Mobikwik launches Unified Payments Interface on its platform
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Mobikwik launches Unified Payments Interface on its platform
Mobikwik, one of the independent mobile payments network and mobile wallet, has announced that it has launched Unified Payments Interface (UPI) on its platform.
 
MobiKwik is said to be powering payments for IRCTC, Uber, Meru Cabs, Big Bazaar, OYO Rooms, Zomato, PVR, Archies, WHSmith India, BookMyShow, Grofers, Big Basket, Dominos, Burger King, Pizza Hut, eBay, ShopClues, Myntra, Jabong, Pepperfry, Barista, Food Panda, Nearbuy, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Louis Phillips, GoDaddy, MakeMyTrip.
 
The company has partnered with ICICI bank to allow its users to load money into their wallet with UPI.
 
The company already has options of netbanking, credit / debit card and the exclusive cash pick up / cash deposit service for wallet loading.
 
Mrinal Sinha, Chief Operating Officer at MobiKwik, ellaborated that the company's users now have an additional option for real time wallet loading with UPI. Users can use their MobiKwik e-cash at over 100000 online and offline merchants across India.
 
UPI is an additional layer of payment architecture built upon the IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) mobile payments system which allows customers to transfer money across different banks with the use of a single identification and password.
 
MobiKwik claims to be the only wallet in India that has a cash pick up facility, with which users can get their MobiKwik wallet loaded with e-cash from their location within 25 minutes in major Indian cities. They just need to request for cash pick up on the app, and a company representative will reach their location to help them with instantaneous cash loading.
 
With MobiKwik, it is said that the users can shop seamlessly across 100000 merchants including Myntra, Shopclues, Big Bazaar, Big Basket and Grofers, or book their next vacation using bus booking on MobiKwik, on MakemyTrip or OYO rooms.
 
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Indian E-commerce Market to Reach $163 Bn by 2026, Poised for Global Second Place by 2034
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Indian E-commerce Market to Reach $163 Bn by 2026, Poised for Global Second Place by 2034
 

The Indian e-commerce industry has experienced unprecedented growth, establishing itself as a key player in the global market. With a rapidly expanding internet user base and increasing smartphone penetration, the industry is projected to reach remarkable milestones in the coming years.

Market Size and Growth Projections

The Indian e-commerce industry is on an upward trajectory, poised to become the second-largest e-commerce market globally by 2034, surpassing the United States. At present, the e-commerce market in India is valued at $70 billion, which accounts for around 7 percent of the nation’s overall retail market, according to IBEF. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 percent to reach $163 billion by 2026, and reach a staggering $300 billion by 2030, driven primarily by the grocery and fashion/apparel sectors. The online grocery market alone is expected to grow from $3.95 billion in FY21 to $26.93 billion by 2027, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent. Overall e-commerce sales are forecasted to increase at a CAGR of 18.2 percent between 2021 and 2025, reaching $120.1 billion.

Key Drivers of Growth

Several factors contribute to the rapid growth of the Indian e-commerce industry:

  1. Internet and Smartphone Penetration: The number of internet connections in India surged to 895 million in 2023, with 55 percent of these connections in urban areas and 97 percent being wireless. Affordable smartphones and low-cost data plans have further fueled this growth, making online shopping accessible to a broader population.
  2. Government Initiatives: Initiatives such as the Digital India campaign aim to create a trillion-dollar online economy by 2025. Policies like 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in B2B e-commerce and the marketplace model of B2C e-commerce have attracted significant investments from global players.
  3. UPI Transactions: With 117.6 billion UPI transactions in 2023, India's robust digital payment infrastructure has facilitated seamless online transactions, boosting consumer confidence in e-commerce.
  4. GeM Portal: The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has streamlined public procurement, leading to higher process efficiencies, transparency, and competition. In FY23, GeM crossed $24 billion in procurement, demonstrating the platform's significant impact.

E-commerce Segments Driving Growth

  1. Grocery: The online grocery market is experiencing exponential growth, projected to reach $26.93 billion by 2027. The convenience of home delivery and a wide range of product offerings have made online grocery shopping increasingly popular.
  2. Fashion/Apparel: Fashion and apparel continue to be major contributors to e-commerce growth, with consumers enjoying the convenience of browsing and purchasing from a vast selection of brands and styles online.
  3. Beauty and Personal Care: The personal care, beauty, and wellness (PCB&W) segment saw a significant increase in e-commerce order volume, becoming one of the largest beneficiaries of the e-commerce boom.
  4. B2B E-commerce: India's B2B online marketplace is projected to be a $200 billion opportunity by 2030. The e-B2B market is expected to reach a GMV of $100 billion by 2030, driven by increased digital adoption among businesses.

Regional Expansion and Consumer Trends

The growth of e-commerce is not limited to metropolitan areas. Tier II and III cities are witnessing a rapid expansion of online retail, contributing significantly to the market's overall growth. The share of e-commerce from Tier III cities increased from 34.2 percent in 2021 to 41.5 percent in 2022, highlighting the growing acceptance and adoption of online shopping in smaller towns and rural areas.

India's social commerce market is also poised for substantial growth, expected to expand to $16-20 billion by FY25, with a potentially monumental jump to $70 billion by 2030. High mobile usage and increased social media engagement are key drivers of this trend.

READ MORE: The Evolution of E-commerce in India's Fashion Industry

Investments and Collaborations

The Indian e-commerce sector has attracted significant investments from global tech giants and retail players. Facebook's investment in Reliance Jio and Google's $4.5 billion investment in Jio Platforms are notable examples. Additionally, Reliance Retail's acquisition of Future Group has further strengthened its presence in the e-commerce space.

 

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The Evolution of E-commerce in India's Fashion Industry
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The Evolution of E-commerce in India's Fashion Industry
 

E-commerce is revolutionizing the fashion landscape in India, making it more accessible and exciting than ever before. Fashion trends are no longer confined to high-end boutiques in major cities; now, with just a few clicks, consumers can explore and purchase from a vast array of high-end and value brands from the comfort of their homes.

Market Dynamics and Growth Trends

The fashion industry has become a significant player in the retail market, typically outpacing overall retail growth. However, 2023 was an exception. The fashion segment grew in line with the general retail market due to inflationary pressures, a subdued job market, and muted consumer spending, especially among India B and C consumers, representing middle and lower-income groups.

Despite these challenges, online fashion retailers showcased remarkable resilience. Redseer Strategy Consulting's insights reveal that e-commerce continued to thrive even as many traditional fashion giants struggled. This trend highlights the unique strengths of e-commerce: convenience, variety, and attractive deals.w

E-commerce's Expanding Share

In 2023, the Indian retail market modestly expanded from $885-895 billion in 2022 to $940-950 billion. Fashion accounted for about 10 percent of this market, with the overall fashion segment growing by approximately 6 percent. In contrast, e-commerce in fashion soared by 10-12 percent, reflecting its robustness despite economic challenges. E-commerce's share of the fashion market increased from 14 percent to 15 percent, driven by a surge in new online shoppers and increased spending by existing ones.

Consumer Behavior and Market Segments

Affluent "India A" consumers primarily fueled this growth, while "India B and C" consumers were more cautious with their spending. "India A" saw an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14-16 percent, whereas "India B and C" had a CAGR of 8-10 percent. Affluent shoppers focused on trendy, fashionable items, while middle-income consumers preferred lower-cost alternatives influenced by past trends or celebrity endorsements.

Future Outlook

The future of India's fashion market is promising. Currently valued at around $93 billion, it is expected to grow to approximately $200 billion by 2030. The online fashion sector is particularly poised for significant growth, with forecasts predicting a surge to $36 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2030, driven by an impressive CAGR of 20 percent from 2023 to 2030.

Key Trends and Strategies

Several key trends are likely to shape the next decade in fashion e-commerce:

  1. Dominance of Fast Fashion: Gen Z, expected to account for 12-14 percent of shoppers, will drive 20-25 percent of online fashion spending, particularly in fast fashion.
  2. Premiumization: Driven by aspirations of "India A" consumers, premiumization will continue, with this segment projected to see a 25 percent+ CAGR in spending, fueled by global and luxury selections.
  3. Growth of India B/C Platforms: An influx of approximately 150 million new shoppers from India B and C cohorts will benefit these platforms, necessitating innovative approaches like gamification to engage these consumers.
  4. Rise of D2C Brands: Direct-to-consumer brands are expected to contribute around 15 percent of fashion e-commerce GMV by 2030, leveraging influencer and social media marketing for awareness and marketplace ads for discovery.
  5. Cross-selling Lifestyle Products: Fashion-first e-commerce platforms will increasingly cross-sell lifestyle products, including accessories, beauty, personal care, and home décor, to capture a larger share of consumer spending and enhance customer lifetime value.

As e-commerce continues to reshape India's fashion industry, the future is bright with unprecedented opportunities. The online fashion sector is set to thrive, driven by evolving consumer preferences, technological advancements, and innovative strategies. Welcome to the dynamic world of fashion, where online platforms rule, resilience is key, and change is the only constant.

 

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68 pc of MSME Retailers Grow Post Digital Adoption
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68 pc of MSME Retailers Grow Post Digital Adoption
 

The retail industry, particularly the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, is experiencing a digital transformation. Today, over 65 percent of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) utilize some form of digital technology for their daily operations.

According to a survey by PayNearby, 68 percent of MSME retail owners have reported business growth after adopting digital technology. This shift is reshaping the retail industry in India, making technology a pivotal tool for growth and efficiency.

Retailers Embrace Digital Tools

  • Adoption Rates Soar Among Young Entrepreneurs

Over 65 percent of MSMEs in the retail sector now use digital technology for their daily operations. This trend is especially pronounced among younger business owners, with 75 percent of those aged 18-30 integrating digital tools into their businesses. Smartphones are the preferred device, used by 68 percent of these entrepreneurs for various business activities, consuming 2GB to 5GB of internet data daily.

Payment Solutions Drive Efficiency

  • UPI and Aadhaar Banking Lead the Way

In terms of financial transactions, UPI (Unified Payments Interface) is the most popular method among retail MSMEs, used by 43 percent, followed by Aadhaar Banking at 38 percent. The convenience and efficiency of these digital payment solutions are transforming how retail businesses operate, making transactions faster and more secure.

Connectivity and Internet Usage

  • Mobile Hotspots and Affordable Internet

Connectivity is crucial for retail MSMEs, with 66 percent relying on mobile hotspots for internet access. Wi-Fi routers are used by 26 percent, highlighting the diverse methods of staying connected. Notably, over 51 percent of retail businesses spend less than Rs 500 per month on internet usage, showcasing the affordability of digital connectivity.

Popular Applications in Retail

  • YouTube and Business Management Tools

In addition to facilitating transactions, digital technology is also enhancing entertainment and business management. YouTube is a favorite among retail owners, with 72 percent using it for entertainment. For business operations, 29 percent use accounting software, while 17 percent utilize POS software, streamlining their management processes.

Empowering Retail Women Entrepreneurs

  • Technology Boosts Financial Independence

Women in the retail sector are significantly benefiting from digital technology. Representing 32 percent of the survey respondents, 85 percent of female entrepreneurs own smartphones. Digital payments are becoming increasingly popular, with 40 percent of women using these methods for their businesses.

Industry Insights

Despite the benefits, some challenges remain. Resistance to adopting new technology is cited by 36 percent of retail MSMEs, while 18 percent struggle with high implementation costs. Addressing these issues is crucial for wider adoption and maximizing the potential of digital tools in the retail sector.

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO of PayNearby, emphasizes the importance of digital adoption for retail MSMEs. "The MSME sector is pivotal to our economy, and their adoption of digital technologies is crucial for India's growth. By leveraging AI, AR, and ML, MSMEs in retail can thrive in a digital-first economy," he said.

Jayatri Dasgupta, CMO of PayNearby, highlighted the need for better digital infrastructure and literacy. "Our findings show a promising trend of increasing tech adoption, but also point out the areas that require more focus and investment. There is a need to innovate and provide solutions that bridge the digital divide and drive progressive growth," she added.

Thus, The retail sector's embrace of digital technology is driving significant growth and efficiency improvements among MSMEs. With continued support and investment in digital infrastructure and literacy, the potential for further transformation and empowerment in the retail industry is vast. By addressing challenges and fostering an inclusive ecosystem, the future of retail in India looks promising and dynamic.

 

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The Rise of Social Commerce: Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Online Sales Growth
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The Rise of Social Commerce: Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Online Sales Growth
 

The digital age has brought about a paradigm shift in how we shop, interact, and engage with brands. One of the most significant developments in this transformation is social commerce. As social media platforms continue to evolve, they have increasingly integrated e-commerce functionalities, creating a seamless blend of social interaction and online shopping.

Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to facilitate and enhance the buying and selling of products and services online. This integration allows users to discover, research, and purchase products directly within their favorite social media apps. Businesses may leverage the enormous user populations of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest to increase sales and foster brand loyalty by fusing the power of social networks with e-commerce.

Social commerce influences the inherently social nature of these platforms, where users can share their purchases, leave reviews, and recommend products to their network, creating a community-driven shopping experience. This method goes beyond traditional e-commerce by incorporating elements such as social proof, user-generated content, and real-time engagement, which can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

Global and Indian Market Trends

The rise of social commerce is evident from recent statistics and market trends. Globally, social commerce sales are projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2025, accounting for a significant portion of the e-commerce market. In India, social commerce is rapidly gaining traction, driven by the country's high social media usage and growing e-commerce industry. As per a report by Bain & Company, India's social commerce market is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2025, up from $1.5 billion in 2020.

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media platforms for shopping, with platforms like Instagram and Facebook leading the way. Instagram's "Shop" feature and Facebook's "Shops" are prime examples of how these platforms are enhancing their e-commerce capabilities to cater to this growing trend. Additionally, the rise of short-video platforms like TikTok has also contributed to the growth of social commerce, with influencers and content creators playing a pivotal role in driving sales through engaging content.

Benefits of Social Commerce

  • Enhanced Customer Engagement

One of the primary benefits of social commerce is enhanced customer engagement. Social media platforms are designed for interaction, making them ideal for brands to connect with their audience. Through posts, stories, live videos, and direct messages, businesses can engage with customers in real time, answer queries, and provide personalized recommendations. This level of interaction builds trust and fosters a sense of community, encouraging repeat purchases and brand loyalty.

  • Seamless Shopping Experience

Social commerce offers a seamless shopping experience by integrating the entire customer journey within a single platform. From product discovery to purchase and post-purchase engagement, everything happens within the social media app. Features like shoppable posts, in-app checkouts, and instant customer support streamline the buying process, reducing friction and making it easier for consumers to complete transactions. This convenience is particularly appealing to younger, tech-savvy shoppers who value efficiency and instant gratification.

  • Targeted Advertising

Social media platforms are equipped with sophisticated targeting capabilities, allowing businesses to reach their ideal customers with precision. By leveraging data on user behavior, interests, and demographics, brands can create highly targeted ad campaigns that resonate with specific audiences.

  • Granular Measurement and Analysis

Finally, using social commerce lets businesses take advantage of granular measurement and analysis capabilities. Companies can track all kinds of data related to their campaigns including engagement rates, click-throughs, conversions, and more. This data is invaluable for fine-tuning existing strategies as well as developing new ones in order to maximize profits.

Strategies for Leveraging Social Media Platforms

  • Influencer Collaborations

Collaborating with influencers is a powerful strategy for leveraging social media platforms for social commerce. Influencers have built trust and credibility with their followers, making their recommendations highly influential. By partnering with influencers, brands can tap into their reach and authenticity to promote products in a relatable and engaging manner. Whether through sponsored posts, unboxing videos, or live shopping events, influencer collaborations can drive significant traffic and sales.

  • Interactive Content

Creating interactive content is another effective strategy for driving social commerce. Interactive content, such as polls, quizzes, and live videos, encourages user participation and keeps audiences engaged. Live shopping events, in particular, have gained popularity as they allow brands to showcase products in real-time, answer questions, and offer exclusive discounts. This interactive approach not only boosts engagement but also creates a sense of urgency, prompting immediate purchases.

  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials play a crucial role in social commerce by providing social proof and building trust. Encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences on social media can influence potential buyers and drive sales. Brands can feature user-generated content, such as photos and videos of customers using their products, to add authenticity and credibility. Additionally, responding to reviews and addressing feedback shows that the brand values customer opinions, further enhancing trust and loyalty.

Future of Social Commerce

  • Emerging Trends

The future of social commerce is promising, with several emerging trends set to shape the industry. One such trend is the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. These technologies offer immersive shopping experiences, allowing customers to virtually try on products or visualize them in their environment before making a purchase. This not only enhances the shopping experience but also reduces the likelihood of returns.

Another emerging trend is the rise of social commerce on messaging platforms. Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are increasingly being used for shopping, with businesses setting up virtual storefronts and offering customer support through these channels. This trend is particularly significant in regions with high mobile penetration, such as India and Southeast Asia.

Advice for Retailers


For retailers looking to capitalize on the rise of social commerce, it is essential to stay agile and adapt to evolving trends. Investing in social media marketing and building a strong presence on key platforms is crucial. Retailers should also focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their target audience. Retailers should also explore innovative technologies, such as AR and VR, to offer unique shopping experiences. Lastly, providing exceptional customer service and actively engaging with customers on social media can foster loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Conclusion

The rise of social commerce represents a significant opportunity for businesses to leverage social media platforms for online sales growth. By integrating social interactions with e-commerce functionalities, social commerce offers enhanced customer engagement, a seamless shopping experience, and targeted advertising. As the industry continues to evolve, retailers must stay ahead of emerging trends and adopt effective strategies to maximize the potential of social commerce. With the right approach, businesses can not only drive sales but also build lasting relationships with their customers in this dynamic digital landscape.

In conclusion, the future of e-commerce is here and businesses must take advantage of it now if they want to maximize profits through social commerce.

 

-Authored By

Manish Verma, Co-founder & Director (Marketing & Operations), TruTRTL

 

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Influencers Fuel India's E-Commerce Boom
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Influencers Fuel India's E-Commerce Boom
 

India’s digital economy is forecasted to reach an impressive $800 billion by 2030, according to a report from Invest India. The e-commerce industry is expected to grow by $325 billion in the same year. One cannot overlook the significant role influencers have played in boosting the momentum of e-commerce platforms in India, both in terms of sales and reach.

E-commerce platforms have enhanced their performance marketing strategies by leveraging the reach of influencers in India. Research by Meta found that Instagram branded content ads led to an 82 percent increase in the likelihood of achieving purchase outcomes, reduced the cost per purchase by 3.9 percent, and generated an impressive 2.4x lift in conversions.

TATA CliQ’s Affiliate Program

One popular influencer-led campaign, #MallAtACLiQ, was widely appreciated by the audience on Instagram, achieving a reach of more than 20 million and over 2.4 million engagements.

Gopal Asthana, CEO of Tata CLiQ, said, “On Tata CLiQ Palette, our beauty vertical launched last year, we strategically worked with a mega influencer like Masoom Minawala to increase awareness for the platform. We also collaborate with macro and mid creators for sale events and mid and nano creators for trending beauty conversations. Influencers are crucial for amplifying our retail stores and participating in launch events.”

Asthana further commented, “For influencers, collaborating with platforms offers them the opportunity to be associated with the brand, showcase their creative work, and access the brand's following, aside from monetary compensation. In affiliate programs, influencers create content specifically to sell products, earning a commission on sales. Thus, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Tata CLiQ (@tatacliq)

 

A recent FICCI EY Report states that India’s influencer marketing industry is expected to grow to Rs 34 billion by 2026, up from Rs19 billion in 2023, as businesses increasingly turn to social-media influencers to drive sales and deepen brand connections.

Elaborating on working with different types of influencers, Asthana said, “On Tata CLiQ Luxury, our luxury vertical, we collaborate with influencers to enhance the platform's overall visibility. We work with micro- to mid-tier creators and tastemakers who have strong engagement with their audience, appeal to luxury consumers, and are experts in their fields, thus helping to drive our brand philosophy in consumers' minds.”

He further noted, “Influencers facilitate product discovery through high-quality and engaging content, which helps increase consideration and conversions. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool; however, it is important to set clear objectives and identify the right influencers to ensure success.”

Amazon’s Creator University

Currently valued at $70 billion+, India's online shopping constitutes approximately 7 percent of the country's total retail market, presenting a significant opportunity for growth. The Invest India report highlights that India will lead the online shopping revolution, with an estimated 500 million shoppers by 2030. It also notes the country's increasing internet penetration, with 87 percent of Indian households expected to have internet access by 2025.

Recently, Amazon.in launched its Creator University and Creator Connect initiative to help both established and aspiring influencers scale up on Amazon.in. The first Creator Connect event, "A Summer Escape," was held on June 3, 2024, in Mumbai, focusing on building a community of fashion and lifestyle creators coinciding with Amazon Fashion's Wardrobe Refresh Sale.

Kishore Thota, Director of Shopping Experience, India & Emerging Markets, Amazon, said, “Amazon recognizes the power of creators and their content. That is why we have invested heavily in building a thriving two-sided marketplace where creators and customers connect. Dedicated teams across product and business functions work tirelessly to develop programs and features that benefit both sides.”

Amazon India

Thota further added, “We believe creators are essential to serving our customers’ needs. Their content drives brand awareness, product recall, positive brand image, customer loyalty, and ultimately, sales. By fostering a platform where creators can flourish and gain recognition, income, and audience love, we create a win-win situation.”

Similarly, Amazon offers a feature called Amazon Live, an on-site, on-app influencer-led program that provides customers with an interactive, social, and entertaining way to shop. Through Amazon Live, customers can interact with trusted influencers and shop selections from livestreams. Launched in India in September 2022, Amazon Live addresses customers’ needs for product discovery, focused expertise, trust (through the influencer), and value.

It should be noted that the role of influencers in shaping consumer behavior and driving sales has become more critical than ever. As the digital economy expands, growth of e-commerce and influencer led marketing strategies will continue to be instrumental in not only connecting brands with their target audiences but also ensuring mutual benefits and sustained growth.

 

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How OgmentO is Leading the Charge in Retail Automation
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How OgmentO is Leading the Charge in Retail Automation
 

With India's D2C scenery witnessing unprecedented growth, successful brands like SUGAR and BoAt face challenges in maintaining their authentic bond with customers while expanding offline. OgmentO steps in to address these growing pains by revolutionizing the retail experience through smart vending machines and retail automation technology.

They have mastered the digital space and with their omnichannel strategy, are now expanding their reach offline, both domestically and internationally. However, with rapid growth comes new challenges. Enter OgmentO – a pioneering force designed to help successful D2C brands maintain their authentic connections with existing audiences while reaching new ones.

“OgmentO is here to bridge the gap between physical and digital retail, offering a seamless phygital omnichannel experience. We revolutionize the retail experience through smart vending machines and retail automation technology, addressing the limitations of traditional retail,” says Anshul Parmar, General Manager, OgmentO & Filuet India.

The Genesis of OgmentO

OgmentO’s name derives from the word ‘augmentation,’ signifying the extension and amplification of brand reach. The core idea behind OgmentO is to merge the online and offline shopping experiences, into a seamless phygital experience enabling 24/7 product access through smart vending machines. These machines not only enhance convenience and sales but also create immersive brand narratives through customized hardware and software solutions.

“Our smart vending machines go beyond mere distribution channels. They amplify brand messaging through immersive experiences, making them a powerful tool for product launches and marketing campaigns,” Anshul Parmar explains.

Transformative Technology in Retail

OgmentO integrates cutting-edge technology to elevate the retail experience for both businesses and consumers. The smart vending machines feature customizable user interfaces, data analytics to track consumer behavior, inventory management software to prevent product wastage and multiple payment systems including wallets and QR codes. Remote monitoring and diagnostics ensure optimal performance, reducing downtime.

“Our tech stack is software agnostic, allowing seamless integration with any existing software tools. This enables us to deliver phygital retail experiences that blend online with offline customer journeys,” Parmar notes.

Unique Innovations Setting OgmentO Apart

What sets OgmentO apart from its competitors is the innovation embedded in its solutions. The smart vending machines boast the largest screens in the industry, enhancing customer engagement with interactive displays. They support multi-dispensing capabilities, which reduce waiting times and improve customer satisfaction. Additionally, the machines are highly customizable, allowing for targeted ad campaigns and loyalty program integration.

“We start with the customer experience and work our way backward to the features. This approach ensures that our solutions are always customer-centric and innovative,” says Parmar.

OgmentO operates under the esteemed umbrella of Filuet, a global leader in retail automation and distribution solutions. With over a decade of innovation and success, Filuet has consistently pushed the boundaries of retail technology, introducing groundbreaking solutions that enhance operational efficiency and customer engagement. As OgmentO's parent company, Filuet provides the robust foundation and strategic vision necessary for OgmentO to thrive in the dynamic retail landscape, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of retail automation and omnichannel experiences.

Since its inception, OgmentO has made significant strides in the retail automation sector. A notable example is the collaboration with Herbalife through Filuet. By deploying smart vending machines in high-traffic areas, OgmentO enabled faster fulfillment and 24/7 product accessibility, significantly boosting sales. 

“Tracking sales data allowed us to identify which products performed well in specific locations, optimizing inventory and increasing efficiency,” Parmar shares.

Adapting to Industry Trends

OgmentO stays ahead of industry trends by constantly adapting its solutions to meet the evolving needs of the market. In India, the rapid adoption of cashless payments led to the inclusion of PhonePe and Razorpay in the vending machines. Furthermore, the demand for personalized shopping experiences prompted the integration of online elements like loyalty programs into the offline shopping journey, showcasing their commitment to omnichannel strategies.

“By taking a phygital approach, we adapt to our clients’ customer expectations, ensuring personalized and convenient shopping experiences,” Parmar highlights.

Furthermore, OgmentO is committed to sustainability and social responsibility. The smart vending machines have a significantly lower energy output compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The company also promotes digital-first practices, such as digital receipts and inventory tracking systems to reduce product wastage, aligning with modern omnichannel retail practices.

“By integrating sustainable practices, we contribute positively to the environment while delivering high-quality retail solutions,” Anshul affirms.

Retail 5.0

OgmentO aims to launch Retail 5.0 across India and the APAC region, integrating advanced technologies to deliver highly personalized and seamless customer experiences. With a Make-in-India mindset, the company plans to help clients expand their footprints into India’s Tier I, II, and III cities, leveraging retail automation to connect with new audiences.

“Our vision is to become a global leader in retail automation, setting new standards for convenience and efficiency in the industry,” states Parmar.

While OgmentO is currently focused on capturing the Indian market, the company has a clear strategy for international expansion. By identifying key markets with high potential for retail automation and establishing local partnerships, OgmentO plans to customize its products to meet local consumer preferences and regulatory requirements.

“The Indian retail industry is an exciting wilderness, and we are fully focused on delivering quality solutions tailored to the Indian consumer. However, when the time is right, we will expand our horizons internationally,” Anshul envisions.

The Next Five Years

In the next five years, OgmentO aims to have its smart vending machines deployed across all Tier I cities, potentially venturing into Tier II and III cities as well. The company’s goal is to become an integral part of the Indian consumer’s shopping experience, merging online and offline retail to deliver personalized phygital shopping experiences.

“We want to enable more product access and connections between brands and India’s diverse audiences, playing a significant part in the retail revolution characterized by automation,” concludes Parmar.

By seamlessly blending physical and digital retail, OgmentO is setting new standards for convenience, efficiency, and customer engagement. With a commitment to innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, OgmentO is poised to lead the retail automation revolution in India and beyond.

“Retail 5.0 is our future, and we are excited to bring this vision to life, one smart vending machine at a time,” Parmar emphasizes.

 

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Revolutionizing Retail: The AI-Powered Future
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Revolutionizing Retail: The AI-Powered Future
 

In the rapidly evolving world of commerce, where digital transformation has become the cornerstone of success, the role of artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a game-changer. With its ability to analyze vast amounts of data, predict consumer behavior, and drive personalized experiences, AI is reshaping the retail landscape like never before. At the forefront of this revolution is Bhaskar Ramesh, Director of Omnichannel Business at Google India, whose insights offer a compelling glimpse into the transformative power of AI in retail.

Navigating the Evolution of Commerce

Ramesh's journey begins with a reflection on the evolution of commerce, tracing humanity's transition from hunters and gatherers to the information age and finally, the AI era. As a company born in the Internet age, Google has played a pivotal role in connecting users with brands and businesses. However, with the rise of AI, a new era of intelligence-driven commerce is upon us—a paradigm shift that promises to redefine the retail experience.

Unleashing the Potential of AI

Central to Ramesh's narrative is the distinction between analytical and generative AI. Drawing parallels with the human brain, he elucidates how analytical AI, akin to the left brain, excels at synthesizing and predicting data. On the other hand, generative AI represents the right brain, unleashing creativity and innovation through content creation and dynamic interactions. The convergence of these capabilities heralds a new era of intelligent commerce, where data-driven insights and creative ingenuity converge to drive growth and innovation.

Empowering Retailers of All Sizes

A key tenet of Ramesh's vision is the democratization of AI, ensuring that retailers of all sizes can harness its transformative potential. By making AI accessible and affordable, Google aims to empower businesses to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. From small startups to established enterprises, AI offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and innovation, leveling the playing field and driving inclusive economic development.

AI in Action

Ramesh provides concrete examples of AI in action, illustrating how retailers can leverage their capabilities to enhance customer experiences, streamline operations, and drive revenue growth. From personalized recommendations to automated cataloging and dynamic pricing, AI-powered solutions are revolutionizing every aspect of the retail journey. Moreover, AI's role in data security and privacy management underscores its significance in safeguarding consumer trust and business integrity.

Embracing the Future

As retailers navigate the complexities of the AI era, Ramesh urges them to embrace innovation boldly yet responsibly. With great power comes great responsibility, and AI is no exception. By prioritizing ethical considerations and data privacy, retailers can build trust with consumers and foster long-term loyalty. Moreover, by fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on emerging trends and technologies.

READ MORE: Trends in AI that are Revolutionizing the Retail Landscape

Charting the Course for Intelligent Commerce

In conclusion, Bhaskar Ramesh's insights offer a compelling vision for the future of retail — an era defined by the transformative power of AI. As retailers navigate this new landscape, they must embrace innovation, prioritize ethics, and harness the full potential of AI to drive growth and deliver value to consumers. By embracing the AI-powered future, retailers can unlock new opportunities, drive operational efficiency, and redefine the retail experience for generations to come.

 

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Returns Fraud: 4 Ways to Fight Back with Data Insights
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Returns Fraud: 4 Ways to Fight Back with Data Insights
 

The vast majority (90 percent) of online retailers say customers’ misuse of return policies and loyalty programs is affecting their bottom line, according to a global study in 2023 by Riskified[1]. However, 93 percent of retailers said it is “somewhat important” or “very important” to offer generous refund and return policies to win new customers and retain loyal ones. This leaves Indian retailers selling online with a big dilemma. How do they make returns easy, yet discourage fraudulent activity at the same time?

Different Types of Returns Fraud

‘Serial returners’ are shoppers who regularly and deliberately buy multiple items and repeatedly returning them. ‘Wardrobers’ abuse the system by wearing clothes for one occasion only, then sending them back. More overt scams include claiming that an item that arrived, has never arrived, or that the item does not match the product description, or was damaged in transit.

Other fraudulent activities include returning shoplifted items, and ‘merchandise exchange’ whereby shoppers purchase a new item, then return an older or non-working version of the same item, using the packaging from the newer merchandise. Such scams are not solely practiced by individuals. Organized international crime rings are often co-ordinating fraudulent returns activities on a grand scale.

Time to Take Action

Retailers are pushing back. For instance, in 2019, Asos.com said it would begin deactivating[2] the accounts of serial returners on its site. Some fashion brands, including Zara, J.Crew[3] and Uniqlo[4], have begun charging for returns in order to claw back lost revenue.

The key to addressing the scale of these problems is having digital systems in place that will alert retailers and spot which SKUs – and which customers - are problematic. Data analytics of returns patterns is something Asendia can offer clients through the e-PAQ Returns[5] solution. The system provides a full suite of retailer reports and dashboards. The power is in spotting the trends and taking timely action to stamp out returns fraud activity, wherever in the world it is happening.

Here are four ways data analytics can assist in the fight against returns fraud:

  1. Pattern Recognition and Anomaly Detection

It’s possible to process vast amounts of transaction, inventory, and customer data to establish normal shopping patterns and behaviors. By using advanced algorithms, retailers can identify anomalies that might indicate returns fraud. Unusual patterns, such as frequent returns of high-value items, or returns from the same address with different customer names, can be flagged for further investigation. Analysis of the reason for returning can also flag suspicious, repetitive behavior.

  1. Customer Data Analysis

Retail loss prevention teams can deploy analytics to detect potential networks of fraudsters working together. By examining shared IP addresses, shipping addresses, and payment methods, retailers can uncover hidden associations that might indicate organized fraud rings. Identifying such networks can help retailers take pre-emptive action to prevent fraud.

  1. Predictive Modeling for Fraud Prevention

Retailers with a costly returns problem can leverage historical data to assess the likelihood of a particular transaction being fraudulent. These predictive models can factor in variables, such as purchase history, device information, and behavioral patterns. Retailers can then set customizable risk thresholds, automatically flagging or blocking transactions that exceed these thresholds, thereby reducing returns fraud.

  1. Real-time Monitoring and Alerts

Implementing real-time data analytics allows retailers to monitor transactions as they happen. By using machine learning algorithms, retailers can instantly evaluate each purchase for signs of potential fraud. If suspicious activity is detected, alerts can be sent to fraud prevention teams for immediate action, such as manual review or order cancellation.

Make Your Returns Policy Crystal Clear

Retailers can protect themselves against fraud by having a clear and stringent returns policy – and always enforcing it. Requesting that customers send a printout of the receipt when returning items can also help, alongside confirmation of address and zip code information, plus the last 4 digits of the payment card used.

Well-established parcel shipping partners, who are increasingly handling returns on behalf of retailers, are in a strong position to help retailers manage reverse logistics.

Leveraging Market-Specific Insights

According to a recent report by Asendia, 76 percent of Indian shoppers would be prepared to pay a nominal fee for returning items. This indicates a receptiveness in the Indian market to levying charges on returns, offering retailers an opportunity to deter unnecessary returns and cover some costs.

Data analytics provides retailers with a powerful arsenal against returns fraud by detecting unusual patterns, and enabling informed decision-making. When better-informed, online stores can cut down on returns fraud and make sure honest shoppers feel safe and confident.


[1] https://www.riskified.com/lp/policy-abuse-global-benchmarks-report/

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47820387

[3] https://www.jcrew.com/help/returns-exchanges

[4] https://faq-uk.uniqlo.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/What-is-your-online-returns-policy

[5] https://www.asendia.com/e-paq/returns

Helen Scurfield, CEO - Global Returns at Asendia

Helen Scurfield, CEO – Global Returns, Asendia

 

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India’s E-commerce Set to Hit US$ 300 Billion by 2030
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India’s E-commerce Set to Hit US$ 300 Billion by 2030
 

The Indian e-commerce industry is on a rapid upward trajectory, poised to surpass the US to become the second-largest e-commerce market globally by 2034. With projections estimating the industry to reach a staggering US$ 300 billion by 2030, the growth is driven significantly by the grocery and fashion/apparel sectors.

According to India Brand Equity foundation, the Indian online grocery market is set for explosive growth, expected to surge from $3.95 billion in FY21 to $26.93 billion by 2027, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent. This segment, along with fashion and apparel, will be the key drivers of incremental growth in the e-commerce sector. Overall, e-commerce sales are predicted to rise at a CAGR of 18.2 percent between 2021 and 2025, reaching Rs 8.8 lakh crore ($120.1 billion).

B2B E-commerce

India’s Business-to-Business (B2B) online marketplace is anticipated to become a $200 billion opportunity by 2030. India's e-B2B market is projected to reach a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $100 billion by the same year, demonstrating significant potential for growth in this segment.

In fiscal year 2023, Indian e-commerce platforms achieved a significant milestone by hitting a GMV of $ 60 billion, marking a 22 percent increase from the previous year. This growth is mirrored by the burgeoning internet user base, with India boasting over 821 million users, making it the second-largest internet market in the world. The number of internet connections rose to 895 million in 2023, fuelled by the 'Digital India' initiative.

Festive Season Surge and Steady B2C Growth

The first week of the 2023 festive season alone saw Indian e-commerce platforms generating sales worth $5.67 billion in GMV. The Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce segment is expected to grow steadily at a CAGR of 8.68 percent during 2023-27.

Government Initiatives and Market Expansion

The Government e-Marketplace (GeM), an online public procurement platform, has significantly enhanced efficiency and transparency in procurement activities. By FY23, procurement from GeM crossed the Rs 2 lakh crore ($24 billion) mark, with a total of Rs 3,34,933 crore ($40.97 billion) in orders since its inception.

Social and Live Commerce

India’s social commerce sector is projected to expand to $16-20 billion by FY25, with an impressive CAGR of 55-60 percent. By 2030, this could potentially reach $70 billion. Live commerce, driven by beauty and personal care (BPC) segments, is expected to hit a GMV of $4-5 billion by 2025.

Global giants like Facebook and Google have made significant investments in the Indian e-commerce market, notably in Reliance Jio. Facebook's investment in Jio and Google's $4.5 billion investment are pivotal moves that signal strong growth prospects. The acquisition of Future Group by Reliance Retail further consolidates the Ambani Group's position in the e-commerce sector.

READ MORE:Flipkart Grocery Rockets: 1.6X Growth, 50 pc EV Deliveries, and Tier II+ Domination

Expanding Horizons in Tier II and III Cities

The rapid expansion of e-commerce into Tier II and III cities is a notable trend. In 2022, these cities contributed 41.5 percent of the market share, up from 34.2 percent in 2021. This growth is expected to continue, driven by increasing internet penetration and digital literacy in these regions.

Regulatory Support and Future Prospects

India’s e-commerce sector benefits from favorable government policies, such as 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in B2B e-commerce and automatic route FDI in the marketplace model of B2C e-commerce. The Digital India campaign aims to create a trillion-dollar online economy by 2025, with initiatives like the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) fostering a competitive and inclusive digital marketplace.

India’s e-commerce industry is poised for unprecedented growth, with significant contributions from online grocery, fashion, B2B markets, and social commerce. The combination of favorable government policies, major global investments, and increasing internet and smartphone penetration are driving this dynamic and rapidly evolving market toward becoming a global leader in e-commerce.

 

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Trends in AI that are Revolutionizing the Retail Landscape
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Trends in AI that are Revolutionizing the Retail Landscape
 

The retail industry is experiencing a transformative shift driven by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). AI technologies are reshaping various aspects of retail operations, from enhancing sustainability to improving customer experiences and operational efficiency. As of 2023, the global AI in the retail market is on an exponential growth trajectory, with projections indicating a revenue surge to $119.9 billion by 2032, according to a report by Acumen Research.

Here are some of the AI trends that are revolutionizing the retail landscape:

Sustainability Initiatives

One of the most notable trends in the AI in retail market is the growing emphasis on sustainability initiatives. As environmental consciousness becomes a priority for both consumers and businesses, retailers are increasingly leveraging AI to bolster their sustainability efforts. AI-powered analytics play a crucial role in reducing waste, optimizing energy consumption, and streamlining supply chains to minimize environmental impact.

Reducing Waste

AI enables retailers to predict demand more accurately, thereby reducing overproduction and minimizing waste. By analyzing historical sales data, market trends, and other relevant factors, AI algorithms can forecast future demand with greater precision. This allows retailers to adjust their production schedules accordingly, ensuring that they produce only what is needed. Consequently, this reduces the likelihood of excess inventory and unsold goods ending up in landfills.

Optimizing Energy Consumption

Energy consumption is a significant concern for retail businesses, particularly those with large physical stores or distribution centers. AI-powered systems can monitor and analyze energy usage patterns, identifying opportunities for optimization. For example, AI can adjust lighting and HVAC systems based on occupancy levels and weather conditions, leading to substantial energy savings. By reducing energy consumption, retailers can lower their carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Streamlining Supply Chains

AI-driven logistics solutions are transforming supply chain management by optimizing delivery routes and reducing carbon emissions. AI can analyze traffic patterns, weather conditions, and other variables to determine the most efficient routes for delivery vehicles. This not only reduces fuel consumption but also ensures timely deliveries. Additionally, AI can help retailers manage inventory more effectively, ensuring that products are transported in the most efficient manner, thereby reducing the environmental impact of logistics operations.

