Trends That Will Shape India's E-Commerce In 2018

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 21, 2017


The e-commerce landscape is shifting dramatically across the world, with an increased adoption of smartphones giving rise to a new level of consumer experience. Online brands are also leveraging modern technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, analytics and many more to keep up with the changing consumer pattern. While globally, ecommerce is creating huge momentum, India’s e-commerce market is also witnessing a fast track growth curve and is likely to grow at a 30% compound annual growth rate for gross merchandise value to be worth $200 billion by 2026, according to investment bank Morgan Stanley. The report said, India had 60 million online shoppers in 2016, which is 14% of the internet user base of the country, which will rise to over 50% by 2026, with 2018 to 2020 being the most decisive years.

Here are some of the key trends in India’s ecommerce which we cannot ignore in 2018

Virtual Assistants Powered By AI

Gartner predicted that by 2020 85% of customer interactions would be managed without human intervention. Analysts believe, the coming year, many online retailers will start to leverage the convenience and 24/7 availability of artificial intelligence fronted by chatbots for managing customer service queries and making intelligent purchase recommendations. Customers will become comfortable with interacting with chatbots as they browse online stores, in the same way they’d ask a shop assistant in a physical store.

Advance technology will continue to transform the digital landscape, as this year, AR and VR technologies will influence how consumers shop and interact with brands. As AI-powered chatbots become even smarter, it will also give rise to new opportunities like blockchain technology, making ecommerce a truly interesting sector.

The Customer Journey Will Get Smarter

2018 will give rise to a flurry of smart and informed shoppers, who are likely to choose brands that demonstrate customer centricity across all facets of their business, from personalized, customer-aware marketing to shopper-friendly shipping and return policies. In other words, experts believe the future of retail will indeed be more personalized. Instead of focusing on everyone’s buying habits, brands will work towards individualized recommendations based on shopper’s individual preferences.

The increase in the internet base has happened in the last three years, followed by smartphone penetration as the country will see e-commerce customers also moving to digital payments more than cash on delivery model.

In the coming months, users will be able to merge the real and virtual worlds. With AR and VR gaining grounds, they will be able to browse infinite digitally created shops worldwide sitting in your home and be able to buy products with hand gestures and voice control.

Another big year for Amazon, Flipkart

Flipkart and Amazon will continue to be the most popular e-commerce brands in India, even though experts believe that disruption is bound to happen with other innovative players such as Paytm having an edge. According to the latest RedSeer E-tailing Leadership Index (ELI) report, Flipkart is having an edge in tier-II and tier-III cities and towns and Amazon making the cut in metros.

Other e-tailers such as ShopClues, Paytm, Snapdeal and eBay India that witnessed a rough patch this year will continue to stay afloat, with most players spending heavily on innovative marketing.

The rivalry between Amazon and Flipkart will get intense by the day given that the two rivals are extremely well-funded and are investing heavily in their respective businesses and are transforming the way brands like Walmart compete and acquire customers. Their growth is continuing to advance at an incredible rate, and they’re changing the ways in which independent merchants have to sell, think and operate online.

Video Content is King

As more brands will use content to differentiate themselves, a big part of that content will be videos. Experts believe video will be the next big thing for ecommerce in the coming year as consumers find video content relatable, engaging and inviting. Online retailers will need to adopt a video strategy in order to stay competitive and build outstanding customer experience. According to a new study, the confidence gained from watching product videos turns into to a greater trust in retailers featuring videos on their on product pages.

Delivery Innovation

Delivery is becoming increasingly important for online shoppers. A study of 3,000 online shoppers, aged 18 to 65, indicated that the logistic experience is key in the online buying process. Over half of the consumers are willing to pay more for their purchases if they can select various delivery methods. Making the options clear at the checkout and ensuring that despatch and tracking processes are fully aligned to reduce the incidence of human error and get products moving out of the warehouse will become even more critical. In that respect, we may see widespread adoption of drone deliveries in 2018.

As more consumers adopt a habit on shopping online, online retailers will compete even harder to attract customers, convert them, and keep their loyalty.