularity of mCommerce, both globally and nationally. Although eCommerce and mCommerce are close cousins, and are here to co-exist; rising number of people are adapting themselves to new technologies fast and are opting to ensure that their personal devices get most of their work done on the go. M-commerce in retail has provided customers larger time to look through the products at their will and also allow instant purchase. What more could one ask for!
Author: Sohel Kamdar, Vice President at Metro Shoes Ltd