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All components of digital commerce should be available to everyone: Saahil Goel of Shiprocket

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Saahil Goel, co-founder and chief executive officer of Shiprocket explains the journey and growth of e-commerce in India during his keynote speech at Shiprocket Shivir 2023

New Delhi: Saahil Goel, co-founder and chief executive officer of Shiprocket said e-commerce at present accounts for a significant 12-15% share of India’s total retail and commerce market and he said e-commerce has grown exponentially since 2012. Goel was delivering a keynote speech at Shiprocket Shivir 2023 at Pullman, Aerocity in New Delhi. The conference aims to explore the boundless potential of dreams and their profound impact on the e-commerce industry.

Experts from various fields at the conference delve into the challenges and complexities of navigating the dynamic e-commerce landscape, finding the right partners to scale new heights and inspiring participants to discover innovative strategies to emerge as winners in this rapidly evolving digital business dynamics.

Goel said the advent of platforms like Amazon and Flipkart has made it easy for SMBs (small-medium businesses) to expand their reach through digital commerce.

However, the full-blown direct commerce boom began during the pandemic. The rapid growth of digital payments and dirt-cheap data helped fuel the e-commerce growth in India.“India went through a triple steroid shot, we got UPI, smartphone and the cheapest data in the world recently,” Goel said.

As data and smartphones became accessible, distribution became possible in every corner of the country and that’s when consumers and entrepreneurs started to come online, he said. He said that gradually people were directed towards social media as an easy medium to start selling their products, and that’s when the era of direct commerce began.

The beginning…

Goel highlighted the challenges for e-commerce in the initial years. “In 2016-17, e-commerce was less than one percent of India’s total commerce,” he said.

Back in 2012, cash-on-delivery (COD) option was still a new concept that only big marketplaces could offer. Apart from COD, even shipping was a tedious task in 2015-16 due to multiple reasons, including RTO (return to origin), long tail, marketing, carrier network, address quality, etc.

“We realised that it’s not actually the website builder or the storefront that was holding India back in terms of digital commerce or long-tail commerce but because we didn’t have the ground and cloud infrastructure,” added Goel.

Present scenario

Now there are e-commerce enablers like Shiprocket, offering an in-house shipping gateway to entrepreneurs to start their seamless e-commerce journey. He said Shiprocket is focused on offering its customers a seamless experience in digital commerce with services like shipment tracking, billing, warehouse management, supply chain optimisation, last-mile delivery optimization, courier partner recommendation and automated shipping solution.

The future

“India is going to have the third largest economy in the world in the coming years, our GDP is going to grow by leaps and bounce. There is going to be that much more disposable income in the hands of consumers. There is going to be that much more retail and penetration into internet commerce,” Goel said.

“Imagine, when e-commerce becomes $250-300 billion (business) by 2030 and direct commerce (which is still 10-12% in the US) about 45%. There is such a tremendous headroom here that the opportunity can’t be ignored. Platforms like ONDC are going to make a lot of these components available, and platforms like us (Shiprocket) that are going to try to make these components available, but the challenge will still remain,” Goel explained.

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