Enhanced Customer Experiences

AI is playing a pivotal role in reshaping customer experiences in the retail sector. Personalized shopping experiences, powered by AI, are becoming the norm, as retailers strive to meet the evolving expectations of their customers. Several AI-driven technologies are enhancing customer service and engagement, making shopping more convenient and enjoyable.

Personalized Recommendations

AI algorithms analyze customer behavior, preferences, and purchase history to provide tailored recommendations and offers. By understanding individual customer needs and preferences, retailers can offer more relevant products and promotions. This personalized approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also drives sales and customer loyalty. For instance, online retailers like Amazon use AI to recommend products based on previous purchases and browsing history, creating a more engaging shopping experience.

Virtual Assistants and Chatbots

Virtual assistants and chatbots, equipped with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, are revolutionizing customer service. These AI-driven tools can provide instant support, answer queries, and assist customers in making purchasing decisions. Chatbots are available 24/7, ensuring that customers can get help whenever they need it. This improves customer satisfaction and reduces the workload on human customer service representatives, allowing them to focus on more complex issues.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

AI is also driving the adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in retail. These immersive technologies offer customers unique shopping experiences that bridge the gap between online and offline retail. For example, AR can allow customers to visualize how furniture will look in their homes before making a purchase. VR can create virtual stores where customers can browse products in a 3D environment. These innovations not only enhance the shopping experience but also increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

Operational Efficiency

AI technologies are significantly improving operational efficiency in the retail sector. Automation of routine tasks and advanced analytics are enabling retailers to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.

Automation of Routine Tasks

AI-powered automation is streamlining various routine tasks such as inventory management, order processing, and customer support. Automated systems can monitor inventory levels in real-time, generate orders when stocks are low, and process transactions quickly and accurately. This reduces the need for manual intervention and minimizes the risk of errors. By automating these tasks, retailers can allocate human resources to more strategic activities that require creativity and problem-solving skills.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics, driven by AI, is transforming supply chain management by enabling retailers to forecast demand more accurately and optimize inventory levels. By analyzing data from multiple sources, AI can predict trends and identify potential disruptions in the supply chain. This allows retailers to take proactive measures to ensure that the right products are available at the right time, reducing the likelihood of stockouts or overstock situations. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also reduces carrying costs and improves overall efficiency.

READ MORE: India Retail Landscape Set for a Recast with AI-Powered Engagement

Fraud Detection

AI-powered fraud detection systems are enhancing security and reducing financial losses for retailers. These systems analyze transaction data in real-time, identifying patterns and anomalies that may indicate fraudulent activity. By detecting fraud early, retailers can take immediate action to prevent losses and protect their customers. AI-driven fraud detection systems are continually learning and evolving, becoming more effective over time in identifying new and sophisticated fraud schemes.

 

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E-Commerce Thrives in Telangana as Local Retailers Witness 1100pc Growth
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E-Commerce Thrives in Telangana as Local Retailers Witness 1100pc Growth
 

The local retailers in Telangana have taken a commanding lead in the e-commerce sector, witnessing an astonishing 1100 percent growth in transactions. Following Telangana, retail stores in Uttar Pradesh have also seen a substantial increase in e-commerce transactions, recording a 164 percent growth. This surge reflects a broader trend where semi-urban and rural areas are becoming significant players in the e-commerce space. Popular product categories among these transactions include groceries, mobile phones and accessories, and clothing.

According to the latest PayNearby report, titled ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Digital Empowerment,’ highlights the growing acceptance of assisted financial and digital services at semi-urban and rural retail stores such as kirana stores, medical stores, and mobile recharge outlets.

Growing Ticket Sizes and Popular Categories

The average ticket size for e-commerce transactions stands at Rs 1,500. In the branded shop segment, the average ticket size is higher, at Rs 3,000. This indicates a robust demand for a variety of products and a growing comfort among consumers in these regions to engage in higher-value transactions.

Anand Kumar Bajaj, Founder, MD & CEO of PayNearby, stated, “Rural commerce is undergoing a significant shift with aspirational customers getting access to various products at a nearby store. At PayNearby, we are leveraging the Distribution-as-a-Service (DaaS) architecture so that tech-shy customers can embrace the e-commerce revolution with superior experience, local retailers have enhanced income opportunities and e-commerce partners can expand their footprint, even to the remotest of areas. We are dedicated to empowering local retailers and ensuring that essential digital and financial services are accessible to everyone and everywhere."

growth

Financial Services at Retail Stores: A Growing Trend

The report highlights a growing reliance on local retail stores to provide essential financial services such as cash withdrawals, deposits, credit, and insurance. Assam leads this trend with a significant increase in the number of retailers offering these services and overall transaction volumes.

AePS and Micro ATM Adoption on the Rise

The adoption of AePS (Aadhaar-enabled Payment System) and Micro ATM services at retail stores is also increasing, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeastern states. In J&K, AePS adoption saw over 134 percent growth in transaction value and 89 percent in volume, while Micro ATM transactions rose by 31 percent. In the Northeastern states, Meghalaya witnessed a staggering 1000 percent growth in AePS transaction value and a 712 percent increase in transactions, followed by notable growth in Nagaland and Assam.

growth

MSME Loans and Insurance Disbursals

Punjab has emerged as the leader in disbursing MSME loans through retail stores, with a 29 percent increase. Insurance disbursals have also seen significant growth, with Kerala and Madhya Pradesh recording increases of 24 and 14 percent, respectively.

Digital Payments Surge

The report indicates a strong shift towards digital payments, with transactions on UPI QR codes at retail outlets growing by an impressive 84 percent. This surge underscores the increasing adoption of digital payment methods across various regions of India.

The data, collected for FY 2023-24 and compared to the previous financial year, underscores the significant strides being made in empowering local retailers and consumers through digital and financial inclusion.

retail india

 

 

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India's E-Commerce Revolution: A Flourishing Frontier Reshaping the Economic Landscape
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India's E-Commerce Revolution: A Flourishing Frontier Reshaping the Economic Landscape
 

In recent years, India has witnessed a transformative surge in e-commerce, positioning itself as a vibrant epicenter of digital commerce that is fundamentally altering the country's economic fabric. This seismic shift is propelled by a confluence of factors, including widespread internet connectivity, the proliferation of smartphones, the rise of digital payment systems, and shifting consumer behavior patterns.

At the heart of India's e-commerce boom lies its vast population, exceeding 1.44 billion people. This demographic dividend presents a colossal consumer base, making India one of the largest and most lucrative markets for e-commerce globally. The allure of convenience and accessibility offered by online shopping platforms has captivated consumers across the socio-economic spectrum, particularly those residing in urban centers and Tier II and Tier III cities, where traditional retail infrastructure may be lacking. India's e-commerce market is expected to reach $200 billion by 2026, according to a report by Morgan Stanley. As of 2022, India had over 700 million internet users, with over 600 million smartphone users, creating a vast digital audience for e-commerce platforms.

The exponential growth of e-commerce in India has been significantly propelled by the rapid adoption of digital payment systems, spurred by government initiatives and the widespread embrace of mobile wallets and Unified Payments Interfaces (UPI). This seamless and secure online transaction environment has instilled consumer confidence, leading to a fervent embrace of online shopping and a deepening penetration of e-commerce in Indian society. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this trend, with a 30 percent increase in online shopping reported by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Lockdowns and social distancing measures compelled consumers to turn to online platforms, highlighting the resilience and indispensability of e-commerce, which has solidified its position as a vital component of India's retail landscape.

Beyond catering to consumer demands, India's e-commerce revolution has unleashed a wave of entrepreneurial dynamism, providing a fertile breeding ground for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to thrive. Online marketplaces offer a level playing field for businesses of all sizes to showcase their products and services, democratizing access to markets and enabling even the smallest ventures to reach a global audience.
Moreover, the e-commerce boom has spurred significant investments in logistics and supply chain infrastructure tailored to the unique needs of digital commerce. Companies have poured resources into building robust delivery networks and last-mile connectivity, ensuring swift and reliable fulfillment of orders across the vast expanse of the Indian subcontinent.

Nevertheless, formidable challenges loom on the horizon, threatening to impede the sector's momentum. Logistics bottlenecks, regulatory complexities, and infrastructural deficiencies pose formidable hurdles that must be surmounted to sustain the e-commerce juggernaut. Furthermore, safeguarding consumer trust and data privacy is imperative to foster a resilient and inclusive e-commerce ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders.

Looking ahead, the trajectory of India's e-commerce sector appears poised for continued expansion and evolution. As technology continues to advance and consumer preferences evolve, the e-commerce landscape will undergo continual metamorphosis, presenting both opportunities and challenges for businesses, policymakers, and society at large. Embracing innovation, fostering collaboration, and nurturing an enabling regulatory environment will be essential to unlocking the full potential of India's e-commerce revolution and ushering in a new era of digital prosperity. The Indian government's Digital India initiative aims to ensure that government services are made available to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and increasing Internet connectivity.

 

Authored By

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Ayush Gupta, CEO,SwopStore

 

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Online Consumer Spending Surges to $331.6 Bn in Early 2024
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Online Consumer Spending Surges to $331.6 Bn in Early 2024
 

From January 1st to April 30th, consumers displayed robust spending habits online, amounting to $331.6 billion, marking a 7 percent year-over-year (YoY) increase. This growth trajectory has been sustained by steady expenditure in discretionary sectors such as electronics and apparel, alongside a continued surge in online grocery shopping. Adobe anticipates the first half of 2024 to drive over $500 billion in online spending, representing a 6.8 percent YoY growth.

Adobe has unveiled comprehensive insights into the landscape of U.S. e-commerce for the first four months of 2024. Leveraging Adobe Analytics data, the report offers unparalleled visibility into online commerce transactions, encompassing over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, analyzing 100 million SKUs, and delving into 18 product categories. Adobe Analytics, an integral part of Adobe Experience Cloud, is trusted by over 85 percent of the leading 100 internet retailers in the U.S. for delivering, measuring, and personalizing online shopping experiences.

Key Spending Trends

In the first four months of 2024, consumers allocated $61.8 billion towards electronics (up 3.1 percent YoY) and $52.5 billion towards apparel (up 2.6 percent YoY). Despite marginal YoY increases, both categories collectively accounted for 34.5 percent of overall e-commerce expenditure, bolstering overall growth. Notably, groceries emerged as a standout category, witnessing a significant 15.7 percent YoY growth, with $38.8 billion spent online.

Emerging Categories

The report sheds light on the burgeoning cosmetics category, which recorded $35 billion in online spending in 2023, experiencing a robust 15.6 percent YoY growth. This upward trajectory persisted into 2024, with consumers spending $13.2 billion online for cosmetics, reflecting an 8 percent YoY increase.

Shifts in Consumer Behavior

Persistent inflation has prompted consumers to gravitate towards more affordable goods across major e-commerce categories. Adobe's analysis reveals a notable increase in the share of cheaper goods across various sectors, such as personal care, electronics, apparel, and home goods. Furthermore, the report underscores the revenue impact of inflation within specific categories, highlighting contrasting trends in consumer behavior based on price sensitivity and brand loyalty.

Continued Adoption of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

Consumers continue to embrace Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) options for enhanced budget management, with $25.9 billion of e-commerce spending attributed to BNPL from January to April 2024, marking an 11.8 percent YoY increase. Adobe anticipates further growth in BNPL adoption, with projected spending between $81 billion and $84.8 billion in 2024, reflecting YoY growth between 8 percent and 13 percent.

Insights into Online Shopping Trends

The report underscores the increasing dominance of mobile commerce, with a revenue share from mobile surpassing desktop during the 2023 holiday season and maintaining momentum into 2024. Additionally, Adobe provides insights into retailers' marketing investments, with paid search emerging as the primary driver of sales, followed by direct web visits, affiliates/partners, organic search, and email marketing.

Impact of Inflation

Despite strong consumer spending, Adobe's Digital Price Index reveals a consistent decline in e-commerce prices over the past year, down 5.6 percent YoY in April 2024. This deflationary trend, coupled with net new demand, has driven robust growth in overall consumer spending, indicating resilience in the digital economy.

By providing comprehensive data and analysis, Adobe's insights offer invaluable perspectives on the evolving landscape of U.S. e-commerce, guiding retailers and stakeholders in navigating dynamic market dynamics and consumer preferences.

 

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Bringing About a Green Revolution in E-commerce
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Bringing About a Green Revolution in E-commerce
 

In 2024, India's e-commerce is pivoting towards sustainability due to increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly practices. This shift sees major players adopting greener methods, like carbon-neutral logistics and renewable energy, setting new standards for environmental responsibility in the digital era.

The transformation focuses on minimizing the carbon footprint throughout the product life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal. It involves "green supply chain practices" such as transport optimization and minimalistic packaging, ensuring products are eco-friendly and meet consumer demands.

Digital transformation, integral to e-commerce growth, introduces the challenge of increased greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive computing. Increased compute and GPU intensive GenAI adoption across the customer experience and operations journeys leave a heavy carbon footprint. Research estimates the development of GPT-3 required 1,287 megawatt-hours of electricity, resulting in 502 tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to the annual emissions from 112 gasoline cars. This is before consumers started using it. Other studies found that the world’s data centers account for 2.5 to 3.7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing the aviation industry’s carbon output. Despite using only 0.9 to 1.3 percent of the world's electricity in 2021, their energy demand could rise to 1.86 percent by 2030, with a projected surge in data center power consumption to approximately 4,250 megawatts by 2028, marking a 212X increase from 2023.

Sensing this existential crisis, the e-commerce sector is turning towards green data centers, which can mitigate the environmental costs associated with online commerce.

Green data centers significantly reduce the carbon footprint of an organization’s digital operations. Most major hyperscale operators (including Microsoft and Google) are either already powering their cloud computing data centers with 100 percent carbon-free energy or have roadmaps to do so by 2030, to achieve net-zero operational carbon emissions with reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Icelandic data centers are gaining popularity, for running on a mix of geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

However, energy consumption is not limited to computing alone in large data centers. Green data centers improve energy efficiency by employing advanced cooling technologies such as liquid immersion, direct-to-chip cooling, plan-based cooling, and zero-water cooling and by optimizing server configurations, significantly reducing energy use and heat output. Innovative solutions, such as underwater data centers and free chillers-based cooling technologies are bringing in more efficiency.

Collaboration with industry peers and NGOs, alongside certifications from recognized sustainability standards, is key to promoting green data center initiatives, highlighting a commitment to environmental stewardship. As of September 2022, India had over 200 large data centers. India has been striving to go green since 2010, and the CII-IGBC (The Confederation of Indian Industry - Indian Green Building Council) Green Data Center Rating was launched in 2016. Data center operators are being encouraged to use renewable energy like solar and wind power by collaborating with the ministry of Power. Prominent data center players in India such as CtrlS Datacenters & Sify Technologies, have been at the forefront of LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green data centers.

The e-commerce sector aims for carbon neutrality through measures such as carbon offsetting via reforestation, renewable energy investments, sustainable building and waste management practices, and the use of energy management systems for efficiency optimization.

This holistic approach to sustainability extends beyond operational changes; it influences brand image and consumer loyalty. Today's discerning consumers gravitate towards brands that reflect their environmental values, compelling e-commerce companies to align with these expectations. Strategic partnerships and technological innovations are key, enabling businesses to amplify their sustainability impact. Such initiatives not only contribute to environmental health but also bolster brand reputation and consumer trust.

The Green Revolution showcases the potential for aligning economic progress with environmental sustainability, boosting India's global reputation and its role in combating climate change. This movement highlights the importance of innovation, dedication, and collective efforts towards achieving a sustainable future.

The Indian e-commerce sector is not just adapting to current demands but is also driving a shift towards sustainability. This change promotes a balance between commerce and environmental care, ensuring long-term benefits. With actions like green data centers and life cycle assessments, the industry presents a sustainable model, emphasizing the importance of corporate responsibility for a greener planet. This eco-conscious revolution signifies a major step towards a sustainable market landscape.

Authored By

Partha Ghosh, Head of Consulting, Digital Experience, Europe, Infosys

Partha Ghosh, Head of Consulting, Digital Experience, Europe, Infosys

 

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India Retail Landscape Set for a Recast with AI-Powered Engagement
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India Retail Landscape Set for a Recast with AI-Powered Engagement
 

It is no longer about neon lights and fancy storefronts that dictate the footfall into the retail store, the digital window dressing is the real lure. The pandemic has permanently shifted a chunk of the retail traffic to the digital channel and charted an evolutionary path like never before. Fuelled by rapid digitization, present-day consumers have access to an on-demand economy where they desire to engage with retailers on a channel of their preference at the click of a button and receive answers to a host of queries ranging from order changes and delivery tracking to complaints and returns.

Meeting the expectations of personalized and seamless interactions across channels has raised the stakes for retailers. According to a study by Genesys, 80 percent of consumers will buy more from companies that consistently personalize their interactions, anticipate their needs, and proactively offer solutions. Today, the biggest challenge for retailers is automating smarter, adapting faster, and following through with a curated value proposition that caters to clients. By overcoming these challenges, retailers can build loyalty and retention in the long run.

With the rise of e-commerce and digital channels, organizations are witnessing a large influx and increased volume of customer data. This data can provide valuable insights into the consumer psyche if it is tapped meaningfully. However, many retailers are not able to harness the right technology and find it tough to process this large quantity of data to enhance client engagement and loyalty. They inadvertently miss the opportunities that digital promises, such as maintaining seamless experiences, understanding buyer preferences, and expanding client reach.

Having a state-of-the-art cloud contact center can provide retailers with strategic insights into the nature of customer queries, behavior, and pain points, which they can harness to carve out strategies and orchestrate meaningful experiences along the entire journey. However, very often internal silos and complex tasks lead to operational challenges in a contact center, which results in negatively impacting employee engagement, managing resources, and eventually affecting the bottom line. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning can play a vital role here. By marrying automation and logic, employees can utilize tools to gain productivity and efficiency, which can eventually result in improved experiences and business results for the end user. Forrester Research states that organizations that effectively leverage AI can expect an increase of 5-10 percent in their revenues. They can take advantage of AI in contact centers to adapt to increasing demands and improve overall business performance while also using it to improve quality, consistency, and employee experience. Businesses with the right AI tools can predict, listen, understand, and act in real time, allowing them to remove friction for their workforce and provide more personalized services for their customers.

Harnessing AI for Predictive Routing & Personalised Engagement

Maximising AI for enhancing employee engagement does not entail just adding the latest application as a magic bullet but building an AI strategy that encompasses data, analytics, and the many applications of AI and machine learning -- routing, scheduling, forecasting, predictions, and more. When these elements come together, they provide compelling business outcomes.

Of the various components responsible for the success of a contact center, routing ranks high. Most of the contact centers still use queue-based routing, a technology that was developed more than 40 years ago. However, such traditional routines pose severe bottlenecks when new channels are built. It is challenging to align with new demands and alter business rules as queues in such a routing system are inflexible, siloed, and static. All this leads to a dependency on the IT team, which decreases employee efficiency and delivers a high effort and fragmented experience for customers.

To stay competitive, organizations must transition to a predictive routing technology that has the potential to support a larger, omnichannel experience spanning the entire customer journey by harnessing the power of data over time. Here leveraging AI and machine learning,  clients are paired with those agents who are best suited for the customer’s case.

Today, predictive engagement is emerging as a powerful tool, enabling organizations to connect with their audience precisely when it matters most. For instance, predictive engagement initiates a proactive chat when a customer abandons their shopping cart. It seamlessly connects the visitor with a dedicated sales representative who can offer guidance through the purchase journey. Lastly, predictive engagement goes above and beyond to ensure that the customer’s resources are dedicated to the most valuable and gratifying inquiries, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience by providing the right level of assistance to the customer.

The Future of Retail: Personalised & Automated Engagement Pave the Way

An e-commerce concept known as connected retail which has the potential to go beyond a transactional approach to lend customers a personalised experience across each touchpoint using digital technologies, is gaining recognition. With a customer-centric approach, retailers can address customer expectations across all channels by understanding who they are, where they came from, and what they want to do next. The key lies in leveraging high-quality insights effectively to connect with the audience better for a more empathetic, personalized approach. Insights can be garnered in real-time, to figure out who, when, and how to engage, and based on the outcome prediction retailers can proactively identify their target audience and surface relevant offers to capture upsell opportunities and drive conversions.

With AI, retailers can adapt quickly to changing business demands, personalize experiences with consumers, and beat the competition through a showcase of value and increased digital bandwidth. Today’s AI can also be implemented and managed with limited resources. Predictive routing and personalized engagement, powered by AI and machine learning, combine employee performance capabilities with user collaborations in a unique manner to accomplish better client and employee interaction. In these times of flux, it is important for businesses to make the most of the next-generation routing solution and take their retail businesses to the next level of growth by delivering incredible experiences powered by transformative AI technologies.

 

About the Author

Raja Laksmipathy, Managing Director of Genesys India

A seasoned professional with 30 years of experience in Unified Communications and Collaboration applications. Adept at devising and executing strategies to accomplish high-end revenue growth, Customer acquisition & retention, and managing client relationships at all levels.

 

 

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7 in 10 Indians Demand Zero-Packaging Deliveries!
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7 in 10 Indians Demand Zero-Packaging Deliveries!
 

In the age of convenience-driven consumption, where every click brings a package to your doorstep, the environmental impact of online shopping cannot be overlooked. As the world grapples with sustainability challenges, there's a growing awareness about the excessive packaging accompanying our online purchases. In a recent study commissioned by Amazon, it was revealed that seven out of 10 Indian adults would gladly receive their online orders sans additional delivery packaging, marking a significant shift in consumer attitudes towards eco-conscious practices.

The findings come at a time when essential items are increasingly being delivered to Indian doorsteps without the burden of excess packaging. The rationale behind this shift is compelling – more than half of Indian shoppers cited a desire to minimize packaging material consumption as their primary motivation. This aligns with global efforts by Amazon, which has managed to slash outbound packaging weight per shipment by a staggering 41 percent since 2015, eliminating over 2 million tons of packaging material in the process.

The company has been pioneering sustainable packaging initiatives in India and globally. By utilizing reusable crates or tote bags to protect eligible items, Amazon has managed to bypass the need for supplementary packaging, leading to lighter shipments and reduced carbon emissions per package.

However, not all items are created equal in the eyes of consumers when it comes to packaging preferences. The study identified certain product categories, such as clothing apparel, detergent, and stationery, where customers are content to receive items in their original packaging with just an address label added. On the other hand, discreet packaging remains crucial for sensitive products like contraceptive devices and medical supplies.

Abhinav Singh, Vice President of Operations at Amazon India, emphasized the company's commitment to sustainable practices, stating, "“Like us, our customers really care about reducing packaging, and we’ve made significant progress doing so for years,” said Abhinav Singh, Vice President- Operations, Amazon India. “That said, we aren’t satisfied with continued reduction. Where possible, we want to eliminate packaging altogether.

“One way we do this is by working with manufacturers to design packaging that’s capable of shipping safely, without additional paper bags, envelopes or boxes from us. We’ve already achieved a lot, increasing the number of orders shipped to customers with no added delivery packaging in India by 83 percent since 2021. We are working to ship even more deliveries the same way.”

To assuage concerns regarding product safety, the subjects selected items to rigorous drop tests, ensuring they reach customers unscathed. Leveraging machine learning algorithms, Amazon evaluates the durability of manufacturer packaging, customizing shipping solutions based on distance traveled and product fragility. While tech accessories, homeware, and shoes are often shipped with minimal packaging, items requiring extra protection, such as liquids and fragile goods, still warrant additional packaging.

Despite the transition towards reduced packaging, customer confidence remains paramount. The study found that one in three respondents felt reassured by the refund or replacement policy for missing items, underscoring the importance of trust in driving sustainable shopping practices.

In tandem with its packaging reduction initiatives, Amazon has positioned itself as a leader in environmental stewardship through initiatives like The Climate Pledge. By committing to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040 and transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy across its operations by 2025, Amazon is setting a precedent for corporate sustainability efforts worldwide.

As consumers increasingly prioritize sustainability in their purchasing decisions, the shift towards minimal packaging in online shopping represents a pivotal moment in the retail landscape. With Amazon spearheading these efforts, there's hope that other industry players will follow suit, ushering in a future where convenience and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.

 

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Top 3 Predictions for the Retail Sector in 2024
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Top 3 Predictions for the Retail Sector in 2024
 

Given the significant developments in 2023, such as the growth of retail media, generative AI, connected TV (CTV), shoppable content, and digitally enabled stores, 2024 is poised to advance even further and facilitate additional disruptions. According to a study, sales initiated through live commerce could constitute 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026. Projections indicate that India's e-commerce market will reach $220 billion by 2025, with live commerce contributing over $50 billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), as reported by EY India.

  1. AI in Retail

AI and predictive analytics will continue to drive optimizations like dynamic pricing, fraud prevention, and supply chain management. The use of AI in retail is predicted to grow, providing enhanced efficiency, better decision-making, and a more personalized and easy shopping experience for customers.

  1. The Rise of AI Shopping Agents

AI shopping agents, trained on individual customer preferences and favorite influencers, function as virtual stylists and shoppers. These agents can recommend items based on our preferences and style, identify wardrobe gaps, notify us of relevant bargains and deals, and even execute orders on our behalf. This transition from incremental savings to disruptive, personalized experiences showcases AI's capacity to profoundly reshape purchasing behavior and revolutionize the retail industry. Instead of mere optimizations, these AI agents/personalized GPTs could evolve into trusted advisors and purchasing partners.

In 2024 and beyond, numerous AI applications are expected to emerge. Similarly, generative AI stands out as a powerful technology that leverages vast datasets to create personalized experiences and streamline various facets of retail operations. It offers numerous advantages for a variety of purposes and is not limited to a single domain. GenAI extends its capabilities to customer interactions by generating relevant responses in various formats, such as text and visuals, based on real-time data. It can identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities and efficiently handle client inquiries. The real-time capabilities of Gen AI also extend to pricing optimization, allowing it to adjust prices in response to market conditions, demand patterns, and competition pricing.

  1. Shoppable Content & Live Commerce

Live commerce is also transforming the online shopping experience by combining entertainment and quick purchasing. It represents a novel approach to e-commerce that blends real-time engagement with online buying, enabling e-commerce websites to deliver personalized, interactive, and real-time experiences instead of static content.  By harnessing these capabilities, e-commerce websites can enhance user engagement, build trust, and ultimately increase conversions and revenue. One of the primary advantages of live shopping is its ability to elevate the entire e-commerce experience. Through live interactive streaming of videos or events, brands can engage with customers in real-time, making the purchasing process more personalized and enjoyable. Features such as live demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and exclusive offers create a sense of urgency and anticipation, encouraging immediate purchases. In addition to shoppable livestreams, various platforms offer solutions for live auctions, personalized shopping experiences, and e-commerce-related video chat for customer assistance.

Live shopping sets itself apart in a crowded e-commerce landscape by offering a unique and compelling purchasing experience. It enables businesses to bridge the gap between in-store and online purchasing experiences, making them more engaging and memorable for customers.

 

About the Author

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora 

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Surpassing competition: How Super Apps Can Deliver Great CX with Observability
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Surpassing competition: How Super Apps Can Deliver Great CX with Observability
 

Savvy Indian retailers are capitalizing on growing app fatigue to deliver an all-inclusive digital experience to consumers through super apps. The rise of super apps in India like PhonePe and Tata Neu is evidence of the growing customer preference for these all-in-one applications that combine multiple digital services into one single platform. However, the profitability of super apps relies not only on convenience but also on providing excellent digital experiences to customers. 

According to the New Relic State of E-commerce in India report, Indian customers had potential concerns with super apps that were related to bandwidth and storage, including the need for 4G/5G internet capabilities (45 percent), and a lot of storage space on devices (42 percent). Despite strong interest in the segment, reliability is still a key concern for many Indians and represents a hurdle to adoption.

Scaling confidently without compromising user experience

As super apps add new integrations and scale their user and revenue base, their tech stack naturally becomes more complex, making it hard to pinpoint and resolve issues when they arise. These apps serve millions of customers so any disruptions or downtime will result in significant revenue losses and potential customer churn.

In India, 59 percent of customers cited poor user experience as one of the major reasons for uninstalling an app. The potential for super apps to fail is multifold: high traffic volumes, poor third-party integrations, the lack of adequate monitoring, troubleshooting, and blindspots in the IT environment to name a few. While the reasons are numerous, every time the app crashes, the brand loses face in front of its customers, risking customer attrition, and potential revenue for its business and integrated partners.

Irrespective of whether an outage occurs due to problems within the application, the cloud it runs on, or even the customer’s internet connectivity,  the brand will often take the hit for a compromised digital user experience. It’s perhaps why one in three customers will leave a brand behind when encountering a poor experience.
 
Scaling confidently requires super apps to deliver a seamless user experience. Full-stack observability helps to solve these problems by giving engineering and technology teams actionable insights into business-impacting issues, ensuring optimal application performance at all times. It also helps to pinpoint any issues with ISPs, SaaS apps, DNS, or third-party providers so engineering teams can find and fix issues proactively and minimize any impact on the customer experience.

Creating frictionless transition between services

The key to super app success lies in ensuring smooth transitions between different services. Eliminating each step that creates friction increases the activation rate, ultimately offering super apps a competitive edge. Another strength of super apps is the ability to analyze large volumes of data to learn user behaviors that help to customize the experience. However, making sense of vast amounts of data can be challenging without the right tooling.

Globally, data scientists spend nearly 40% of their time cleaning and organizing data. Teams get bogged down by silos, where data from individual tools inevitably ends up on multi-tabbed spreadsheets, losing crucial context and insight. The same goes for engineers.  For them to be more proactive in improving app reliability, they must be able to make sense of their telemetry data so they can pinpoint its impact on business outcomes. This level of contextualization helps super apps to expand and grow with confidence, but can only be achieved with observability.

Full-stack observability platforms are designed to identify patterns proactively as they provide full visibility into applications, storage, services, and networks, ensuring that engineering teams have in-depth visibility into the behavior, performance, and health of the app. The success of super apps are reliant on this level of insight. Without observability, engineering teams run the risk of blind spots that can impact the customer experience, and businesses risk losing those customers to the competition.

 

Authored by

Image

Rohit Ramanand, GVP of Engineering India, New Relic 

 

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Embracing the Virtual Frontier: 5 Insights into the Future of Retail
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Embracing the Virtual Frontier: 5 Insights into the Future of Retail
 

In retail, the rise of the metaverse and Web 3.0 marks a shift towards new business approaches. Starting from gaming, the metaverse is now driving fresh ways for brands and consumers to interact, especially in retail. This digital environment integrates the physical world with enhanced developments, presenting numerous models of engagement and opening up new opportunities.

The growing popularity of the metaverse extends beyond businesses; consumers are eagerly anticipating the possibilities within this virtual domain. According to Gartner, projections indicate that by 2026, approximately 25% of individuals will spend an hour daily immersed in the metaverse for various activities including shopping, entertainment, education, and work. As we explore this early stage, understanding the implications for the retail sector becomes imperative. Given that retail depends on direct consumer engagement, the metaverse offers a foundational platform for retailers to redefine customer interactions.

Prominent global retailers such as Zara and Nike, alongside luxury brands like Gucci and Balenciaga, have already established strong presences in the metaverse. Nike's creation of NIKELAND within the virtual world of Roblox exemplifies this trend, enabling users to explore a virtual array of sneakers. Remarkably, in Roblox, a digital version of a Gucci bag sold for $4,115, surpassing its real-world price.

The appeal of virtual stores lies in their capacity to spark curiosity and entertainment, encouraging extended engagement with the brand. Data from Emperia's virtual store indicates that visitors spend an average of 14 minutes browsing through virtual showrooms, highlighting the potential for immersive experiences in the metaverse.

A Boom for Online Retailers

A McKinsey survey forecasts that the metaverse industry will generate $5 trillion by 2030, with e-commerce poised to reap significant benefits, estimated at $2 to $2.6 trillion. Online retailers possess a distinct advantage in tailoring consumer experiences based on collected engagement data. Customization of layout, colors, showcased products, and interaction creates a personalized experience for users worldwide.

Metaverse for Retail Success

The metaverse is transforming how retailers engage with consumers. Here are five key insights into its impact on retail success:

  1. 3D Product Experiences from Home: The metaverse facilitates immersive experiences, allowing consumers to interact with products in three dimensions from the comfort of their homes. This enhances the shopping experience and reduces the uncertainty associated with online purchases.
  2. Consistent Global Engagement: Through the metaverse, retailers can engage with customers consistently across geographical boundaries, transcending physical limitations and expanding their global reach.
  3. Personalized Engagement: Leveraging consumer data, retailers can deliver personalized experiences tailored to individual preferences, fostering stronger brand loyalty and increasing conversion rates.
  4. New Sales Challenges: The metaverse presents novel sales challenges and opportunities for retailers to innovate and adapt, driving creativity and strategic thinking in marketing and sales strategies.
  5. Reducing Operational Costs and Environmental Impact: Establishing a presence in the metaverse enables retailers to reduce operational costs associated with physical stores, redirecting resources towards digital enhancement. This enhances sustainability and reduces environmental impact.

As retailers enter the metaverse, they find vast potential for growth. Extending from physical showrooms offers fresh engagement and branding. Loyalty programs and subscriptions can bridge the physical and virtual worlds. With brands embracing the metaverse, it becomes a major retail trend. Retailers must adapt. Now is the time to explore the metaverse, promising to reshape customer experiences and drive retail forward.

Piyush

Piyush Gupta, CEO, VOSMOS

 

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Is Hypestore the Emerging Leader Among Shopify Alternatives?
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Is Hypestore the Emerging Leader Among Shopify Alternatives?
 

In the ever competitive Indian e-commerce landscape, the quest for a platform that blends seamless functionality with localized performance has led many to seek Shopify alternatives. Do Indian startups have what it takes to take on this $100 bn+ behemoth?

Enter Hypestore, a revolutionary e-commerce website builder designed with the Indian market in mind. This platform is not just another addition to the array of online retail solutions; it's a tailored answer to the specific needs of Indian merchants, promising enhanced performance, unparalleled ease of use, and a comprehensive suite of built-in growth tools.

Load Speed & Performance

One of the standout features of Hypestore is its cloud server in India, which significantly boosts website speed compared to Shopify's servers that are not primarily focused on the Indian demographic. Speed is a critical factor in e-commerce success, with faster First Contentful Paint (FCP) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), Time to First Byte (TTFB) and more, it is directly correlating to better conversion rates. Hypestore excels in these technical metrics, ensuring that every page load is quick and every interaction is smooth.

This local optimization means that Hypestore websites load faster for Indian users, reducing bounce rates and securing higher sales conversions.

Ease of Use: The No-Code Revolution

Hypestore champions the no-code philosophy, empowering merchants to create, customize, and manage their online stores without the need for technical expertise. This is a significant departure from Shopify, where merchants often rely on intermediaries or need to navigate a complex ecosystem of apps and customizations. Hypestore's intuitive drag-and-drop interface ensures that merchants can easily design their storefronts, manage products, and process orders, all without writing a single line of code. This ease of use democratizes e-commerce, making it accessible to a broader range of business owners, from startups to established brands looking to expand their online presence.

Beyond an App Store: Integrated Growth Tools

While Shopify operates largely as an e-commerce app store, requiring merchants to subscribe to multiple apps for additional features, Hypestore offers a more integrated approach. It is not just an e-commerce website builder - it's a comprehensive platform with growth tools included. This means merchants have access to advanced features like SEO optimization, marketing automation, and analytics without the need for external apps. This all-in-one functionality not only simplifies the merchant experience but also significantly reduces the costs associated with running an online store.

The answer is clear. Hypestore stands out as a leading Shopify alternative and e-commerce website builder for the Indian market. Its focus on performance, ease of use, and integrated growth tools makes it an ideal choice for merchants seeking to capitalize on the booming e-commerce sector in India. By choosing Hypestore, Indian businesses can ensure they have a fast, efficient, and user-friendly online store, ready to meet the demands of the modern consumer and equipped to compete in the digital age.

 

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Role of E-commerce in the Indian fashion Retail Industry
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Role of E-commerce in the Indian fashion Retail Industry
 

E-commerce has revolutionized the way businesses operate around the world, including the fashion retail industry in India. Over the past decade, the growing prominence of E-commerce platforms has drastically transformed the landscape of the Indian fashion retail sector. 

To understand the role of E-commerce in the Indian fashion retail industry, we must first delve into its historical context. E-commerce in India was relatively nascent until the early 2000s when the internet began gaining widespread popularity. In 2007, the launch of Flipkart, an online marketplace, marked a turning point for E-commerce in India. Flipkart provided a platform for retailers to sell their products online, fueling the growth of E-commerce in the country. This was followed by the entry of other prominent players such as Amazon and Snapdeal, further accelerating the adoption of online shopping among Indian consumers.

In the vast fashion landscape, MYNTRA and AJIO have played a crucial role in curating and personalizing the shopping experience for their customers. These platforms employ big data analysis and machine learning algorithms to understand individual preferences and provide tailored recommendations. By employing advanced technologies, MYNTRA and AJIO have revolutionized how consumers discover and choose fashion, rendering each shopping experience highly personalized.

E-commerce platforms have also played a significant role in bridging the gap between fashion designers and consumers. In the past, small-scale designers struggled to find a market for their creations due to their limited reach. However, E-commerce has provided them with a global platform to showcase their designs and sell directly to consumers, eliminating the need for intermediaries. This has given rise to a thriving ecosystem of independent designers who can now compete with established fashion brands. As a result, the Indian fashion retail industry has become more diverse and inclusive, fostering creativity and innovation.

Several influential individuals have contributed to the field of E-commerce in the Indian fashion retail industry. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, the founders of Flipkart, were pioneers in introducing E-commerce to the Indian market. Their entrepreneurial spirit and vision revolutionized the way Indians shop for fashion. Similarly, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, played a crucial role in popularising E-commerce in India through the launch of Amazon India, which became a major player in the fashion retail sector.

Despite the numerous benefits, the role of E-commerce in the Indian fashion retail industry also presents challenges. One of the main concerns is the impact on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Many small retailers have struggled to compete with the convenience and affordability offered by online platforms. This has led to several store closures and job losses, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas where E-commerce penetration is high. Additionally, counterfeit products and fraudulent sellers pose a significant threat to the credibility of e-commerce platforms, undermining consumer trust.

However, the future of E-commerce in the Indian fashion retail industry looks promising. The rapid growth of internet penetration, especially through smartphones, has fueled the adoption of E-commerce among a large section of the population. This presents an enormous opportunity for players in the industry to tap into the potential of a vast consumer base. Moreover, the advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, hold the potential to enhance the online shopping experience, making it more personalized and immersive.

In conclusion, the role of E-commerce in the Indian fashion retail industry has reshaped the way business is conducted and revolutionized consumer shopping habits. The historical context, key figures, and impact we have discussed shed light on the transformative power of E-commerce in this sector. While there are both positive and negative aspects to consider, the future looks promising as E-commerce continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of Indian consumers. The role of influential individuals and potential developments highlight the potential for continued growth and innovation in the Indian fashion retail industry through E-commerce.

Authored By

Vedant

Vedant Bang, Director, Thomas Scott India

 

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Big Basket's 10-Minute Delivery, 10-Minute Cooking Proposition
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Big Basket's 10-Minute Delivery, 10-Minute Cooking Proposition
 

In a significant move, bigbasket, a notable entity under the Tata group, unveiled its latest venture, the Precia brand, in collaboration with renowned Padma Shree Awardee Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. The announcement marked the introduction of a diverse range of frozen foods by the online grocery platform, encompassing frozen vegetables, snacks, and sweets. The new brand, Precia, sets ambitious goals, aiming to achieve Rs 100 crore in online sales by the year 2026.

Derived from the word ‘Precious’, Precia’s culinary assortment includes food and desserts specially crafted, tasted, and curated by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. According to statistics, India’s frozen food sector is projected to reach $4.5 billion in the next 5 years at a CAGR of 16 percent.

Product Differentiation is a Key

Speaking on the collaboration, Hari Menon, CEO, and Co-founder of bigbasket, said, "This venture is our endeavor to unite India through its diverse cuisine. Moving forward, we are committed to continuously introducing new products, sourcing from every corner of the nation."

He further said, “Sanjeev is not just the brand ambassador of the product; he has created these products for us. We have the largest footprint of cold chain infrastructure in the country. This helps us deliver such products in their right size and shape to customers. Reaching customers within ten minutes, ready to be cooked.”

