March 7, 2021 1:00:08 am
With deep-pocketed players betting big on e-commerce, the sector is bracing for more competition. A deluge of cheap smartphones is pushing more Indians to go online and the usual tactics of offering affordable deals, discounts and convenience of cash on delivery may not work anymore. The future of e-commerce needs to be ‘interactive’, say analysts at Zinnov.
To put it simply, companies will have to curate a blended model — embedding content to drive consumer engagement, allowing easy discoverability of products and supporting a network of influencers and community participation. If firms are able to play their cards right, they can grab a bigger share of the e-commerce market, estimated to touch a significant $200 billion by 2026.
India has around 500 million smartphone users but only about 12-15 million of them navigate traditional marketplace led e-commerce hubs like Flipkart and Amazon on a daily basis; whereas, content-led platforms like Facebook and YouTube see a daily active user base of 135-175 million, shows a recent study by Zinnov.
“In the coming days, we can expect to see interesting collaborations among players across content, payments and commerce to bring the interactive commerce model to life. No one player has all the required elements in place,” say analysts at the firm.
Commerce and payment platforms are already introducing content in their quest for higher engagement. A prominent example is Flipkart, analysts say, which is launching videos and games.
Players will also have to focus on creating easy discoverability which has so far not been explored by the marketplace players. Consumer surveys indicate that discovery is increasingly taking over from search as the primary means for finding new brands and products. In fact, 38 per cent of product discovery for mobile shopping happens without any premeditation or advertising influence, the study shows.
China’s Pinduoduo has been able to defray craft an interactive commerce model. This has made it one of the fastest growing e-commerce startups in China.
The second largest e-commerce player in China, Pinduoduo hit a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $15 billion within two years of its launch — a milestone that took Alibaba and JD.com took five years. FE
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