These Trends Will Play a Major Role in India’s E-commerce Industry in 2021

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2020 will be, no doubt, remembered as a year that changed the world in nearly every aspect. From a business perspective, it has been full of ups and downs with large-scale uncertainty, numerous disruptions, and a recently kick-started recovery process.

Having said that, for specific industries such as e-commerce, ed-tech, among others, 2020 has been surprisingly good. Even though the e-commerce industry experienced significant transformation, it made it through thick and thin in this decidedly difficult year.

Riding a transformative journey, India’s e-commerce sector has markedly advanced despite the COVID-19 pandemic, further expanding the industry’s scope for growth over the years ahead. As companies brace themselves while heading into 2021, here are a couple of trends that will reshape the route of the Indian e-commerce industry in the future.

Technology Will Be the “Blessing in Disguise”

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Tech adoption has been rapid across industries over the last couple of years and the COVID-19 crisis has offered it further impetus. Rising internet penetration and easy access to technology in tandem with increasing smartphone usage have set the stage for customers to turn to online purchasing methods such as mobile commerce and social commerce on social media channels such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook.

“In addition, with cutting-edge technology making inroads into nearly every business activity of the e-commerce sector, market players in the industry are likely to offer exemplary customer experience by leveraging AI/ML-driven systems including, virtual assistance, chatbots, and online trial rooms.”

Also, e-commerce companies will be unearthing pre-recorded and live video commerce with third-party platforms as well as their respective platforms. This will help them incorporate social commerce as an ancillary sub-channel.

Strengthen Multichannel Approach

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Customer behavior and expectations are consistently changing, and 2021 has witnessed customers prioritize convenience and safety. The Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker has revealed that 73% of Indian respondents were ready to invest more in convenience. As a response, e-commerce players have embraced the “new normal” by buoying up efforts to establish consistency in customer experience across several channels.

Moreover, they have begun to focus more on offering personalized and targeted experiences to enhance customer retention, acquisition, and satisfaction. Moving to customer-specific business models, companies are now reinforcing their multichannel approach.

Case in point, the buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) trend has gained huge prominence and is likely to become commonplace in the near future, especially with low-order value and FMCG clientele.

Unified Payment Channels

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For businesses, payments are vital, and providing smooth payment solutions will offer a significant boost to sales as customers prefer unified payments with several options available.

Now, customers are becoming more and more digitally-savvy with the COVID-19 crisis triggering a huge uptick in customers turning to digital payments. Besides this, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is influencing people to avoid banking on hard currency for transactions, and even those who are first-time users have leaped onto the online payments bandwagon.

“With the world accelerating its shift toward contactless, moving forward, customers will find more comfort in going for online payment channels.”

Also, e-commerce companies will be channeling their efforts to expanding their customer base through loyalty programs and rolling out subscription and membership programs akin to Amazon Prime.

Rise of Native Businesses and Sustainability

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Over the recent past, the “Vocal for Local” drive has been in line with India’s goal of becoming “Aatmanirbhar”, gaining huge momentum. 2020 witnessed an upsurge in a shift toward “Made in India” products with enhanced awareness among customers and encouragement from companies.

Now, customers are making a mindful effort to promote domestic businesses and companies will leverage virtue-signaling online through positive attributions such as “Made in India”, “Vocal for Local”, and “Locally Sourced”.

Apart from the ‘“ake in India” program, consumers’ preference for sustainability is also reaching new heights. There has been rising awareness among consumers regarding eco-friendliness, undoubtedly, they will opt for companies that endorse eco-friendly products. These companies will see a notable rise in their consumer base through 2021.

India’s e-commerce industry has battled against all odds and is on the right path to register exponential growth soon. The afore-mentioned trends are some of the important ones that will shape a path for the industry’s success in 2021.

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