Talking about the expansion of their private labels and the differentiation around the products available in the market, Menon said, “Our philosophy in building private labels is much differentiated. We won’t find somebody better than Sanjeev to work with and help us do this. Everything we do while building private labels is highly differentiated. We don’t offer run-of-the-mill products under our own labels.”

Menon said, “Differentiation is the biggest business strategy for us; 36 percent of our business is private label. It is not about driving higher margins but it is more about driving our brand home.”

Aiming Quick Growth 

In January, Bigbasket revamped its slotted delivery service to ‘supersaver’ with the assurance of fulfilling orders in under two hours. It will also provide an additional 5% savings on a range of products.

Menon said, “We will reach the Rs 150 crore level pretty quickly from a growth standpoint. One of the things that worked best is that we could deliver products like this to homes much faster and in a form that is absolutely safe and good.”

He further said, “We have the largest footprint of cold chains in India. We have great products, and now we have made our slotted delivery faster. Today, you can get a product that you normally receive in a day or two within 2 hours. This immensely helps product service.”

Tailored for Indian Households

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor shed light on the technology employed to preserve the authenticity of Precia products, stating, "We utilize individual quick freezing (IQF) technology to maintain the flavors intact. bigbasket's robust cold chain infrastructure has been pivotal in making this endeavor a success."

Kapoor also emphasized the focus on catering to Indian preferences, mentioning, "These products are tailored for Indian households, featuring unique dishes and a range of Indian mithai previously unexplored."

The Precia brand offers a wide array of frozen grocery items, including green peas, sweet corn, and a mix of five vegetables. Ready-to-cook options include momos, French fries, cheese and corn momos, and chicken momos, while sweet delicacies encompass rabdi, moong dal halwa, gulab halwa, rasmalai, and gajar ka halwa.

 

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Transforming Retail Through Technology: A Look into the Future
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Transforming Retail Through Technology: A Look into the Future
 

In a dynamic landscape where consumer habits evolve rapidly, the retail industry finds itself at a significant turning point. This transformation is fueled by the convergence of technological innovation and shifting economic dynamics. By the year 2025, it is anticipated that 20 percent of the top global retailers will leverage distributed AI systems to achieve holistic results, revolutionizing various facets of their operations including sales, marketing, supply chains, and overall business operations. Furthermore, approximately 45 percent of marketing leaders plan to invest in GenAI within the next 12-24 months, underlining the growing importance of AI in driving business strategies.

Transforming Retail Through Technology: A Look into the Future

The recent joint report titled “Future of Retail: Profitable Growth through Technology and AI,” presented by Deloitte and the Retailers Association of India (RAI) at the Retail Leadership Summit 2024, sheds light on the pivotal role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in reshaping India’s consumer retail landscape. The report predicts a paradigm shift wherein AI transitions from being a mere tool to becoming the bedrock of profitable growth for retailers.

The digital revolution has catalyzed the evolution of retail into ‘phygital’ or omnichannel experiences, disrupting traditional models and prompting brands to harness technology to enhance customer experiences and drive greater return on investment (ROI). Anand Ramanathan, Consumer Products and Retail Sector Leader at Deloitte India emphasizes the pivotal role of technology in this transformation. He asserts that technology is no longer just a tool but an essential foundation upon which retailers must build to meet the expectations of modern consumers and ensure the success of their investments. AI, in particular, is heralded as a game-changer in retail, offering personalized recommendations and solutions, with 71 percent of consumers expecting tailored experiences. This signifies a shift towards experiential engagement beyond mere transactions across various consumer touchpoints.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of the Retailers Association of India (RAI), underscores the significance of embracing the digital revolution in India’s retail sector. He highlights the indispensable role of technologies such as AI and IoT (Internet of Things) as the building blocks for future-proofing the retail industry. Rajagopalan contends that these innovations are not fleeting trends but rather fundamental elements that will shape the future of retail. The insights gleaned from the report not only demonstrate the transformative power of emerging technologies but also provide a roadmap for retailers to navigate this new era successfully.

With India’s burgeoning economy empowering consumers with increased purchasing power and choice, forward-thinking retailers must prioritize crafting superior shopping experiences. Technologies such as AI, IoT, mixed reality, and advanced analytics offer immense potential to streamline operations, personalize experiences, and redefine the essence of shopping itself.

Transforming Retail Through Technology: A Look into the Future

Key Trends Driving Emerging Retail Technologies

Personalization and Customer Experience Enhancement

Retailers are harnessing the power of AI and advanced analytics to deliver personalized shopping experiences. AI algorithms analyze vast troves of customer data to tailor product recommendations, marketing messages, and even in-store experiences, catering to individual preferences and behaviors.

Supply Chain Optimization

The adoption of IoT and AI is revolutionizing supply chain management. IoT devices facilitate real-time inventory tracking, providing valuable data for inventory management, while AI enables predictive analytics for demand forecasting. This trend is propelled by the imperative for retailers to reduce costs, minimize waste, and adapt swiftly to market fluctuations.

Automation and Efficiency

Robotics technology is increasingly prevalent in both customer-facing and backend operations in retail. Smart robots are employed for inventory management, cleaning, and even as shopping assistants, aiming to enhance operational efficiency, reduce labor costs, and elevate customer service standards.

Omnichannel Integration

Retailers are integrating AI and IoT technologies to create seamless omnichannel experiences. By synchronizing online and offline channels, retailers can offer a consistent and convenient shopping journey, crucial as consumers seamlessly transition between digital and physical storefronts.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Advanced analytics and AI empower retailers to make informed decisions. By analyzing vast datasets, retailers can gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational efficiency, enabling them to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Enhanced Security and Fraud Detection

AI and advanced analytics are instrumental in bolstering security and detecting fraudulent activities. These technologies can identify suspicious transactions and prevent theft, both online and in physical stores, safeguarding profits and enhancing customer trust.

Transforming Retail Through Technology: A Look into the Future

Innovative Business Models for Retailers

Subscription-Based Services

Retailers can offer personalized subscription boxes utilizing AI algorithms to predict customer preferences. This fosters customer loyalty and generates steady revenue streams, aligning with the growing demand for curated experiences.

Retail-as-a-Service (RaaS)

RaaS enables small brands to leverage retail infrastructure, from physical spaces to e-commerce platforms, creating new revenue streams while expanding the product offerings available to customers.

Experience and Community-Focused Retail

Retail spaces are transformed into experiential hubs, hosting workshops, product demonstrations, and community events tailored to customer interests and insights. This fosters engagement and brand loyalty by connecting customers with shared interests and local vendors.

READ MORE: Unveiling India's Retail Revolution: Tech Disruptions, Consumer Shifts, and the Future of E-Commerce

In conclusion, the retail landscape in India is undergoing a profound transformation propelled by technological innovation and shifting consumer preferences. Retailers must embrace emerging technologies such as AI and IoT to stay relevant, drive profitability, and deliver unparalleled shopping experiences in an increasingly competitive market. By leveraging these technologies and embracing innovative business models, retailers can position themselves at the forefront of the retail revolution, catering to the evolving needs and expectations of modern consumers.

 

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Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India
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Most of Our Products are Built in India: Puneet Chandok of Microsoft India
 

In a spirited discussion on AI and the retail industry, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia delved deeply into India's role in transforming the world through Artificial Intelligence and technology enablement. He discussed Microsoft's commitment to India, not only in training Indian talent but also in leveraging it.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised the Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM) for hosting Mumbai Tech Week and their ongoing involvement in building tech startups in the country. During a panel discussion with Haptik CEO Aakrit Vaish at Mumbai Tech Week, Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India and South Asia, emphasized the transformative impact AI could have on various aspects of daily life.

Chandok stated, “When we look at India through the lens of demand, supply, and impact, there is no other market like India today. There are 7,000 listed companies in India and one hundred thousand startups. Many startups are in Maharashtra, and one hundred new startups are emerging in India every day. India is the largest SMB market globally, making it one of the most exciting markets today.”

He further added, “When we look at the supply lens and examine Microsoft's data, one out of four projects on AI in GitHub today is run out of India. Every sixth AI researcher in the world is from India. In the next ten years, 25 percent of the global workforce will come from India, meaning every fourth worker in the world will be from India.”

Discussing the growing influence and power of Artificial Intelligence, Chandok mentioned, “Last night, my 12-year-old daughter was creating text-to-video, and she told me that AI will change her life. She is an artist; she draws and paints. This also indicates how the younger generation perceives AI.”

Expanding on this, Chandok continued, “People will stop searching and instead have conversations. I have stopped searching myself; in fact, I was conversing with my Copilot to understand what is happening at the event and what I should speak about. We have shifted from searching to genuine conversations. This is not just chat drama anymore. These are sophisticated engines providing reasoning within.”

Regarding his personal perspective, Chandok remarked, “People say AI is overhyped, but I think it's not hyped enough. The next generation, which will use this in the next few years, will have much higher expectations of what technology can do for them. So, how you build it for that generation, how you build it for that future, will be really interesting to see."

Chandok also emphasized that those who do not embrace AI, risk falling behind in the rapidly evolving technological landscape. He encouraged Indian developers to seize the "lifetime opportunity" to become unstoppable by learning to use and deploy AI effectively.

He concluded, “If you are not learning AI, you are falling behind. I myself spend 30 minutes a day to learn more about AI. Technology is changing every day, and it has been 15 months since ChatGPT was launched. The speed of technology diffusion is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and it is advancing very rapidly. My call to action for everyone is to find a way to learn, otherwise, we will all fall behind.”

 

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Maharashtra is the Startup Capital of India: Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
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Maharashtra is the Startup Capital of India: Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
 

Igniting the debate on the Mumbai versus Bengaluru startup ecosystem, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, during Mumbai Tech Week, remarked that Maharashtra is the startup capital while Pune is the tech capital of the country. Fadnavis also mentioned that the Maharashtra government is in active talks with 2-3 global tech giants to help them establish their tech operations in Maharashtra.

Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, launched Mumbai Megapolis Metaverse during Mumbai Tech Week organized by Tech Entrepreneurs Association of Mumbai (TEAM).

During the Fireside Chat with Rishi Darda, Joint MD and ED of Lokmat Media Group, remarked, “I must tell you that when we talk about the startup ecosystem, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are boasted as good startup ecosystems, but let me tell you that the actual reality, as per the numbers, is that Maharashtra is the startup capital.”

Fadnavis said, “The highest number of startups which are functional (those that have not moved to Bengaluru) are in Maharashtra, and the highest number of Unicorns, out of all the registered startups in India, are in Maharashtra, while 25 percent of the Unicorns are also housed in Maharashtra. Ultimately, the future of the startup ecosystem is Artificial Intelligence and technology, and now with the capacity of Data Center that we have created. I think that the entire future belongs to Mumbai.”

Elaborating on the issue of affordability of living in Mumbai, Fadnavis said, “Mumbai had become unaffordable for many, and that is why people shifted to other cities. But now, we are making Mumbai affordable. Once Mumbai becomes affordable, it will be the city of dreams. One should note that nobody wants to move out of Mumbai and in fact, people want to come to Mumbai.”

Talking about future plans for the tech startups in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “We have planned something very big with TEAM for the tech and Startup industry. TEAM really represents Mumbai and this will bring back Mumbai to its true position. Maharashtra was the first state in 2016 in which we came up with the startup policy and startup fund. We are now pushing to create a new startup policy to make the ecosystem much more effective and make it most attractive in the country. The future of startups belongs to Maharashtra.”

It was in 2023, Google began construction on its new Hyderabad campus. The office, which will be a 3 million ft structure, and located in the Financial District of the city, will be Google’s largest office anywhere outside the US, and its second-largest office worldwide after the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Talking about the big tech companies investing in other states rather than in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said, “I must tell you that the biggest investment in data centers is being made in Maharashtra. Recently, we went to Pune and entered into an MoU with Google, the search engine giant, to utilize artificial intelligence for agriculture, healthcare, and education solutions.”

He elaborated further and said, “The country head of Google told me that we will pitch Pune as the tech city. So today, not just Mumbai, Pune is the tech capital. In fact, many times Pune is overshadowed by Mumbai. But every tech company is present in Pune. Not only Pune but they are present in Nagpur and other Tier II cities as well.”

Discussing the role of government in bringing tech companies to the state, Fadnavis said, “As a government, we are in active talks with tech giants to offer them good facilities. They do not require anything from the government, but they just require good governance, which of course, we are committed to giving. There are 2-3 very big tech companies coming to Maharashtra soon.”

 

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From Likes to Profits: How Indian Entrepreneurs are Mastering Social Media Sales Strategies
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From Likes to Profits: How Indian Entrepreneurs are Mastering Social Media Sales Strategies
 

India’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem has undergone a remarkable transformation as the mindset of hardworking entrepreneurs shifts from merely contributing towards maximizing profits to employing innovative social media marketing strategies. By 2022, India boasts a staggering 448 million social media users, a number that is projected to exceed 500 million by 2025. According to sources, this massive growth in digital connectivity has become a compelling factor for new entrepreneurs who, not only specializing in online activity content but tangible digital communication, have also mastered the art of turning it into money.

From the vibrant streets of Delhi to the bustling industrial areas of Bengaluru, this article delves into the business minds of clever Indians. These forward-thinking individuals have successfully harnessed the power of social media, reshaping traditional business models and establishing a unique footprint in a fiercely competitive market. As we absorb their story, we unravel the ongoing narrative of 19th-century labor.

Growing Fraction of Social Media Marketing in India

Forget tea shops and boutiques; India’s shopping scene is going digital! Social media marketing is exploding, fueled by a 54 percent internet penetration rate and the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world. With 270 million users glued to their screens, local platforms like Meeshow and Spark give the giants a run for their money. Throw in the power of influencers – 77 percent of Indians trust their recommendations – and you have a recipe for a retail revolution. From regional-style sarees to handmade chai kits, brands weave lifestyle stories that sell, captivate, and swipe at the same time.

How to Master the Art of Social Marketing

Today's savvy entrepreneurs are garnering millions of "likes" in the art of social marketing.

  • Spicy Stuff: Think mouth-watering food demos, insightful local fashion tips, and interactive Q&As that tap into your audience’s appetite. 80 percent of Indians engage with relevant content.
  • Understanding the Market: Go beyond still photos! 46 percent of Indians make purchases while watching a live stream, so showcase your products in action, answer questions in real-time, and turn shopping into a virtual celebration.
  • Influencer Chai Parties: Partner with local social stars who inspire your niche. Their recommendations carry the weight of trusted "auntie" advice, influencing 77 percent of Indian consumers.
  • Ultra-Local Haats: Dining for everyone! Tailor your offerings to regional tastes and celebrations. From Kerala handmade sarees to Rajasthani spices, celebrate the diversity of India and watch the benefits dance.
  • Customer Service with a "Hello": Treat every "like" like your digital tavern guests. Respond promptly, answer questions cheerfully, and provide seamless customer service. 64 percent of people in India switch brands due to poor online experiences, so make them feel like family!

Takeaways

Content King (and Queen): 80 percent of Indians engage with relevant content, so make it come alive like your Holi! Embrace the available market: 46 percent buy after a live stream, so showcase your products in action and turn shopping into a virtual fair! Find your local influencers: They are the trusted "aunties" of the digital world, influencing 77 percent of Indian consumers. Partner with the right ones and watch your brand sizzle! The ultra-local is ultra-powerful: from saris to perfumes, it caters to regional tastes and celebrations. India’s diversity is your goldmine! Customer Service with a "Hello": Treat every interaction like a hot cup of tea. 64 percent of people switch brands for a negative experience online, so make them feel like family! Remember that India’s social selling revolution has just begun. Grab your apron, stir up some fun, and watch your business rise like a fragrant dosa on a Sunday morning!

 

About the Author

Gaurav Bhagat, Managing Director, Consortium Gifts

Gaurav Bhagat, Managing Director, Consortium Gifts 

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Retail Brands Embrace AI Revolution for Future Growth
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Retail Brands Embrace AI Revolution for Future Growth
 

In a rapidly evolving landscape, retail brands are recognizing the imperative need to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustained growth. At the recent Microsoft AI Tour in Mumbai, Puneet Chandok, Microsoft Country Head, hailed India as a formidable force in this AI-driven era.

Microsoft commenced 2024 with a groundbreaking move, launching the professional version of its AI chatbot, Copilot. Boasting capabilities such as custom GPTs and seamless Office integration, this innovation positions Microsoft at the forefront of AI advancements.

The impact of Microsoft's AI tools on the company's performance is evident, with an impressive 18% year-on-year revenue surge, exceeding $60 billion from September to December. Satya Nadella, Microsoft's Chairman and CEO, emphasized the shift from theoretical discussions on AI to its widespread application across their tech stack.

Nadella said, "We’ve moved from talking about AI to applying AI at scale. By infusing AI across every layer of our tech stack, we’re winning new customers and helping drive new benefits and productivity gains across every sector.”

At the heart of Microsoft's commitment to AI integration is a comprehensive approach, infusing AI across all layers of technology to win new customers and drive productivity gains across sectors, as Nadella stated during the Q4 earnings call.

A detailed breakout session at the event, titled "Empowering Retail in the Era of AI", featured Samik Roy, Executive Director of Corporate, Medium, and Small Businesses at Microsoft, Praveen Shrikhande, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail and Sandeep Jabbal, Chief Digital Transformation and Information Officer at Shoppers Stop .

Roy shed light on the transformative role of AI in the retail industry, citing examples of retail brands benefitting from Microsoft's AI-powered solutions.

Roy underscored the accelerated digital transformation prompted by the pandemic, with educational institutions planning to incorporate AI and ChatGPT into their operations. He identified the retail industry, spanning hypermarkets, supermarkets, shops, and company-owned retail stores, as actively leveraging AI in various capacities.

Highlighting the potential synergy between cloud and data, Roy advocated for the integration of AI Language Models (LLMs) and Speech Language Models (SLMs) to unlock new possibilities and enhance organizational capabilities.

Responsible AI usage took center stage in Roy's discussion, with an emphasis on adherence to design, security, compliance, and coding standards. Notably, key figures like Satya Nadella, Sam Altman of OpenAI, and Sundar Pichai of Google were invited at the White House for an in-depth discussion on the responsible AI rulebook.

Praveen Shrikhande, Chief Digital and Information Office, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail shared insights into the use case of AI in enhancing sustainability within the retail fashion sector. Shrikhande highlighted AI's role in reducing wastage and streamlining recycling processes, contributing to sustainable manufacturing practices.

Sandeep Jabbal, Chief Digital Transformation and Information Officer, Shoppers Stop, emphasized AI's multifaceted impact on organizations. From suggesting tailored products for consumers to enabling trend predictions by Gen AI, Babbal stressed that embracing AI is not just a trend but a necessity for survival in the ever-changing business landscape.

Jabbal said, “Today trend predictions by Gen AI is helping brands tremendously, making it easier for brands to strategize its product designs and promotional strategies. Embracing AI will be the buzz word and a company who doesn’t work with AI will not survive for long. People have to be ready and adapt the change." 

Jabbal dispelled concerns about job displacement, asserting that AI will catalyze transformative changes led by big tech companies rather than replace human roles. As retail brands increasingly recognize the power of AI, its responsible and strategic integration emerges as a key driver for future success.

 

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E-Commerce and Beyond: How Automation and Robotics Are Shaping the Future of Last-Mile Delivery
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E-Commerce and Beyond: How Automation and Robotics Are Shaping the Future of Last-Mile Delivery
 

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, last-mile delivery has developed into a crucial battleground for those looking to satisfy customer expectations. Precise, timely, and error-free deliveries can lead to satisfied customers, while delays or mistakes can result in dissatisfaction. As the e-commerce landscape evolves, the integration of automation and robotics emerges as a transformative solution to overcome the challenges associated with last-mile logistics. Automation is at the forefront of this transformative shift and is actively developing solutions to redefine last-mile logistics and enhance efficiency.

Efficiency in last-mile logistics begins within distribution centers and warehouses. Robotic arms, conveyor systems, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are increasingly deployed to enhance order fulfilment speed. The use of robots in Indian warehouses is on the rise, recognizing their potential to improve operational efficiency. However, careful consideration of factors like existing infrastructure and workforce adaptability is crucial for successful integration.

Drones and other last-mile delivery technologies, such as autonomous delivery systems, enroute manufacturing, robotic stores on wheels, and delivery lockers, are emerging as promising solutions for the future of e-commerce. These innovative solutions are part of the vision for the future of e-commerce. Combined with the expertise, these can revolutionize delivery processes, making them faster, more cost-effective, and more reliable.

Major e-commerce retailers continue to innovate, pushing for fast delivery options. Consumer expectations for convenience, speed, and affordability have risen, placing substantial pressure on retailers' bottom lines. Shorter delivery times have become a determining factor for online shoppers, influencing purchasing decisions.

The rise of automation has revolutionized e-commerce fulfilment, streamlining operations from order processing to shipping. Robotics, AI, and machine learning are examples of technologies have significantly improved efficiency, reduced errors, and enhanced overall productivity. Faster order processing, accurate inventory updates, and reliable shipping information enhance customer satisfaction and foster brand loyalty.

Technology-driven fulfilment systems empower e-commerce businesses to scale efficiently, adapt to fluctuating demand, and make data-driven decisions. Cloud-based platforms and on-demand warehousing solutions provide greater flexibility. Data analytics offer valuable insights into customer behavior, inventory levels, and shipping patterns.

Fulfilment centers equipped with automation technologies are becoming crucial for quick order processing in hyper-urban locations. These centers contribute to fulfilling the instant gratification needs of customers and form a significant part of automating the last mile.

While integrating automation technologies promises transformative benefits, it has challenges. The substantial initial investment, regulatory hurdles, safety concerns, and the essential role of human involvement in handling exceptions and customer interactions must be considered. The last mile is among the most expensive and challenging parts of the delivery process. The perennial debate on whether customers are willing to pay for deliveries and returns has led companies to seek ways to optimize, automate, and reduce the cost of last-mile delivery. Challenges like training and retaining last-mile delivery executives are addressed through automation, reducing dependency and minimizing errors.

Last-mile delivery automation is the final piece of the puzzle in the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce. Whoever successfully solves this puzzle stands to gain the greatest advantage. While challenges exist, the integration of automation and robotics holds the key to shaping the future of last-mile delivery, offering businesses the opportunity to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and meet the ever-growing expectations of online shoppers. The journey toward an automated last mile is not without obstacles. Still, the rewards in terms of customer satisfaction, operational excellence, and market leadership make it a strategic imperative for e-commerce players worldwide.

Nirav Doshi, Founder and Managing Director, NIDO Group

Nirav Doshi, Founder and Managing Director, NIDO Group

 

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Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns
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Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns
 

In the ever-evolving landscape of online shopping, the traditional dominance of metros and Tier I cities is undergoing a transformation. While comprising only 14 percent of the total population, these urban centers command a significant 43 percent share of online shoppers, according to a recent report by Alliance Bernstein. However, as the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, growth patterns are experiencing a notable shift.

As we navigate the post-COVID era, the dynamics of online shopping are undergoing a profound transformation. The expansion into Tier II and beyond, the normalization of growth patterns, and the influence of seasonal trends underscore the resilience and adaptability of the online market. The evolving landscape presents both challenges and opportunities, making it imperative for internet companies to stay agile and responsive to ever-changing consumer behaviors.

Changing Trends

The overall monthly shopper base (MTUs) has surged, constituting 31 percent of Active User Base (ATUs), a considerable leap from the pre-COVID figure of 23 percent. This signals a maturation of the online user base, with an evident rise in the frequency of online shopping activities. Concurrently, internet companies are strategically expanding their supply chains into Tier II and beyond, capitalizing on improving consumer bases and ordering metrics in these cities.

Post-COVID Normalization of Growth

Across various internet sub-segments, user growth is gradually normalizing after the initial COVID-induced traction. Particularly, in severely under-penetrated markets like grocery delivery, which accounted for less than 1 percent of total grocery retail spend, there was a remarkable surge in active user base, peaking at an impressive 228 percent YoY growth in July 2022. Meanwhile, slightly mature sectors such as E-Commerce and Fashion continue to witness sustained growth rates, fueled by increased competition from a plethora of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) platforms.

OTT's Uptick

The Over-The-Top (OTT) segment experienced an uptick towards the end of the year, showcasing a 10 percent increase in Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in July-23, which escalated to an impressive 55 percent increase in MAUs by November-23. This surge was attributed to the broadcast of World Cup screenings, especially in cricket (ICC World Cup, T20) and football (FIFA World Cup). Noteworthy gainers in this arena were Jio Cinema and Disney+Hotstar, boasting exclusive broadcasting rights.

Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns

Seasonality Trends

Three sectors have emerged as notable examples of strong seasonality trends. Firstly, in the realm of E-Commerce, the festive season in October drives the highest uptick in active user base, culminating in end-of-year sales across various categories. Secondly, Fashion Commerce, particularly apparel-led firms, experiences two festive seasons each year, with Q1 and Q3 being the strongest quarters, propelling user growth through end-of-season sales. Lastly, Digital OTT's key growth driver lies in sports content viewership, primarily cricket and football, with platforms like Jio Cinema and Disney+Hotstar securing exclusive broadcasting rights.

Redefining the Online Shopping Landscape: Unveiling Shifting Trends and Growth Patterns 

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Gen AI Takes Center Stage: 71 pc of Retailers Set to Adopt within Next 12 Months
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Gen AI Takes Center Stage: 71 pc of Retailers Set to Adopt within Next 12 Months
 

The retail industry, recognized for its adaptability, is standing at the threshold of a transformative era with the advent of Generation AI (Gen AI). Traditionally relying on data to predict consumer behavior and manage inventories, the industry is now poised to leverage Gen AI for unprecedented insights and efficiency gains across the entire retail value chain. Here we explore the potential impact of Gen AI on the retail landscape.

Gen AI in Retail: A Paradigm Shift

Traditionally reliant on data for predicting consumer behavior and managing inventories, the retail sector is now gearing up to leverage Gen AI for a seismic shift in operations. Recent findings from a comprehensive survey conducted by EY underscores this readiness, revealing that 6 percent of the surveyed audience has already implemented Gen AI, while a staggering 71 percent within the retail sector plans to adopt it within the next 12 months.

The Promise of Gen AI in Retail

Gen AI touted as the next frontier in artificial intelligence, holds the promise of revolutionizing the retail experience by tapping into vast repositories of unstructured data. The survey projects current AI investments in the retail sector, estimated at $5 billion, to skyrocket to $31 billion by 2028. An overwhelming 88 percent of respondents within the retail sector believe that Gen AI will have a medium to high impact on their business.

Impact Areas: Beyond Customer Experience

While 76 percent of respondents foresee the highest impact on customer experience, the industry is also actively exploring Gen AI's potential impact on product innovation (65 percent), cost reduction (54 percent), and the entire value chain (50 percent). This signals a comprehensive approach, where Gen AI is seen as a catalyst for positive change across various aspects of retail operations.

Economic Implications: Gen AI's Contribution to Profitability

According to the EY report, by 2025, Gen AI could potentially elevate the retail sector’s profitability by a substantial 20 percent. The technology not only reduces overheads but also has the potential to significantly boost sales through tailored consumer experiences. This economic implication positions Gen AI as a critical driver of financial success for retailers.

Global Hub: India's Potential in Gen AI Retail Solutions

Given its IT prowess, India is positioned to emerge as a global nucleus for Gen AI retail solutions. Even local retailers can leverage Gen AI tools to provide 'hyper-local' personalized shopping experiences, contributing to the technology's global adoption.

Industry Insights and Leadership Perspective

Angshuman Bhattacharya, National Leader – Consumer Product and Retail Sector, EY India, shared valuable insights, emphasizing that Gen AI is not just a technological leap but a seismic shift in how retailers adapt, innovate, and enhance customer experiences. He stressed the importance of leadership in navigating the AI revolution, balancing innovation with the responsibility to craft a future where technology enriches shopping experiences with integrity and transparency.

Challenges and Ethical Considerations: Privacy at the Forefront

Despite the enthusiasm for Gen AI, the retail industry faces challenges and ethical dilemmas, particularly concerning privacy. As the technology promises valuable insights through features like real-time promotions using location tracking, transparency in data usage becomes imperative. The survey reveals that 80 percent of organizations express low-to-moderate readiness, citing unclear use cases and a skills gap. Currently, 82 percent prefer partnerships with external tech providers for Gen AI implementation.

READ MORE: India's E-Retail Market Poised to Soar Beyond $160 Billion by 2028

Navigating the Gen AI Revolution in Retail

As the retail industry embraces the Gen AI revolution, the integration of this technology brings with it a responsibility to address privacy, ethical considerations, and workforce readiness. Industry leaders must navigate this transformative era, ensuring that Gen AI not only drives profits but also enhances shopping experiences with integrity and transparency. The journey toward a future shaped by Gen AI requires a delicate balance between innovation and responsibility, marking a new chapter in the evolution of the retail landscape.

 

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The Phygital Edge: Cohesive Online and Offline Engagement to Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction
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The Phygital Edge: Cohesive Online and Offline Engagement to Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction
 

Even though online shopping has become a staple choice for Indian consumers, physical stores are still popular destinations. Little wonder, then, that a digitally enabled physical space (with the best of both worlds) holds all the aces today in customer engagement.

Take, for instance, the sports gear brand Decathlon, which provides hassle-fee shopping with a phygital approach. With features like scan and go, a virtual reality zone, and a welcome zone at its store, Decathlon has seamlessly fused its physical stores with online buying experiences.

This shift isn’t just limited to popular apparel retailers and extends to the D2C stratosphere. Changing the face of the Kirana ecosystem are marquee players like Reliance Retail and D-Mart. Reliance has enhanced its D2C offerings with JioMart, and D-Mart has launched D-Mart Ready, the new formats that seamlessly combine physical retailing with online shopping.

Why the Shift to Phygital Engagement

Because the Indian customers say so!

Indians actively seek brands that go above and beyond after that first purchase. Consider a scenario where brand A, a show retailer, sells a pair of Oxfords to a customer, takes their money, and ends the interaction with a “Thank you for your order” email with the shipping details. Now imagine another shoe retailer, brand B, follows the same path but doesn’t end the interaction at the shipping details email. Brand B reaches out to the customer with relevant shoe recommendations of Brogues (a formal-wear shoe) on WhatsApp, aligned with the customer’s interest in Oxfords (also a formal-wear shoe). The customer mentioned above gets relevant coupon codes in their email and priority notifications for sales, referral codes, etc. There is no need to specify which of the two brands secures a loyal customer just from that single transaction.

The bottom line is that customers expect consistent engagement across all channels. In fact, siloed messaging across channels is one of the primary reasons for negative customer experiences. 

The findings from a recent study on the personalization pulse of Indian consumers corroborate this sentiment. A significant proportion of consumers surveyed (40.5 percent) said they interact with a brand across 2-3 channels before making a purchase. Therefore, brands that respond with a cohesive customer experience that is consistent and seamless across various channels to meet the diverse preferences of their customers will stay ahead of the game.

So, What’s the Hold-up?

While the perks of having an omnichannel/phygital customer engagement strategy are numerous, a couple of issues hamper adopting this approach for the better.

● Data silos are one of the biggest barriers brands face while adopting an omnichannel strategy. When confronted with isolated and unconnected data, brands have to look into manually merging segmented data gathered from different channels and sources. Naturally, the entire process becomes quite expensive and time-consuming.

● Conversations across all channels must be consistent and aligned completely. It is frustrating for the customers if the brand engages with them through contradictory communication. Channels have to collaborate their data in real-time to offer seamless omnichannel experiences.

Choosing the Right Engagement Partner to Ensure Maximum ROI

The cornerstone of a successful omnichannel approach is building strong customer relationships through personalized and highly satisfactory shopping experiences. Over time, the direct results are increased average order values (AOV) and higher retention rates. However, as mentioned before, creating consistent customer experiences across channels takes time and effort. To overcome these challenges, brands should invest in an insights-led customer engagement platform (or CEP).

Why?

Well, such an AI-powered platform can:

  • Help brands garner deep-level insights like what the most-used channels are by their customers
  • Map entire customer journeys
  • Identify gaps between channels that are causing friction in the customers’ experiences
  • Create a unified engagement strategy across channels that gets optimized in real-time.

Furthermore, a well-equipped CEP helps optimize costs (a one-stop solution to say goodbye to multiple tools and channel providers) and increases operational efficiency significantly (through AI-powered functionalities, reducing the manual effort required to orchestrate campaigns).

An integrated omnichannel/phygital strategy can solidify a brand’s footing in the customers’ hearts, ergo, keeps them coming back for more. It all boils down to who the brand’s trusted engagement partner is and how they utilize the platform. As rightfully quoted by Sean Gerety, “The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.”

Raviteja Dodda

 

 

 Author: Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngage

 

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Vibrant Gujarat 2024: Charting the Future of Indian E-commerce
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Vibrant Gujarat 2024: Charting the Future of Indian E-commerce
 

The ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 is not merely a congregation of leaders and policymakers; it is a melting pot of ideas and strategies that promise to shape the future of various industries. One such crucial domain under discussion was the digitalization of e-commerce. A seminar titled 'E-Commerce: Business at Fingertips' on January 11, held at the Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre, brought together industry leaders and experts to delve into the role of technology, artificial intelligence, and cross-border policies in the evolution of the Indian e-commerce landscape.

The seminar, headed by Pankaj Mall, Founder Director of Astittva Welfare Foundation, and Business Catalyst at Farmitopia Pvt Ltd, featured a distinguished panel - Prof. Triveni Singh IPS, Superintendent of Police, Cyber Crime, Uttar Pradesh Cyber Police; Vishal Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director at Infibeam Avenues Ltd; and Samar Singla, CEO/Founder at Jungle Works/Jugnoo, added their valuable perspectives to the discussion.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cybersecurity is Paramount: In an era of heightened cyber threats, awareness campaigns and robust cybersecurity measures are crucial for the effective functioning of a digital economy.
  2. Financial Inclusivity Drives Growth: Digital payments and financial inclusivity are not just trends; they are powerful tools that open doors for small entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth.
  3. Grassroots Empowerment Unleashes Potential: The focus on empowering entrepreneurs in Tier II and Tier III cities can unlock tremendous opportunities, creating a ripple effect of job creation and economic development.
  4. Government Support is Crucial: Collaborative efforts between the government and private sector, as seen in Gujarat, play a pivotal role in fostering a conducive environment for e-commerce growth.

E-commerce in India: A Growth Trajectory

India is poised to become the world's second-largest e-commerce industry by 2034, according to a report from Shiprocket. The country currently ranks as the ninth highest contributor to global cross-border trade growth. Pankaj Mall - Founder Director – Astittva Welfare Foundation, Business Catalyst, Farmitopia Pvt Ltd added, "The seminar aims to enable stakeholders to benefit from the opportunities arising from progressive digitalization of the domestic economy, mainstreaming segments of our economy, and enabling domestic players to sustain themselves in the digital economy."

Empowering Grassroots Entrepreneurs

Samar Singla - CEO/Founder at Jungle Works / Jugnoo passionately advocated for the empowerment of entrepreneurs at the grassroots level. He stated, "The focus should be on India, especially Tier II and Tier III cities. Transactionally cheap technology, necessary training, and effective branding can unlock immense potential, creating millions of grassroots jobs."

Digital Payments and Financial Inclusivity

Vishal Mehta - Chairman & Managing Director at Infibeam Avenues Ltd underscored the permanence of digital payments and the significant opportunities they bring. He emphasized, "Financial inclusivity opens doors for small entrepreneurs, providing them with vast opportunities. The synergy of technology and inclusivity creates an environment conducive to growth."

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding the Digital Realm

Prof. Triveni Singh highlighted the urgent need for cybersecurity awareness, emphasizing the exponential rise in cybercrime. He stressed, "There is a requirement of awareness campaigns which should not only target the corporates but every individual residing in the country to maintain cyber hygiene. As Cybersecurity is not just a necessity; it's a prerequisite for the effective realization of Digital India."

Gujarat's E-commerce Initiatives

The seminar also shed light on Gujarat's efforts to boost e-commerce. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel's launch of IndiaHandmade.com last year, an online platform for artisan weavers, exemplifies the state's commitment to digitalization. Partnerships with Flipkart and Amazon further illustrate Gujarat's dedication to supporting local businesses in reaching a global audience.

A Vision for Viksit Bharat@2047

The seminar concluded with a vision for the future - 'Viksit Bharat@2047.' The discussions not only highlighted the opportunities presented by progressive digitalization but also underscored the need for inclusive growth, where every segment of the economy, from large businesses to grassroots entrepreneurs, can thrive.

As India inches closer to becoming the world's second-largest e-commerce industry, it is imperative to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities that digitalization brings. The insights shared by industry stalwarts at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024 emphasize the collaborative effort required from policymakers, businesses, and individuals alike to realize the full potential of a digitized and inclusive e-commerce landscape.

 

 

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India's E-Retail Industry Projected to Soar Beyond $160 bn by 2028
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India's E-Retail Industry Projected to Soar Beyond $160 bn by 2028
 

In a recent collaborative report by Bain & Company and Flipkart, the e-retail market in India is projected to witness a remarkable surge, surpassing the $160 billion mark by 2028. The study highlights key factors contributing to this growth, such as affordable data, enhanced logistics and fintech infrastructure, and robust digital consumer ecosystems.

Current Scenario and Growth Projections

As of 2023, the Indian e-retail market is expected to range between $57-60 billion, with an annual shopper base of approximately 240 million. This represents an annual addition of $8-12 billion since 2020. Despite this substantial growth, online spending in India constitutes only 5-6 percent of total retail spending, indicating vast potential for expansion. In comparison, the United States and China boast online spending percentages of 23-24 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The report anticipates a rebound in the market, with growth levels reaching 23-25 percent in the coming years. By 2028, the e-retail market is poised to surpass $160 billion, showcasing massive headroom for growth.

Driving Factors and Opportunities

The report underscores the enduring fundamentals of India's e-retail industry, including factors such as affordable data, improved logistics, and a thriving fintech infrastructure. With 94-95 percent of retail spending still happening offline, there is immense scope for the e-retail sector to capture a larger share of the market as GDP per capita increases, particularly beyond the $4,000 mark.

Currently, the per capita income in India stands at around $2,600, and as this figure rises, there is an expected surge in online spending, particularly on discretionary products. The report suggests that the majority of internet users in India, over 60 percent, are yet to embrace online shopping, highlighting the untapped potential within the market.

Expanding Seller Ecosystem

The seller ecosystem in India is rapidly expanding, with twice as many sellers added in 2022 compared to the previous year. Notably, around two-thirds of these new sellers originate from Tier II and smaller cities, indicating a democratization of the e-retail landscape beyond metropolitan areas. More than half of the total seller base is concentrated in seven major cities, including Delhi NCR, Surat, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.

Emergence of New Business Models

The e-retail industry in India is witnessing the emergence of innovative business models to cater to evolving consumer needs. These include Quick Commerce (Q-commerce) platforms, Hyper-Value Commerce, Inspiration-Led Commerce (Live Commerce), and Fast Fashion.

Q-commerce, in particular, has experienced significant growth, with orders doubling over the past year and accounting for a substantial portion (40-50 percent) of India's e-grocery spending. The Hyper-Value sector has also witnessed substantial growth, with its share of overall e-retail expanding five times between 2020 and 2022.

In conclusion, the e-retail landscape in India is poised for significant growth, driven by factors such as affordable data, improved logistics, and a flourishing digital ecosystem. The projections of the market surpassing $160 billion by 2028 underscore the tremendous potential within the sector. As the seller ecosystem expands, new business models emerge, and online spending continues to rise, the Indian e-retail market is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the country's retail landscape in the years to come.

 

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Role of VMI in Elevating Supply Chain Management for Indian Businesses
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Role of VMI in Elevating Supply Chain Management for Indian Businesses
 

In the dynamic landscape of today's business environment, effective supply chain management is a critical determinant of success. As Indian businesses strive for operational excellence, Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) emerges as a strategic solution to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and elevate supply chain performance. In this innovative model, the supplier assumes a more proactive role, engaging in continuous monitoring of inventory levels, forecasting demand trends, and autonomously replenishing stock as needed. The primary goal of VMI is to create a seamless and efficient inventory management process that benefits both the supplier and the buyer. This method goes beyond the traditional buyer-initiated replenishment process, introducing a more dynamic and synchronized relationship between the two parties.

