E-commerce companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and virtual reality with a view to cut logistics costs and identify fraudulent orders, said a report by global auditing and consulting firm PwC.
With an emerging middle-class population of more than 500 million and approximately 65 per cent of the population aged 35 or below, India represents a highly aspirational consumer market for retailers across the globe, said the PwC TechWorld report.
“E-commerce players are revamping their technology strategies to maintain their competitive edge. Most e-commerce platforms are upping their investments in areas such as conversational commerce, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and analytics technologies,” it said.
It observed that to identify fraudulent orders, reduce return rate and also cut down on logistics cost, e-commerce companies are investing in robotics and AI heavily.
“AI-based voice-based shopping in vernacular language enables deeper customer engagement and smoothens the transition from offline to online by overcoming the language barrier,” it added. Then there is advanced analytics that allows for better optimisation of stock management as well as customisation of content based on the data-driven understanding of consumers’ online behaviour and preferences.
Also, there are blockchain technologies that improve fraud detection and enable companies to offer a secure and transparent online medium as it helps in determining authenticity in multi-party transactions and expedite payment settlement, PwC said. “Almost all customer interaction for online retailers occurs via phone or email and involves banking information or personal data, e-commerce sites are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
“Given the recent episodes of data breaches and alleged misuse of customer information, the need for adopting appropriate security measures has escalated significantly,” said Sandeep Ladda, PwC India Partner. The report further highlighted that frauds or data thefts cause not just financial loss but also reputation damage and consequently loss of business, which is detrimental in today’s global digital economy. According to research from the Ponemon Institute, in 2017, India recorded the largest average number of breached records at 33,167.