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Dynamics of India’s E-commerce Growth: AI, Data, and Trust Lead the Way

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The day-long insightful discussions at the IMAGES Group’s Internet Commerce Summit uncovered several trends that are impacting Indian e-commerce industry’s dynamics of growth

New Delhi: Artificial Intelligence (AI), data and trust are key drivers impacting e-commerce growth in India according to experts at the Internet Commerce Summit (ICS) 2023 in Bengaluru. Key stakeholders of India’s digital commerce industry deliberated on the digital dominance and key facets of the e-commerce industry’s evolution and the foreseeable future.

Discussions also centred around strategies for Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) businesses leveraging Artificial Intelligence, the synergy between D2C and Retail for Unified Commerce, D2C funding avenues for start-ups, and the dynamics of raising venture capital for budding enterprises.

A thought-provoking panel discussion unfolded around how travel, hospitality, and real estate sectors have thrived in the digital age, shedding light on innovative strategies that have propelled these industries forward. Another focal point delved into the evolving landscape of e-commerce logistics, unravelling trends and innovations that are reshaping the backbone of the industry.

In a select talk on the role of Cash-on-Delivery (COD) in customer retention and experience, specialists emphasized the critical role of trust in brand-building within the context of COD in a cash-rich economy as India. Despite assumptions that customers will purchase desired products, their discussions underscored the pivotal role of trust in brand-building, challenging conventional beliefs.

Saksham Bhagat, Co-Founder and CEO of Swift Money, highlighted the necessity of COD for growing e-commerce brands, citing it as a trust-building mechanism, especially for acquiring new customers. “In the rapidly growing landscape of India’s e-commerce industry, COD is necessary for brands, especially growing ones, as they acquire new customers on a regular basis. There is a cost to it but the option of COD helps in earning the trust of customers. They can offer it to new users for the first 4-5 transactions and then remove the option.”

SEO’s pivotal role in e-commerce was dissected by Boni Satani, Co-founder of Zestard Technologies. Satani emphasized that investing in SEO over time can lead to a significant reduction in customer acquisition costs, providing an early mover advantage in a competitive landscape. SEO’s contribution to building effective re-marketing campaigns was also underscored. “SEO also helps you build great re-marketing campaigns,” he added.

Seshu Kumar Tirumala, Chief Buying and Merchandising Officer at Bigbasket, provided insights into the business approach on the BB Accelerate Platform, outlining a stepwise process for onboarding D2C brands. “The process includes identifying product and assortment gaps, gauging the availability of products across various apps, exploring subscription models, and capitalizing on quick commerce opportunities. We also analyse customer buying behaviour and draw them to buy other products based on their interests. For example, we look at promoting a meat brand among non-vegetarian food lovers by seeing data of users who buy special masalas and ingredients needed for non-vegetarian recipes on our platform.”

Percy Avari, Country Head at Aramex, shared insights into the evolution of trends and innovations in e-commerce logistics. Reflecting on the changes over the past decade, Avari highlighted the shift from a resistance to change within 3PL (third-party logistics) to a more adaptive and tech-driven approach. The importance of real-time updates, visibility, and automation in meeting customer expectations in today’s e-commerce landscape were key takeaways. “There is extensive use of technology in automation, AI, and machine learning. All 3PL companies today, besides logistics companies, have become tech-users. Without the right WMS integrated with customers and AI, our execution speed may not meet customer expectations. Today, customers expect real-time updates from the warehouse, delivery status and visibility of their orders.”

In a fireside chat exploring the transformative fusion of online gaming and e-commerce, Biplove Belwal, Founder of Nukebox Studios, noted a paradigm shift in the perception of gamers. He revealed, “Current research indicates a staggering 3.2 billion people, approximately 40% of the world population, identify as gamers.” The discussion also touched upon the spending ability and loyalty of women gamers, uncovering opportunities for an intersection between gaming and e-commerce.

The day concluded with the prestigious IMAGES e-Commerce Awards, celebrating emerging players and innovators making significant contributions to the e-commerce industry.

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