India is a massive marketplace where people of all age groups are comfortable with digital transactions, preferring online over offline stores. This trend saw an upswing in the latter half of 2016, more so since demonetization was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.
In 2016, Amazon was clearly ahead of the pack vs Flipkart and Snapdeal. Paytm, which failed to push its e-commerce business unit agenda, might change direction in 2017 once the same spins off with Alibaba’s blessings.
Both Flipkart and Snapdeal were unable to out-innovate, out-strategize, out-maneuver Amazon – in their approach to both the supply and demand side – which seems to have become more Indian than the local players themselves.
Yappily – an online flea market app where consumers can get products from all over the country which they otherwise wouldn’t discover – started with loyalty, product innovation and category differentiation as the fundamental core focus of the company. It will, therefore, stand to benefit from a more prudent, erudite and thoughtful consumer in 2017 and beyond.
The Fight For Consumers
Although overall e-commerce numbers have gone up in 2016, it has been noticed that consumer preference has decidedly shifted towards better service and larger assortment rather than just discounts.
Companies are looking for a profitable growth rather than wooing customers with deep discounts. A bigger user base will just be the cue for companies to reduce discounts and focus on profitable growth.
In 2017, the fight will be for customer loyalty and not on customer acquisition. Whoever does the right things in favor of long-term customer loyalty will win the Indian e-commerce war in India.
Currently, it looks to favor Amazon, simply because of their thought leadership, robust processes, people practices, marketing and go-to-market strategy. The other thing to look out for would be Alibaba’s foray into e-commerce in India.