Key Components of Vendor-Managed Inventory

Real-Time Visibility: Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI) offers real-time visibility into inventory levels, providing businesses with accurate data for informed decision-making. Leveraging advanced technologies such as IoT and RFID, VMI ensures that inventory data is continually updated, thereby minimizing the risks associated with stockouts or overstock situations.

Demand Forecasting: A key strength of VMI is its capacity to accurately forecast demand. Utilizing data analytics and analyzing historical consumption patterns, suppliers can anticipate future requirements, reducing the likelihood of stock imbalances and optimizing inventory management.

Automated Replenishment: VMI streamlines the replenishment process by introducing automation. This feature enables suppliers to proactively restock inventory levels, reducing the need for manual intervention. The automated replenishment not only enhances efficiency but also ensures timely deliveries, minimizing disruptions in the supply chain.

Trends Shaping the Adoption of VMI

Technology Integration: The integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, is increasingly prevalent in VMI systems. These technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing predictive analytics, providing businesses with more accurate demand forecasts and ultimately contributing to more efficient inventory management.

Collaborative Partnerships: Indian businesses are increasingly recognizing the significance of establishing strong collaborative partnerships with their suppliers. These relationships are built on principles of transparency, trust, and a shared commitment to operational efficiency. By fostering these collaborative ties, businesses aim to create a more integrated and responsive supply chain.

Multi-Location VMI Models: A notable trend in India is the proliferation of multi-location VMI models. This approach allows businesses to synchronize inventory management across various locations, thereby optimizing the supply chain on a broader scale. The adoption of multi-location VMI models reflects a strategic effort to enhance coordination and efficiency in managing inventory across diverse geographical areas.

The Impact of VMI

Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings: VMI significantly improves operational efficiency and generates substantial cost savings by automating inventory management processes. The reduction in manual intervention streamlines operations, enabling businesses to optimize order quantities, minimize carrying costs, and achieve overall cost-effectiveness in their supply chain.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: The implementation of VMI ensures a consistent and reliable supply of products, allowing businesses to meet customer demands promptly. This reliability positively impacts customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty, as customers can rely on businesses to consistently deliver the products they need.

Risk Mitigation: VMI plays a crucial role in mitigating risks associated with stockouts or excess inventory. The system's emphasis on accurate demand forecasting and timely replenishments equips businesses to navigate uncertainties and disruptions in the supply chain effectively. This risk mitigation aspect contributes to the overall resilience and stability of Indian businesses adopting VMI practices.

In the intricate landscape of contemporary supply chain management, Vendor-Managed Inventory emerges as a pivotal catalyst for transformative change in Indian businesses. Embracing VMI and aligning with prevailing industry trends enables businesses to strategically position themselves for enduring growth, operational excellence, and a distinctive competitive advantage in the dynamic marketplace. A great VMI program ensures shorter lead times, greater transportation planning, and improved customer experience. Hire a vendor you trust with your sensitive business data to ensure maximum ROI for your business.

Anish Author: Anish Popli, CEO & Founder, ProcMart

 

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Navigating the E-Commerce Landscape: A Year in Review and the Road Ahead
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Navigating the E-Commerce Landscape: A Year in Review and the Road Ahead
 

As we bid farewell to the transformative year that was 2023, the Indian e-commerce landscape emerges as a tapestry woven with threads of innovation, adaptability, and resonance with evolving consumer dynamics. Examining the broader industry canvas, we delve into the overarching trends and narratives that shaped the narrative of e-commerce, with a focus on insights from industry leaders, and a synthesis of the journeys undertaken by Myntra and Snapdeal.

The E-Commerce Tapestry: Industry Insights

Macro-Level Growth and Consumer Adoption

At a macro level, e-commerce witnessed an outstanding 26 percent year-on-year order volume growth, reflecting the robustness of the industry. The transformation in consumer preferences, inclining towards innovative product categories and a surge in awareness of sustainable options, has been a pivotal driver of this growth.

Tiered Triumph

One of the standout trends was the remarkable surge in e-commerce adoption from Tier II, III, and IV cities. Over 65 percent of prime members who participated in the festive season shopping hailed from these smaller towns, a substantial increase from the previous year's 50 percent. This shift signifies the democratization of e-commerce, reaching deeper into the heart of India.

SMBs and Artisans Shining

In a heartening turn of events, the festive season witnessed not only the traditional success of blue-chip companies but also a notable rise of Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs), women entrepreneurs, and artisans. A substantial 30 percent increase in SMB participation during the festive season, coupled with a 35 percent surge in sales within the initial 48 hours, paints a picture of inclusivity and economic empowerment.

Seller Success Beyond Metros

Sellers from Tier II and III cities, often overlooked in the grand narrative, emerged as significant contributors. Over 65 percent of sellers who received sales were from these smaller cities, fueled by a robust distribution network that ensured almost 50 percent of all orders were delivered within 2 days or less pan India.

In the words of Mr. Anuj Bhatia, Founder of eTrade, "Apart from the buyers, sellers from Tier II and III cities also witnessed successful strides all around the year. This has been complemented by a large distribution network, making 2023 a year full of opportunities and growth for the industry."

E-Commerce Giants: Myntra and Snapdeal's Unique Stories

Myntra's Fashion Democracy

Myntra, a stalwart in the fashion e-commerce space, embarked on a journey to democratize fashion in India. The platform's milestones in 2023 spoke volumes about its ability to resonate with diverse consumer segments. “From crossing the 75 million mark in new app users to achieving a 100 percent year-on-year growth in loyal customers, our success mirrors a larger narrative of inclusivity,” said Myntra’s spokesperson.

Snapdeal's Niche in Value E-Commerce

On the other end of the spectrum, Snapdeal carved its niche in value e-commerce. By strategically curating its product selection, with over 90 percent of items priced below Rs 1,000, Snapdeal fostered loyalty from budget-conscious consumers. “Our success lies in recognizing the value-seeking, middle-income users predominantly located in Tier II+ cities, offering a wide selection of quality, value-priced products,” stated Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, Snapdeal.

Key Industry Strategies and Technological Leaps

Diversity in Product Categories

Both Myntra and Snapdeal observed shifts in consumer preferences in specific product categories. Categories like ethnic wear, sports, and casual footwear, and wearables saw surges in demand. This reflects a nuanced understanding of consumer needs and a commitment to providing a diverse range of products.

Technological Prowess

Technological advancements played a pivotal role in enhancing user experiences across platforms. Features like voice assistance in multiple dialects, AI/ML tools, and data science capabilities were leveraged to make the e-commerce journey seamless. Virtual try-ons, personalized interfaces, and app makeovers were among the strategies to enhance customer engagement and satisfaction.

Sustainable Growth and Focus on Value

The overarching theme across the industry has been a shift towards sustainable growth and a focus on providing value. Snapdeal's emphasis on a curated selection of value products below Rs 1,000 aligns with the industry's recognition that the future of e-commerce revolves around the 'value' segment.

READ MORE: Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce

Looking Ahead: Sustaining Growth, Innovation, and Customer-Centricity

As we gaze into the future, the e-commerce industry is poised for sustained growth, continued innovation, and a steadfast commitment to customer-centric practices. The stories of Myntra and Snapdeal serve as beacons, showcasing the adaptability and resilience required to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

The narrative of e-commerce in India is far from reaching its final chapter. With a focus on inclusivity, sustainability, and technological innovation, the industry is set to unfold new chapters, presenting both challenges and opportunities. The echoes of 2023 reverberate with a promise – a promise of an industry continually redefining itself to meet the diverse needs of a dynamic and ever-growing consumer base.

 

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Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce
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Customer Experience Needs to Be Disrupted With the Power of AI in E-Commerce
 

The Indian e-commerce industry has been growing by leaps and bounds and is expected to surpass the US by 2034 to become the world’s second-largest. In 2022, Indian shoppers spent over 8.7 billion hours on shopping apps, which is almost 50 percent higher than the numbers in 2019. More and more people are now choosing to shop online, demanding seamless, personalized interactions at every touchpoint. This makes it imperative for e-commerce businesses to embrace innovation and introduce exceptional functionalities that ensure remarkable customer experiences. This would further enable them to gain a competitive edge and capture a larger share of the market.

One such powerful tool that has the potential to revolutionize customer experience in the realm of e-commerce is Artificial Intelligence (AI). With its strong data analyzing and predictive capabilities, AI is already making multiple breakthroughs in various aspects of e-commerce operations. Platforms powered by AI can speedily scan and analyze volumes of customer data from various channels to gauge interesting insights about consumer behavior, preferences, shopping patterns, etc. E-commerce businesses can better understand their consumers and use this knowledge to create personalized deals, recommendations, pricing, promotions, and rewards for each buyer. These tailored strategies ultimately increase the chances of successful purchases.

AI chatbots and voice assistants have also evolved significantly and can now drive deep personalized communications with consumers through customized content. In addition to elevating customer experiences, this personalized approach also contributes to improved sales and stronger customer loyalty. When customers feel understood and catered to, they are more likely to make a comeback for future purchases. Interestingly, 89 percent of customers expect e-commerce companies to understand their unique expectations, while a notable 64 percent lose trust in businesses that fail to deliver targeted communication.

AI has also been making great strides in simplifying product search on e-commerce platforms. With the sheer number of products available on any e-commerce platform, finding the right product at times becomes overwhelming for customers. This complexity often prompts shoppers to abandon their carts and leave without making an actual purchase. In India, the average cart abandonment rate is 51 percent. However, with the integration of AI in e-commerce, the search process has been greatly simplified. AI-powered insights enable e-commerce players and aggregators to provide relevant filters and sorting options, which makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they need. Moreover, voice search mechanisms that are quick to understand human speech, are playing a key role in changing the dynamics of product search on online shopping platforms.

Additionally, e-commerce companies deal with complex logistics challenges to ensure timely delivery of products to consumers. This happens at the back end and involves massive coordination between various suppliers, warehouses, and shipping partners. AI-driven inventory management has proved to be extremely advantageous in this case. By analyzing historical data and current market conditions, the use of AI allows e-commerce businesses to accurately predict product demand. This knowledge further allows them to optimize their stock levels and mitigate the risks of stock surplus or shortages. The use of AI robots have proved effective in enhancing warehouse efficiency by streamlining order processing and reducing human error. Additionally, AI can efficiently predict lead times, transportation delays, and other supply chain disruptions, which makes it easier for businesses to make proactive adjustments. By automating repetitive tasks and providing real-time insights on the best shipping routes, AI can help businesses deliver products faster, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.

Looking at the current trend, 51 percent of e-commerce businesses have already integrated AI into their operations to create highly distinct customer experiences. The trend is swiftly becoming more widespread, with AI knocking on the doors of many more players. Gazing into the future, as the technology continues to evolve and penetrate deeper into the e-commerce ecosystem, more possibilities for enhancing customer experience are likely to emerge in this space.

Businesses that can harness the disruptive power of AI will secure a long-term advantage in attracting and retaining customers. For others, the battle could prove to be tough, since, in today’s hyper-competitive era, it is always the survival of the fittest.

 

About the Author

Anuj Bhatia, Founder, eTrade

Anuj Bhatia, Founder eTrade

With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for market trends, Anuj founded eTrade in 2010, aiming to revolutionize the way people engage with online commerce. With over 16 years of experience in the industry, Anuj possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise that has propelled eTrade to become a leading player in the market. Anuj's extensive experience spans across multiple industries, enabling him to effortlessly navigate the ever-evolving business landscape.

 

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Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Kids' Digital Entertainment Industry in India
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Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Kids' Digital Entertainment Industry in India
 

In the heart of the ever-evolving digital landscape, the Kids' Digital Entertainment Market stands as a dynamic realm, where creativity, technology, and imagination converge to shape the narratives that captivate young minds. A recent panel discussion, featuring industry leaders, delved into the nuances of this fascinating journey, shedding light on cross-media franchises, interactive storytelling, and the transformative impact of technology.

Cross-Media Franchises: Weaving Anime's Tapestry Beyond Screens

The panel discussion kicked off with Ashish Kulkarni, Chairman of AVGC-XR Forum - FICCI & Founder - Punnaryug Artvision, unraveling the trend of anime being adapted into various media forms. He remarked, "Cross-media franchises have become a powerhouse in the kids' entertainment market. The adaptation of anime into video games, novels, and movies creates a multi-dimensional universe that engages fans across different platforms."

This trend mirrors the industry's response to the changing preferences of young audiences. A stroll through the digital landscape reveals iconic anime series seamlessly transcending the boundaries of the screen, extending their narrative prowess into interactive gaming experiences, gripping novels, and blockbuster movies.

The benefits are two-fold, as Kulkarni explains: "Expanding the anime narrative across different media not only broadens the reach but also fosters a deeper connection with the audience. Fans can immerse themselves in the story through diverse mediums, enhancing the overall storytelling experience."

Navigating Challenges: The Tightrope Walk of Expanding Narratives

However, the path to crafting cross-media franchises is not without its challenges. Manoj Mishra, CEO of Powerkids Entertainment, sheds light on the delicate balancing act required. "Maintaining narrative coherence across various platforms is a challenge. Each medium comes with its unique storytelling demands, and harmonizing these elements while staying true to the essence of the original content is crucial."

Mishra's insight reflects the industry's quest for synergy, striving to seamlessly translate the magic of anime into formats that resonate with diverse audiences. This challenge, while daunting, serves as a catalyst for innovation, pushing creators to explore new dimensions of storytelling.

Rise of Interactive and Gamified Content: A Playground for Imagination

As the discussion pivots, Munjal B. Shroff, Co-founder of Graphiti Studios, highlights the rising tide of interactive and gamified content for kids. He notes, "The landscape is evolving, and today's kids crave more than passive viewing. They seek participative experiences where they can shape the narrative. Interactive content, whether in the form of games or immersive storytelling apps, empowers children to be co-creators of their entertainment."

Shroff's observation aligns with the industry's response to the digital-native generation. From educational games that make learning fun to interactive story apps that encourage decision-making, the market is witnessing a paradigm shift towards engagement-driven content.

Technological Marvels: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Kids' Entertainment

In the realm of kids' digital entertainment, technology plays a pivotal role in transforming experiences. Ashish Kulkarni, a tech visionary in the space, delves into the impact of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). "AR and VR are not just buzzwords; they're transformative tools that redefine how children engage with entertainment. These technologies open portals to fantastical worlds, allowing kids to step beyond the screen and be active participants in the narrative."

The adoption of AR and VR in kids' content is evident in the array of educational AR apps and VR experiences tailored for young audiences. These technologies not only add an immersive layer to entertainment but also provide educational value, blending learning seamlessly with play.

"The fusion of technology and storytelling is not just a trend; it's a necessity. We need to adapt to the changing preferences of our tech-savvy audience while ensuring that the essence of storytelling remains intact," emphasizes Ashish Kulkarni.

Interactive Storytelling: Nurturing Cognitive Development

As the narrative unfolds, the impact of interactive storytelling on children's cognitive development takes center stage. Manoj Mishra reflects on this aspect, stating, "Interactive storytelling is a powerful tool for cognitive development. It stimulates critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity in young minds. As creators, we have a responsibility to harness this potential for positive impact."

This sentiment echoes the broader industry shift towards creating content that not only entertains but also contributes to the holistic development of children. Educational apps, interactive e-books, and narrative-driven games are designed not only to captivate but also to foster essential skills in the formative years.

The Road Ahead: A Tapestry of Possibilities

In conclusion, the landscape of kids' digital entertainment continues to evolve, driven by the dynamic interplay of creativity and technology. The panel discussion, a snapshot of this ever-changing narrative, reveals a future brimming with possibilities.

"The journey ahead involves continuous innovation, adapting to technological advancements, and above all, staying true to the essence of storytelling. As creators, we are the architects of dreams, shaping the digital odyssey for the next generation," affirms Munjal B. Shroff.

The cross-media frenzy, the rise of interactive experiences, the infusion of AR and VR, and the focus on interactive storytelling collectively paint a picture of a vibrant and inclusive market. The industry, propelled by these trends, is set to create immersive, enriching, and purposeful content that will define the digital childhood of generations to come. As we navigate this landscape, one thing is certain—the adventure has just begun, and the future of kids' digital entertainment is a canvas awaiting the strokes of innovation and imagination.

 

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Myntra Revolutionizing Fashion in India Through Tech-Driven Innovation
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Myntra Revolutionizing Fashion in India Through Tech-Driven Innovation
 

In the vibrant tapestry of India's booming e-commerce industry, Myntra stands as a trailblazer, shaping the landscape of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. As the country's fifth-largest economy, and with a staggering 1.3 billion population, Myntra has not only tapped into the diverse and dynamic market but has also become a beacon of innovation. Speaking at the recent Labels Summit 2023, Manika Mittal, Director and Head of International Brands, Myntra, shared how the giant revolutionized fashion in India. 

The Indian Market Dynamics

1. Demographic Dividend:

India's demographic profile sets the stage for a revolution in consumption. With 50 percent of the population below the age of 25, the country is witnessing a surge in demand across various categories, including fashion, lifestyle, and beauty. This young and hungry consumer base is a driving force behind the shift to a middle-income-dominated economy.

2. Premiumization Trend:

As India strides confidently into a middle-income-dominated economy, the premiumization trend becomes evident. Comparable to countries like Mexico, Brazil, the UK, and Canada, India's upper-middle-class segment is on the rise, moving from 21 percent to 42 percent. This economic shift has created a demand for international names and licenses, as the country embraces a premium lifestyle.

3. E-commerce Boom:

The e-commerce wave in India is surging, with the online fashion market projected to reach $124 billion by 2024-25, boasting an impressive 11 percent CAGR. Notably, the e-tail penetration is on the rise, moving from 9 percent to a projected 25 percent. This surge is not limited to major metros but extends to non-metro regions, representing 70 percent of the fashion market and growing steadily at 50-60 percent.

Myntra's Position in the Market

1. A Fashion Powerhouse:

Myntra, as one of India's leading fashion, beauty, and lifestyle players, has successfully positioned itself as a fashion destination for the masses. With 55 million active users, the platform provides a diverse array of brands, both Indian and international, making it a one-stop shop for fashion enthusiasts.

2. Omni-Channel Model:

Myntra's unique omni-channel model seamlessly connects 4,500 stores and their inventories to the Myntra app. This not only ensures a vast selection but also offers consumers the convenience of choosing products from nearby stores, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

3. Tech-Driven Engagement:

At the core of Myntra's success lies its tech-driven approach. The predictive fashion engine ensures a personalized app experience based on individual shopping histories. The brand's commitment to speed and reach is exemplified by its under-two-day delivery across the country and coverage of 98 percent of PIN codes.

4. Inclusivity Across Tiers:

Understanding the diverse demographics of India, Myntra caters to consumers between the ages of 22 and 34, with a balanced distribution of men and women. While it remains accessible to metro and Tier I cities, Myntra is actively bridging the gap to reach Tier II and III cities, where 45 percent of its consumers reside.

Myntra's Innovations

1. Myntra Forward:

Addressing the unique shopping habits of Gen Z, Myntra Forward introduces a revolutionary "spot and shop" model. Departing from traditional searches, Gen Z consumers can now seamlessly spot trends and make purchases directly, enhancing the speed and efficiency of the shopping experience.

2. Social Commerce Engine:

Myntra's social commerce endeavors host up to 10 hours of content and 1,500 live sessions on the app. This interactive platform enables consumers to engage with brands, as exemplified by co-brands like HRX, facilitating a seamless transition from product awareness to purchase.

3. Virtual Fashion Influencer – Maya:

To assist users in fashion decisions, Myntra introduces Maya, a virtual fashion influencer. Still in its evolutionary phase, Maya aims to guide users on pairing items, providing a personalized touch to the shopping experience.

4. Myntra Cross Border:

One of Myntra's standout innovations is the Myntra Cross Border program, a tech-enabled solution providing live access to global fashion trends. This B2B2C cross-border e-commerce platform allows Indian consumers to choose and order products from international catalogs, overcoming logistical challenges faced by fast fashion brands.

Myntra's Collaborations and Brand Management

1. International Success Stories:

Mango, a renowned international brand, stands as a success story on the Myntra platform. Exclusive styles of Mango are made available, showcasing Myntra's prowess in fostering global brands within the Indian market.

2. Own Brand Stores:

Myntra provides a unique platform for brands to tell their stories through own brand stores on the app. This feature allows consumers to understand the ethos of each brand, whether it stands for sustainability or caters to the Gen Z audience.

3. Myntra Omni Ecosystem:

With a vast network of 300 points of sale across 60 cities, Myntra operates an omni ecosystem that includes renowned brands like Mango, Nautica, and Bebe, along with its in-house brands such as HRX, Taavi, and Roadster.

In the dynamic realm of Indian e-commerce, Myntra emerges as a force to be reckoned with, embodying innovation, inclusivity, and a commitment to meeting the diverse demands of its consumers. As the fashion landscape continues to evolve, Myntra's tech-driven strategies, collaborations, and unique offerings solidify its position as a trendsetter in the industry. Through Myntra Cross Border and other groundbreaking initiatives, the platform not only adapts to market changes but also shapes the future of fashion consumption in India. With 55 million active users engaged on the app, Myntra remains at the forefront of the e-commerce revolution, paving the way for a more connected and fashionable India.

 

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Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability
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Avoiding Downtime During the Festive Season: Why E-Commerce Companies Need Observability
 

It’s the time of the year when retailers and e-commerce businesses in India ramp up for annual festive season sales. Annual sale events are crucial to the industry, and in 2022 alone, India’s e-commerce industry reached Rs 40,000 crore ($480 million) in revenue. In a few days from now, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be here. 12.7 percent of annual shopping will take place across this eight-day shopping marathon, making it one of the largest drivers of revenue for the Indian retail market.

When large, revenue-driving sales are underway, businesses face challenges with maintaining the uptime of their websites and mobile apps due to an increase in traffic. Because downtime drives customers away, competitors with more reliable systems will come out on top. When website and mobile app traffic volumes rise during sale days, backend teams need to constantly fight issues, which they may not be able to address fast enough. This is perhaps why research into Cyber Monday sales revealed that only 36 percent of customers in India were satisfied with their online experience during this sale period.

Today’s retailers face fierce competition amid a risky macroeconomic climate, with major hikes in energy costs, growing inflation, interest rates and supply chain disruptions causing consumers to tighten their purse strings. This makes festive sales even more critical, as customers look to find a bargain.

With millions of dollars on the line, it is critical for retailers to double down on their digital customer experience (DCX) strategies to create seamless customer journeys. Observability is important here, as it allows teams to proactively analyze and optimize their systems based on logs, metrics and traces, in order to provide a real-time view of collated data. Retailers need powerful AI-driven observability solutions to ensure they can offer seamless customer experiences for festive season shoppers.

The Cost of Doing Business without Observability

With the festive season sales already well underway, Indian e-commerce and retail businesses must ensure that their services can scale efficiently to meet the demand of peak traffic periods, as even a small outage can have an adverse impact.

According to the New Relic State of Observability in Retail report, nearly 4 in 10 global retailers report having high-impact outages once a week. What’s concerning is the time taken to resolve these, as the longer a resolution takes, the more revenue is lost. Currently, 61 percent of retailers say it takes at least 30 minutes to resolve such outages, and this is costing them dearly. The median annual cost of IT outages among retailers stands at $9.95 million. During a sale, this could mean more revenue is lost. For businesses that aren’t using full-stack observability, the process of finding and fixing issues becomes very difficult and ultimately ends up costing the business new customers and brand loyalty.

Fixing Incidents Quickly to Maintain Uptime

Retailers are realizing the benefits of observability because the payoff is evident. By adopting observability, retailers improved the time taken to detect and fix incidents. Many of them are realising the monetary benefits of maintaining uptime. The State of Observability in Retail report also revealed that nearly 60 percent of retailers derived more than $500,000 in total annual value, with 43 percent saying they derived a total annual value of $1 million or more after adopting observability.

In most retail and e-commerce companies, the responsibility for maintaining uptime falls on engineering teams. To enable an omnichannel approach, retailers often depend on third-party solutions that they have little or no access to like kiosks, video cameras and POS systems. They also use different technologies for payments and external distribution logistics. With such a variety of technology in play, teams often find it challenging to easily implement telemetry in their retail strategy. And when outages occur, engineering teams at the backend have to spend hours trying to parse logs, analyse metrics and toggle between different monitoring tools. Spending a significant amount of time on fixing a single issue can pose a challenge to maintaining uptime.

All-in-one observability platforms consolidate the entire process of monitoring and analyzing the IT infrastructure. It helps engineering teams find out what’s going wrong and also to derive valuable context of how it went wrong and what’s needed to fix the problem. When these processes are automated, DevOps teams can fix issues faster, ensuring uptime.

Retailers aiming to keep their digital storefronts operational this festive season must invest in full-stack observability. This will provide them with comprehensive visibility into their software, and the ability to proactively collect and visualise data, apply intelligence and understand the behaviour of the IT ecosystems. Observability solutions have emerged as a competitive differentiator for retailers and ecommerce companies, and the time for these businesses to adopt them is now. Otherwise, they risk losing millions in revenue.

Prasad

 

  Author: Prasad Rai, Vice President Sales for India, New Relic

 

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Warming up to the Future of Retail: Customer Centric, Technology First
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Warming up to the Future of Retail: Customer Centric, Technology First
 

The retail landscape is undergoing a seismic shift, largely propelled by technological advancements. The global pandemic and the ascent of eCommerce have only intensified the influence of technology. Retailers have leveraged technology innovations to enhance efficiency while remaining steadfast in their commitment to customer centricity. The result? Total experiences that delight both customers and employees.

However, the retail journey doesn't stop here. The evolution of customer behavior and technology continues unabated. Retailers are mandated to stay attuned to this evolution to stay ahead of the curve in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.

The future of retail is poised to ride the technology wave, further bridging the physical and digital realms. Retailers are looking beyond mere product sales on shelves, aspiring to build comprehensive ecosystems that encompass services spanning health, finance, entertainment, and more capitalizing on digitization and technology's ability to offer enhanced accessibility to consumers. In this era of technological transformation, barriers between industries are blurring, enabling retailers and other operators to seize opportunities rapidly by engaging directly with consumers.

Some of the technologies that are scripting this transformation and will continue to do so in the future are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and others. These multifaceted technologies promise to revolutionize both physical and virtual operations and reshape customer relations. Let’s take a closer look at these modern-day technologies that will undoubtedly shape the future of retail, catering to a digital-first, digital-only consumer base.

Generative Artificial Intelligence will Drive Customer Benevolence

The ability of Generative AI to work with Large Language Models applying in-context learning to learn from analogy and generate responses based on enhanced understanding of context, improved reasoning, inference skills, and tailored problem-solving capabilities has come out as a potent force for businesses.

Generative AI is a powerful technology that leverages vast datasets to create personalized experiences and optimize various aspects of retail operations. It's not limited to one area but offers multiple benefits across different functions. In content creation and optimization, Gen AI autonomously generates and improves product descriptions and copy, reducing the need for extensive human involvement. It also excels at providing personalized discounts by analyzing purchase history.

Gen AI extends its capabilities to customer interactions through the development of intelligent bots. These bots go beyond traditional AI bots by generating relevant responses in various formats, such as text and visuals, based on real-time data. They are efficient in handling customer inquiries and can identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

In the context of inventory management, Gen AI analyzes multiple data sources, including consumer sentiment and competitor data, to predict demand accurately. This helps retailers drive sustainability by optimizing supply and delivery, preventing inventory deficits, and avoiding wastage.

In the instance of supply chain management, Gen AI can assist with product configuration in transport, ensuring the best possible use of space and safe handling of goods, apart from suggesting the most viable transport routes. This ability to optimize the operational aspect of logistics not just saves costs but also augurs well for sustainability reducing carbon footprints, and ensuring minimum wastage of perishable and high-value goods.

Gen AI's real-time capabilities also extend to pricing optimization, where it can adjust prices based on competitor pricing, demand trends, and market conditions.

Gen AI can also play a crucial role in fraud detection by identifying counterfeit products, unauthorized sellers, and fraudulent activities, helping retailers save valuable resources and drive sustainability. Similarly, the technology can be utilized for product and packaging design optimization, reducing material use, and encouraging recyclable materials.

The versatility of the technology is already a talking point among retailers around the globe with 92% planning to ramp up their investments in Generative AI as per a GlobalNewswire release.

Immersive Reality will No Longer be a Novelty

Retailers bet big on experience as a major differentiator and try using technology to drive experience as a differentiator. The evolution of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality has thrown open a new paradigm in experience that seamlessly marries the physical with the virtual. The ability to experience furniture, fashion, and more from the comfort of the drawing room is a relatively new experience, one that customers are eagerly absorbing and consuming. According to a survey by PWC, India, China, and Qatar are most keen on VR. The survey states that 32% of users buy products after checking them out on VR platforms. A similar report on AR from NielsenIQ highlights that 56% of customers feel more confident about the product using AR, while 61% said they prefer to shop with retailers offering AR experiences.

AR/VR and MR empower retailers to:

  • Entertain – Walmart collaborated with DC Comics and Marvel to bring superhero-themed AR experiences to selected outlets
  • Educate – Vanity Planet’s skin reporter app scans users faces to educate them about their skin types and possible skin conditions, aligning it with complementing makeup recommendations
  • Evaluate product fit – IKEA uses AR to help users gauge the fit of furniture within a given surrounding enabling consumers to validate their purchase against their exact requirements
  • Enhance the post-purchase experience – McDonald's used AR to help users discover the origins of ingredients used in their products to ensure customers know the source of their produce and enjoy consuming the products without hesitation

The evolving wave of spatial computing that utilizes a range of technologies, including AI, ML, AR, and IoT, to establish an awareness of the three-dimensional (3D) environment surrounding an object, enable it to interact seamlessly with its surroundings is a fast-developing technology poised to take the experience quotient to another level and promise an immersive, engaging future for retail consumers and better returns for retailers. The growing influence of immersive technologies is charting the way for retailers into the evolutionary world of the Metaverse. Retail giants like Nike, Gucci, and Adidas among others have already made a foray into the virtual world by buying real estate, building digital stores, conducting fashion shows, and hosting concerts. The future state of this space holds a lot of promise for retailers as it is expected to create a digital connection between the customer and the brand, like never before. Retail brands are excited about the opportunity as it provides them with direct access to zero-party data of customers, enabling retailers and service providers to establish a hyper-personalized connection with the customers. The customer is enthusiastic and buoyed by the surreal experience that is being rendered across these new digital platforms, which promises to better all previous experiences from the past.

Expanding the Expanse with Omnichannel Integration

Powering the futuristic omnichannel retail ecosystem at the front end will be a headless commerce architecture that delivers a distinctive, consistent customer experience across channels and supports all touchpoints with shared functionalities, such as wish lists, appointment booking, and payments. This architecture is also expected to be more scalable and flexible than a traditional monolithic architecture as it is decoupled from the backend giving retailers the ability to drive changes faster. The world is steadfastly embracing IoT in the shape of wearables, home automation, and more. The headless architecture will help retailers deliver content across each device type without reinventing the wheel, keeping the experience consistent. Talking of the backend, the move towards a microservices-based architecture at the backend can also be a game changer for retailers. This decoupling of the monolithic architecture at the backend will help retailers to upgrade or revamp a specific function quickly, for example integrating biometrics into the sign-in function or integrating gesture recognition for payment. These new-age capabilities can be separately developed and deployed in a modular fashion. This is unlike how it is done in the traditional monolithic architecture where the complete system would need a revamp for the addition of any functionality.

Blockchain Safeguarding Digital Assets Across the Virtual Terrain

Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger system that provides robust security and transparency for safeguarding digital assets in the retail sector across the digital landscape. Through its immutable and distributed nature, blockchain ensures the integrity of transactions and data, reducing fraud and enhancing trust. For example, in supply chain management, blockchain can trace the origin and journey of products, allowing customers to verify the authenticity and quality of goods. It also acts as a powerful tool for driving sustainability within the retail sector by providing retailers insight into their supply chains, promoting responsible sourcing and reducing waste. By verifying product authenticity, blockchain helps combat counterfeiting, ensuring that consumers receive genuine, quality products discouraging the production of environmentally damaging fakes.

In e-commerce, blockchain-based payment systems like Bitcoin offer secure and borderless transactions, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Blockchain can also be a game changer in driving loyalty programs enabling retailers to offer customers rewards securely, while smart contracts, an agreement based on blockchain technology that kicks in automatically once certain conditions are met, can enforce credible, transparent agreements on product authenticity, warranties, or refund policies, ensuring a seamless and trust-driven retail experience. Blockchain holds significant value in a rapidly digitizing world that is embracing Non-Fungible Tokens, or unique digital identifiers recorded on a blockchain ledger as an identification of ownership and authenticity for digital assets such as art, music, fashion, or any other collectible owned by an entity. One of the main advantages of NFTs is that they allow people to own and intellectual property. NFT cannot be replicated, a strong reason why fashion labels, and multinational retail conglomerates, are exploring the use of NFTs to secure ownership of digital assets and thwart counterfeiting.

Embracing the Future of Retail Technology, Today

As inflation and fears of an economic slowdown weigh heavy on the minds of consumers, curtailing their spending, retailers will need to embrace the advances in technology to attract, convince, and drive sales to build an all-encompassing retail ecosystem. Retailers will need to deploy new-age strategies powered by contemporary technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and more to get up close and personal with their customers building long-lasting trust and value. Retailers will have to look at technology not just for delivering convenience and experience but also as a medium to drive sustainability and security. The time is ripe for retailers to embrace the future of technology to catapult from digital transformation to digital ascendance.

 

Nareshraj

 

Author: Nareshraj Gururaj, Sr. Vice President, India Delivery & Operations, Innover

 

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Phygital Retail: Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India
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Phygital Retail: Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India
 

"Phygital" describes the seamless integration of physical and digital experiences, revolutionizing the way consumers shop. This innovative approach combines elements from both the physical and digital realms, creating immersive and convenient shopping encounters. Phygital technology is pivotal in merging online and offline retail, enabling retailers to offer customers a harmonious blend of traditional and online shopping benefits.

Why is Phygital Relevant?

Understanding the significance of phygital requires tracing the evolution of shopping. Traditionally, shopping meant physically visiting a store mostly in groups either, either with families, or friends, exploring products, and making a purchase. However, the emergence of e-commerce has transformed this process, allowing customers to shop individually from home and receive deliveries. While e-commerce offers convenience and variety, it lacks the physical and social aspects of traditional shopping. Phygital retail addresses this gap by merging online and offline experiences, providing a seamless customer journey.

Phygital technology incorporates various tools like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), interactive displays, and mobile apps or even a physical experience stores. These innovations empower retailers to craft immersive experiences, engaging customers both online and in physical stores. It also enables consumers to explore the brand further by providing an opportunity to engage with the brand physically while also enjoying the convenience of digital shopping. Same-day deliveries are also becoming increasingly common.

Importance of Phygital Marketing in Retail

Phygital has emerged as a crucial strategy for modern businesses, responding to the growing demand for seamless and consistent customer experiences. This approach integrates the physical and digital dimensions of a brand, fostering a robust brand identity and cultivating lasting customer loyalty.

One of its key merits lies in the realm of personalization. Through adept use of data and analytics, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to cater to specific consumer needs, both online and offline. This level of customization forges a profound connection with consumers, leading to heightened loyalty and enthusiastic brand advocacy.

Furthermore, phygital marketing in retail offers a distinct advantage by enabling the creation of a unique brand identity. The fusion of physical and digital elements allows businesses to craft a memorable and distinctive brand encounter, setting them apart from competitors. This not only fosters brand loyalty but also bolsters customer retention significantly.

In the realm of outreach, phygital strategies widen the audience net. Digital channels complement physical presence, enabling businesses to showcase their in-store displays through social media or establish online stores to supplement their brick-and-mortar locations.

Additionally, phygital marketing serves as an invaluable tool for understanding customer behavior and preferences. By meticulously tracking interactions across various touchpoints, businesses can gain profound insights into what stimulates customer engagement and loyalty. Armed with this knowledge, they can optimize their marketing and sales approaches effectively.

In our increasingly interconnected world, it is imperative for brands to evolve in response to shifting consumer demands and expectations. The fusion of physical and digital realms, known as Phygital, represents the future of retail, promising substantial benefits for those who adopt it. Although Phygital concepts are still in their early stages, their permanence in the market is evident. As technology progresses, we anticipate witnessing more inventive approaches from brands in seamlessly connecting physical and digital experiences.

Phygital Retail- Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Shopping in India (1) 

 

  Author:  Aman Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Doodhvale

 

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Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem
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Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem
 

More than 80 percent of Indian retailers do not see e-commerce as a threat, finds the NeoInsights study – ‘Click & Mortar: The Evolution of India’s Retail Ecosystem’ – released today by NeoGrowth, the MSME-focused NBFC in India, leveraging the digital ecosystem.

The study, covering around 3,000 Indian retailers and shoppers across more than 25 top cities in India, has analyzed how physical and online retail experiences complement each other.

Arun Nayyar, Managing Director and CEO of NeoGrowth said: “India’s retailers have stood the test of time and have always innovated to keep growing and enhancing customer experience. Their remarkable business growth is a testament to their creativity, persistence, and long-term engagement with customers. Our study revealed that Indian shoppers have a strong preference for shopping at physical stores and enjoy the personalized approach of their local retailers.

With customer-centricity and competition from e-commerce in mind, retailers are upgrading the in-store experience with technology. Offline retail will continue to occupy a larger share of the Indian retail sector, elevating itself to a ‘Click and Mortar’ model by adopting digital tools.

At NeoGrowth, our mission has always been to empower MSME retailers by providing them with timely financial support. We are positive about the future of India’s retail ecosystem and are committed to supporting retailers in their growth journey.”

Resilience of Offline Retail:

Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in India, a significant majority of retailers remain confident about their physical storefronts. Only 18 percent say that their sales have been impacted by online selling platforms.

The top industries witnessing the highest contribution from offline sales are FMCG & Retail (97 percent), Food & Beverage (95 percent), and Consumer Durable & Electronics (93 percent).

Special Offers, At-Home Delivery Enabling Offline Retail:

Indian retailers are bringing the best of both worlds to shoppers by integrating digital tools with specialized in-store offers to encourage offline sales. The top 5 strategies used by offline retailers are Specialised offers, discounts, using instant messaging apps to connect with customers, doorstep delivery, and multiple payment options. 60% of retailers have adopted digital payments at their stores for ease of payment and a hassle-free buying experience for their customers.

At-home delivery remains a top priority for shoppers, with 60 percent of offline retailers receiving customer requests to start home delivery services. Retailers have initiated free home delivery services for their customers, taking orders via phone or through instant messaging apps for products available at their physical stores.

The top industries with the highest number of home delivery requests include Food & Beverage (73 percent), Healthcare (68 percent), Fashion & Lifestyle (63 percent), and FMCG & Retail (55 percent).

Ability to Touch and Feel the Product, Indian Family-Oriented Value System Drives Indians to Shop at Offline Stores:

Physical stores remain the most popular mode of shopping for Indians despite the proliferation of online marketplaces. The ability to touch and feel the product is the top reason for the popularity of in-store shopping. 54 percent prefer offline shopping due to the assured authenticity and quality of products. Approximately 50 percent of respondents are loyal to their local stores, with multiple generations of a family often shopping from the same retailer leading to trust and familiarity. 35 percent of Indians shop from their local retailer to encourage and support small businesses.  

Popular segments for in-store shopping in India include Consumer Durable & Electronics, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Lifestyle, and Healthcare.

‘Shopping Only Online’ occupies a minimal share of India’s shopping channels:

Only 10 percent of Indian shoppers are shopping exclusively on online selling platforms. This contribution further varies by generation. While only 14 percent Gen Z population shops online, this number falls to only 5 percent for the Gen X population. 11 percent of millennials shop only online. Online shopping sees a spike during flash sales and times when higher discounts are offered by e-commerce platforms, with nearly 35 percent of shoppers preferring online shopping only during flash sales.

Festive Season Increases Offline Retail Sales:

Festive shopping is a family affair in India when all members of the family across age groups get together to celebrate. More than 70 percent of Indian shoppers value a family shopping experience in a physical store. Indian retailers see the maximum footfall at their stores during special occasions such as festivals. During this time, they ramp up product inventory, introduce differentiated offers, and aggressively promote their businesses.

Industry segments that see maximum offline sales during the festive season include FMCG & Retail (80 percent), Consumer Durables & Electronics (79 percent), and Fashion & Lifestyle (75 percent).

