India's e-commerce market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2030, says a recent IBEF report. The Indian online grocery market is estimated to reach $18.2 billion in 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 57 per cent.
In the recent edition of Forbes India’s collaboration with AWS, discussions were held around how COVID-19 has taken the share of e-commerce industries to greater heights and prevailing market challenges.
The top industry experts who accompanied our moderator, Mr Manu Balachandran, Assistant Editor at Forbes India for this conversation were Ramneek Khurana - Cofounder of Lenskart, GuruKirthi Gurnathan - Co-founder & CTO at CaratLane, Amit Chaudhary - CTO at Ecom Express, Mahesh Wandichalan- CTO at Book My Show, Satinder Singh- Head Solution Architect at AWS-DNB.
Here are the views of our mavericks giving grounds for this expected exponential growth. They will explain to us how this dynamic change in consumer behavior is based on the aftermath of COVID-19 and how digital tools will help businesses survive in this challenging e-commerce industry.Transformed industry post-pandemic
Tackling the uncertainties pertaining to the pandemic was a phase of learning for every business. Adopting an online model, change in consumption patterns, lack of touch and feel experience for customers, and disruption in the supply chain were among the certain challenges. The businesses that were agile thrived, while others that couldn’t keep up with the volatility, suffered the brunt of it.
"The pandemic was a period of uncertainty. What was interesting is that whoever was able to address it with a lot of agility is someone who gained a lot during this period" Ramneek Khurana - Cofounder of Lenskart
With the surging traction towards the D2C model, companies had to reform the incentives given to their customers. Additional resources were diverted towards technology and cloud-based systems as there was a need to incorporate innovative solutions. Change in consumer behavior
The e-commerce sector had been revolutionizing its online infrastructure but a significant adoption of these features was seen post-COVID-19. Instant deliveries, free returns, customization, and loyalty programs are the many perks that have made our customers habitual to interacting with brands from the comfort of their homes.
“Disruptions may be uninitiated but they end up impacting things in a very different way.” Amit Chaudhary - CTO at Ecom Express
Experimenting with the products and services of online brands has significantly increased not only in the urban areas but also in the interior regions of India. With so many innovative businesses coming up, there is zero tolerance for low-quality products. Therefore the only way to stand out in this competitive environment is by pacing up change.Scope of Personalization
Customer centricity has become crucial for businesses because of their need to be unique. Personalization is the key as customers need everything on the get-go. From products and communication to user experience, everything can be personalized with the availability of optimum data. It leads to targeting the right customer base with the right products for them, thereby increasing the conversion rate, multifold.
A vast variety of products confuse the customer, therefore there is a need to give them personalized recommendations. This is where data management, AI/ML & predictive analytics play a major role. It gives businesses insight into customers regarding their behaviour, past purchases, interaction with brands, and a whole depository of information at their disposal. Machine learning systems like AWS personalize have been based on decades of experience which eliminates the need for trial and error methods.Effective personalization strategy
An effective data management system assists in curating authentic information. This data then aids in allocating optimum resources to target prospective customers.
“Showing the customer the right content, depending on the right context at the right time.”
Mahesh Wandichalan - CTO at Book My Show
Making a conversion is not the end of the road, it has to be backed by a reliable supply chain to enhance the overall experience of the customers. Businesses at times tend to over-personalize the experience often leading to burnout.
"Burnout is finding the right ratio for the explore part more than the exploit part"
Satinder Singh - Head Solution Architect at AWS-DNB
Personalization is impactful only when the right balance is struck. What lies ahead?
Data management has a vast scope that is being explored regarding post-sales experience. It is also paving the way for many new-age concepts such as social commerce, immersive real-time experience, blockchain NFTs, and drone technology for deliveries. New players are probing into these new-age technologies to enter the market. Hence, existing businesses need to update their know-how to survive the competition constantly.The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.
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