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Vatsala Kothari

Vatsala Kothari is Founder at LoveThisStuff.com.

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Future of e-commerce: India in 2050

It has been estimated that by 2020, about 55% of online sales will be driven by cashless transactions. The share of mobile wallets is thus likely to see a spurt.

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The e-commerce industry in India is undergoing a major overhaul. Going by statistics, the sector is likely to shoot over the $100-billion mark in the next five years, thus contributing to 4% of India’s GDP. Factors such as increased penetration of internet and mobiles, online payments, and favorable demographics are changing the way companies interact with their customers. The current focus of e-commerce companies is on increasing their reach through mobile apps for higher growth. The future of e-commerce definitely looks bright and will be the result of mobile platforms, personalization, social media analytics, omni-channel service and sharing economy business models. Let us look at what the future holds for this sector.

Omni-channel services 

Omni-channel services will prove to be a strong value proposition for the future of e-commerce. Many e-retail players and brands are likely to have multiple channels, which will further build a seamless consumer experience. Omni-channel services will enable increased sales and widen the reach of companies. People may even be able to buy something in an online store and later, get it exchanged offline. The idea of instant gratification will be extended from the regular convenience goods (majority of today’s e-commerce transactions) to one-of-a-kind and customized products.

Consumer-centric Businesses

Business activities and action plans would be, in its entirety, be dictated by the consumers’ convenience. Ranging from customisation for limited edition units (to be facilitated by accessible 3D printing centres) to dynamic pricing matched with demands for non-commoditised goods, the consumer would be spoiled for choices with businesses striving to achieve the minimum required Points of Parity. For instance, a case can be made for the extension of a freemium model for commodities from the app environment to the real world.

Innovation

Newer technologies and innovations are all set to change consumer experiences. Today, more so than ever, brands and retailers alike are going beyond traditional approaches and using technology to improve user interface and experience. For instance, brick-and-mortar stores will cease to be just showrooms. Instead of filling carts at a store, consumers will be able to try out products then and there, scan and purchase them, and have them delivered, all in a matter of hours. For instance, recently a company in South Korea launched a virtual supermarket in a busy subway station. Commuters could check out billboards that illustrated the store shelves and then scan the QR codes of the products they liked with their phones. The cart items would then be delivered right at their doorstep in a short span of time. Some other technologies that will revolutionize ecommerce are as follows. 

Artificial Intelligence 

AI has the power to empower brands with customer intelligence. Accurate insights on customer preferences will help in anticipating future needs and modify/develop products accordingly. With the help of big data and pattern recognition, e-commerce players will be able to deliver acutely familiar products to people’s daily feed. There will be a streamlining of social and personal spaces. For instance, shopping activities will be integrated with one’s (digital) social life; browsing and buying options will be made available at one’s whim.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality has the power to transform shopping experiences through the touch-and-feel concept. There will be an undeniable demand for AR compatible product catalogues to be displayed on e-commerce sites. Pre-purchase size (/fit) consideration would  extend from lifestyle products to customised decor items. AR will help brands ensure a more personalised customer experience and eliminate any pain points effectively.

Chatbots 

This will be the future of customer service and will aid task automation. Chatbots will be powered by AI and designated for specific tasks such as voice-enabled orders. This will further reduce the possibility of errors and give the consumer a satisfying shopping experience. We are already seeing applications using this for everything from time management and scheduling tasks to online ordering.

Cashless transactions

With more and more brands going digital, sales will soon become cashless. The development of electronic payment gateways and mobile wallets has also driven this trend at an unprecedented rate. It has been estimated that by 2020, about 55% of online sales will be driven by cashless transactions. The share of mobile wallets is thus likely to see a spurt.

In conclusion

Favourable demographics, rising incomes, entry of foreign players, and the unprecedented use of technology make the prospects bright for e-commerce. The years ahead are going to witness some amazing innovations in ecommerce which will make shopping a more simplified and exciting experience.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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