Click & Mortar - Path Ahead for Indian Retail:

Almost 60 percent of retailers want to focus on physical stores with assistance from digital tools in the future to drive in-store sales. The relevance of offline retail is evident from the study with one in two retailers receiving requests from their customers to replicate products based on online reference images.  Fashion & Lifestyle and Consumer Durable & Electronics retailers receive the majority of such requests.

Online selling is yet to pick up among India’s retailers, with 46 percent saying that they are at the nascent stage of understanding the workings of online retail. 16 percent of retailers are yet to find digitally savvy staff to use online selling platforms.

The study revealed that 7 in 10 retailers plan to open new stores to strengthen their physical presence. This expansion and growth of offline retail will be facilitated by digital building blocks including digital payments, digital order fulfillment, and digital in-store operations.

 

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Technology - A Key Factor in Reshaping the Retail Landscape and Enhancing Customer Experience
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Technology - A Key Factor in Reshaping the Retail Landscape and Enhancing Customer Experience
 

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred businesses to rethink traditional practices across industries and hence, companies rapidly adopted digital solutions to adapt to shifting consumer behavior. The retail industry, in particular, has experienced a significant transformation due to a growing emphasis on technology, increased online accessibility, changes in consumer behavior, and the emergence of new business tactics.

The pandemic made retailers revamp their business models, fueling the expansion of omnichannel strategy. The use of technology in retail has become essential, from virtual storefronts to AI-powered chatbots for customer service, enhanced online platforms, delivery, and returns for a seamless shopping experience. Therefore, the retailers have adopted a hybrid business model combining both online and offline strategies, valuing the digital-physical blend.

The pandemic caused retail to embrace omnichannel strategies. This includes popular options such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup, bridging virtual and physical retail. This trend in the retail industry is leading to major changes in the retail space landscape as well since customers can easily buy products online and then pick them up in-store, saving them time and adding convenience.

Developers are now focusing on creating retail spaces that are well-suited to their target customers, considering the location, accessibility, and unique selling points of each locality, eventually crafting spaces to reshape the future of the shopping world. The integration of technology like augmented reality, and virtual reality enhances the customer experience, allowing virtual try-ons. Additionally, automated floor plans and street views enable customers to seamlessly navigate through their shopping journey. Tech-driven data collection, resource optimization, and sustainability promotion are also disrupting retail businesses.

Besides, a variety of high-quality dining options, cinemas, game arcades, concert halls, and bowling alleys, are all aimed at creating a holistic leisure and shopping experience for people. A report from KPMG and the Retailers Association of India predicts a 45 percent growth in the utilization of AI within the Indian retail sector over the next two years. This growth is driven by the need to improve customer experiences by personalizing services and enhancing operational efficiency. 

Retailers are leveraging this approach to provide convenience, personalization, and a seamless shopping journey by ensuring that they cater to the new normal. The pandemic has been a catalyst for change in the retail industry, pushing it towards a future where technology, convenience, and adaptable physical spaces are paramount.

The evolving retail landscape anticipates future expectations, reflecting resilience and innovation. Developers focus on safety, efficiency, and enhancement of the overall shopping experience by understanding consumer’s habits and preferences to succeed in this evolving retail market. 

Authored by

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred businesses to rethink traditional practices across industries and hence, companies rapidly adopted digital solutions to adapt to shifting consumer behavior. The retail industry, in particular, has experienced a significant transformation due to a growing emphasis on technology, increased online accessibility, changes in consumer behavior, and the emergence of new business tactics.  The pandemic made retailers revamp their business models, fueling the expansion of omnichannel strategy. The use of technology in retail has become essential, from virtual storefronts to AI-powered chatbots for customer service, enhanced online platforms, delivery, and returns for a seamless shopping experience. Therefore, the retailers have adopted a hybrid business model combining both online and offline strategies, valuing the digital-physical blend.   The pandemic caused retail to embrace omnichannel strategies. This includes popular options such as buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup, bridging virtual and physical retail. This trend in the retail industry is leading to major changes in the retail space landscape as well since customers can easily buy products online and then pick them up in-store, saving them time and adding convenience.   Developers are now focusing on creating retail spaces that are well-suited to their target customers, considering the location, accessibility, and unique selling points of each locality, eventually crafting spaces to reshape the future of the shopping world. The integration of technology like augmented reality, and virtual reality enhances the customer experience, allowing virtual try-on. Additionally, automated floor plans and street views enable customers to seamlessly navigate through their shopping journey. Tech-driven data collection, resource optimization, and sustainability promotion are also disrupting retail businesses.   Besides, a variety of high-quality dining options, cinemas, game arcades, concert halls, and bowling alleys, are all

Ms. Kaustubh Chandra, Manager, Marketing and Leasing, Brahma Group

 

 

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How the Logistics Industry is Changing as a Result of Technological Improvements
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How the Logistics Industry is Changing as a Result of Technological Improvements
 

A big part of the nation's industrial innovation is played by the logistics industries. Similar to the developed countries, India is accessible to technological progress. Technology and logistics are two of the many sectors that are connected. Wherever technology is extensively used. Due to modern business methods and innovations, the flow of commodities from manufacturers, merchants, or wholesalers to customers has changed. The transition from manual to automated technologies and communication, as well as advancements in information technology, have had a significant impact on the logistics business.

As a result, it is now crucial to keep track of the supply chain and the transparency of logistical activity in order to maintain the needed pace, ensure customer happiness, and guard against any delivery ecosystem inefficiencies.

Below are some prominent ways that the Indian logistics sector has been transformed by technological advancements:

Improved Supply Chain Management

Due to AI's crucial position in supply chain management, technology has undergone tremendous change. One example is the development of predictive optimization, which is anticipated to become one of the biggest forces in the logistics sector. The entire supply chain is strengthened and improved through supply chain visibility solutions, which provide constant data access to all users. Predictive optimization facilitates efficient last-mile delivery by bridging the supply and demand gap through accurate forecasts. The last-mile delivery intelligence, which includes route optimization and ETA prediction, will also ensure smooth operations.

Digitization Ends Warehousing Problems

One of the most important advantages of digital warehousing is increased visibility. Real-time understanding of inventory levels and shipment status is hampered by slow, error-prone manual methods, which cause delays and mistakes. Similar to how this data may be organized, warehouse management systems (WMS) may provide staff with real-time positional information. This level of sight helps warehouses avoid several common accidents. Improved visibility makes warehouses more useful. This augmentation might be most obvious in preference. Employees who are knowledgeable about the precise position of every item spend less time rummaging through and perusing shelves.

Enhanced Routing Assistance

Another important impact of technical developments on the logistics industry is the enhancement of routing. Modern GPS technology makes it unlikely that drivers would get lost or that consumers will have to wait for deliveries.

Technology can also be used to optimize routes, ensuring that drivers take the fastest paths possible to their destinations. In addition to knowing this before leaving, drivers can also be notified of a better route while on the road, depending on things like traffic jams, roadwork, or other unexpected delays. Businesses benefit from this flexibility to take more economical routes because it lowers fuel costs and vehicle usage.

Smooth Functioning

The ability to track a product's delivery from start to finish is one of the most common client expectations in logistics. Internet of Things (IoT) can be used to monitor an object's temperature and location. The position and temperature of items being moved by vehicles can also be tracked using IoT. The logistics sector is seeing substantial changes in its manufacturing processes as a result of technical improvements and the e-commerce boom.

The use of data to drive operations and decision-making will rise as logistics becomes more and more digitized. A seamless exchange of information between humans and machines will result from AI data analytics. AI can ascertain how logistics movement might be optimized by analyzing data and automating procedures like capacity estimation, demand patterns, network analysis, and other similar elements.

The improvement of fleet performance visibility is one of the most significant ways AI may assist in lowering logistics costs. A logistics platform powered by AI would allow for precise load-vehicle matching and onboard capacity optimization. With fewer trucks, it would be possible to transport shipments that currently demand more trucks, reducing overall vehicle overburden. A logistics company can significantly increase its cost utilization in warehousing by implementing AI-based automation in inventory management. Time is saved, and fewer human resources are required, which also lowers operational costs.

Tech Powered Fourth-Party Logistics

With a 4PL, a firm outsources all of its logistics, supply chain management, and supply chain optimization to an outside logistics service provider. All distribution chain and logistics tasks are handled by 4PL Logistics, which also keeps an eye on the operational and financial effectiveness of the supply chain. These logistic aggregators cover all aspects of a company's logistics needs as well as its strategic planning. They also collaborate with 3PLs to outsource some logistics and transportation-related tasks. Significant changes in the logistics processes are made as a result of a 4PL company's strategic, operational, and technological partnership, increasing efficiency and lowering costs. One of a 4PL's key features is that it provides total visibility, real-time information, and communication to gather, store, and manage supply chain data

Even if reinventing the processes is necessary, Indian logistics firms must invest in modernizing technologies to create creative and effective solutions. Robotics and artificial intelligence are increasingly being used to automate operations in warehouse and transportation management. As a result, companies will be able to use fewer human help.

 

About the Author

Pawan Kumar, Co-Founder of Shipease

Pawan Kumar ,Co-founder of Shipease

 

 

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Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism
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Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism
 

Despite a challenging start to the year in CY23, online sellers are gearing up for a festive season comeback. They anticipate a substantial year-on-year sales boost of at least 15 percent during the upcoming festive period. The median projection stands at an impressive 26 percent growth compared to last year's festive season. Sellers spanning various product categories, including those with lower average selling prices like fashion, are displaying a bullish outlook on this growth trajectory. This surge in sales is poised to offer a much-needed respite in the face of an otherwise demanding macroeconomic environment.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

The latest report by Redseer Strategy Consultants on the Indian festive season, reveals the market readiness and seller’s bullish sentiments for a profitable festive season. Redseer surveyed a few hundred sellers (primarily the smaller sellers) prior to the festive sales 2023. Our findings show that despite modest sales growth on e-commerce platforms recently (only 40 percent of sellers we surveyed reported a >10 percent increase in current quarter sales vs JFM 23 quarter), anticipation for a festive sales boost amongst the sellers is high across categories.

e-Commerce platforms are tailoring solutions to meet the optimism of sellers and as a consequence of which, seller perceptions around support provided by eTailing platforms have seen an uptick – with 62 percent of sellers agreeing with the sentiment that the platforms have been supportive in their festive planning vs. 53 percent sellers who observed this in the lead-up to the last year’s festive season. Through our surveys, sellers have highlighted the strong support received from platforms in terms of data analytics, trends predictions, and consumer visibility, among others.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

Driven by this seller bullishness, they are expected to ramp up their ad spendings on the online platforms meaningfully- creating the right sales impact for themselves and also benefiting the platforms

Our survey results indicate that sellers are willing to spend more on marketing/advertising during the festive season on online platforms to drive sales growth. Overall, across the surveyed sellers, they anticipate a 15 percent spending growth vs last year’s festive season and 50 percent ad spending growth vs business as usual (BAU) periods of this year.

Interestingly, smaller sellers are highly willing to spend on ads and bullish on overall sales growth- smaller sellers anticipate a 22 percent ad spend growth vs last festive season and 75 percent growth vs BAU period of this year per our surveys.

Online Sellers Shine Through Tough Times with Festive Optimism

“Our interactions with sellers prior to this 10th eCommerce festive season reaffirms the transformative impact eCommerce has on these MSMEs. The festive period is expected to enable sellers especially the smaller ones to come out of the challenging sales environment seen through this and sellers are optimistic about strong sales growth. Accordingly, they are willing to significantly ramp up their advertising spending on the e-commerce platforms during this festive period. In the longer term, more and more sellers will continue to benefit from eCommerce growth given its strong positive impact on seller topline and bottom line that emerges from our research,” says Mrigank Gutgutia, Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants.

 

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The Data-Driven Future of D2C Retail: Personalization & AI in E-Commerce
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The Data-Driven Future of D2C Retail: Personalization & AI in E-Commerce
 

In the dynamic realm of retail, one phrase has emerged as the ultimate mantra for success: "Direct-to-Consumer" or D2C. This approach has fundamentally altered how businesses connect with their audience by eliminating intermediaries and establishing direct relationships. However, in today's digital commerce landscape, marked by intense competition and soaring consumer expectations, thriving as a D2C brand requires more than just cutting out the middleman. It necessitates a strategic blend of two forces: personalization and artificial intelligence (AI).

D2C, short for Direct-to-Consumer, represents a business model empowering brands to oversee every aspect from production to marketing and order fulfillment. This model has surged in popularity due to a growing appetite for unique, personalized products. In contrast to the traditional supplier-to-retailer (S2R) approach, where intermediaries like wholesalers come into play, D2C brands directly sell their products through various channels, including e-commerce websites, mobile apps, and brand-owned physical stores. Freed from shelf space constraints and intermediary pricing policies, D2C brands leverage their in-depth knowledge of their target audience to curate captivating product offerings, fueling innovation and fostering close client relationships. 

When it comes to  Artificial Intelligence, which is gaining a stronger foothold in our world day by day, D2C brands are not only able to collect data about consumers but also derive meaningful insights from it. This data-driven strategy enables brands to curate product catalogs with unmatched accuracy, anticipate consumer needs, and optimize pricing strategies. These brands can improve their marketing strategies, streamline their business processes, gain greater insight into their customers, and ultimately thrive in the market by utilising the power of AI. 

For example, imagine an online store that knows exactly what you’re looking for. It recommends products that you didn’t even think you needed. Such is the strength of AI personalization, allowing consumers to enjoy a highly curated experience. This in turn leads to a rise in consumer loyalty as well as conversions. An advantage artificial intelligence has over the human mind is that it is able to analyze and process large amounts of data, identifying patterns that humans might miss.  AI-driven recommendation engines leverage customer browsing and buying patterns to offer tailored product suggestions and content, thereby enhancing the likelihood of customers completing a purchase.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are reshaping the retail landscape through a powerful arsenal of AI-driven tools, such as recommendation engines, dynamic pricing algorithms, personalized email marketing, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, machine learning, augmented reality (AR), and virtual assistants. This technological synergy enables D2C brands to deeply connect with consumers and redefine their shopping experience while transcending traditional retail norms. Beyond customer engagement, these tools optimize operations, predict market trends, manage inventory efficiently, and reduce costs and waste through machine learning. Augmented reality and virtual assistants further elevate the customer journey, offering real-world product visualization and personalized assistance. As a result, D2C brands are thriving and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the retail industry, creating a more seamless and immersive shopping experience for consumers.

In a world where competition is fierce and consumer expectations are higher than ever, D2C brands that embrace personalization and AI as core pillars of their strategy are not only surviving but thriving in the dynamic e-commerce landscape. As technology continues to advance, it's clear that the future of D2C retail will be defined by those who harness the potential of AI to forge deeper connections with their customers and deliver exceptional, tailor-made experiences.

 

About the Author

Parth Patel, Co-founder & Director, Cossouq.com

Parth Patel, Co-founder & Director at Cossouq.com 

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Elevating the Gifting Experience: Crafting Connections in the Digital Age
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Elevating the Gifting Experience: Crafting Connections in the Digital Age
 

Gifting is an age-old tradition that has found a new heartbeat in the digital era. E-commerce gifting platforms have redefined the art of expressing sentiments, transforming it into an experience transcending traditional boundaries. This article explores the evolving world of e-commerce gifting platforms, uncovering how they're simplifying the gift-buying process, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence for personalized connections, and shaping a promising future of gifting that resonates deeply in 2023 and beyond.

E-commerce Dignify the Emotions Behind Every Gift

The digital age has brought a sweeping transformation in almost all aspects of life, including gift-giving. While this may seem like a simple enough activity, one has to understand the intricacies and emotional overtures of selecting a gift that communicates the right emotions. Therefore, these platforms help one go beyond the physical exchange of presents, acknowledging that the gifting experience is an emotional journey. It encompasses the entire narrative, from the meticulous selection of the perfect gift to that heartwarming instant of giving and the genuine reaction of the recipient.

These platforms have evolved beyond transactional entities. They have emerged as architects of memories, championing the cause of convenience and forging deeper connections. 

Convenience in the Process of Gift Selection

One of the most praiseworthy features of e-commerce gifting platforms is their ability to simplify gift buying. These platforms have successfully undertaken the Herculean task of stripping away the complexities and anxieties traditionally accompanying the search for the perfect gift. Users are greeted with an appealing and easy-to-use interface, allowing them to effortlessly sift through a treasure trove of gift ideas expertly categorised by occasion, recipient, or budget. The pressure of time no longer hangs heavy; informed decisions can be made with ease. The user-friendly interfaces encourage a culture of appreciation and participation, where giving takes centerstage.

Ever-evolving E-commerce Gifting Platforms

E-commerce gifting platforms have been able to evolve with the changes in the preferences of the customers.  Once confined to mundane options like flowers and chocolates, these platforms have expanded their horizons to align with emerging market trends and demands. Today, the range of gift options available is nothing short of staggering, from meticulously personalised items to unforgettable experiences and eco-conscious and sustainable choices.

This diversification is rooted in the modern consumer's quest for meaningful and thoughtful gifts. E-commerce platforms now serve as one-stop destinations for all occasions, whether a personal celebration, a festive extravaganza, or a corporate gala. Their adaptability ensures that customers are never at a loss for that apt, memorable gift, no matter the context.

AI as Pathway to Foster Connection

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the modern-day marvel, has become a key player in online gift shopping. It's like a digital assistant that understands your preferences by analysing what you've bought before and how you shop online. Then, it uses this knowledge to suggest gifts just right for you.

Social media has vast amounts of information related to individual style. AI mines this goldmine, scouring social interactions, likes, shares, and comments to decipher interests and trending preferences. This insight goes beyond what meets the eye, uncovering the subtleties that define personal tastes. Armed with these comprehensive insights, AI becomes a gift-giving virtuoso. It suggests gifts that reflect the shopper's love, care and appreciation and help the recipient feel valued and cherished.

Furthermore, AI doesn't stop at the act of gifting. It continues to engage, sending reminders for special occasions and suggesting meaningful follow-up actions. This constant interaction and engagement is like having a trustworthy assistant who ensures you never miss a moment to connect.

Bottomline

E-commerce gifting platforms are at the forefront of reshaping the art of gift-giving, emphasizing the entire gifting experience. They have simplified the gift-buying process, expanded their offerings, and harnessed AI for deeply personalised connections. As we gaze toward the horizon, these platforms are poised to continue their journey, making gifting more accessible and meaningful to individuals across the globe. Digital gifting has thus become a convenient and reliable way of ensuring your loved ones receive the best possible gift on their special day. The future of gifting holds the promise of bringing people closer together, one heartfelt gift at a time.

Dhanunjaiah Koppolu Director, MINIKART (2)

     Author: Dhanunjaiah Koppolu, Director, MINIKART

 

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Netcore: Transforming Legacy Email into a Global MarTech Powerhouse
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Netcore: Transforming Legacy Email into a Global MarTech Powerhouse
 

In a rapidly evolving tech landscape, companies must adapt to stay relevant. Netcore, once known as a legacy email company, successfully transformed itself into a global MarTech leader by rebranding and focusing on customer-centricity, continual partnerships, and product innovation. Praveen Sridhar, VP - Growth & Special Projects speaks to Indian Retailer about the phenomenal growth journey – from its roots in India to the global MarTech space, the company’s unique strategies for growth, technological innovations, and long-term goals.

From Legacy Email to MarTech Marvel

Netcore began its journey as a legacy email company, but it didn't stop there. The shift in focus towards MarTech products paved the way for success. It strategically started by catering to its home ground, India, where its approach aligned with the sentiments of Southeast Asia. The initial response was promising, validating the value of their products. This positive reception emboldened the company to look beyond Indian shores and go global.

Rebranding and Breaking Free from Legacy Tech

Having spent almost three decades in the industry, Netcore recognized the need to shed its legacy image. The first step in this transformation was rebranding, showcasing a bolder and more vibrant identity. This shift resonated well with the market, but it also posed a challenge. The company had an array of product offerings, albeit siloed. Recognizing the immense market opportunity, Netcore integrated these offerings into a cohesive suite of products. This consolidation allowed for a tightly knit story, converting potential clients into loyal customers. “If you don't have a story, people are not going to get the full value. That's a challenge which we faced. Although we had separate products, we wanted to system that had one suite of products where our goal was simple. For example, if there was an e-commerce customer or a D2C customer, our goal was clear: Help convert your shoppers to buyers. That included everything from product discovery to closure, to reactivation and repurchase,” elaborated Praveen.

A Diverse MarTech Powerhouse

Netcore's journey towards becoming a MarTech powerhouse marked a turning point. The company's diverse portfolio, extended far beyond email services, becoming a comprehensive MarTech solutions provider. This evolution was further validated by reports from industry authorities like Forrester and G2, positioning Netcore as a contender for the MarTech market leadership.

Netcore's strategic vision for future growth today centers around a few core principles. According to Praveen, its Continual Partnerships, Customer-Centricity, Product Innovation and Employee Experience.

  • Continual Partnerships: Netcore believes in forming meaningful partnerships with customers, affiliates, and organizations. The emphasis is on mutual value, ensuring that every engagement delivers tangible benefits.
  • Customer-Centricity: Unlike traditional product-centric companies, Netcore places the customer at the core of all its operations. Every team member, from developers to sales and marketing, is driven by the customer's needs and experiences.
  • Product Innovation: Netcore is committed to constant product innovation, making customer and marketing teams' lives more comfortable. This innovation serves as a core strategy for the company's future growth.
  • Employee Experience: Recognizing that employee experience directly impacts customer experience, Netcore has invested in empowering its teams to drive profitable growth for its customers. This holistic approach has set Netcore apart from competitors.

Technological Innovations

Netcore's technological edge extends beyond its strategies. Unique features like the full-stack offering, search algorithms, and the journey builder distinguish them from their competitors. The company's intelligence on customer and catalog data, coupled with AI-driven personalization capabilities, ensures that Netcore offers an unparalleled experience to its clients.

The brand has set ambitious long-term goals to solidify its position as a one-stop solution for customers' profitable growth. “The company's vision encompasses covering a wide range of verticals, making marketers' lives easier, and reducing friction in consumers' lives. Additionally, we aim to amplify our model of continual partnership to keep customers' growth and happiness at the forefront of its operations,” concluded Praveen.

 

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Private Labels & D2C Products: Transforming Retail as Adoption Skyrockets
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Private Labels & D2C Products: Transforming Retail as Adoption Skyrockets
 

India's private label sector and direct-to-consumer sector are currently valued at Rs 13 billion, making up 10-12 percent of the organized retail sector in the country. These labels also enable a significant influence in the offline retail space, dominating a staggering 90 percent of sales in the large apparel and fashion retail sector, while making a substantial 40 percent contribution to sales in the thriving online grocery retail segment. Prominent retailers like Pantaloons, Tata Group’s Trent Ltd, Shoppers Stop, and Spencer’s Retail have been increasingly emphasizing private label retailing, with private labels accounting for 90 percent of Trent’s sales, 80 percent of Reliance’s, and 75 percent of Pantaloon’s overall sales. Aditya Birla Retail is also planning to boost the contribution of its own brands in sales from the current 3 percent to 10 percent over the next 2-3 years.

InGovern, a leading corporate governance advisory firm, released a research report titled, ”Private Labels and Direct to Consumer Brands: Democratising Retail Commerce in India,” analyzing the role of private labels and D2C products and their growing adoption in retail. The report highlights the advantages that private labels and D2C brands bring to retailers and small businesses while simultaneously helping consumers by providing more affordable and higher-quality products.

Speaking on this, Shriram Subramanian, Managing Director, InGovern said, “Private labels and direct-to-consumer brands offer a mutually beneficial scenario in India’s retail sector, empowering MSMEs with increased revenue streams, brand recognition, and global access while providing consumers with cost-effective, customizable, and trusted alternatives. As the e-commerce industry soars, regulatory clarity and streamlined oversight are imperative for sustained growth and innovation. The government can enable the start-up community by creating a policy environment that creates more investment opportunities and selling platforms both offline and offline. There is no reason for the government to bar the D2C approach as long as they are compliant with the law. The government must allow the same equitable treatment of e-commerce e-tailers/marketplaces as they do for offline sellers.”

The report also mentions how these brands are owned and manufactured by retailers/marketplaces for reasons such as generating higher margins, filling product range gaps not covered by branded suppliers, differentiating their store's product range from competitors, and enhancing profitability and customer loyalty. Additionally, it emphasizes how partnering with retailers for private label and D2C products offers MSMEs numerous benefits, including diversifying revenue streams, reducing reliance on single products, and fostering stable collaborations, which, in turn, boosts financial stability through increased sales. These partnerships aid in building brand recognition and loyalty by exposing products to a wider audience over time.

The report concludes by pointing out how sharing marketing and distribution duties with retailers/marketplaces through private labels and D2C products can help MSMEs focus on innovation and product enhancement, and be part of economies of scale by cutting production costs, elevating profitability, fueling economic growth and expanding the customer base.

 

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Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment: How RTE Enables E-Commerce Websites to Engage with Users
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Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment: How RTE Enables E-Commerce Websites to Engage with Users
 

In today's digital landscape, relying solely on static images on product pages is insufficient to motivate shoppers and ensure they follow through with their purchases. According to McKinsey & Company, live-commerce-initiated sales could account for 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026. India's e-commerce market is projected to be $220 billion by 2025, while live commerce could touch upwards of $50 billion in terms of Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), according to EY India. To boost the conversion rate and drive successful orders, it's crucial to empower content creators within your marketplace to establish personal connections with customers through live video and chat interactions. This interactive approach enhances the shopping experience by allowing content creators to engage directly with shoppers, answer their questions, and address any concerns in real-time, thereby encouraging them to proceed with their buying decisions.

By leveraging Real Time Engagement (RTE), e-commerce websites can provide a personalized and interactive experience to their users, enhancing customer engagement and ultimately driving conversions. Here are some ways RTE enables e-commerce websites to engage with users:

Live Chat

RTE enables the implementation of live chat functionality on e-commerce websites. This allows users to interact with customer support representatives or chatbots in real-time, getting immediate assistance for their queries or concerns. Live chat enhances customer satisfaction, increases trust, and helps users make informed purchasing decisions.

Personalized Recommendations

RTE allows e-commerce websites to deliver personalized product recommendations based on user preferences, browsing history, purchase behavior, and other relevant data. By analyzing user data in real-time, RTE can present tailored product suggestions, cross-sell or upsell offers, and targeted promotions, leading to increased user engagement and higher conversion rates. RTE platforms provide options like live auctions, live streams, and personal shoppers which makes for a hyper-engaging shopping experience.

Real-Time Notifications

E-commerce websites can use RTE to send real-time notifications to users. These notifications can include updates about order status, back-in-stock alerts for desired products, personalized offers, flash sales, and more. By delivering timely and relevant notifications, e-commerce websites can keep users engaged, encourage repeat visits, and drive conversions.

Dynamic Content

RTE enables e-commerce websites to display dynamic content that adapts in real-time based on user interactions or external factors. For example, websites can showcase limited-time offers or countdown timers for discounts, display social proof such as recent purchases or customer reviews, or highlight trending products. Dynamic content captures user attention, creates a sense of urgency, and encourages immediate action.

Interactive Product Visualization

With RTE, e-commerce websites can offer interactive product visualization tools such as 360-degree product views, augmented reality (AR) try-on experiences, or virtual reality (VR) showrooms. These immersive experiences enable users to engage with products in a more interactive and realistic way, enhancing their confidence in making purchase decisions.

Gamification

RTE can be leveraged to incorporate gamification elements into e-commerce websites, making the shopping experience more enjoyable and engaging. This can include interactive quizzes, challenges, rewards, leaderboards, or loyalty programs. Gamification fosters user engagement, promotes brand loyalty, and incentivizes repeat purchases.

RTE can help bring a marketplace to life with human interaction. It helps decrease shopping cart abandonment and increase cross-selling by encouraging customers to socialize with each other and influencers to purchase an entire look, find seasonal necessities, get expert advice, and more. RTE empowers e-commerce websites to go beyond static content and deliver personalized, interactive, and real-time experiences to users. By leveraging these capabilities, e-commerce websites can enhance user engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive conversions and revenue.

 

About the Author

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora

Ranga Jagannath, Senior Director, Agora 

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Why Flexible Technology Architecture and Integrated Leadership are Imperative in Digital Commerce
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Why Flexible Technology Architecture and Integrated Leadership are Imperative in Digital Commerce
 

To grow digital commerce and leapfrog competitors, it’s critical to establish both the right technological and leadership foundation. It’s not surprising that chief marketing, sales, and revenue officers drive stronger business performance, given their customer-centric focus. But that’s not to say that technology leaders take a back seat. Business leaders can only bring their visions to life when the tech stack supports the experience roadmap. Today, that means hyper-personalized, hyper-channel capabilities that bring commerce functionality to physical stores, mobile and smart devices, chatbots, social networks, and non-standard points of engagement.

Data from a recent study found organizations that combine customer-centric leadership with flexible, future-forward technology that is Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless (MACH) are best positioned to win the digital race. This framework allows enterprises to handle any new experience and deliver it far faster than traditional commerce technologies.

The monolithic era is over

Like all enterprise systems, e-commerce platforms were historically architected as monoliths, meaning backend components such as Catalog, Pricing, Accounts, Cart, and Checkout all live within a single code base, along with the front end. While many monoliths can be customized by adding code (within limits), they all eventually hit their breaking points – becoming too large and too fragile to maintain without introducing bugs or adding technical debt. With a tight-coupled front end, they also struggle to hook into important, non-standard consumer touchpoints like mobile applications, video, digital screens, social networks, and chat applications to make them natively “shoppable.”

In recent years, a new pattern has emerged, commonly called MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless), or ‘composable commerce’. This approach breaks the monolith into smaller, independent pieces (microservices) that communicate with each other through an API layer. Microservices’ independent code and data store enable developers to build new features and experiences much faster and with less risk than hacking the monolith, including experiences built for novel touchpoints. For this reason, it’s rare for an enterprise to procure new systems in monolithic form – MACH has become mainstream.

Because an organization can use microservices alongside existing legacy monoliths (provided they are “headless” with a supporting API layer), migration to MACH can be done fast, or gradually over time using the strangler pattern.

Solving with extensibility

To provide even greater flexibility, this evolved version of MACH can add extensibility to the equation. Where most commercial off-the-shelf microservices can only be used “as delivered” by the vendor, the extensible version uses open-source technologies that can be modified and customized to suit the unique requirements of a business or project. The same tech stack can be used to build bespoke microservices to handle ultra-innovative requirements.

This flexible foundation will ensure that the commerce system is future-proof and can evolve in step with business objectives and consumer expectations. New capabilities can work seamlessly with existing APIs and be deployed anywhere. Keeping API customizations separate from core layers will ensure that organizations are on a seamless upgrade path. This means customizations never need to be rebuilt to stay on the latest version of any microservice.

This is important for long-term IT efficiency, as the cost to redo any work always comes at the expense of new delivery, consuming resources that would otherwise be applied to continuous innovation.

Digital commerce as a ‘team sport’

This ethos of continuous innovation and continuous delivery supports both IT and business objectives, but customer-facing leadership makes a difference in business outcomes. The study found that companies organized around value streams are 50 percent more likely to be among the fastest to bring innovation to market.

This means a company is more likely to lead the market if digital commerce is owned by the CMO, CRO or CSO (marketing, revenue, or sales, respectively). However, the best-performing companies recognize that digital commerce is a team sport and favor a decentralized organizational model where specialized digital commerce roles are deeply integrated across other business functions.

Decentralization makes digital commerce part of an organization’s DNA, increasing its visibility and impact internally and externally. Undoubtedly, technology leaders play a key role in building the ecosystem containing everything that matters — architecture, capabilities, analytics, system integrations, and payments. It’s critical for organizations to have both technology units and revenue leaders work in harmony toward a common vision, enabled by flexible architecture that brings the vision to market, fast.

About the Author

Amit Kalley is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infosys Equinox, a human-centric digital commerce and digital marketing platform. Amit has successfully driven digital transformations for over a hundred G2K enterprises across the globe for over 2 decades. His experience spans a wide range of industries including retail, CPG, high-tech, manufacturing, financial services, telecom, energy, and media.  With a strong foundation in technology, Amit has created and taken to market several industry-leading products, solutions, and practices. Prior to his current role, he has held leadership positions in the other Infosys products portfolios and at Infosys Labs. He has also been the Global Head of Innovation at Infosys for multiple industry verticals. Amit has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a B Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur.

 Amit Kalley, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Infosys Equinox

Amit Kalley is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Infosys Equinox, a human-centric digital commerce and digital marketing platform. Amit has successfully driven digital transformations for over a hundred G2K enterprises across the globe for over 2 decades. His experience spans a wide range of industries including retail, CPG, high-tech, manufacturing, financial services, telecom, energy, and media. 

With a strong foundation in technology, Amit has created and taken to market several industry-leading products, solutions, and practices. Prior to his current role, he has held leadership positions in the other Infosys products portfolios and at Infosys Labs. He has also been the Global Head of Innovation at Infosys for multiple industry verticals. Amit has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a B Tech in Aerospace Engineering from IIT, Kharagpur.

 

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Amazon India & India Post Forge Strategic Partnership to Streamline Cross-Border Logistics for MSME Exporters
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Amazon India & India Post Forge Strategic Partnership to Streamline Cross-Border Logistics for MSME Exporters
 

Amazon India recently announced a series of initiatives aimed at boosting India's digital economy and exports, aligning with its commitments to the country. In a move that deepens its longstanding partnership with India Post and Indian Railways, which form the backbone of India's logistics and supply chain infrastructure, the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India Post. This MoU paves the way for an integrated cross-border logistics solution that promises to significantly expand the e-commerce export opportunities available to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across India.

“Amazon India's recent collaboration with India Post marks a noteworthy development. Currently, over 125,000 sellers participate in the global selling program, allowing for easy registration online. The partnership with India Post offers significant advantages for exporters. They can conveniently drop off their shipments at the nearest post office, eliminating the hassles of logistics and paperwork. This simplification enables exporters to concentrate on their core expertise—developing high-quality products—without the burden of handling intricate logistics. While Amazon already manages much of the paperwork, this partnership further streamlines the process by integrating it with the extensive postal network,” said Manish Tiwary, Country Manager India Consumer Business, Amazon India.

As a testament to their decade-long partnership, India Post and Amazon unveiled a commemorative postal stamp. This stamp not only celebrates the enduring collaboration between Amazon and India Post but also underscores their joint effort to reach customers in 100 percent serviceable pin codes throughout India. It creatively showcases the various transportation modes that Amazon employs to efficiently deliver products from sellers on its marketplace to customers across the country.

Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (I/C), MoS in the Prime Minister's office, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space, Government of India, lauded Amazon's commitment to digitize 10 million MSMEs, create 2 million jobs, and drive $20 billion in e-commerce exports from India by 2025. He emphasized the transformative potential of digitization for small businesses, including economic growth, broader customer reach, reduced marketing and distribution costs, and access to international markets.

The collaboration between Amazon and India Post promises to be a game-changer. By harnessing India Post's extensive nationwide reach, including their Dak Niryat Kendras, and combining it with Amazon's substantial investments in technology, logistics, and infrastructure, this partnership aims to lower the entry barriers for Indian entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the burgeoning export market. It will simplify cross-border logistics and compliance for Indian exporters, enabling them to ship their products directly to customers worldwide with ease.

Under this collaboration, Indian exporters participating in Amazon's Global Selling program will have the convenience of booking shipments, printing shipping labels, and paying for shipping directly from their seller central accounts. They can then drop off these shipments at over 100 Dak Niryat Kendras located across India. From there, these consignments will be efficiently exported to overseas customers.

Shri. Vineet Pandey, Secretary, Department of Posts, and Chairperson, Postal Services Board, expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, emphasizing that “India Post's Dak Niryat Kendras have been specifically designed to empower small businesses across India and enhance their contribution to India's overall exports. This partnership with Amazon is a significant step in lowering entry barriers for countless Indian small businesses, enabling them to seize the e-commerce export opportunity.”

 

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ONDC to Bring The Next Big B2B Digital Commerce Revolution In India
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ONDC to Bring The Next Big B2B Digital Commerce Revolution In India
 

The pioneering initiative, the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), spearheaded by the Government of India, seeks to democratize the e-commerce landscape in the nation. At present, e-commerce contributes just about 4.3 percent to the retail commerce sector in India.

To enable and educate India Inc. about the numerous benefits of ONDC, Deloitte released a whitepaper titled “Commerce@Bharat: Redefining business models and supply chain.”

By fostering an inclusive, competitive, and open network, the initiative aims to amplify its impact across the business spectrum. ONDC is dedicated to establishing an interoperable marketplace that seamlessly accommodates sellers of all scales − from small and medium-sized enterprises to larger entities.

Through this comprehensive whitepaper, Deloitte intends to guide, handhold, and enable stakeholders toward the next phase of transformative growth.

"ONDC is a remarkable opportunity for India's economy spanning diverse industries," remarked Sathish Gopalaiah, President, Consulting, Deloitte South Asia.

"I'm optimistic about India's forthcoming growth phase, where empowerment shifts to consumers and SMEs, aligning with ONDC's mission of illuminating Bharat. At Deloitte our aim is to help customers navigate various challenges whilst leveraging the opportunities that technology and digital commerce bring together with open network.

With a unique proposition built around agility, security, and profitability at the same time, ONDC streamlines value chains, bridges gaps, and endorses innovation, paving the way for the next generation to explore novel paths.”

Four important industry trends emerge in this context:

  • Empowering financial institutions through ONDC: The network presents a unique opportunity for Financial Institutions to engage with both “buy and sell” sides of a transaction. As ONDC's adoption increases, FIs stand to explore untapped segments and geographies. Regional banks' dominance over certain segments could be disrupted by forward-thinking financial institutions, bridging gaps for MSMEs to access services that were previously out of reach.
  • ONDC empowering brands and retailers: With the launch of B2B on ONDC, brands can establish connections with retailers or facilitate their distributors' entry into new markets. With “plug and play” capabilities (such as real-time ordering, swift delivery, and credit management) offered by eco-system participants, ONDC will enhance the experience for both brands and retailers.
  • Direct access for farmers through ONDC: The network champions technological utilization, enabling direct access for farmers to inputs, services, and buyers. This transformative shift holds the potential to modernize Indian agriculture and streamline the value chain, ushering in greater efficiency and profitability. Farmers gain direct access to buyers, while the Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) can establish direct connections with potential clients, bypassing intermediaries. This integration optimizes the value chain, facilitating trade amongst stakeholders (such as mandis, corporations, traders, hospitality establishments, and farm-to-table start-ups).
  • Optimizing cost to serve manufacturers: The availability of suppliers, logistic providers, and other ancillary service providers on a single network enables manufacturers to respond to sudden disruption in the supply chain. ONDC will also enable manufacturers, especially small and medium scale, to access demand in markets beyond their immediate reach. Thus, ONDC has the capability to create an integrated manufacturing value chain, thereby improving operational efficiencies and effectiveness by 5–10 percent.

The ONDC network is poised to disrupt the following four key industries within the economy:

  • Financial services: The industry envisions redefining offerings for digitally native banking clients using transaction data, fintech, and account aggregators. By digitizing SME data and expanding banks' customer experience horizons, the ONDC ecosystem opens new avenues of commerce.
  • Manufacturing: ONDC can support India's aspiration to elevate the manufacturing sector's GDP share from 16−17 percent to 25 percent. This initiative empowers the Indian manufacturing segment to realize opportunities and tackle challenges along the value chain.
  • Retail and e-commerce: The network will bring a transformative shift in how brands, retailers, and MSMEs procure goods and services. With the increasing significance of online sales, the retail ecosystem can use ONDC for streamlined interactions within the supply chain and with end users.
  • Agriculture: With the potential to revolutionize technology adoption in the agricultural landscape, ONDC can unite buyers and sellers across the network.
 

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The Role of Audio Products in Smart Home Ecosystem
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The Role of Audio Products in Smart Home Ecosystem
 

In today's interconnected world, smart homes are becoming increasingly prevalent, transforming the way we live and interact with our living spaces. While smart home devices like voice assistants and connected appliances have gained significant attention, audio products are emerging as a central component of the smart home ecosystem. With advancements in technology and the growing demand for seamless integration, audio products such as active ceiling speakers are playing a vital role in creating immersive, intelligent, and convenient home environments. Let's explore how audio products are shaping the future of smart homes.

The Hub of Control

 Audio products are evolving into central hubs for controlling and interacting with various smart home devices. With voice assistants integrated into speakers, users can effortlessly control lighting, thermostats, security systems, and more through simple voice commands. For example, talking directly to home automation AI networks via a Lithe Audio speaker. The ability to connect and control multiple devices through audio products enhances convenience and accessibility, making the smart home experience more intuitive and user-friendly.

