The Future of E-Retail: The Road to 2020
E-commerce is expanding steadily in the country and empowering various e-Retailers to adopt innovative models to cater to the modern age consumer.
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Driven by urbanization, attitudinal shifts and income growth, India’s retail market is expected to double from US$ 600 billion in 2015 to US$ 1 trillion by 2020 as per IBEF. The tremendous growth of e-commerce market also plays an integral role in the high scale development of the retail sector; by 2020, e-commerce will be a $700 billion market (B2B) with 530 million shoppers by 2025, coming at par with offline stores within a span of five years. Against the backdrop of robust investment in the sector and proliferation of internet users, India is now expected to become the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market.
E-Retail growing at a breakneck speed
The past decade witnessed an increase in consumer spending, entry of key e-retail players, faster internet speeds on reliable telecom networks, expanded reach and increased adoption of online services as well as a greater need for convenience. As a result, traditional brick and mortar models today are witnessing a decline in sales, whereas e-commerce is booming with sales expected to reach US$ 120 billion by 2020 from US$ 30 billion in 2016. Clearly, the industry has become a veritable behemoth.
Online customers are attracted to superior value propositions such as broader assortment, greater discounts and increased convenience. Hence, the future of e-retail will be ruled by instant gratification and path breaking innovations.
Best of both worlds
Omni-channel retailing is a very strong value proposition and gradually, all e-retail players and brands will swiftly adopt multiple channels to provide a suave and seamless consumer experience. Omni-channel retailing will enhance sales and amplify reach among target audience. Additionally, this will enable shoppers to procure things online and exchange them at the offline and vice versa, leading to an augmented customer experience.
Revolution in logistics
Logistics has always been one of the most challenging aspects of online retailing and with multi-fold rise in online business and logistics is expected to evolve and become the most sought after services in the years to come.
The forthcoming years will witness newer technologies and innovations continuing to revolutionize the consumer shopping experience and churn more online sales. To survive in the hyper-competitive marketplace, technological innovations will be crucial. Brands and retailers are striving to go beyond the norms and create a distinct identity for themselves, by constantly deploying newer ideas and innovations to amplify user interface and experience. Powered by technological innovations listed below, E-Retail is already on the brink of a major transformation:
· Artificial Intelligence is currently the buzzword, empowering brands and marketers with valuable customer intelligence. These insights not only improve, but also help anticipate futuristic consumer needs and make decisions for them.
· e-Retailers can leverage Virtual Reality to provide a transformational, virtual shopping experience, with a touch and feel concept, while doing away with the brick and motor concept. Brands can create personalized customer experiences; bolster customer experience and eliminate the pain points effectively.
· Chatbots have been touted as the future of customer service; these next gen platforms can serve e-retailers with cost-effective benefits and aid in tasks automations. Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence, are designed to perform specific tasks, where users can interact with via a chat interface.
As the reach of internet continues to grow with brands and consumers gaining digital prominence in the dynamic space, 55 per cent of online sales will be driven by cashless transaction by 2020. Mobile wallet share will double to reach 15 per cent from current 8 per cent.
E-commerce is expanding steadily in the country and empowering various e-Retailers to adopt innovative models to cater to the modern age consumer. In a nutshell, backed by favourable demographics, rising incomes, entry of foreign players and the unprecedented rise of smartphones, the long term outlook of the industry looks promising with players constantly innovating to augment a consumer’s journey.
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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