Throwback 2020: E-commerce trends

India is the second-largest internet user base and has arisen as perhaps the most prominent business sectors in the world. Being stuck at home on account of the pandemic further set off the longing to make life and work simpler at home, which brought about a huge expansion in customer spends. Individuals who used to go out for purchasing food supplies and medications started using e-commerce platforms to get basics conveyed at their doorsteps. The expanding number of online shoppers presents a gigantic development opportunity for online business and retail organizations to research and explore a vital part of business development. Exploring various advertisement options on this platform may result as a huge growth opportunity for business.

The last quarter of 2020 saw e-commerce order volume growing by 36% in India with the Personal care, Beauty and Wellness (PCB&W) segment being the biggest beneficiary, according to a report.

In October to December 2020 period, PCB&W and FMCG & Healthcare (F&H) categories’ volumes grew by 95% and 46% year-on-year respectively, said the Q4-2020 e-Commerce Trends Report’, released by Unicommerce and Kearney.

Tier 2 and 3 cities accounted for a 90% year-on-year incremental volume and value growth, it said.

The report, which assesses the e-commerce growth in Q4 2020 with the sector-wise analysis, said brand websites reported a 94% volume growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 as compared to the same period last year.

The lockdowns and hesitance to wander out brought about first-time online grocery, making it a significant classification for e-commerce players like Flipkart and Amazon to effectively promote the grocery business.

The trends are:

1. Change in Consumer Behaviour

In present times, shoppers are likely to evolve quicker than they shop online. The essential move in shopper conduct is the inclination for online shopping over offline. Within the online shopping space, there is a consistent movement that businesses are embracing, guaranteeing a loyal and strong client relationship. The touch-point of each business ought to have the option to show insight into the process of decision-making of the consumer. The way the brand is promoted, the ease of purchasing that product on a specific website also influence and give to consumer behaviour.

2. Rise in E-commerce sales

During the lockdown, a large number of people have moved to online shopping. The rise in sales is an important factor for the success of an e-commerce platform. Customer relationship is also important. The use of various tools to attract customers boosts sales. This includes artificial intelligence, product videos, personalization etc.

3. Bringing in-store experience

The e-commerce sites find inventive ways of bridging the gap between in-person and digital retail experiences, while at the same time, customers are more open to new ways of searching for, comparing, and purchasing products.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

AR/VR experiences help give customers the insight needed to make a purchasing decision.

4. Use of social media

Successful stores sell across any platform and channel and connect with customers where they are spending most of their time. Instagram has rolled out a live shopping experience that enables businesses to show off products in a live video, while customers can browse the highlighted products and make purchases. Several brands also make it a point to interact with their followers and share relevant information about their products. The channel offers many creative ways to promote and market a brand in the form of posts, stories, and even through influencers.

Since pictures do the talking on Instagram, it is a great medium for brands to enhance their visibility, experiment more, and display their products creatively.

5. Personalization

Personalizing homepages, displaying personalized products based on the consumer’s shopping habits, and showing them their recently viewed items are some ways of offering customization on websites. Many e-commerce platforms personalize to make the user’s feed more creative and convenient content, across all devices (tablets, mobile devices, laptops etc) thereby delivering them a personalized customer experience. Product recommendations based on customer behaviour is also a great way to keep engagement high. Brands collect cross-channel data by offering buyers a way to buy products more often, more conveniently, and refer to their networks seamlessly thus personalizing it.

6. Rethinking marketplaces

Looking back to the origins of e-commerce, brands were often forced to make their entrance online through already established marketplaces such as Amazon but now e-commerce platforms manage their own direct-to-consumer experiences.

Some of the categories are:

  • Editorial-focused marketplaces

Editorial marketplaces have carved out a niche in the intersection of curated products, brand collaborations, and highly editorialized product content.

  • Native platform apps

This is a tool for merchants to directly recommend and sell products to customers right through the app.

This post-purchase extension of customer interaction provides an opportunity for brands to stay engaged and offer better-targeted products and services. Customers have the ability to follow the brands that they love and are provided with a feed of products they’re interested in.

7. Fortified Omnichannel Strategies

As per the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, 73 per cent of Indian respondents were willing to spend more money on convenience. In response to this, brands are now adapting to the new normal by ramping up efforts to make customer experience consistent across various channels.

Besides, they are also focusing on creating targeted and more personalized experiences to enhance customer retention, acquisition, and satisfaction. Brands are now increasing their efforts in bolstering their omnichannel strategies and moving to customer-centric business models and not sticking to channel-centric ones.

8. Integrated Payments

The payments segment is one of the crucial aspects of increasingly digitally-savvy consumers. Although digital payments in the e-commerce segment caught on quickly among Indian consumers, the pandemic facilitated a massive upsurge in the number of consumers opting for digital payments. Consumers will now be more comfortable opting for contactless payment options. Alongside this, brands will also be increasing their focus on payment integrations, loyalty programs, and introduce membership programs like Amazon Prime to expand their customer base and retention.

9. ‘Vocal for Local’

With India’s vision of becoming Aatmanirbhar, the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement, an initiative to make India self-sufficient, has gained immense traction. Brands are encouraging consumers to opt for locally made/sourced products and the movement is catching on among consumers who are consciously making an effort to support local businesses. Over the next year, brands will leverage virtue-signalling online through the ‘locally sourced’, ‘Made in India’, and other such positive attributions, with an increased focus on authenticity and transparency.

Apart from the ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Made in India’ movements, another trend that is quickly catching on is the consumer preference for sustainability. With several people and environmental activists and organizations voicing out their thoughts on social media about sustainability, there has been a major surge in awareness among consumers. So, it is expected that over the next few years, the preference for brands advocating sustainability and environment-friendly products will see a rise in their consumer base.  

10. Develop creative advertising strategies

It’s a great option for product advertising. Brands are adding a personal level to pop-up events by creating limited-edition filters for Instagram or Snapchat. 

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