Enhanced Entertainment

 Audio products, such as wireless ceiling speakers and in-ceiling surround sound systems, are revolutionising the entertainment experience within smart homes. With WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio) technology, brands like Lithe Audio allows consumers to enjoy high-quality, immersive audio without the need for cumbersome surround sound wiring. Wireless Speaker and Audio technology allows for easy installation and flexible placement of speakers, creating a seamless and clutter-free audio setup. From movie nights to music streaming, audio products are enhancing the entertainment possibilities within smart homes.  This universal surround sound platform allows speakers to become your wireless concealed surround speakers for any other brand of TV and front of house speakers.

Integration with Artificial Intelligence

 As artificial intelligence (AI) assistants become more prevalent, audio products are integrating seamlessly with these intelligent systems. Imagine a future where a whole home ceiling speaker system is voice-controlled by a smart home AI assistant. This integration allows for a truly interconnected and personalised experience. AI assistants can learn user preferences, adjust audio settings based on room acoustics, and even curate music playlists tailored to individual tastes. The synergy between AI and speakers by brands like Lithe Audio opens up a new world of possibilities for smart home enthusiasts.

Multi-Room Audio

 Surface mounted outdoor products are enabling multi-room audio capabilities, transforming smart homes into synchronised soundscapes. With wireless connectivity and smart home integration, users can enjoy their favourite music or podcasts throughout the indoors and outdoors of their entire home, seamlessly transitioning from space to space without missing a beat. Whether it's morning motivation in the kitchen, relaxing tunes in the living room, or a soothing ambience extending to the patio and garden, multi-room audio brings a whole new level of immersion and convenience to the smart home environment.

Future Possibilities

 The future of audio products in smart homes holds tremendous potential. Advancements in technology, such as spatial audio and augmented reality (AR), promise to create even more immersive and interactive experiences. Users may be able to enjoy 3D audio that adapts to their specific location within a room or virtual environments that merge digital content seamlessly with real-world surroundings. These advancements will further enhance the entertainment, communication, and overall smart home experience.


Conclusion

 As the smart home industry continues to expand, audio products are assuming a pivotal role in creating seamless integration, immersive entertainment, and intelligent control within our homes. Speakers can act as central hubs for smart home management to delivering high-quality audio experiences, these products are transforming the way we interact with our living spaces. With future advancements on the horizon, the possibilities for audio products within the smart home ecosystem are truly limitless. As we embrace the interconnectedness of our homes, let us not underestimate the significant contributions that Lithe Audio products make in shaping the smart home of tomorrow.

The author:

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Veeryavanta Pariat Bhide, Director Sales, Residential AV, Alphatec

 

 

 

 

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Discover the Best Food in iGaming Venues Worldwide
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Discover the Best Food in iGaming Venues Worldwide
 

Playing your favorite games at popular iGaming venues is already quite an adventure. However, these places usually have something more to offer and we’re talking about serving some of the most delectable dishes that can make your gaming experience even more memorable.

From the clinking of chips to the sizzle of gourmet delights, let’s explore why iGaming venues have become a hub for some of the best food around.

Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete if we don’t talk about specific foods you should be looking for when you visit them.

Why iGaming Venues Have Some of the Best Food Served
You know that feeling when you're having a great time, and suddenly your stomach grumbles, distracting you from all the fun? Well, iGaming venues want to make sure that doesn't happen to their guests.

If they also take care of their guests by serving the best food, they somehow help ensure that you still stay fueled up and energized to play more of your favorite games.

But it’s not just about preventing hunger pangs. These venues are all about creating an immersive and memorable experience for their customers.

Let’s also not forget the social aspect of dining. Casinos often have restaurants, buffets, and cafes that offer a relaxed and inviting environment where you can chat with your friends, companions, and fellow players, or even strike up a conversation with someone new.

Everyone can agree that sharing a meal is a great way to connect with others. Pretty much, the more memorable your experience is, the higher the chance that you’ll keep coming back for the same great experience.

What are the Best Foods They Serve?
So, if you’re craving food that live casino online sites just can’t give, you can go ahead and start planning your next casino trip.

It can be an iGaming venue in any gambling hotspot like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or the Caribbean. What we’re sure about is that these are the foods they most likely will offer on their
menu:

Sizzling Steaks
Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly grilled steak that’s juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor. Steaks are a casino favorite because they’re hearty and satisfying, and provide that protein-packed punch to keep you energized during intense gaming sessions. The sizzle and aroma give you a great sensory experience.

Irresistible Burgers
Nothing hits the spot quite like a delicious burger, right? Casinos know that burgers are the ultimate comfort food. They’re customizable, handheld delights that cater to a wide range of tastes. Many of them offer classic cheeseburgers or gourmet creations piled high with toppings to satisfy that meaty craving. 

Yummy Sushi
iGaming venues often serve up exquisite sushi rolls that are as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the palate. Sushi is a culinary masterpiece, offering a delicate balance of flavors and textures. The artistry behind each roll adds an element of elegance to your dining experience.

Seafood Delights
Fresh seafood, anyone? iGaming venues excel at serving up seafood delights like oysters, shrimp cocktails, and lobster tails. These ocean treasures bring a touch of luxury and sophistication. Their light yet flavorful nature makes them perfect for enjoying between bets. You shouldn’t miss out on these especially if you’re visiting a casino in a tropical setting.

Vibrant Salads
Health-conscious players rejoice! Casinos wouldn’t want to skip serving healthy delights, especially salads. They can come as an appetizer but no one would judge you if you want to eat salad as your main meal. Salads are also a great option for those who want a lighter meal without compromising on taste.

Decadent Desserts
Indulgence is the name of the game when it comes to desserts at casino restaurants. These sweet treats are usually a celebration of sweetness and artistry. It’s rare to see these venues serving dull desserts. They serve not only decadent but also visually pleasing desserts that can add that final touch of luxury to your whole experience.

Wrapping Up
So if you’re more excited about the food as you plan your next casino trip, we just can’t blame you. These iGaming venues simply can’t help but give you the best and most well-rounded casino experience.

Pro tip: before visiting any casino, always check the food menu at the casino restaurant. If they don’t have their restaurant, at least check what establishments are nearby so you already know where to go when hunger strikes.

We hope you’re ready to roll the dice, place your bets, and embark on a gastronomic journey that’ll leave you craving more than just hitting the jackpots. Bon appétit and may the odds be ever in your flavor-filled favor!

 

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Factors Amping up the Popularity of Refurbished Gadgets in the Market
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Factors Amping up the Popularity of Refurbished Gadgets in the Market
 

 

Fast-paced digital world has brought a series of changes in terms of consumer preferences and buying behavior. Today, digitalization is the utmost priority for the Indian market with rising technology consumption. However, the country still boasts of more than 400 million feature phone users attributed to frequent model upgrades, affordability and interruptions in the supply chain, which inhibit consumers from getting their hands on a brand-new phone. 

Against the backdrop of this, the second-hand smartphone market is rising at an unprecedented pace. The IDC and Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) reveals – around 25 million second-hand smartphones were bought and sold in the market and their sales are projected to rise to 51 million units at a valuation of $4.6 billion by 2025. A convergence of factors leads to the rising demand for refurbished or second-hand smartphones in the market. 

Value for money

Pocket-friendliness is the most typical reason for consumers to shift to refurbished smartphones. India’s largest demographic segment i.e., the middle class comprises about 300 million individuals and is the major driver of such smartphones. In retail, refurbished or second-hand smartphones are sold at almost half of the Average Selling Price (ASP) of a new one. 

The recent market data states – 78% of the users buying a refurbished smartphone have a monthly income of less than Rs. 30,000 while 18% have a monthly income between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 50,000. Hence, refurbished smartphones fulfill the aspirational demands of this consumer class who look for affordability to satisfy their appetite for high-end devices.  

Reduce e-waste footprints

In 2020, more than 20 million smartphones were traded in the second-hand market. This exhibits the possibility of another 100 million smartphones stacked idle at home. Most of the phones that remain at home are kept as spare phones for emergencies or just sitting in a drawer. This could be an appealing choice for environmentally conscious consumers who are becoming aware of their own e-waste footprints. 

Refurbished smartphones slow down the e-waste generation process as the refurbishing process gives the device a new life that eventually increases its longevity. Around 85% to 95% of a phone’s annual footprint comes from the energy-intensive process of manufacturing. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2021 suggests refurbishing can bring down this carbon footprint to almost 55% as compared to using a brand-new smartphone for 2.5 years. 

Quality Assurance

Many smartphone users remain skeptical about the quality which ultimately influences their buying decision. In recent years, the refurbished smartphone market has evolved into a more organized segment. Many players in the refurbishing market constantly gauge consumer demands and focus on customer centricity by providing quality assurance. 

There are several organized players in the smartphone refurbishment market who ensure quality assurance. By testing the device internally and externally, these players ensure the quality of devices from multiple checkpoints. For instance, considering at least 80% battery health, the functionality of all ports, key parts functionality, etc. to deliver optimum performance. 

Enjoy extended warranties

Previously, the refurbished smartphone market was recognized for the void of warranty on devices. As a result, consumers preferred brand-new smartphones for the warranties and other offers they received from the brand. However, the new-age refurbished smartphones often come with extended warranties. Once the company examines the smartphone, it sends the phone for reconditioning which further helps resellers or dealers to provide replacement and extended warranties to consumers. 

Warranty on a refurbished smartphone gives the consumer peace of mind and ensures they have purchased it from a certified seller. It eases their concerns about the maintenance and service of the smartphone and boosts their confidence in refurbished gadgets. 

Ease in availability from reputable sellers

The entry of organized players in the refurbished smartphone market is augmenting the sales of refurbished smartphones. Besides the metropolitan cities, tier 2 and tier 3 cities also demonstrate growing demand for such smartphones due to affordability and accessibility that has been eased by refurbishing players. 

These refurbishing companies have benchmark processes to extend the longevity of smartphones with additional value-added services. As a result, the consumer gets the similar rights of purchasing a brand-new smartphone when actually buying a refurbished one. Additionally, this can keep customers steer clear of false or deceptive selling as well as misleading promotions. 

Final Thoughts

The refurbished smartphone market is triggering several benefits that were once unimaginable to capitalize on. With accelerated refurbished smartphone adoption across tier 2 and 3 cities, the market is harmonizing the demand and supply of advanced smartphones in the market. Additionally, it is creating a cult of technologically advanced smartphone users that can be a game-changer in enabling India’s digital transformation journey. 

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Sourav Gupta, CEO, XtraCover

Sourav Gupta, CEO, XtraCover co-founded XtraCover, an e-commerce platform that caters to the life cycle management services of smartphones and other electronic devices. As Co-Founder and CEO, he handles multiple tasks including operations management, product portfolio, development of digital marketing strategy & product pricing, and funds management for Business Units.
 

 

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Why Observability is Indispensable to the Indian e-commerce Market
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Why Observability is Indispensable to the Indian e-commerce Market
 

The e-commerce ecosystem in India grew significantly in 2022 with over 750 e-commerce startups securing funding, and the direct to consumer (D2C) segment branching out offline. D2C brands alone received funding of over $11.7 billion in 2022. 

Amidst this expansive growth, consumer expectations have also begun to shift, with omnichannel operations front and centre. Research has also found that 88% of Indian consumers want to purchase items as quickly as possible, which demonstrates how crucial it is for e-commerce businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

The challenging macroeconomic climate has put these businesses under significant pressure to deliver and innovate. This requires websites, mobile apps, and social media buying channels to be running smoothly and around the clock. Observability is indispensable for e-commerce companies looking to secure sales through their web and mobile properties. It ensures uptime and performance are optimized long before any traffic surges begin, preventing customer defection to competitors.

However, the situation in India is quite different. Most startups in the e-commerce space view observability as a solution to use only in times of crisis and therefore, not an investment priority. The misconception largely stems from a narrow view that some organizations hold of observability. In reality, observability is at the heart of keeping digital assets up and running, reducing churn for engineering teams, and most importantly, identifying customer preferences and delivering across websites, Order Management Systems, or mobile apps.

For e-commerce businesses that require strong digital systems, observability is a must, and there are two key ways it can boost growth.

Improve the bottom line

Revenue can be vastly affected when system-performance problems impact the customer experience, and ultimately sales-conversion rates. When web pages are slow to load and frustrate customers, it leads to low transaction-completion rates, bearing a direct impact on sales conversion. A recent report from Akamai Technologies, showed that page-load times exceeding 4 seconds can drive away as much as 80% of potential customers, and shopping-cart performance delays and degradations can drive up cart abandonment by as much as 30%.

Additionally, a study by Deloitte found that 70% of consumers cite page load speed on mobile phones impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer. When considered alongside the fact that approximately half of mobile users won’t download an app with a rating below four stars, the importance of mobile performance issues, errors, and crashes play a huge part in user ratings and in turn, the bottom line. 

An all-in-one observability solution can dramatically reduce the negative impact of errors and delays to e-commerce revenue by making it easy to identify, locate, and address issues before customers are impacted.

Insights that Drive Agility and Innovation

Visibility into the IT environment is crucial, especially for digital businesses like e-commerce companies where knowledge on where the site traffic is coming from is essential. Diwali and Black Friday sales would require e-commerce companies to bring more databases online, more virtual machines (VMs) added to a cluster, and more customer service operators staffing online chats — all to ensure uptime when traffic is high.

Observability is pivotal in ensuring seamless performance across cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments, identifying third-party performance issues that put the shopping experience at risk, accurately identifying sources of latency, errors, slow-loading images, and other performance barriers.

All-in-one observability solutions will ensure e-commerce companies identify such problems proactively. Thanks to having a single source of truth across systems and stakeholders, these businesses can make game-changing connections between system performance, customer experience, and business KPIs, while informing decisions that boost conversions, revenue, and customer lifetime value.

Monitoring customer engagement and interactions then becomes effortless, guiding businesses towards smarter site-investment decisions. It empowers teams to collaborate on problem solving, and enhance customer experiences. Observability sets DevOps teams up for success with analytics to drive iteration and innovation, dramatically reducing manual toil.

With millions of dollars on the line and many balls in the air to juggle, e-commerce businesses need to stay focused on factors such as conversion rate, order counts, payment success rates, and Apdex for key transactions. Building and sharing real-time analytics and dashboards creates visibility into user flow and performance across web, mobile, and infrastructure by tracking key metrics and user satisfaction scores. All-in-one observability solutions lead to better business outcomes, adding significantly to the quality of the digital customer experience being delivered. 

E-commerce is a 365-days-a-year business. While a lot is at stake during peak season, ensuring apps, websites and other points of contact are up and running smoothly at all times is critical for online retailers. Successful companies need a flexible, “always-on” approach to development, testing, and monitoring and this is possible with observability. 

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Rob Newell, Vice President of Customer Adoption for APJ, New Relic

As New Relic Vice President of Customer Adoption APJ, Rob Newell is responsible for the growth of customer acquisition, customer success and driving observability maturity across
the APJ region. Rob is an experienced technology and business leader with more than 20 years experience spanning sales, solutions consulting, operations and technology delivery
across the APJ region.

 

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Revolutionizing Last-Mile Delivery: Blockchain and the Future of Instantaneous Logistics
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Revolutionizing Last-Mile Delivery: Blockchain and the Future of Instantaneous Logistics
 

In today's fast-paced world where instant gratification is the new norm, the demand for efficient and reliable last-mile delivery has reached a new high. Consumers today expect their packages to arrive on designated time slots, securely, and in a hassle-free manner. To meet these expectations, the logistics industry is now embracing innovative technologies, and one such technology that holds immense promise is Blockchain.

Transparency is critical in the logistics industry, and blockchain excels in providing an immutable and transparent ledger. A study by Accenture found that blockchain technology can reduce costs related to logistics such as tracking and tracing, by up to 20%. With transparent and auditable records of every transaction, stakeholders can easily track and verify the movement of goods, thus increasing trust and reducing the chances of fraud and theft.

Off late, decentralized marketplaces powered by blockchain are gaining traction in the logistics industry. These platforms facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, eliminating intermediaries and enabling efficient and cost-effective last-mile delivery solutions. This model not only empowers local delivery providers but also leads to improved service quality and reduced costs for consumers.

Efficient route planning is a significant challenge in last-mile delivery. The inefficiencies associated with traditional methods can result in increased delivery times and costs. As per a study by DHL, inefficient route planning can increase delivery costs by 25%. By leveraging blockchain's decentralized nature, algorithms can optimize delivery routes in real-time, considering factors such as traffic conditions, weather forecasts, and delivery demand. This dynamic route optimization can lead to significant time and cost savings for logistics providers.

Another major concern in last-mile delivery is security and blockchain technology has the ability to significantly enhance it. Blockchain's ability to create tamper-proof records of each transaction and shipment movement adds an extra layer of security to the entire delivery process. Additionally, the decentralized nature of blockchain makes it highly resistant to hacking or data breaches, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information.

When it comes to last-mile delivery, trust and reliability are crucial factors. A study by Deloitte found that blockchain technology can enhance trust among stakeholders, reducing the need for intermediaries and improving operational efficiencies. By utilizing decentralized consensus mechanisms, blockchain platforms have the ability to verify the authenticity of participants and ensure contractual obligations are fulfilled. Such an environment fosters confidence and strengthens partnerships within the logistics ecosystem.

As we look towards the future, the potential applications of blockchain in last-mile delivery are vast. It is predicted that by 2025, 20% of all IoT deployments will have basic levels of blockchain services enabled. This integration of blockchain with emerging technologies like IoT devices can enable real-time tracking and monitoring of packages, further enhancing the efficiency and transparency of last-mile delivery.

To sum it up, blockchain holds the key to revolutionizing last-mile delivery in the era of instantaneous logistics. By leveraging blockchain's transparency, decentralized marketplaces, efficient route planning, enhanced security, and trust-building capabilities, we can reshape the logistics industry to meet the ever-increasing demands of modern consumers.

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Vishal Totla, Co-Founder and COO Shipyaari

Vishal is the COO & Co- Founder of Shipyaari. As an experienced chartered accountant, a seasoned business
professional, an entrepreneur, and an investor, he has over 10 years of industry experience in Retail, Distribution,
Logistics, and Supply Chain management.

 

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The Digital Transformation of Enterprise Procurement: A Post-Pandemic Paradigm Shift
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The Digital Transformation of Enterprise Procurement: A Post-Pandemic Paradigm Shift
 

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 brought the world to a standstill and forced enterprises to rethink their traditional procurement processes. As businesses faced disruptions in supply chains, remote working challenges, and economic uncertainties, the pandemic became a catalyst for the acceleration of digital transformation in procurement. Let’s explore how the pandemic has revolutionized enterprise procurement, leading to a seismic shift towards digitalization. We will examine seven major trends that showcase the before-and-after scenarios of procurement in the post-pandemic era.

Embracing Remote Collaboration Tools:

Before the pandemic, procurement teams heavily relied on in-person meetings and site visits to conduct negotiations and engage with suppliers. However, the lockdowns and travel restrictions  necessitated a swift shift towards virtual collaboration. Enterprises swiftly adopted video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, to maintain communication with suppliers and facilitate contract discussions.

Example: A manufacturing company that traditionally held quarterly supplier meetings at their head office moved all negotiations to virtual meetings. This resulted in significant time and cost savings, leading to the adoption of remote collaboration even after the restrictions were lifted.

Cloud-Based Procurement Solutions:

The pandemic underscored the importance of having agile and accessible procurement systems. Many enterprises relied on legacy, on-premises software, which proved challenging to manage during remote work situations. As a result, the adoption of cloud-based procurement solutions surged, offering real-time data access, streamlined workflows, and enhanced collaboration.

Example: A large retail chain transitioned from an on-premises procurement system to a cloud-based procurement platform. This empowered their workforce to work remotely, ensuring seamless procurement operations during lockdowns, and provided greater visibility into their supplier base.

AI-Driven Supplier Selection and Risk Management:

The pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities in global supply chains, prompting businesses to prioritize risk management in procurement. AI-powered tools and data analytics have become instrumental in evaluating supplier risks, diversifying supply sources, and enhancing procurement decision-making.

Example: An automotive manufacturer leveraged AI algorithms to assess suppliers' financial health, geographical locations, and dependency on single regions during the pandemic. This proactive approach enabled them to mitigate potential disruptions and secure alternative suppliers, reducing risk exposure significantly.

Blockchain for Transparent Supply Chains:

The pandemic heightened the need for transparency and traceability in supply chains. Enterprises turned to block chain technology to enhance the traceability of products, increase trust among stakeholders, and combat counterfeit goods.

Example: A luxury fashion brand implemented blockchain to track the provenance of raw materials, manufacturing processes, and transportation routes. This not only boosted consumer confidence but also facilitated compliance with ethical sourcing practices.

IoT-Enabled Smart Inventory Management:

Stockouts and inventory imbalances were common during the pandemic, prompting businesses to adopt IoT-powered sensors and data analytics for real-time inventory tracking and demand forecasting.

Example: A pharmaceutical company integrated IoT sensors in their warehouses and distribution centers to monitor temperature-sensitive products, ensuring quality control and optimizing inventory levels. This approach minimized wastage and maximized availability during a surge in demand.

Digital Supplier Onboarding and E-Procurement:

Traditional supplier onboarding processes often involved time-consuming paperwork and manual verifications. The pandemic led to the rapid adoption of digital onboarding systems, simplifying supplier evaluations and expediting the procurement cycle.

Example: An electronics manufacturer implemented a self-service portal for suppliers, streamlining the onboarding process and reducing administrative overhead. Suppliers could now submit documents, update information, and view purchase orders electronically.

Sustainable Procurement Practices:

The pandemic amplified the awareness of environmental and social responsibilities. Enterprises began incorporating sustainable procurement practices to support eco-friendly suppliers and local communities.

Example: A global food and beverage company revamped its procurement policies to prioritize suppliers with sustainable sourcing methods and eco-friendly packaging. This initiative not only reduced their environmental footprint but also enhanced their brand reputation among conscious consumers.

Conclusion:

The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event that challenged enterprises across the globe. However, it also served as a catalyst for transformation, pushing businesses to embrace digitalization in procurement. The trends discussed above reflect the pivotal changes in how enterprises engage with suppliers, manage risks, and optimize supply chains. As we move forward, the lessons learned during the pandemic will continue to shape the future of enterprise procurement, fostering resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty.

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Swati Gupta- Founder, Industrybuying

Swati Gupta is the Co-Founder of Industrybuying, a leading online platform that acts as a gateway for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and growing businesses to buy bulk industrial items at affordable rates. A seasoned corporate leader, Swati comes with over 12 years of experience in Management Consulting, Supply Chain Management, and Private Equity Operational Advisory.

 

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The Global Logistics Finance Market Is Booming: Here Are Some Interesting Stats & Facts
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The Global Logistics Finance Market Is Booming: Here Are Some Interesting Stats & Facts
 


The global logistics market is experiencing a remarkable boom, reshaping how goods and services are transported worldwide. As economies become increasingly interconnected, the demand for efficient, streamlined logistics solutions has skyrocketed.

Logistics plays a pivotal role in the success of any business, ensuring a seamless flow of goods, optimizing supply chains, and meeting customer demand in time. With the exponential growth of e-commerce, the importance of logistics has become even more pronounced.

To uncover growth opportunities in this thriving market, businesses must stay abreast of the latest industry trends. Hence, we've cultivated a list of fascinating stats and facts that sheds light on the current state of the global logistic industry and its potential.

Global Logistics Market Outlook

  • The Global Logistics Market is projected to grow from USD 9.66 Tn in 2023 to USD 13.77 Tn by 2028, with a CAGR of 6.23%. (Research and Markets)
  • The substantial growth of the global online retail sector primarily drives the market. (Expert Market Research)
  • Asia Pacific dominates the global logistics market, benefiting from technological advancements like automated material handling equipment, GPS, and biometrics, enabling efficient operations for organizations and businesses. (Expert Market Research)

Facts on Global Logistics Market

  • The global logistics market is classified into four categories by transport: Roadways, Airways, Waterways, and Railways Oil Cooler. (Research and Markets)
  • In 2021, the roadway segment accounted for the largest logistics market share, contributing approximately 52% to the total revenue. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into three categories as per the logistic type: First Party, Second Party, and Third Party. (Research and Markets)
  • In 2021, the third-party logistics segment dominated the market. Third-party logistics provides outsourced services to manage multiple supply chain operations. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into two categories based on customer type: B2C and B2B. (Research and Markets)
  • The market is classified into various categories based on end-users: Manufacturing, Retail, Government, Banking & Financial Services, Aerospace, Healthcare, Media & Entertainment, and Trade & Transport. (Research and Markets)
  • The industrial and manufacturing sector dominated the market in 2021. The healthcare segment is anticipated to have the fastest CAGR over the next ten years. (Market Research Future)
  • The logistics market is classified into four geographical categories: Americas, Europe, Middle-East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific. (Research and Markets)
  • Asia Pacific was the largest logistic market in 2022. The region experienced substantial growth due to increased investments in infrastructural development projects, such as roads, airports, and seaports. (imarc group)

Global Logistics Market Trends

(imarc group)

  • The logistics market is driven by the escalating demand from the industrial sector, mainly due to increasing service utilization across consumer goods, retail, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and automotive, and information technology industries.
  • The rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry has led to a growing need for reliable logistics services, with companies relying on third-party logistics providers to manage the delivery of their products.
  • With significant growth in global trade practices, there has been a considerable rise in the demand for effective logistics services capable of handling international shipments, coordinating multi-country shipments, and managing customs clearance.
  • Numerous logistics companies offer their services as subscription-based models to reduce costs for the providers.
  • The advent of automation technologies, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, is increasing efficiency in logistics operations, improving customer service, and boosting profitability.
  • Penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and rapid industrialization contribute to logistics market growth.

Technology and Integrated Logistics

(Markets and Markets)

  • Approximately 60-65% of industry leaders believe that integrating AI will significantly transform the logistics, transportation, and supply chain sectors.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an active role in enhancing safety environments for drivers and optimizing vehicle maintenance and performance, contributing to the improvement of the transportation businesses and logistics industries.
  • AI-enabled supply chain management has proven to substantially reduce operational costs, with potential reductions of 15% in logistics costs, 35% in inventory levels, and 65% in service levels.
  • Around 35-40% of large, mid-sized, and smaller organizations have successfully implemented AI capabilities in their logistics operations, improving operational effectiveness and revenue growth.

Challenges of Digital Logistics

(Markets and Markets)

  • The lack of governance significantly restraints the widespread adoption of digital logistics.
  • The high levels of fragmentation within the logistics industry emphasize the need for developing a standard IoT platform.
  • The logistics industry faces significant challenges regarding varied regulatory norms and the need to maintain higher service delivery standards, which adds complexity to operations.
  • Digitalizing logistics operations require substantial capital investments, including expenses related to installing automation equipment, software, and solutions, which can be a financial burden.
  • The significant upfront investments required for newer technologies like drone delivery and establishing an integrated logistic model pose a challenge to the growth of the logistics market.

Recent Developments in the Global Logistics Industry

  • In October 2022, DHL identified 40 trends that will shape the global logistics community in the next decade, with decarbonization, robots, big data, supply chain diversification, and alternative energy solutions being the most impactful for logistics transformation. (Markets and Markets)
  • In October 2022, DHL launched the GoGreen Plus service, focusing on decarbonizing road freight by investing in low- and zero-emission technologies and fuels such as electric vehicles, biogas (Bio-LNG or Bio-CNG), or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), to reduce CO2 emissions from road transportation. (Markets and Markets)
  • In August 2022, FedEx Corp. partnered with Ford Pro to pilot ten Ford E-Transit vans, aiming to transition its entire pickup and delivery fleet to zero tailpipe emission vehicles by 2040. This initiative aligns with FedEx's overall fleet electrification goal. (Markets and Markets)
  • In March 2022, FedEx Express collaborated with Elroy Air to test Elroy Air's Chaparral autonomous air cargo system within the company's middle-mile logistics operations. It marked a groundbreaking agreement for autonomous VTOL aerial cargo systems in the United States. (Markets and Markets)
  • In 2021, Midair Aviation IFSC PVT LTD, a key player in the logistics industry, introduced a technologically advanced courier platform focused on densely populated areas, making it a notable accomplishment in the industry's tech-enabled air cargo field. (Market Research Future)

Parting Thoughts

The statistics above reflect the remarkable growth of the logistics industry. The surging global online retail sector and the increasing demand for efficient logistical solutions in our interconnected economies fuel this growth. In recent years, the industry is also found increasingly focused on lowering emissions and adopting more sustainable practices.

To achieve more efficient supply chains and reduce emissions, businesses can harness the power of logistics management platforms. These platforms enable a seamless flow of goods, optimize supply chains, and ensure timely delivery. These logistics operating systems provide real-time visibility, analytics, and collaboration capabilities, empowering businesses to make informed decisions and gain a competitive advantage in the dynamic global logistics market.

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Image Credit: Bosch L.OS

 

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How Social Commerce is Reshaping the E-Commerce Landscape in India
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How Social Commerce is Reshaping the E-Commerce Landscape in India
 

In recent years, social commerce has emerged as a transformative force in the e-commerce landscape worldwide. With proliferation of social media platforms and change in consumer behavior due to COVID-19, the country has witnessed a significant shift towards social commerce. As a result, social commerce has emerged as a game-changing trend that combines social media and e-commerce. These platforms provide a seamless shopping experience, allowing users to discover, evaluate, and purchase products within the same interface.

Here we explore how social commerce is reshaping the e-commerce industry in India and how businesses are adapting to the new normal.

A Surge in Online Shopping

There has been a significant surge in online shopping in recent years, transforming the way people shop and revolutionizing the retail industry. This rise in online shopping can be attributed to several key factors like convenience, access to an extensive range of products, customer-friendly, secured payment options, and many more. Social media platforms have capitalized on this opportunity by introducing e-commerce features, thus transforming casual browsing into shopping experiences. As technology continues to advance and e-commerce evolves, there will only be an upward trajectory of online shopping.

Social Media as Shopping Platforms

Indians spend a significant portion of their online time on social media platforms. In recent years, social media has witnessed a significant transformation from being merely platforms for communication and networking to becoming powerful shopping destinations. Social commerce leverages this fact by offering an integrated shopping experience where users can explore products, check reviews, and make purchases without leaving their favorite social apps. It truly has revolutionized the consumers' purchasing behavior and the success of social media as shopping platforms is the ability to leverage user-generated content and influencer marketing. Furthermore, this seamless blend of shopping and social experience has made online shopping more enjoyable and convenient.

Personalization Through Data

Social commerce can offer personalized shopping experiences through advanced data analytics. Social media platforms collect vast amounts of user data that can be utilized to recommend products tailored to a user's preferences. This personalization can significantly boost sales and customer satisfaction. By analyzing user behavior, interests, and past purchases, these platforms can curate relevant product recommendations, promotions, and advertisements, enhancing the overall shopping experience. The rise of social media as a shopping platform has transformed the way consumers engage with brands and make purchase decisions.

Influence of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing holds considerable sway in India, with influencers being viewed as trusted advisors by their followers. The alteration in consumer behavior is one of the main factors contributing to the expanding effect of influencer marketing. Consumer attention is being drawn less and less by conventional advertising techniques like print or television adverts. Social commerce has enhanced the potential of influencer marketing, enabling influencers to sell products directly through their posts and stories, thus bridging the gap between influence and purchase. For advice, ideas, and information, people are increasingly turning to social media and internet material. By continuously producing useful and accessible material, influencers have developed a devoted and active audience as well as the respect and credibility of their fans.

Live Shopping Trend

India has embraced the global trend of live shopping, with brands and influencers conducting live streams to showcase products, answer viewer queries, and drive on-the-spot purchases. This trend is changing the face of e-commerce by giving customers a distinctive and dynamic method to find, interact with, and buy things. Live shopping delivers a dynamic and interesting purchasing experience that appeals to a variety of consumers by fusing the power of video content, real-time engagement, and social impact. In the coming days, live shopping is anticipated to play a bigger and bigger role in the retail sector.

Social commerce, which combines the power of social media, technology, and community-driven shopping is altering the e-commerce and retail market in India. It had changed how people shop online by giving small companies a platform, empowering users with real user recommendations, and empowering the customers. Social commerce is anticipated to play a big role in the new normal of online buying as the trend develops and innovates thus providing Indian consumers with convenience, providing consumers with convenience, social engagement, and personalized experiences.

 

About the Author

Neha Suyal, Co-Founder and COO, Woovly

Neha Suyal Co-founder and COO, Woovly

An engineer turned entrepreneur, Neha Suyal is a name to reckon with in the business of social commerce, video commerce, and influencer-led commerce in India. With their content-driven fashion and lifestyle business, cofounders Neha and Venkat J are wooing Bharat with their venture, Woovly. Woovly is Neha’s first entrepreneurial venture. She has extensive experience in building open-source technologies and improving business operations and business metrics. She is passionate about identifying business problems and loves building solutions to solve them.

 

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‘Mass’ Consumers May Drive over $135 Bn GMV of the $300 Bn Total E-Commerce Opportunity in India by 2030
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‘Mass’ Consumers May Drive over $135 Bn GMV of the $300 Bn Total E-Commerce Opportunity in India by 2030
 

The differentiated shopping habits of mass consumers, along with their increasing digital shopping penetration, make them the most attractive consumer cohort for eCommerce platforms. As of 2022, India has 65-70 million households transacting on eCommerce platforms monthly, which is projected to go up to 120-130 million by 2030, with mass consumers contributing to 80 percent of the incremental transacting households. In terms of GMV contribution as well, mass consumers are projected to drive 45 percent of the $300 billion eCommerce GMV by 2030, contributing to $135 billion in GMV.

In a detailed survey conducted across Metros, Tier I, and Tier II+ cities with the target group involving Gen-Z, millennials, and Gen-X shoppers, Redseer uncovered shopping patterns of different consumer cohorts and shed light on predominant purchase factors. As the report puts it, the ‘affluent’ consumers on the survey are a cohort with an average annual income greater than Rs 10 lakh. The ‘mass’ consumers make between Rs 2.5-10 lakh annually, while the ‘strivers’ are a third cohort who earn less than Rs 2.5 lakh a year.

Breaking down the cohort by demographics, Redseer analysts found that 75 percent of the mass consumers comprised of millennials and Gen-Z consumers. While Gen-Z, who are young and independent, show purchase preference for apparel, BPC, and electronics, the value-driven independent millennials tilted towards BPC, food & grocery, and apparel. Gen-X constituted about 13 percent and spent a higher share on food and grocery, followed by health and wellness. Although Gen-Z consumers have distinct characteristics from older generations, they are also value-conscious at the core, the report adds.

The report by the strategy consultants projected that growth in India’s retail market would play out differently across these consumer cohorts in the coming decade, with the mass consumers expected to lead spending on the Indian retail market. As of 2022, mass consumers constitute 53 percent of the Indian retail market, valued at $950 billion. According to Redseer’s projections, this share is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12 percent to touch 65 percent by 2030, making it a $1.3 trillion opportunity for brands and businesses. The remainder of the projected $2 trillion retail market value is expected to be occupied by strivers and affluent consumers, growing at a CAGR of 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Examining the themes playing out across consumer cohorts, Redseer found that online wallet share expansion will be the key theme playing out amongst mass consumers led by their high-value consciousness across categories and the increasing use of the internet across their purchase decision-making journey, wherein, mass consumers are almost as online savvy as affluent consumers. These consumers are comfortable with technology, willing to try new products/brands, are increasingly shopping online across categories, can afford products available on eCommerce websites, and are adopting digital payments for smoother transactions. Redseer’s survey results suggest that 70 percent of mass consumers have increased their shopping frequency on eCommerce platforms in the last year.

A recurring theme across the survey, when it came to online shopping, was seeking value at the right price. The top three decision drivers while making purchases included prices/deals and discounts on eCommerce platforms, quality of products, and trust in the platform. Further, the survey indicated that 60 percent of mass consumers were open to purchasing unbranded products if they liked the quality, while 30 percent of mass consumers preferred unbranded over branded products.

According to the Redseer report, within the $15-20 billion mass eCommerce segment (in 2022), 60-70 percent of the sales were led by large horizontals. While the rest 30-40 percent of sales were led by players who had a specific focus on solving for and expanding the mass consumer segment – this includes platforms like Meesho (which grew by focusing on better regional and local selection and pricing) along with verticals platforms like Purplle (BPC category) and then the longer tail of smaller verticals and horizontals.

The mass consumer-driven offline retail market has also seen a few successful business models. Amongst offline retailers, there is Zudio (in fashion) which has outperformed the industry over the past 3 years, along with other players like DMart, Reliance Trends, and VMart, amongst others across the categories. In China, there is Pinduoduo, which has been growing aggressively by catering to the mass segment as well on the e-commerce side.

 

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Embracing the Digital Shield: Home Security in the Tech Age
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Embracing the Digital Shield: Home Security in the Tech Age
 

Today, technology and digitization have become an integral part of our lives. Every morning, you wake up to the sound of digital alarm clocks or smartphones. Then, you book a cab to work through an app, spend your day using various innovations from simple laptops to AI-led tools like ChatGPT to complete your work, and probably use an app to order lunch before you get back home in the evening. As the day ends, digital home automation systems control lighting, temperature, and security devices, ensuring you sleep in a comfortable and secure environment.

Digitization has changed the way we communicate, learn, entertain ourselves, conduct business, and even manage our homes. The amalgamation of technology and home security has led to revolutionary advancements in protecting our homes and loved ones. This article dives into the various aspects of digitization that have been integrated into home security solutions, transforming the way of safeguarding homes and our loved ones.

Smart Home Integration is the Future

The primary aspect of digitization in home security is the integration with smart home devices. Modern home security systems can now connect and synchronize with a wide range of intelligent devices such as smart locks, cameras, sensors, and doorbells. This integration allows homeowners to control and monitor their security systems remotely through their smartphones or other smart devices. For instance, on the Yale Home app, you can receive instant alerts and video feeds when the smart security camera detects unusual movement or the doorbell rings, enabling timely response to potential threats.

Wireless Connectivity is of Utmost Importance

Gone are the days of cumbersome wiring installations. The advent of wireless connectivity in home security systems has revolutionized installation processes. Wi-Fi and cellular connections now empower security devices to communicate effectively without the need for extensive wiring. This wireless flexibility allows for easy expansion and relocation of security components, making it a convenient choice for homeowners seeking scalability and adaptability. For example; smart voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home can seamlessly integrate with Yale smart security devices, allowing you to control and monitor them  with simple voice commands. 


Remote Monitoring and Control 

Digitization has transformed the concept of home security monitoring. With the power of remote access, homeowners can monitor their properties in real-time from virtually anywhere in the world. Dedicated mobile applications like the Yale Home app and web interfaces allow users to view live video feeds, check on the status of door locks, sensors, and arm or disarm their security systems remotely. 

Unleash the Power of Artificial Intelligence and Analytics

The use of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics has elevated home security. AI-powered cameras and sensors can distinguish between routine activities and potential threats, reducing false alarms. Facial recognition technology can identify familiar faces and notify homeowners of unfamiliar individuals on the premises. Additionally, AI analytics can track patterns and behaviors, helping individuals take informed security decisions based on data-driven insights.

Cloud Storage and Backup 

The integration of cloud technology in home security solutions has resolved the challenges of local data storage. Cloud storage ensures that valuable security footage and data are securely stored offsite, minimizing the risk of data loss or tampering due to device malfunctions or intrusions. This also enables easy access to historical records and seamless sharing of evidence with authorities, if necessary.

Bottom line

Digitization has revolutionized home security solutions, introducing unprecedented levels of convenience and connectivity. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more innovations in home security. Going forward, embracing these digital advancements in home security will not just be a smart choice; it will be a fundamental step towards ensuring peace of mind and safeguarding what matters most.
  

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Sharad Kapoor, Director & Head of Smart Residential, MEIIA at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions

Sharad Kapoor is the Director & Head of Smart Residential, MEIIA at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions. With previous roles at Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices Ltd, Sharad possesses extensive experience in managing accounts and expanding business networks.

 

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Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar: Amplifying In-Store Success
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Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar: Amplifying In-Store Success
 

In the world of retail, a successful digital campaign extends far beyond mere online conversions. It hinges on the ability to effectively engage the target audience, drive in-store traffic, and ultimately boost conversions within physical stores. To achieve these goals, advertisers must recognize the power of in-store shopping and employ strategic planning, creative content, and targeted digital marketing tactics. By harnessing technology and tapping into the potential of digital ads, brands can navigate the hybrid environment and outperform their competitors. This article explores the importance of in-store shopping and highlights how aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar can lead to amplified success.

