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M-commerce sales to hit $638 billion by 2018; CoD Accounts for 45% of all payments: Study

Global e-commerce
sales made via mobile devices are expected to cross $638 billion by 2018,
according to the joint study brought out by Assocham and Deloitte here today.

Global e-commerce
sales made via mobile devices are expected to cross $638 billion by 2018,
according to the joint study brought out by Assocham and Deloitte here today.

Currently, the availability of e-commerce applications on various mobility
devices is helping to drive sales and revenue. E-tailers like Flipkart, Amazone
and Jabong now get 50% of their revenues from consumers shopping on their
mobile phones. Predictive analytics is helping the e-tailers to provide better
solutions in real-time enabling compelling user experience even on mobile
screens, said D S Rawat, Secretary General Assocham.

However, while shoppers want real-time, relevant, and personalized information
and offers, retailers will need to surround this service with very strong
privacy and security. Trust, transparency, and protecting customer information
will be critical in retaining loyalty as mobile retailing becomes the norm,
noted the joint study. 
 
Online commerce companies should enable all features from search-to-purchase on
mobile apps, such as facilitating product research, price comparison, view
ratings and reviews, and payment. 
 
The launch of wearables, such as Google Glass and Apple Watch, opens new opportunities
for reaching out to customers. E-tailers would keep an eye on developments in
this arena, although it might only be an urban phenomenon at the moment.
 
The online marketplaces are growing significantly with the increase in the
Internet penetration and smartphone usage. Internet enabled mobiles are making
shopping a unique experience for buyers. E-marketplaces provide a technology
platform for sellers to participate and a trusted environment to scale up
rapidly, increase profit and is highly valued by the customers. The
non-inventory led B2C model also allows the e-commerce players to provide
attractive discounts and offers which are difficult for inventory led
brick-and-mortar shops as well as for pure e-Tailers.
 
According to joint study “Global Powers of Retailing 2015,” online marketplaces
rather than pure inventory-led companies tend to serve as the primary
e-commerce model in Asia. The high costs of holding inventory, poor logistics
and supply chain challenges in India are shifting the inventory-led companies
and new entrants to adopt marketplace model. Also, e-Marketplaces work well in
India due to high fragmentation on supply side.
 
The rise of online sales in the developing markets is encouraging retailers to
go online for global expansion. The e-retailers are becoming exclusive partners
for different brands. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi, entered Indian
market through Flipkart e-marketplace that helped to reach a large customer
base in a short time. Similarly, OnePlus teamed up with Amazon India for
exclusive partnership. 
 
Increasingly, social media is becoming important for e-commerce players to
understand reviews of people on products and services. The e-tailers can check
their social media footprint with the number of likes and tweets about the
brand and products. Social media provides a platform to directly interact with
customers and respond to their queries.
 
E-retailers can promote products as per the trending topics in social media
channels. The brand pages can post expert opinions on the products in video or
blogs and thus can help in better customer engagement. The social media also
provides a suitable platform to perform extensive market research where the
e-tailers can recognize changing customer habits, unmet demand, white spaces in
market, get early feedback on test advertisements and can gain fast mover
advantage. 
 
Online retail players have started to use social media analytics. The analytics
can be used to mitigate risks and frauds, to know customer lifetime value,
customer segments, forecasting and targeting. The analysis of social media data
can provide information on product demand, competitors pricing, customers
buying behavior, etc. Prior knowledge of this data can significantly help in
customization of service offerings and enhancing user experience. Optimized
pricing can be done based on price comparison with the competitor’s products
and accordingly changes can be done in real-time. 
 
Cash on Delivery (CoD) is the most preferred mode of payment in India with 45%
of the shoppers using it while 21% shoppers opt for debit cards and another 16%
go for credit cards. CoD mode has many issues ranging from high direct and
indirect costs, security, or time taken to reverse logistics arising from CoD
defaults. More people have banking access due to the financial inclusion
project – Jan Dhan Yojna of the government. Digital companies such Paytm,
Videocon D2H, and telecom operators such as Airtel, Idea are entering the
banking arena with payment bank license. Emerging cashless payment solutions
will boost the e-commerce sector.

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