The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global economic slump. With the festive season just around the corner, the Indian e-commerce industry is all geared up to capitalize on the festivities with a hope to recover lost sales. Many businesses are re-thinking their strategies and taking to the digital medium so as to capture the attention of their target audience.
With businesses disrupted massively on account of the prolonged lockdown, a great number of consumers are drawn in by online shopping, raising the bar for e-commerce businesses to provide the best customer experience possible. It is like a newly discovered marketplace for many retailers in India where a buyer can directly interact with the seller with just a click of the button. As the prevailing online shopping momentum is expected to continue even through the festive season, many e-commerce businesses are turning their focus on digital strategies to scale up their sales and fulfill the demands of their customers. And consumers are buying from almost all the categories of products online.
Every year, e-commerce companies organize numerous sale events during the festive season. In anticipation of the spike in orders during this time, many logistics companies have ramped up their infrastructure and are hiring more manpower. Also, industry analysts expect that a greater share of orders this year is likely to come from smaller towns, especially from tier-2 and tier3 cities and their contributions are expected to be double that of last year. Online purchases will also get a boost from the pandemic-induced decline in offline retail.
The industry is further bracing for a rise in demand for different product categories. Consumers are purchasing more of durables and electronics that make work-from-home convenient, such as printers, laptops, headphones, office furniture, and smartphones.
Since people were forced to be cooped up inside their homes on account of the lockdown, there was a rise in smartphone-based shopping. This segment is most likely to continue its upward trajectory. The domestic and export markets both will fuel its growth. Smartphone sales on various e-commerce platforms this festive season will rule over more than half of the market because mobile phones have become more popular than before. And those placed at the bottom of the pyramid will buy more of feature phones, thus dissolving the boundaries between feature phones and smartphones.
There will also be an increase in online shopping of apparel, grocery and electronic appliances. The months of lockdown saw a surge in online sales and discounts. Masks, sanitizers, disinfectants became priceless products along with a rise in demand for medicines, essential commodities, sanitaryware, and gadgets. Consumer sentiments and patterns have been shifting slowly from shock to fear and finally coming around to acceptance where people have realized the ‘new normal’ and are now adapting to it. Due to this favorable change in consumer behavior, the demand for technology-led products and categories falling under essentials will keep increasing significantly.
Tech to Lead the Way
To cope with the festive rush, many businesses are building a presence on various e-commerce platforms to reach their target customers. And the internet ventures are leveraging technology and digital to keep up with the demands expected. This includes increase in online promotions, social media/ digital campaigns, online to offline omnichannel sales, pure e-commerce initiatives and social commerce.
The year-end festival season is the year’s busiest season for retailers and merchants. Setting up an online store has become mandatory specially in the current scenario when people are thronging to e-commerce stores in large numbers to shop. Amidst the strict adherence to social distancing norms and other health guidelines to be observed mandatorily in public places, it’s the digital platforms that will be preferred by people.
Technology will determine the success quotient for various competing businesses in the ‘new normal’ as they strive to stand out from the rest. A superior visual experience for the customer can make one’s products stand out. As there is almost no exposure to product in-stores, e-commerce brands can leverage videos or life-like imagery on Product Details Pages to generate higher engagements and better conversions. For instance, AR could be used to show how the fabric on a dress flexes on one’s movement or one can try shades virtually to see if it suits them or not.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help improve and enhance digital media experience through automation of image-detection and video-cropping. It can provide an in-depth understanding of customer preferences for personalized recommendations.
Summing It Up
In the business world, companies need to constantly adapt to the changes and utilize whatever opportunity is available to the best of their ability. The tech-savvy brands will be able to capture customer attention through innovative ad engagements and promotions backed with data. And the e-commerce companies are working hard to be at the top of their game before the season of festivities arrives.