Why Does In-Store Shopping Matter?

  • Sensory Experience: In-store shopping provides a multisensory experience that engages customers on a deeper level. Shoppers can touch, see, smell, and try out products, allowing them to make informed decisions based on their sensory perceptions.
  • Instant Gratification: Physical stores offer immediate gratification, allowing customers to take their purchases home right away. This is particularly appealing for those who prefer not to wait for shipping or want to enjoy their purchases immediately.
  • Social Interaction: In-store shopping provides an opportunity for social interaction. Customers can engage with other shoppers, seek recommendations, and share their experiences, creating a sense of community and fostering connections.
  • Exploration and Discovery: Physical stores allow customers to explore and discover new products or brands. They can stumble upon unexpected items, discover unique features and experience serendipitous finds that online browsing may not offer.
  • Personalized Assistance: In-store shopping offers personalized assistance from knowledgeable staff. Customers can receive expert advice, recommendations, and guidance tailored to their specific needs, enhancing their shopping experience and increasing trust in the brand.
  • Returns and Exchanges: Physical stores facilitate easy returns and exchanges. Customers can conveniently bring back items, seek assistance from staff, and have immediate resolutions, providing a seamless and hassle-free experience.
  • Trust and Security: In-store shopping offers a sense of trust and security. Customers can physically examine products, verify their quality, and ensure that they meet their expectations before making a purchase, reducing uncertainties associated with online shopping.

Aligning Digital Ads with Brick and Mortar

  • Localized Targeting: Digital ads can be strategically targeted to specific geographical areas to reach potential customers near physical store locations. Leveraging location-based advertising and geo-targeting techniques, brands can deliver personalized messages to individuals who are more likely to visit their stores.
  • Omnichannel Integration: Creating a seamless omnichannel experience is crucial for aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar. By integrating online and offline touchpoints, brands can drive customers from digital channels to physical stores. This can be achieved through consistent branding, cohesive messaging, and incentives that encourage in-store visits.
  • Incentives and Exclusive Offers: Digital ads can promote in-store incentives and exclusive offers that entice customers to visit physical stores. By highlighting limited-time promotions, discounts, or special events, brands can create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, driving foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Social Proof and User-Generated Content: Incorporating social proof and user-generated content in digital ads can build trust and credibility. Sharing customer testimonials, reviews, or user-generated photos from in-store experiences can inspire potential customers to visit physical stores and have similar positive experiences.

Conclusion

In today's retail landscape, aligning digital ads with brick-and-mortar is essential for maximizing success. By recognizing the value of in-store shopping, brands can leverage the power of technology and digital advertising to drive foot traffic, enhance customer experiences, and boost conversions within physical stores. By strategically targeting local audiences, integrating omnichannel experiences, offering incentives, and leveraging social proof, brands can create a seamless connection between their digital campaigns and in-store visits. The synergy between digital ads and brick-and-mortar not only drives immediate sales but also fosters long-term customer loyalty and brand engagement. Embracing this alignment is key to unlocking the full potential of both online and offline channels and staying ahead in the competitive retail landscape.

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Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI


Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI, embarked on a groundbreaking journey at the young age of 15, establishing his first company and igniting his innovative spirit. In 2018, he founded VDO.AI, a game-changer in the advertising landscape.

 

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How Shipway is Revolutionizing Logistics in Tier II & III Cities
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How Shipway is Revolutionizing Logistics in Tier II & III Cities
 

Venturing beyond the bustling metropolitan cities, Tier II and III regions have emerged as promising grounds for ambitious D2C brands to tap into new possibilities. With fierce competition and a tech-savvy clientele, these young D2C brands are arming themselves with cutting-edge technologies and unique offerings. However, navigating the festive season amidst the dynamic landscape of Tier II and III markets poses challenges that demand prompt and efficient logistics services. To conquer this difficult terrain and achieve unparalleled success, D2C brands need the comprehensive support of an all-inclusive e-commerce automation platform like Shipway.


Gauging Prospects in Tier II & III Markets

Tier II and III markets are witnessing a remarkable surge in e-commerce activities, primarily driven by the increasing internet penetration and widespread adoption of smartphones. This burgeoning trend has opened up a golden opportunity for D2C brands to expand their business and for logistics providers to offer efficient order fulfillment services to online retailers in these markets. 

As the demand for outsourced logistics services continues to soar, the need for streamlined and cost-effective distribution networks in these remote areas becomes ever more crucial. D2C brands can leverage this favorable landscape, utilizing advanced automation tools, data analytics, and other innovative solutions offered by logistics providers like Shipway to expand their market reach and thrive in these promising territories.

Shipway's Solution to D2C Brands' Pain Points

During the festive season, D2C brands face challenges in selecting appropriate courier shipping partners due to increased order volumes and delivery delays. Balancing shipping costs with service quality, ensuring reliable reverse logistics for returns and exchanges and a lack of customer support can also be daunting. 


Shipway has already made a significant impact in easing these pain points by providing revolutionary logistics solutions. With a presence across 29K+ pin codes, Shipway has helped D2C brands extend their reach to a broader customer base. Merchants can choose from 20+ pre-integrated carrier partners or bring in their own and streamline their order fulfillment process. Moreover, Shipway Autopilot allows businesses to allocate couriers based on various factors. This reduces logistics costs and makes the order fulfillment process effortless and increases the delivery speed which leads to lower RTOs and better customer experience. Additionally, Shipway’s Fraud prevention tool can reduce RTO rates by up to 20 percent as it segments orders into high-risk, medium risk and low-risk. As the RTO rates are extremely higher in Tier II and Tier III markets, this tool is a life savior for eCommerce brands.

To improve the overall post-purchase customer experience, Shipway has a tracking & notification solution with which merchants can keep customers updated at every milestone. Furthermore, Shipway also offers a branded returns panel where eCommerce brands can accept or reject returns/exchanges. In short, Shipway is an all-in-one logistics platform.

"As we set our sights on the untapped potential of tier 2 and 3 markets, we recognize the opportunities for D2C brands. These emerging markets often lack robust systems for order fulfillment & tracking and notifications that play a great role in post-purchase customer experience, Shipway is eager to fill these voids. With Shipway, brands can bid adieu to the common challenges they used to face with carrier aggregators like weight discrepancies, late deliveries, delayed customer support, overpriced services, and more. We are a pro at taking care of our customers & our mission is to empower D2C brands to establish themselves and flourish in the promising territories of Tier II & Tier III markets. 

With our technology-driven solutions, including order fulfillment, tracking and notifications, returns automation, and data analytics tools, Shipway aims to optimize operations for businesses, enabling them to overcome logistical challenges and drive efficiency in Tier II and III markets. Embracing these challenges head-on, we are determined to revolutionize the logistics landscape and be the driving force behind D2C brands' success in these dynamic and growing regions." said  Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder, Shipway.
 


Milestones and Growth Plans

Since its establishment in 2015, Shipway has revolutionized eCommerce operations for over 15,000+ online sellers, including renowned D2C brands such as Libas and Lenskart. With a growing user base of over 6,000 monthly active users, Shipway continues to deliver reliable and efficient logistics solutions. The company experienced a remarkable 5X revenue growth within the past 12 months, showcasing its commitment to excellence.

Looking ahead, Shipway has ambitious growth plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The company aims to make eCommerce more accessible and user-friendly, empower D2C brands with cutting-edge technology, and achieve 10x growth through expanded customer reach and increased revenue.

 

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Feasting on Secrets: Unearthing the Truth Behind the Food We Consume!
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Feasting on Secrets: Unearthing the Truth Behind the Food We Consume!
 

 In an era of increasing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable and ethical food practices, traceability plays a crucial role in establishing trust and transparency throughout the food supply chain. Traditionally, traceability focused on ensuring ingredient quality, but with the rising concern for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental impact, traceability now extends to tracking the carbon footprint associated with food products. 

Deforestation by Chocolate
Take, for example, the tale of a humble bar of chocolate, which commences its journey in the sun-kissed cocoa plantations of West Africa. A case study conducted by Touton Group revealed that producing one ton of cocoa contributes approximately 2.8-19.5 tons of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere. According to a recent article in The Economist, nearly 20% of the world's chocolate products may contribute to deforestation in Africa, unbeknownst to consumers. This alarming statistic raises the question of how consumers would respond if they had access to information about the origins of their chocolate, differentiating between products sourced from sustainable farms versus those associated with deforestation.

The Whole Truth
Reliable traceability, from farm to fork, offers numerous benefits for making claims about ingredient source and production practices. These claims can be categorized into two broad categories: healthier growing practices, such as organic farming, and ethical sourcing, including fair trade and eliminating child labor. Additionally, the need to monitor the carbon footprint of our food choices has become increasingly significant. A report from Poore & Nemecek (2018) indicated that food production accounts for between 21 to 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the extensive carbon impact of our food systems.

Savvier Consumers, Conscientious Brands
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their food choices and the quality of ingredients. Consequently, food brands are recognizing the challenges and opportunities inherent in this trend. Brands must now take greater responsibility for their manufacturing and sourcing practices, engaging with the finer points of their supply chains. By embracing transparency and traceability, these brands can differentiate themselves from competitors, capture higher market share, and potentially command a premium price.

A survey conducted by NielsonIQ indicates that approximately 50% of consumers are willing to pay a premium of 2% or more for more sustainable products, while 66% express a clear preference for sustainably sourced products. Brands that view traceability as a mere cost source risk being left behind in a market increasingly driven by conscientious consumers.

A shining instance of this is in the vineyards of Torres Winery, Spain, where each bottle of wine comes with a measurable carbon footprint. By investing in carbon credits, this winery offsets its emissions, creating a balance between indulgence and environmental responsibility.

Intrinsic Constraints of Web2 Solutions
Existing traceability solutions often face challenges and friction due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders, including farmers. These solutions may lack adequate auditability, leaving room for manipulation by vested interests. Additionally, conventional "Web2" solutions suffer from closed architectures, requiring participants in the value chain to submit data and proofs exclusively through proprietary platforms. This often leads to resistance and non-participation from value chain actors. As a result, Web 2 solutions grapple with escalating hurdles related to complexity, scalability, data redundancy, and burgeoning costs, making them untenable for deployment across extended and intricate value chains.

Web3 for Traceability: An idea whose time has come
Traceability solutions built on decentralized ledgers, such as public blockchains, can overcome the limitations of conventional technology. Web3 solutions offer superior features compared to Web2 solutions in terms of trust, openness, and authenticity.

Brand Image vs. Digital Certainty: The New Trust Paradigm
DLT-based traceability solutions eliminate the need for users, including consumers and food brands, to rely solely on the word of the solution provider. The decentralized nature of blockchain technology ensures tamper-proof data integrity, as blockchain-based ledgers are "append-only." Such security and transparency are not possible in traditional Web2 solutions.

Take the case of Bumble Bee Foods, a seafood company that implemented blockchain technology to bring unprecedented transparency to its supply chain. As a result, consumers can trace the journey of their yellowfin tuna from "bait to plate," gaining insight into the product’s origin, freshness, safety, and environmental impact. Moreover, it enabled the company to tangibly demonstrate its commitment to sustainable fishing practices, underscoring the multifaceted benefits of food traceability.

A Quantum Leap: Web3’s Open Architecture Triumph over Web2 Silos
Web3 solutions also offer the advantage of an open architecture. The authentication of data submitters relies on their public key, reducing the need for specialized middleware to transfer data between systems. In contrast, Web2 solutions require access control, rights management, and credential verification at each step, leading to increased complexity.

The Giants are Embracing Web3 
Walmart, a notable example of early adopters, implemented traceability solutions in its marine products division in 2021. This initiative aimed to improve safety and convey product quality to consumers. Traceability is becoming increasingly important throughout the food value chain. However, conventional technologies face limitations in ensuring effective traceability, particularly regarding auditability and closed architectures. Decentralized ledger-based approaches, such as web3, offer significant advantages in these areas, alongside numerous other benefits.

Then, we have the audacious experiment by Microsoft and Starbucks. By harnessing the potential of blockchain technology, they have embarked on a journey to enhance the transparency of their coffee supply chain. Their initiative promises to bring to light the carbon emissions associated with every cup of coffee savored by consumers, thus creating an unprecedented level of awareness and accountability.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that if about a third of the food that gets lost or wasted were saved, it could feed more than 870 million people. Technology like IBM's Food Trust, which uses blockchain to reduce waste in the supply chain, can play a pivotal role in addressing this issue while curbing carbon emissions.

Who Foots the Bill for Transparency
Web 3 solutions for traceability and carbon credits hold tremendous potential to revolutionize the food value chain. They promise to enhance productivity by enabling real-time, unbroken tracking; bring about economic benefits by reducing food wastage and meeting consumer demand for transparency; and accrue financial benefits to brands by offering sustainable food products at a premium price. As our food systems continue to evolve, blockchain may well be the key ingredient in cooking up a more sustainable, efficient, and equitable future.

Nurturing the Roots of a Greener, More Sustainable Food Chain
Traceability in the food value chain is catalyzing significant socio-environmental impact. As a powerful instrument to build trust and transparency, traceability propels sustainable agriculture, mitigates food spoilage and waste, curtails emissions, amplifies the assurance of quality and safety throughout the food supply chain, boosts farmers' earnings, and cultivates more equitable trade practices.

Authors:


Swapnil Pawar, Founder & CEO, ASQI 
Bikram Mahajan, Partner, Intellecap
 

 

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Balancing Efficiency & Customer Satisfaction in E-commerce Reverse Logistics
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Balancing Efficiency & Customer Satisfaction in E-commerce Reverse Logistics
 

In the world of online shopping, reverse logistics is extremely important because it helps businesses handle the process of customers returning or exchanging products. As the popularity of online shopping continues to increase, it becomes more and more crucial to focus on making the process of returning products efficient and satisfying for customers. Let’s delve into the multifaceted landscape of e-commerce reverse logistics, highlighting its critical role and exploring the intricate interplay between efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Reverse logistics and its efficiency

Reverse logistics is the term used to describe the various activities and procedures that are carried out in the e-commerce industry when dealing with product returns, repairs, exchanges, and disposal. Reverse logistics includes a variety of activities that are involved in the process of handling returned products. These activities can range from obtaining return authorization, inspecting the products, restocking them, refurbishing them, and performing other necessary tasks. The process of reverse logistics has a direct impact on the satisfaction of customers, the costs of operations, and the efforts made towards sustainability by e-commerce businesses. Another aspect of reverse logistics is how seamlessly efficient it can be in operation. 

Efficiency is crucial in reverse logistics as it directly affects cost-effectiveness and operational performance. Optimizing efficiency in the reverse logistics process involves streamlining procedures, reducing cycle times, and minimizing costs associated with product returns. By efficiently handling returns, e-commerce businesses can save time, resources, and improve overall profitability.

Reverse Logistics: The string on which customer satisfaction hangs

Customer satisfaction is a key driver of success in e-commerce. When it comes to reverse logistics, meeting customer expectations plays a significant role in retaining customers and fostering brand loyalty. To ensure customer satisfaction, e-commerce businesses should focus on clear return policies, hassle-free return processes, timely communication, and providing options for refunds or exchanges. Prompt resolution of customer issues and effective communication are vital to maintaining a positive customer experience.

In e-commerce reverse logistics, achieving an equilibrium between efficiency and consumer satisfaction is a delicate commitment. Here are some strategies for striking the proper balance:

  • Streamlined Processes: Efficient and standardised processes for returns, inspections, and restocking are important for improving operations and helping customers with e-commerce returns. India has challenges with its reverse pickup framework, which can cause delays and inconvenience. To overcome this challenge, e-commerce businesses can work with experts in reverse logistics. These partners have networks and resources for efficient reverse pickup and transportation. Businesses can speed up product pickups and returns, which makes customers happier. Partnering with specialists is crucial for navigating India's reverse pickup system, improving e-commerce reverse logistics, and enhancing customer experiences.
  • Automation and Technology: Leveraging automation and technology solutions such as barcode scanning, tracking systems, and automated returns processing can expedite the reverse logistics process and reduce errors, improving both efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Transparency and Communication: Keeping customers informed at each step of the return process builds trust and confidence. Providing real-time updates on return status, refund processing, and exchange options can significantly enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Data Analytics: Utilizing data analytics can help identify patterns and reasons for returns, enabling e-commerce businesses to take proactive measures to reduce return rates, improve product quality, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Continuous Improvement: Regularly evaluating reverse logistics processes, collecting feedback from customers, and analyzing performance metrics can help identify areas for improvement. Continuous improvement efforts demonstrate a commitment to enhancing both efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Interdependencies between customer satisfaction and reverse logistics 

The continuous growth of online shopping has magnified the importance of reverse logistics in the e-commerce industry. In this dynamic landscape, it is imperative for businesses to refine their reverse logistics processes to not only streamline operations but also ensure customer satisfaction at every touchpoint. This delicate balance requires a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing both efficiency and customer satisfaction, as well as the interdependencies between the two.

By implementing streamlined processes, leveraging technology, prioritizing transparency and communication, utilizing data analytics, and focusing on continuous improvement, e-commerce businesses can optimize reverse logistics operations and ensure a positive customer experience. Finding the right equilibrium between efficiency and customer satisfaction will not only drive customer loyalty but also contribute to the overall success and growth of e-commerce enterprises.

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Zaiba Sarang, Co-founder, iThink Logisitics

Zaiba Sarang is the Co-Founder of iThink Logistics, a tech-enabled end-to-end courier aggregation service that lets clients ship and track with ease by choosing multiple courier partners on one platform. Her responsibilities include managing the entire sales wing. Representing the iThink team, Zaiba is the face of the brand. 
 

 

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Elevating Your Living Experience: How To Choose And Optimize Smart Home Technologies
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Elevating Your Living Experience: How To Choose And Optimize Smart Home Technologies
 

In the world of elevated living, smart home technologies offer boundless possibilities to transform your living experience into something truly extraordinary. From controlling your home with a simple voice command to optimizing energy efficiency, these technologies have the power to enhance every aspect of your daily life. Choosing and optimizing the right smart home devices can seamlessly integrate into your lifestyle, granting you the ultimate convenience, comfort, and security. In this article, we explore the art of selecting and harnessing smart home technologies, paving the way for a seamless and enriching lifestyle.
 
Choosing Smart Home Technologies
Before you start investing in smart home technologies, it is important to consider your needs and budget. Here are some factors to consider when choosing smart home technologies:
-Compatibility: Ensure that the devices you select are compatible with each other and with your existing devices. Seek out devices that support common communication standards like Wi-Fi
-Select a Master platform: Decide on a primary smart home platform that suits your needs. Nowadays, there are several prominent smart home platforms available, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home Kit. While you may have a personal preference for one platform, it might be more convenient for you to stick with a single platform whenever possible, especially if you are not very familiar with smart technology and want to avoid complications
-Network: A solid home networking setup and a strong and reliable network are critical to a smooth-operating smart home. Ensure that you have the proper coverage and equipment to keep you seamlessly connected to your smart home
-Budget: Smart home technologies can be expensive, so it is important to set a budget and prioritise your needs.
 
Optimising Smart Home Technologies
Once you have chosen your smart home technologies, it is important to optimize them for a seamless and enriching lifestyle. Here are some ways:
-Use a smart home hub: A smart home hub can help you control all your smart devices from one central location
-Keep your devices in range: Ensure that your devices are within range of your network to avoid connectivity issues
-Use geofencing: Geofencing allows you to set up triggers based on your location. For example, you can set up your smart thermostat to turn on when you are on your way home
-Use AI voice control & assistant: Voice control can make it easier to control your smart devices, especially if you have your hands full
-Schedule smart lighting: Smart lighting can help you save energy and create a comfortable ambience. Schedule your smart lights to turn on and off at specific times
-Maintain a strong Wi-Fi connection: A stable and reliable home network is the backbone of any smart home integration. Ensure that you have the proper coverage and equipment to keep you seamlessly connected to your smart home
-Use an all-in-one remote: An all-in-one remote can help you control all your smart devices from one central location
-Buy a Smart TV: A smart TV comes equipped with built-in internet connectivity, providing users with a wide range of exciting online features accessible with a simple touch of a button. These features include media streaming, apps, games, web browsing, and more. Additionally, smart TVs offer remarkable boom sound technology for an immersive audio experience

OKIE is one of India’s leading home entertainment brands that has been making an impact with its products and services. The company is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and was established in 2011 by Jitin Masand who has consistently set the benchmark for delivering innovation and excellence in the realm of entertainment technology. OKIE has meticulously cultivated a vast network of over 7500 retailers and 100+ distributors with an unwavering focus on tier 2 and 3 markets. Its influence spans the western and southern regions of India, encompassing eight states of unparalleled significance, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. With a projected target of over 100,000 LED TV units to be sold, the brand aims to solidify its position as a formidable force in the market.

With a firm commitment to enhancing the customer buying experience, OKIE is set to unveil its highly anticipated OKIE Experience Zone. This dedicated space will serve as a captivating showcase, inviting customers to immerse themselves in the world of OKIE and explore its expansive range of cutting-edge products and services. Through this initiative, OKIE aspires to become the preferred destination for discerning individuals seeking the latest advancements in entertainment technology.

In conclusion, smart home technologies offer an incredible opportunity to elevate your living experience. By identifying your needs, researching available technologies, and optimizing their usage, you can create a seamless and enriching lifestyle. Embrace the convenience, comfort, and control that smart home technologies provide, and transform your home into a hub of innovation and well-being.

 

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Jitin Masand, Founder and MD, OKIE


Jitin Masand is the Founder and Managing Director of OKIE, one of India's leading home entertainment brands. With an illustrious career spanning over 18 years, his talent and dedication have contributed to the growth and success of the brand.

 

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How Titan’s Jewelry Biz Keeps Growing with Oracle’s In-store E-commerce Tech
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 How Titan’s Jewelry Biz Keeps Growing with Oracle’s In-store E-commerce Tech
 

Titan has always been a step ahead when it comes to understanding the pulse of its audience. Before artificial intelligence and machine learning mnemonics gathered steam in India, Titan’s jewelry division has been using it to track and gauge consumer touch points across its businesses. 

Oracle has been backing the behemoth up with state-of-the-art technology to stratify business according to latest trends all the way from product discovery to last-mile delivery. Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital Officer, Titan, and Kapil Makhija, Vice President and Head Technology Cloud at Oracle elaborate further. 
  
With technology evenly distributing web traffic across Tanishq’s 500 stores, it’s not just jewelry but also the other businesses that have been benefited by Oracle’s motley offerings. The Oracle Web Application Firewall protects Tanishq against unwanted internet traffic, while Oracle Support Rewards helps the brand estimate CAPEX and save cost of up to 30 percent. The most prominent innovation for Tanishq has been the endless aisle facility which is supported by Oracle APEX and their database to expand and moderate storage as per demand.

Matching demand with inventory instantly 

“Prior to Oracle’s support, customers used to walk in to buy a particular product, exhaust the patience of the staff by surfing precisely the entire inventory of the store and leave. They used to buy from somewhere else. But the endless aisle allows every store to showcase the national inventory of a vertical altogether,” says Venkateswaran. 

Filtered results and specifications on price point, composition, and product shape allow any prospective buyer to go through thousands of products per SKU. Once a particular product is liked, the system shows if it is available at that store or elsewhere. If the other store is in the same city, the product is delivered to the customer’s doorstep on the same day. Some deliveries happen as fast as within an hour. 

The sales criteria has to be query originating from store A, product delivery from store B to A, and purchase at store A. We’ve also used Apex for our point of sales system in overseas geographies such as the US and Gulf nations. This is how the endless aisle increased engagement and conversion for Titan, leading to sales crossing Rs 1000 crores in last financial year via assisted in-store e-commerce. 

This apart, there are also means to showcase the product exactly like the linguistic diversities and sensibilities of markets across India. Tanishq connects the customer with the right sales staff who speaks the language of the buyer and hence, bonds stronger and faster over video calls.

First, the brand limits the search to stores in the city. If the first search is within a 20 km radius of the store, then location is easily obtained through GPS. Suppose the first search is based on a radius of 20 kilometres from the store. The buyers are told that the item will arrive in an hour. 

“Transporting jewelry is a risky affair, so we bank a lot on the sales staff’s ability to gauge the buying intent of consumers. If the intent is strong, then we take a chance of bringing the piece to the store for a touch-and-feel experience. Online, it’s just a matter of keying in information such as the contact details of the customer, after which the dashboard gives a glimpse of the recent purchase with Titan. Accordingly, the staff can continue the conversation with the customer by building trust and making every visit to a Tanishq store special.  

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From left: Kapil Makhija, VP-Head Technology Cloud, Oracle & Krishnan Venkateswaran, Chief Digital Officer, Titan

Benefits of Oracle’s support

Although endless aisle started in 2020-21, existing technology from Apex helped Tanishq reduce the time to market and develop the application 20x faster,” says Kapil. By virtue of  41 data centers across 5 continents, Mr Krishnan’s team has designed the endless aisle in a way that the production center becomes Hyderabad with a disaster recovery module in Mumbai. Similarly the point of sale (P.O.S) operation started in North America and The UAE with two data centers for each country.

As of now, the endless aisle is linked to AI-ML with data giving the brands insight about consumer needs. The recommendation engine will also be integrated to it. While demand for NFTs witness a slump this quarter, Krishnan is positive about an experience with Tanishq on Metaverse, wherein families can create their own experience in the virtual world and not necessarily focus on buying jewelry only.

Innovations prompted by Gen Z

Keeping up with the tech needs of the Gen Z audience, Oracle’s strong application portfolio around customer experience has been used by major Fortune 500 companies, who are also part of Oracle’s advisory committee and play a significant role in predicting the next set of innovations. 

Such best practices have led to the launch of Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud data centers, now leveraged by thousands of customers. “The dual data center model helps customers get a seamless experience even in case of a disaster at one center. Through Oracle’s cloud services, customers can do performance analysis and application architecture on the one hand, while brands get their entire upgrades, patching and retrievals done automatically,” concludes Kapil.    

 

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FROM BYTES TO BITES: How AI is Transforming Food and Agriculture
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FROM BYTES TO BITES: How AI is Transforming Food and Agriculture
 

The world's population is experiencing a rapid surge, and it is foreseen to approach a staggering 9.7 billion individuals by the year 2050. Consequently, this escalating growth has engendered a mounting apprehension regarding the ability to satisfy the escalating demand for sustenance, all while ensuring the vital aspects of food security and sustainability remain intact.

In light of these concerns, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) applications in the agri-food sector holds extraordinary potential to revolutionize the industry, heralding a new era of heightened sustainability. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) embodies the capacity of machines or computer programs to undertake endeavours typically reliant on human intellect, encompassing domains such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. The realm of AI encompasses diverse subfields, each contributing unique capabilities to this expansive discipline. 

These subfields encompass machine learning (ML), deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, and cognitive computing. Within AI technology, a plethora of algorithms emerges, including reinforcement learning, swarm intelligence, cognitive science, expert systems, fuzzy logic (FL), Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), and Logic Programming, offering a rich tapestry of tools to leverage in pursuit of intelligent automation.

Innovative Applications of AI in Food and Agriculture

GRAIN QUALITY

Manual grain inspection is a time-consuming process and is prone to human error, which can result in the selection of lower-quality grains. Therefore, the use of computer vision systems in grain inspection is becoming increasingly popular. These systems use advanced imaging techniques and ML algorithms to analyse images of grains and identify defects or impurities, such as broken kernels, foreign materials etc. 

Back propagation neural network (BPNN) has been effectively used to classify rice grain varieties with great accuracy (96%), even with poor image quality. 

PEST DETECTION AND WEED MANAGEMENT

Accurate identification of insect species, size variation, and stage of development is crucial for effective pest management in agriculture. By identifying the type and number of insects present in a crop field, farmers can take appropriate measures to control the pest population and prevent damage to their crops. Several AI and ML technologies are being developed and tested for insect detection and counting. 

Some of these technologies use computer vision algorithms, while others rely on ML algorithms to identify and classify different insect species. 

Similarly, herbicides have been widely used by farmers for many years to control weeds and improve crop yields. However, the overuse or improper application of herbicides can have negative impacts on both human health and the environment. To minimize the negative impacts of herbicides, there is a growing need for more precise and accurate application methods.

Robotic weed control is also an emerging technology that shows great promise for the future of agriculture. Robotic weed control systems typically use computer vision and ML algorithms to detect and identify weeds in crop fields, then use robotic arms or other mechanical tools to remove or destroy the weeds. 

Although intelligent mechanical weed control would be more felicitous than weeding devices with cutting action, contrary to time-based weed removal, it is possible to remotely regulate the tendency of tines of spring-tine harrow prototype systems based on the conditions of soil, the density of weed, and crop production. 

CROP SELECTION AND YIELD IMPROVEMENT

Robots, such as the Berry 5 Robot from Harvest Croo Robotics (Tampa, FL, USA), are designed to automate the harvesting of strawberries, which is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process.

The robot uses computer vision and ML algorithms to identify and pick ripe strawberries at a faster rate than humans can. This can help farmers to reduce labour costs and improve their yields by ensuring that more strawberries are harvested at the optimal time. 

FOOD SAFETY COMPLIANCE

AI enabled cameras are used to ensure safety compliance amongst food workers in food facility. This employs facial-recognition and object-recognition software to determine whether workers are complying with good personal hygiene as required by food safety law. If violation is found, it extracts the screen images for review which can be rectified in the real time. The accuracy of this technology is more than 96%. 

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

AI technology uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to model consumer flavour preferences and predict how well they will respond to new tastes. The data can be segmented into demographic groups to help companies develop new products that match the preferences of their target audience. With these, manufacturers could know what products will thrive before the hit the shelves. 

Companies like SPOONSHOT are using AI techniques like NLP (natural language processing) and computer vision to build organised information from unstructured data. They leverage food science domain knowledge to process data relating to physical and chemical properties of ingredients to understand how ingredient interactions impact a final recipe.

SPOONSHOT can scout 3B social conversations, 5M research papers, 84M articles, 4M products, 84M blogs etc to provide actionable insights around product concepts, product and menu innovations, consumer market insights, competitor analysis etc. 

MARKET RESEARCH AND SALES ENABLEMENT

AI offers tremendous potential to assist in market research within the food industry, providing valuable insights and facilitating better decision-making. AI algorithms can analyse vast amounts of data, including consumer preferences, purchasing behaviour, and social media interactions related to food. 

By recognizing patterns and correlations, AI can identify emerging trends, understand consumer preferences, and predict future demands accurately. This information can help food businesses tailor their products, marketing strategies, and overall consumer experience to meet evolving customer needs.

Social listening tools like CRIMSON HEXAGON and SYNTHESIO helps generate valuable insights around audience analysis, brand intelligence, campaign analysis, customer sentiment, market research, trend analysis, competitor analysis etc, helping make smarter, data-driven decisions. (11)

In the current attention-driven economy, where capturing and retaining attention is challenging due to the overwhelming choices and distractions faced by consumers, traditional market research methods have their limitations. However, AI-powered research offers a promising solution by providing rapid, reliable, and actionable insights.

Companies like THE LIGHTBULB.AI leverage AI-enabled technology to offer a range of research services. These include qualitative and quantitative research, ad testing, as well as UI/UX testing. Their advanced capabilities encompass facial coding, eye tracking, speech transcription, text sentiment analysis, and audio tonality analysis. These modules enable comprehensive analysis and understanding of user experiences and preferences. 

By harnessing AI in research, businesses can overcome the shortcomings of traditional methods and gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour. AI-based research offers the advantage of speed, accuracy, and scalability, allowing companies to adapt swiftly to evolving market dynamics and make informed decisions based on robust data-driven insights.

AI can significantly contribute to sales enablement by providing valuable insights, automating tasks, and enhancing overall sales efficiency. 

INFILECT, a leading provider of advanced retail visual intelligence, offers cutting-edge solutions that can greatly boost sales for organizations. With their advanced image recognition technology and retail data analytics capabilities, Infilect empowers businesses to improve shelf visibility and enhance store execution performance. By analysing visual data, such as product placement, stock availability, and planogram compliance, Infilect provides valuable insights to optimize sales strategies and improve overall retail performance. 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the transformational power of AI in the food and agriculture industry is undeniable. From bytes of data to the very bites we consume, AI has become a driving force behind enhanced productivity, sustainability, and innovation.

Through advanced algorithms and data-driven insights, AI is optimizing crop management, improving yield predictions, and revolutionizing farming practices. It is enabling precise monitoring of soil conditions, crop health, and irrigation needs, leading to resource-efficient and environmentally conscious agricultural operations.

Furthermore, AI is enhancing food safety by rapidly detecting and mitigating risks associated with contaminants, pests, and diseases. It is facilitating traceability and supply chain transparency, ensuring that consumers have access to safe and high-quality food.

Beyond the farm, AI is revolutionizing food production, from automated processing and packaging to personalized nutrition recommendations. It is driving the development of novel ingredients and flavors, expanding the boundaries of culinary creativity.

However, it is essential to recognize that the adoption of AI in the food and agriculture sector is an ongoing journey. 

Challenges such as data privacy, infrastructure limitations, and ethical considerations must be addressed to fully harness the potential of AI while ensuring equitable access and sustainable practices.

In this age of bytes and bites, AI holds the promise of a transformative future for food and agriculture, ushering in a new era of abundance, efficiency, and global nourishment. Let us seize the opportunities that lie ahead and embrace AI as a powerful ally in creating a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system for generations to come.

 

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Bharat Sawnani is the founder of Elevantus with 14 years' experience across innovation, technology, quality, and 6 years in clinical pharmacokinetics.  

 

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Metaverse Marketing: How Brands Can Build Stronger Connections in Virtual Worlds
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Metaverse Marketing: How Brands Can Build Stronger Connections in Virtual Worlds
 

Is the Metaverse here to stay or is it just a fancy fad? If you are a marketer or a brand custodian, you have probably thought about it. The answer that makes sense is that the Metaverse, while still taking shape, is here to stay. It is evolving and has its ups and downs, just like the Internet in its infancy. But things are changing fast. Investments into the Metaverse crossed $120 million in 2022 and it is expected to generate $5 trillion by 2030 for both consumer and industrial enterprises, according to McKinsey. That is serious business and one that companies are betting big on.

But the true test lies in the adoption by the end-users. Reports suggest that consumers have given the Metaverse a thumbs-up. Even if this popularity is credited to initial euphoria for new technology, consumers are already looking for non-entertainment uses. Over the next two to five years, 70 percent of consumers intend to use the Metaverse in non-gaming contexts. What this hints at is mass adoption in the near future. 

For marketers and brands, the potential of the Metaverse cannot be understated or ignored. These facts underscore the growing significance of the Metaverse as a crucial channel for brand engagement. But we need to remember that the success of a new technology lies in keeping the consumer at the center of everything. Because it is the consumers who will grow the Metaverse.

Start with the Why

Before embarking on the Metaverse journey, brands need to carefully assess their motivations and how they want to engage with consumers. Being present in the Metaverse without a clear purpose is an inadequate starting point. It is important to establish specific objectives. For instance, is the goal to augment awareness among untapped audiences or expand the brand's reach and visibility among the target audience?

Alternatively, could the aim be to nurture positive sentiment and foster brand loyalty? By identifying and articulating these objectives, brands can align their Metaverse strategy with their broader marketing goals.

Next, Where

Once brands have evaluated the reasons for their Metaverse presence, it becomes crucial to assess and select the most suitable Metaverse platforms. Each brand possesses a distinct personality, and the context in which it is perceived holds significant importance. Hence, careful analysis is necessary to identify the platforms that not only provide the greatest potential but also align well with the brand's identity and values.

It is important to consider the unique strengths and weaknesses of each platform in relation to the brand's objectives. This helps make informed decisions and maximize their impact within the Metaverse. Moreover, embracing the opportunity to experiment with multiple platforms allows brands to explore and determine which platforms resonate best with their target audience. By leveraging this flexibility, brands can fine-tune their Metaverse strategy and establish a strong presence that truly connects with their intended audience.

Experiences Matter

After the appropriate Metaverse platform, or platforms, are selected, it is essential to shift the focus towards creating compelling experiences. Within the Metaverse, people are drawn in by the overall ambience, but it is the experience itself that keeps them engaged. Brands need to invest in experiences that captivate their specific target audience.

In this virtual world, where innovation is paramount, the expectation for delivering exceptional and immersive experiences is notably high. Brands will need to strike a balance between merely advertising their offerings and providing truly immersive experiences that seamlessly integrate with the Metaverse while also complementing real-world activations. This delicate balance ensures that brands meet the elevated expectations of consumers within the Metaverse.

Furthermore, brands possess the autonomy to choose their desired virtual locations, allowing them to dynamically exist within various virtual landscapes. This versatility empowers brands to adopt different styles and forms to effectively engage specific audiences. By employing customized strategies and showcasing their unique products, brands can effectively establish a distinct presence that resonates with their target audience within the Metaverse.

Make Connections

When establishing a presence in the Metaverse for marketing purposes, it is crucial to prioritize making meaningful connections with the audience over focusing solely on direct sales. Forward-thinking brands recognize the importance of proactively strategizing to capture the long-term potential of the Metaverse. Once connections with the target audience have been established, there are various avenues to further enhance brand engagement.

For instance, for fashion brands, virtual showrooms, and dressing rooms present significant opportunities to transition from experimental endeavors to widespread adoption. Through virtual showrooms, consumers can explore and interact with products, enabling them to visualize and experience them in a more engaging and interactive manner. Additionally, virtual dressing rooms offer the opportunity for users to try on virtual outfits and experiment with different styles, empowering them to make confident fashion choices.

Prepare for Almost Everything

In order to thrive in the Metaverse, brands must proactively anticipate and mitigate potential risks to reputation. Cautionary examples exist where brands engaged with consumers online without adequately preparing for the rapid feedback loops of the Internet or the viral nature of social media. However, in the Metaverse, the stakes can be even higher due to the real-time and immersive nature of events. Therefore, it is prudent to establish clear rules of engagement that encompass detailed policies and robust enforcement practices.

These guidelines should cover various aspects such as customer experience, intellectual property management, user safety, data privacy, and misinformation. Instances have already arisen where events in the Metaverse did not unfold as intended.

Measuring Success

Brands need to reimagine how they evaluate marketing success within the Metaverse. While measuring returns on investments remains crucial, the metrics may differ from traditional expectations. In traditional digital marketing, website visitors, conversions, ‘likes,’ shares and customer acquisition costs take center stage. However, in the Metaverse, marketers may need to redefine their metrics to capture the unique dynamics of user engagement.

Factors such as analyzing engagement data, consumer preferences, engagement time, etc. become significant considerations. By adopting such measurement approaches, marketers can gain insights into the effectiveness of their Metaverse strategies and optimize their campaigns accordingly.

Prepare to Seize the Day

Regardless of the specific direction the Metaverse takes, it is highly likely that innovation and consumer adoption will continue to accelerate at a rapid pace. As platforms evolve and new use cases emerge, brands will need to continuously test, learn, and adapt. In this dynamic landscape, it becomes crucial for marketers to have access to the necessary talent capable of keeping up with the swift advancements in augmented and virtual reality, consumer journey analytics, and social commerce. By staying attuned to these developments and securing the right expertise, marketers can effectively navigate the evolving Metaverse and capitalize on the opportunities it presents.

Undoubtedly, the Metaverse presents abundant opportunities. While certain technological limitations and the current level of mainstream adoption may initially seem like potential hurdles, they should not deter companies from exploring, experimenting, and ultimately achieving success within the Metaverse. By embracing an open mindset, brands can seize the chance to innovate, learn, and make significant strides in their marketing initiatives.

This article is authored by Piyush Gupta, CEO, VOSMOS.

 

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Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018
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Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018
 

Despite reduced growth rates compared to the initial pandemic period, the forecast for global e-commerce remains bullish. According to the FIS Global Payments Report 2023, the explosive growth in global e-commerce in the first two years of the pandemic has slightly slowed in 2022, with a 10 percent YoY growth in global e-commerce transaction value from 2021-2022. However, the report predicts a 9 percent CAGR from 2022-2026, projecting that global e-commerce transaction value will rise from approximately $6 trillion in 2022 to over $8.5 trillion in 2026.

The report highlights that all regions except Europe saw double-digit growth from 2021-2022, with the highest growth of 21 percent in the Middle East and Africa. Of the 40 markets covered in the report, 37 saw double-digit YoY growth from 2021 to 22. Markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia, except for Thailand at 9 percent, continue to be high-growth markets. The report predicts a mid-teens CAGR in these regions through 2026.

Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted e-commerce as people began to rely more on online shopping. The report indicates that the pandemic has solidified the shift in consumer behavior towards digital payments, which has continued to drive e-commerce growth. In addition, technological advancements and improvements in digital infrastructure have made online shopping more accessible and convenient for consumers, contributing to the development of e-commerce.

Global e-commerce is projected to grow in all regions, with a robust double-digit growth forecast in emerging markets. This trend presents attractive opportunities for cross-border e-commerce. Therefore, the report suggests that businesses should develop cross-border e-commerce capabilities to benefit from the high-growth markets.

Global E-Com Expected to Hit $8.5 tn by 2026, with a 56 pc Growth Forecast From 2018

Common Services Centers under the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) said it has invested in the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to promote e-commerce and logistics in rural areas. “It is for the first time that CSC has invested in an initiative like this. ONDC will democratize digital commerce by moving to an open network. The partnership will also generate employment opportunities for rural youth by enabling a last mile logistics network,” Dinesh Tyagi, MD, CSC SPV, said in a statement.

However, some challenges still need to be addressed to sustain this growth. For example, the report indicates that the lack of digital infrastructure and financial inclusion in some emerging markets can hinder e-commerce growth. Additionally, regulatory challenges and cross-border trade barriers can create obstacles for businesses looking to expand globally.

Overall, the FIS Global Payments Report 2023 indicates that global e-commerce is poised for significant growth over the next few years, presenting business opportunities and challenges. Companies that can successfully navigate the challenges and leverage the opportunities presented by e-commerce will likely benefit from this growth trend.

 

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How Contemporary D2C Brands can Successfully Surf the Visibility Wave
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How Contemporary D2C Brands can Successfully Surf the Visibility Wave
 

D2C brands across the world are born of a mission. A desire to supply today's tech-savvy consumers with hard-to-source goods and trend-focused designs. When one opens social media today, we are thrust into the world of targeted sponsored ads that truly speak to our souls. But how does one trust a new brand and separate the wheat from the chaff?

We tend to rely on the information on the ‘buy now’ page. We look at details like EDD, returns policy, customer reviews, and even, in some cases, the embedded Instagram feed to check the 'real-life' appeal of the product. Clearly, pre-purchase experience is important to us. Post-purchase experience equally, if not more so.

Dipti recently procured two beautiful bedspreads from a long-running D2C brand. She was quite excited about the buy and couldn't wait to receive the package. Unfortunately, the brand offered little to no visibility on the shipment movement.

The predicted 3-4 days did not really stick, and she was left wondering if she had been conned. This is a critical moment, a churning point, in consumer psychology. Vexed, she decided never to re-purchase from that brand. The only solace was that she did receive the beautiful bedspreads a week later, but her post-purchase experience had been so marred it completely threw her off the brand.

What makes the D2C customer tick?

Over 95% of online shoppers track their orders. Close to 50% of them give the order tracking page a look-see every day till they receive their package. About 20% check the status of their purchases multiple times a day. 

Yes, this points to delivery anticipation and post-purchase excitement, but 7 out of 10 shoppers also said they would rather check tracking status for updates than reach out to customer care in case of delays.

Consumers today are attuned to the ‘instant’ lifestyle. They are no longer used to the speed of dial-up internet and scheduled tv programs. They are accustomed to having answers right here and now. This trait is evident in their desire for visibility on packages.

The state of the ‘restless shopper’ psyche can be a good thing for D2C brands.

And then there was vision…

The crux of superior post-purchase experiences boils down to the quality of two things - communication & visibility. Both intertwined make a formidable force to build customer trust and loyalty. Here are some key features every D2C brand needs in their bandanna to set their board on the visibility wave.

Tracking Page: Measuring Performance Metrics

A personalized tracking page is a must for every D2C brand. It is such a simple offering but does so much to elevate the brand’s positioning in the eyes of the shopper. Consumers were once ok with navigating to a courier page to check out the status of their airwaybill number. This unnecessary rigmarole can be safely stowed away thanks to the spectacular range of shipping software currently available.

The trick is to make the tracking page clean, detailed, and tasteful and design it per the brand’s theme and style. Kushal’s, Plum Goodness, Wow Science, The House of Rare…. All offer a clean tracking page in line with their branding ensuring customers never need look elsewhere for information.


Real-Time Alerts


When the phone pings saying the package is out for delivery, it better well be! More often than not, shoppers receive their packages days after receiving this message that’s ripe with false promises. Should they stay home? Should they head out? Should they give a heads-up to their partner, neighbor, security person? Enough.

Real-time alerts via SMS, IVRS, WhatsApp, or Email should suffer no lag, nor should they jump the gun. It’s time to chat with best-in-biz service providers to ensure you don’t pitch your customer into a fit of anxiety. Decathlon has perfected the art of providing real-time statuses.


Holistic Brand Experience

How many times have shoppers become wildly disoriented seeing the abbreviated name of a courier company in their SMS list? Especially considering most shop for multiple products from various online brands at a time. White-labeling is a genuine no-brainer.

When it comes to visibility, it’s time to stop hiding behind third-party doors and display your brand name loud and proud on all forms of communication. When Dipti purchased a watch from Fire-Boltt, she received accurate tracking information from a white-labeled Whatsapp brand account.


Automated Resolutions

If there’s one thing a shopper detests more than being confronted by a strange name, being promised their order is out for delivery when it isn’t, and having to visit a courier page to track their purchase, it’s this - Non-Delivery. It could happen for multiple reasons, none of which is the customer’s problem.

Set up an automated resolution flow to instantaneously resolve non-delivery reports. Reach out to customers with an automated communication flow to sort out any issues ranging from ‘customer unreachable’ to ‘incomplete address’, and ensure that shoppers get their goods on their doorstep right on time. Kapiva and Plix Life recently sorted out their NDR issues with a well-structured communication flow and successfully brought down their RTOs.

Conclusion

It’s time this best practice of offering visibility became standard practice. By providing transparency in delivery, you can expect to see an immediate reduction in customer churn and a spike in brand trust and loyalty. And these are good armaments for any D2C brand that desires to become a household name.

Naman Vijay, Co-Founder, Clickpost
Naman Vijay, Co-Founder, Clickpost

 

Naman Vijay is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Delhi campus. He founded ClickPost, Asia's largest post-purchase experience platform in 2015 with co-founder Prashant Gupta, an alumnus of NIT Trichy and InMobi. Previously, Naman had worked as Senior Business Analyst at Barclays and was a Co-founder of Pyck.

 

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Online Retail Boom to Outpace Offline Growth by 2030
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Online Retail Boom to Outpace Offline Growth by 2030
 

Online retail penetration is projected to grow at an extraordinary rate, outpacing offline retail by 2.5 times in the next decade. As India ascends to become the world's third-largest consumer market during this period, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP’s (Deloitte India’s) ‘Future of Retail’ report foresees the online retail sector, which stood at $70 billion in 2022, to surge to $325 billion by 2030.

Deloitte India's report attributes these projections to the rapid growth of e-commerce in Tier II and III cities, which have surpassed Tier I markets in terms of total orders. In 2022, these cities accounted for over 60 percent of all orders, with Tier III cities experiencing a remarkable 65 percent growth in order volume and Tier II cities witnessing a substantial 50 percent growth. Meanwhile, Tier I cities observed a modest 10 percent growth.

The surge in online retail can be attributed to various factors. The convenience of ordering and returns, bolstered by a robust logistics infrastructure spanning over 19,000 pin codes, has played a pivotal role. Additionally, India boasts a digitally savvy consumer base of 220 million online shoppers, further driving the growth of e-commerce. Furthermore, the sector has witnessed significant investments from private equity and venture capital firms, totaling $23 billion over the past five years.

Consequently, online sales are poised to surpass organized retail, with a growing emphasis on omnichannel retail strategies where retailers seamlessly integrate their offline and online channels to provide consumers with the best of both worlds.

"Accelerated technology investments are vital to meeting the demands of tech-savvy consumers," stated Anand Ramanathan, Partner, and Consumer Industry Leader - Consulting, Deloitte India. "I am optimistic about the exponential growth potential of India's retail sector, driven by rising incomes, the expanding middle class, and rapid digitalization. By harnessing the power of technology, sustainability, and forward-thinking strategies, retailers can create an ecosystem that not only meets evolving consumer demands but also sets new benchmarks for value, engagement, and unforgettable shopping experiences."

Deloitte's report identifies several key forces that are expected to reshape the retail landscape in India. These include changing consumer patterns, societal and cultural influences, the scale of exponential technology, industry disruptions, climate considerations, and the impact of economics, policy, and power dynamics. The report also highlights that establishing consumer confidence through sustainability initiatives is crucial in the era of conscious consumerism.

Based on these forces, Deloitte recommends six future scenarios for Indian retailers to strategize around:

1. Rise of new commerce: The growing internet user base, smartphone adoption, and e-commerce penetration are reshaping commerce. New commerce channels driven by factors such as increased internet use in Tier II cities, ease of starting online businesses, government support, convenience, personalization, easy discovery, and payment, and trust in influencers are set to redefine the retail landscape.

2. Technology to drive retail towards immersive, frictionless, intelligent experiences: Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the Metaverse, and experiential retail are transforming customer interactions. Retailers can enhance customer engagement, satisfaction, and sales by creating captivating and interactive shopping environments.

3. Kirana tech: Kirana tech start-ups offer solutions to empower traditional Kirana stores and compete with online giants. Integrating Kiranas into the larger retail ecosystem opens up new markets, expands the product range, and strengthens its business presence.

4. Rise of the luxury market: Following the pandemic, luxury brands are entering the Indian market through online luxury retailers and partnerships with Indian conglomerates. The report indicates that millennials are driving the luxury market, with 60 percent of them making luxury purchases.

5. Private labels to self-sustain and intensify competition: Private labels are gaining prominence, offering higher profit margins for retailers compared to traditional brands. With the growing consumer consciousness around well-being and demand for healthier options, private-label brands offering quality, affordable, and differentiated products are well-positioned to thrive.

6. Experiential retail: Experiential retail goes beyond transactional experiences, transforming physical and online shopping environments. Retailers are prioritizing immersive and unforgettable experiences to create lasting impressions and strengthen the brand perception.

 

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How E-Commerce can Drive Growth in Healthcare Sector in India
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How E-Commerce can Drive Growth in Healthcare Sector in India
 

India has witnessed significant growth in e-commerce across various sectors, including healthcare. Several healthcare e-commerce platforms have emerged recently, providing consumers with multiple services and products.

E-commerce has the potential to drive significant growth in the healthcare sector in India by leveraging its advantages in terms of convenience, accessibility, and efficiency. Healthcare e-commerce in India has gained momentum in recent years due to increasing internet penetration, smartphone usage, and the convenience it offers consumers. The global healthcare e-commerce market will grow from $309.62 billion in 2022 to $366.94 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5 percent, according to The Business Research Company.

The Role of Digital Transformation in the Rise of Healthcare eCommerce

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift from traditional pharmacies to e-pharmacies, also known as online pharmacies. Technological advancements and the increasing demand for convenience and accessibility in healthcare services primarily drive this transition.

E-pharmacies offer several advantages over their traditional counterparts. Firstly, they provide a convenient platform for customers to purchase medications and healthcare products from the comfort of their own homes. This eliminates the need to visit physical stores, saving time and effort, especially for individuals with mobility issues or those residing in remote areas.

Moreover, e-pharmacies often boast a more comprehensive range of products than traditional pharmacies. They can stock a larger inventory of medications and healthcare items, ensuring greater availability and reducing the chances of out-of-stock situations. This is particularly beneficial for patients who require specific medications or have unique healthcare needs.

Another significant benefit of e-pharmacies is the potential for cost savings. Online platforms frequently offer competitive prices due to reduced overhead costs associated with maintaining physical stores. Additionally, they may provide discounts, promotions, or loyalty programs, further reducing the financial burden on customers.

E-pharmacies also enhance medication management and adherence. Many online platforms offer features such as automatic prescription refills and reminders, ensuring that patients never run out of their essential medications. This can significantly improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of medication non-compliance.

Despite the advantages, it is important to note that the shift to e-pharmacies also presents some challenges. One of the key concerns is the need for stringent regulations and quality control measures to ensure the safety and authenticity of medications being sold online. Government bodies and regulatory agencies are working to establish frameworks to monitor and regulate e-pharmacies effectively.

Here are some ways in which e-commerce can contribute to the growth of healthcare in India:

  • Increased accessibility: E-commerce platforms can provide access to healthcare products, medicines, and equipment to people in remote areas with limited healthcare infrastructure. Online pharmacies can deliver medications to customers' doorsteps, ensuring the availability of essential medicines even in underserved regions.
  • Expanded reach: E-commerce allows healthcare providers to expand beyond physical locations. Healthcare providers can offer telemedicine services, enabling patients to consult doctors remotely via video or chat. This eliminates the need for patients to travel long distances, making healthcare more accessible to a larger population.
  • Cost-effective healthcare: E-commerce platforms can help streamline the supply chain and reduce operational costs, resulting in cost savings for healthcare providers and consumers. This can translate into lower prices for medicines, diagnostic tests, and healthcare services, making healthcare more affordable for patients.
  • Improved information dissemination: E-commerce platforms can serve as a reliable source of healthcare information, providing access to educational resources, health tips, and expert advice. This empowers patients to make informed decisions about their health and wellness.
  • Enhanced transparency and consumer reviews: E-commerce platforms can provide transparency in pricing, quality, and service offerings. Consumers can compare prices, read product reviews, and make informed choices. This transparency can drive competition among healthcare providers, improving quality and service delivery.
  • Data-driven insights: E-commerce platforms generate vast amounts of data related to consumer preferences, buying patterns, and health-related information. Analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior, disease trends, and healthcare demands, helping healthcare providers tailor their services and offerings to meet specific needs.

However, it is essential to note that while e-commerce offers significant opportunities for growth in the healthcare sector, certain challenges must be addressed. These challenges include ensuring the authenticity and quality of healthcare products sold online, safeguarding patient privacy and data security, and establishing robust regulatory frameworks to govern e-commerce in healthcare.

Conclusion

In conclusion, healthcare E-commerce is a powerful catalyst for positive change in the wellness sector, delivering accessibility, efficiency, cost reduction, and overall patient satisfaction. Through diligent evaluation and ongoing enhancements, it has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry and shape its future.

 

About the Author

Tanya C Kakaria, Business Head, E-commerce Solutions, Paxcom

Tanya C Kakaria, Business Head, E-commerce Solutions, Paxcom

 

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IReCxD2C Summit:Why Being Multichannel Matters: Unlocking Success in Today's Competitive Landscape
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IReCxD2C Summit:Why Being Multichannel Matters: Unlocking Success in Today's Competitive Landscape
 

In today's dynamic consumer landscape, digital transformation is imperative for businesses, especially in the high-end retail industry. By combining digital and physical solutions, businesses can create seamless experiences, cater to changing consumer demands, and ultimately deliver the right solutions to their valued clients.

In a recent conversation at Indian Retailer’s grand event in Bengaluru – IReC X D2C 2023, Aruni Mishra, CEO, Bergner India, and Sachin Jain, MD, De Beers India have highlighted how to create a truly hybrid shopping experience; a plan for creating a unified, lucrative, and customer-focused omnichannel strategy; what are the prerequisites to establish a holistic and integrated approach, etc.

“Embracing the digital era and leveraging its potential can unlock new possibilities and secure a thriving future in the ever-evolving high-end retail space,” Sachin Jain, MD, De Beers India.

“The concept of phygital or hybrid environments is not about providing identical experiences across all platforms. Instead, it's about seamlessly integrating various formats while understanding and catering to what customers expect from each one. It's essential to tailor the experience based on the specific demands and preferences of customers in each format. Achieving relevance in the phygital space requires acknowledging that customers seek different experiences in different formats. By understanding their expectations and adapting accordingly, brands can ensure their continued relevance and success,” Aruni Mishra, CEO, Bergner India.

Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior

Both Mishra and Jain said that by recognizing these trends and finding the right balance between digital and physical experiences, businesses can thrive in a space where value and trust are paramount.

Shifting from Commodities to Consuming Brands:

Consumers worldwide are transitioning from perceiving products as mere commodities to seeking engaging brand experiences. This shift holds true across industries and emphasizes the importance of creating lasting connections with clients. High-end retail, in particular, is witnessing a move from one-time transactions to cultivating long-term relationships and experiential engagements.

From Digital-First to Digital Everywhere:

The digital-first approach has evolved into a pervasive concept known as "digital everywhere." A recent survey conducted in the diamond industry reveals that customers extensively research diamonds online, with the average client having viewed industry diamonds at least 11 times before visiting a physical store. Approximately 70 percent of customers continue their search while physically present, highlighting the omnipresence of digital platforms and their influence on purchasing decisions.

Purpose-Driven Consumption:

Consumers now prioritize brands aligned with their personal values and the purpose they wish to fulfill in life. Brand choices and consumption patterns are characterized by a desire to contribute positively to the world. Understanding and embodying a meaningful purpose can significantly enhance brand loyalty and customer engagement.

Consistent Branding:

The convergence of the physical and digital realms presents an opportunity for powerful storytelling. Maintaining consistent brand messaging across various channels, regardless of whether they are digital or physical, is essential for building trust and reinforcing brand identity.

Tech-Driven Solutions:

Innovative technologies offer solutions to bridge the gap between digital and physical experiences. Features like physical and digital try-ons allow customers to visualize products on their bodies, eliminating concerns about variations between online images and physical appearances. These advancements provide a more immersive and realistic experience, empowering customers to make informed decisions.

Revolutionizing Biz with Tech

Aruni said that Bergner has introduced a concept called TAP, which stands for Technology, Analytics, and Partnerships. TAP represents the company’s approach to technology that enhances human capabilities rather than alienating them. It focuses on implementing technologies that aid and empower people, rather than eliminating the need for human touch. This perspective on technology comes from a business and sales standpoint, rather than being solely driven by IT. Analytics is another crucial aspect of the organization. In the past, analytics was primarily about categorizing customers into different homogeneous groups based on their behavior and addressing their needs accordingly. However, the approach to analytics has evolved significantly. Today, it involves treating each customer as a unique individual and catering to their specific requirements.

Additionally, partnerships play a vital role in Bergner’s strategy. “We acknowledge that we can't do everything on our own, and building partnerships is essential. We believe in going beyond conventional partnerships and aim to establish deep-rooted collaborations that foster community-building or facilitate content creation. By forging meaningful partnerships with like-minded organizations, we can collectively serve our target customers more effectively,” asserted Mishra.

“TAP encapsulates the core principles within the Bergner organization. We prioritize technology that empowers individuals, leverage analytics to understand and address the unique needs of each customer, and foster strategic partnerships to create a thriving community and deliver valuable content,” he further added.

Meanwhile, Sachin stated that the jewelry industry has traditionally been resistant to change in its operations. Looking back decades ago when e-commerce was emerging, there was a significant debate about the viability of selling jewelry or diamonds online. Unfortunately, we as an organization missed that opportunity. However, now there's a new wave approaching—the metaverse. The initial responses to the metaverse globally and in India have been overwhelmingly positive, and it's crucial for the jewelry industry, as well as others, to understand its potential. To embark on this journey, it's important to carve out your space and engage in conversations about NFTs because that's where younger customers can be found. Furthermore, by the end of this year, 72 percent of the Indian population will be under 25 years old, making this age group highly relevant for any industry.

“To simplify the future, we need to focus on building the metaverse and NFTs. The initial response, especially in high-value categories, has been extraordinary. In the short term, within the next few months, we should also prioritize experiential last-mile delivery. While we talk about brands and the overall experience, the final step of product delivery is often handled by a courier or delivery person,” noted Jain.

To Conclude

There are now three interconnected platforms where customers seamlessly navigate — the physical store, web platform, and mobile platform. It is essential to recognize the value of these platforms and understand that relevance is achieved by being present in them.

“In a physical store, customers seek conversations, assurance, and a pleasant ambiance. On a web platform, value and access to abundant information are crucial. On a mobile platform, speed and convenience in shopping are paramount. To succeed, it is vital for brands to extend their presence across these formats while tailoring expectations and experiences accordingly. By adapting and catering to the specific demands of each format, brands can unlock the key to success in this evolving landscape,” highlighted Mishra.

Furthermore, maintaining consistency across online and offline channels is imperative, and integrating digital elements into physical stores can enhance the overall retail experience.

“Over the past decade, we have witnessed the importance of consistent representation both online and offline. In the Indian jewelry business, we have seen numerous brands that fail to establish a cohesive connection between their online and offline presence. This disconnect is a mistake. It is crucial for brands to maintain consistency in their appearance, values, colors, modernity, and cultural relevance. Whether customers engage with the brand physically or digitally, the experience should be similar,” concluded Jain.

 

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The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World
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The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World
 

India's total merchandise exports continue to cross the $100 billion mark, for the second consecutive quarter in a row, amounting to $105.8 billion, during Q3 (October-December) of 2021-22. Some key factors for this growth include a massive post-pandemic push that made retailers shift from mere brick-and-mortar establishments and embrace e-commerce both locally and globally. Other catalysts included the active participation of consumers in shopping with global retailers.

Shiprocket X, a cross-border shipping product of Shiprocket, India’s leading e-commerce enablement platform recently published its survey report titled “The State of Cross-Border Trade.” The survey revealed some interesting global insights, along with how India ranked 9th in global cross-border growth.

Simplified cross-border trade has been a top priority for the Indian government as it represents 20 percent of global e-commerce and is a key determinant of the level of EoDB (ease of doing business) in the country. The government of India has actively provided the necessary impetus for the growth of the Indian export sector, which has powered a total export revenue of $417 billion in FY22. 

The Indian E-Commerce Industry will Surpass US by 2034; Become Second Largest in the World

15 additional clusters pan-India clocked a surge in merchandise exports, with Gujarat contributing the highest to India’s overall exports, followed by Rajasthan and Delhi. These statistics point towards a strong demand indication for cross-border trade of Indian products

Akshay Ghulati, Co-Founder, Strategy & Global Expansion, Shiprocket said, “Indian MSMEs are the powerhouse of the country with a significant contribution to our GDP. With the unstoppable growth of e-commerce in India, we are on track to become the second-largest e-commerce industry in the world, making it easier than ever for our small businesses to access global markets. We have witnessed firsthand, the tremendous potential of Indian MSMEs in driving cross-border trade, and hence, at the core of Shiprocket lies the passion to empower the merchants of BHARAT. This survey is a step forward in that direction and helps us decode the challenges and the expansion opportunities for Indian e-commerce brands.”

With the increasing acceptability of Indian products in the international retail market, MSME exports are playing a crucial role in powering 40 percent of India's overall exports, contributing to approx. 6.22 percent of the country’s GDP. The transformational changes in consumer buying behaviors have also played a key role in the growing opportunity in the global e-commerce trade. With around 63.4 percent million units spread across the geographical expanse of India, MSME exports are going to play the role of a catalyst in restoring the strength of the Indian economy.

As per the industry body FISME, a study paper has said that e-commerce export potential is in the range of $200 to $300 billion by 2030.

 

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India’s Internet Economy to Reach $1 tn by 2030
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India’s Internet Economy to Reach $1 tn by 2030
 

A continued shift in consumer behavior and evolution of the business ecosystem will underpin the growth of India’s internet economy, from approximately $175 billion of consumption in 2022 to $1 trillion by 2030, according to a report titled ‘The e-Conomy of a Billion Connected Indians’ released by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company today. Based on surveys of consumers and investors, as well as analysis by Bain & Company, the report shares insights into the key sectors of the internet economy driven by digital consumption, such as e-commerce, online travel, food delivery, ride-hailing, and more.

The confluence of three crucial forces - digital-seeking behaviors amongst internet users in Tier II+ locations, the digitization of large, traditional businesses along with a growing startup ecosystem, and the success of India’s homegrown digital public goods or the ‘India Stack’ - has positioned the internet economy for acceleration. Consequently, the contribution of the Internet economy to India’s technology sector is set to expand, from the present 48 percent to 62 percent in 2030, while its share in India’s GDP will increase from 4-5 percent to nearly 12-13 percent.

Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India said, “Three foundational forces - deepening consumer digital adoption, technology investments by businesses, and digital democratization with the India Stack - has placed India at a turning point in its digital transformation. Structural shifts in consumption potential are opening up a vast opportunity for startups, large businesses, and MSMEs to power India’s internet economy towards a projected growth of 6x, reaching a trillion dollars by 2030. We’re pleased to join Bain and Temasek in this first-of-its-kind multidimensional view of the digital landscape, and are confident and committed to partner India in this extraordinary opportunity.”

Parijat Ghosh, Managing Partner, Bain and Company (India) stated, “India's internet economy has remarkable potential and is expected to grow at 6x over the next decade, with B2C e-commerce driving 40 percent of the digital GMV, followed by B2B sectors and SaaS. The pace of digital disruption is expected to accelerate as traditional businesses and MSMEs increase investments in digitization, in addition to startups continuing to play a strong role in driving the internet economy. We expect to see players go beyond their core to cater to the consumer of the future and adopt new business models to capitalize on the growing opportunity.”

Vishesh Shrivastav, Managing Director, Investment (India), Temasek added, “Widespread digital adoption among consumers, as well as businesses, is accelerating the growth of India’s internet economy at an unprecedented rate. Temasek has been a major participant in India’s internet economy and is optimistic about India’s growth trajectory due to the country’s sound fundamentals. We expect trends in the consumer and digital space to provide a long runway for growth, and as a long-term investor, we are committed to providing catalytic capital to spur the development of innovative solutions to create a more efficient, more sustainable, and more inclusive society.”

Tier II+ Digital Consumption Geared to Unlock New Business Opportunities

With India’s 700 million internet users transacting more via real-time digital payments and spending more time on online video streaming services and social media than global averages, the internet economy is set to expand beyond its current base. This growth will be founded on consumers seeing their household incomes double by 2030 from approximately $2500 to $5500 by 2030.

Tier II+ consumers indicated a greater openness to experimentation with new brands and products, and to directing their increased spending towards personalization and premiumization, especially for HealthTech and EdTech. Against a national average of 70 percent, presently 82 percent of Tier II+ consumers are willing to pay higher prices for personalized and customized products and services, while 84 percent of consumers in Tier II+ would prefer an e-consultation with a reputed doctor to a live appointment with a friend- or family-recommended doctor, compared to 75 percent nationwide.

Key Consumption Sectors Poised for Strong Growth

Presenting a 2030 outlook across 10 key consumer sectors, the report projects that B2C e-commerce will continue to maintain a leading share of digital services, growing 5-6x to $350-380 billion by 2030. India’s online shoppers are expected to double by 2030, with currently over 60 percent of new shoppers located in smaller towns, and increasingly attracted to the Direct-to-Customers (D2C) offerings and accessibility features of digital platforms.

HealthTech and InsurTech, both currently sized at or less than $2 billion today, will demonstrate the largest expansion, to the tune of 9-15x. SaaS will continue to drive momentum for India’s digital exports, with edtech and e-commerce offerings getting a global footprint. Bolstered by the solid foundation of both adoption and innovation in digital financial services, online payments, lending, and investments will continue to be a cornerstone of the internet economy, servicing the credit and capital needs of both the Tier II+ consumers as well as MSMEs.

Evolving with the Consumer will be Critical for Success

With approximately 80 percent of surveyed consumers preferring digital-first experiences for the convenience and value they deliver, responsiveness to consumer behaviors and preferences will be key to the growth of the digital economy. The industry will need to deliver to the priorities of consumers by innovating for their differentiated needs, being responsive to user preference for language, building safety and security into the consumer journey, and integrating sustainability throughout their operations.

Inclusive content and experiences, such as gamification, will help businesses capture mind share and market share, while personalization will help businesses differentiate and identify new revenue streams from the premium services and products consumers desire. Consumers will also choose brands that align with their values, even willing to forego some convenience for more sustainable options. Along with omnichannel models, consumers have indicated an appetite for novel, India-first experiences, especially in online games and media. These preferences will factor significantly in the demand for digital goods and services, strongly influencing businesses’ success in attracting and retaining customers.

Investors Optimistic on Digital in the Mid- to Long Term

Demonstrating an overall investor optimism on India as a favorable investment destination, three in five investors expect deal activities to rise in the next two to three years, with most investors stating that over 75 percent of their funds’ allocation will be towards digital investments in the next five to seven years. Given the growing emphasis on profitability, growth, and late-stage startups will receive more investor attention than earlier-stage ones. SaaS is likely to hold the most appeal over the medium term, with about 77 percent of surveyed investors ranking it in the top three sectors for investment interest, due to the global reputation of India’s large talent pool and software products, and potential for growth in newer verticals with startups identifying profitable niches. Fintech followed in investors’ ranking at about 59 percent, and B2C e-commerce and B2B e-commerce at approximately 36 percent each, encouraged by a growing consumer base, rising number of micro-pay transactions, especially UPI, and expansion of opportunities for businesses to access credit, get organized and digitized.

 

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How Technology is Enabling D2C Brands to Build Loyalty with Indian Consumers
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How Technology is Enabling D2C Brands to Build Loyalty with Indian Consumers
 

In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in the growth of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in India, which has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing embrace of digital platforms. India emerged as a significant market for over 600 such brands, generating a market size of $55 billion in 2022, as per Statista. Leveraging technology effectively, D2C brands in India are harnessing digital transformation to establish strong connections with consumers, foster loyalty, and cultivate enduring relationships. By employing advanced analytics, personalized experiences, seamless user interfaces, and AI-powered customer support, these brands are leveraging technology to navigate the evolving consumer landscape, ultimately shaping the future of customer loyalty in the digital age.

Personalized Customer Experiences:

Technology empowers D2C brands to deliver highly personalized customer experiences. Through data analytics and machine learning algorithms, brands can collect and analyze vast amounts of customer information. This enables them to understand individual preferences, anticipate needs, and tailor their offerings accordingly. By personalizing product recommendations, marketing messages, and customer support, D2C brands in India are creating unique experiences that resonate with their consumers, leading to increased loyalty and advocacy.

For instance, a direct-to-consumer beauty brand in India utilizes data analytics and machine learning algorithms to create personalized customer experiences. By analyzing customer data such as skin type, concerns, and past purchases, the brand can recommend skincare products that are specifically suited to each customer's needs. They can also send targeted emails with beauty tips and tutorials based on the customer's interests and preferences.

Seamless User Interfaces:

According to reports, a significant portion of consumers (around 43 percent) feel that the majority of websites do not prioritize user-centric designs. It highlights the importance for businesses to focus on creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces to enhance the overall user experience and differentiate themselves in a highly competitive digital landscape.

One key advantage of D2C brands is their ability to control the entire customer journey, from browsing products to making purchases. Technology plays a pivotal role in creating seamless user interfaces that enhance the overall shopping experience. Mobile apps, user-friendly websites, and intuitive interfaces simplify navigation, making it easy for customers to explore products and complete transactions. Additionally, secure payment gateways and quick checkout processes further streamline the buying process, instilling confidence and trust among consumers.

Social Media and Influencer Marketing:

India is experiencing a digital revolution, with a massive surge in social media usage. D2C brands leverage social media platforms to engage with their target audience and build loyalty. They utilize social media listening tools to gain insights into consumer sentiments, preferences, and trends. Furthermore, brands collaborate with influencers to reach wider audiences, as influencers have become powerful advocates who can drive consumer loyalty through authentic and relatable content. By embracing social media and influencer marketing, D2C brands in India can connect with consumers on a personal level, building trust and loyalty.

AI-Powered Customer Support:

Prompt and effective customer support is crucial for nurturing loyalty. D2C brands in India are employing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like chatbots and virtual assistants to deliver round-the-clock support. AI-powered customer support systems provide instant responses, address common queries, and offer personalized assistance. By leveraging AI, D2C brands can deliver efficient and personalized customer service, ensuring consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

Data-Driven Marketing Strategies:

Data is the lifeblood of D2C brands both in India and globally. By harnessing data analytics, brands gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, purchase patterns, and preferences. This data-driven approach enables them to create targeted marketing campaigns, personalized promotions, and loyalty programs. By understanding their customers' needs and desires, D2C brands can tailor their offerings and engage in relevant and timely communication, fostering loyalty and repeat purchases.

Inventory and Order Management for Seamless Deliveries:

Technology plays a crucial role in inventory and order management for D2C brands, enabling seamless deliveries. These brands should invest in centralized inventory management systems that provide real-time visibility of stock across multiple warehouses, preventing stockouts and optimizing replenishment. Automation of order processing, facilitated by advanced order management systems, ensures efficient order allocation and fulfillment based on factors like location, stock availability, and demand channels. Additionally, technology enables streamlined supply chain operations, simplifying receiving, placement, picking, and shipping of inventories. It also facilitates return management by reducing transaction timeframes and analyzing return reasons in detail.

Hassle-free supply chain operations:

Let's consider a D2C furniture brand as an example. By utilizing advanced management software and digital tools, they optimize their supply chain operations. With real-time inventory visibility, the brand effectively manages stock levels and ensures seamless restocking to fulfill customer orders promptly. The automation of warehouse processes, including efficient picking, packing, and shipping operations, enhances operational efficiency and reduces errors. As a result, the brand provides a hassle-free experience to customers by delivering products on time, boosting customer satisfaction, and fostering loyalty

Easy return management:

In the year 2021, return rates for online purchases were observed across a wide range of major product categories, with percentages varying from 8 to 88 percent. Technology plays a crucial role in improving return management for D2C brands. With tech-based solutions, brands can streamline the return process, reducing the time frame to close the transaction loop and ensuring a seamless experience for customers. Additionally, technology enables detailed analysis of return reasons, providing valuable insights that can help brands identify trends, improve product quality, and optimize customer satisfaction. By leveraging technology in return management, D2C brands can enhance customer loyalty and drive repeat purchases.

Technology is playing a transformative role in the retail industry, allowing direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in India to revolutionize the customer experience and shape the future of customer loyalty. With the increasing adoption of digital platforms by Indian consumers, D2C brands are leveraging technology effectively to gather customer insights, personalize offerings, provide seamless online experiences, and engage customers through targeted marketing. As technology continues to evolve, its influence on building customer loyalty for D2C brands will only become more prominent in the digital age.

About The Author

Bhargav Errangi, Founder, POPclub  Bhargav Errangi, the Founder of POPclub, is a visionary entrepreneur who has been making waves in the consumer product industry for over a decade. With a passion for product management, marketing, and branding, Bhargav's journey has been nothing short of remarkable.  As the Founder of Spoyl, India's first influencer-led social commerce platform, Bhargav demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit and strategic acumen. Under his leadership, Spoyl thrived for nearly five years before being acquired by Flipkart, one of India's largest e-commerce companies.  At Flipkart, Bhargav continued to shine with his visionary approach. He spearheaded the development and rapid scaling of Shopsy, Flipkart's social commerce initiative, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the industry.  As the Founder of POPclub, Bhargav's role is multifaceted. He takes charge of product and strategy, team building, and fosters a culture of ownership and leadership within the company. His goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders who can independently drive the business forward.  Bhargav's exceptional accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. He holds the distinction of being the youngest PhD student to graduate from Georgia Tech, showcasing his unwavering drive and determination to excel in both his personal and professional pursuits.  Beyond his professional achievements, Bhargav leads a vibrant personal life. He is an avid pet lover and enjoys spending time with his two furry companions, taking them out for recreational activities. He also has a passion for cricket, both playing and watching the game.  With his unwavering passion for product innovation, strategic thinking, and leadership, he is set to shape the future of POPclub in profound and impactful ways.

 

Bhargav Errangi, Founder, POPclub

Bhargav Errangi, the Founder of POPclub, is a visionary entrepreneur who has been making waves in the consumer product industry for over a decade. With a passion for product management, marketing, and branding, Bhargav's journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

As the Founder of POPclub, Bhargav's role is multifaceted. He takes charge of product and strategy, and team building, and fosters a culture of ownership and leadership within the company. His goal is to nurture the next generation of leaders who can independently drive the business forward.

With his unwavering passion for product innovation, strategic thinking, and leadership, he is set to shape the future of POPclub in profound and impactful ways.

 

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Ensuring Cost-Efficient, Personalized Customer Experiences at Scale with Headless Commerce
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Ensuring Cost-Efficient, Personalized Customer Experiences at Scale with Headless Commerce
 

Increased access to more channels, choices, and flexibility, mass acceleration to digital has changed customer experiences forever.  Multiple customer touchpoints, the rise of mobile and social commerce, and rapidly changing trends and consumer behaviors continue to create even more complex buyer journeys. As smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous in India, it is crucial for retail brands to focus on developing innovative, mobile-first experiences that connect with customers.

The rapid innovation that leads to the connected customer experiences required today is made possible through what is widely known as headless commerce. In its simplest form, headless commerce is a separation of the front end and back end of an e-commerce application. By deploying headless commerce, e-commerce brands can create a personalized, close-to-real-time omnichannel commerce experience.

Headless commerce allows brands to easily update the front-end experience on apps and websites based on evolving market trends and incoming data regarding customer preferences. From micro animations and customizations to entire e-commerce platforms- brands can build the kind of user experience and interface that they want, and how they want it. In other words, brands can create their own front-end processes and tie these back to pre-packaged backend tasks using an API. For instance, in a headless platform, developers can use APIs and tools to send blog posts or customer reviews to any screen or device, while front-end teams can present these in any format or framework as per customer preferences to deliver highly engaging experiences.

This makes headless platforms quite flexible and a preferred technology when aiming for agility. They help brands save time, effort, and cost while unlocking high-performing front-end interfaces. By deploying changes quickly, brands can offer relevant, in-the-moment customer experiences across desktops, mobile apps, in-store kiosks, and digital channels.

There are many other advantages of headless commerce. It allows brands to easily integrate multiple functionalities such as email, mobile devices, shopping carts, online catalogs, personalization tools, and content management systems (CMS), and thus offer a seamless, consistent customer experience that increases brand loyalty.

Here’s how headless commerce enables brands to boost brand loyalty through great customer experiences.

Enables Increased Personalization

Organizations can make quick changes to their websites or digital storefronts based on seasonality or audience segmentation. They can offer customers a personalized experience (via recommendations, custom purchasing preferences, and promotions) by allowing updates and new content to be quickly displayed across devices and formats. Brands can also experiment with the look and feel of the presentation layer to reflect customer tastes.

For example, by using headless commerce, organizations like Netflix and Amazon can offer a customized experience to every user who opens their website or app, without slowing down the speed of performance or reducing the quality of the user experience.

Allows Quicker Adoption of Newer Digital Channels

B2C customers interact with businesses through an average of nine different touchpoints. However, every time a company adopts a new channel of communication, it must create brand-new (and seamless) experiences that are in sync with the features of the channel.

With headless commerce, the backend is minimally impacted by the changes being made to the visual front end. This means organizations can just set up the system once and use APIs to deliver standard information (say about inventory and product details) across various channels. This guarantees consistent customer experiences across different channels. Additionally, it also lets businesses quickly make changes to the UI/UX to add (or remove) new digital channels to the e-commerce experience.

Enables Better Integration Between Program Components

Headless commerce follows an API-first strategy. This means that businesses can select the right tools, languages, and solutions as per requirements and integrate these to build a seamless architecture. This lets companies create a best-in-class platform that facilitates a seamless data flow between various program components. Additionally, developers can add new modules or microservices to keep up with demand and technical advancements, without having to update or replace an entire platform.

While headless commerce makes it easier to offer integrated brand experiences across channels, the decoupling of the front and back end also comes with certain technological challenges. A traditional company that is just embarking on its digital transformation journey should ideally not opt for headless. The business will have to have an extremely skilled in-house IT team that can maintain and sustain headless. Even if brands augment the internal team by collaborating with experts, the external party will have to be deeply embedded in the brand’s ecosystem for the process to work smoothly.

Additionally, the organization must be clear about the value-add headless offers to its customers. Any company that feels a consistent experience works well for its customers should go for the template-based approach, which will ensure consistency and lesser complexity. However, in the absence of the above challenges, headless commerce can indeed revolutionize the customer experience, boosting brand loyalty and ensuring sustainable, efficient business growth in the long run.

 

This article is written by Sridhar Hariharasubramanian, Senior Director, Solution Engineering, Salesforce. India.

 

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