2012 was an exciting year for Indian e-commerce, which capped off an incredible 5 years of exponential growth, from approximately $1.75 Bn in 2007, to over $14Bn by 2012. A lot is being written about 2013 as a year of possible consolidation for the industry. But regardless of how things develop in this sphere, 2013 will see more interesting trends and more interesting innovations in the Indian e-commerce, as the market matures.
Essence of e-commerce
The essence of e-commerce still means that customers must feel a certain degree of comfort that what they are buying will fit them / look good on them / look right in their living room etc., and clearly many Indian shoppers still have major concern over this (despite generous returns policies).
In 2013, we expect to see some interesting initiatives in India to bridge the information gap between what the consumer wants and what the product is. In fashion and Healthcare this may include innovations that leverage technology to help a consumer to find an item that is a perfect fit via a virtual try-on experience
Social Media Usage
E-commerce adopted the use of social media early on, but for a long time social media has been about eyeballs, offers and other ways of grabbing the attention of potential customers. The thinking was that wherever the customer is, your brand should also be. Simple. Well, not really. Your brands online reputation management must be characterized by the existence of one seamless voice across all channels: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and so on. Customers in 2013 will more and more value brands that stand for something, or are differentiated in ways other than low prices and wide product ranges.
We have seen just how important this mix is with our recent focus on Apple products. Customers are buying MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones from us directly from social media engagement that is not limited to offers and features. Our ORM across our social media platforms has been a focus of ours of late, and companies more and more will understand the value of this in 2013.
Product Videos: Engaging and Informative
Most e-commerce companies are very much aware of the importance of including high quality product images on their product pages.Product videos are not easy to execute, but if done well they can have a significant impact on product page conversion rates. We expect to see this as a major trend in Indian e-commerce for 2013.
Shoppable Images & Videos
And even going one step further, interactive, or shoppable images and videos have recently been experimented with by several large players, includingIKEA and Gucci. Shoppable images create a vision of how products will look in the place where they are meant to be placed. So rather than browsing through an array of product pages to look at images of chairs, tables, sofas (all with plain white backgrounds) customers can browse through images of a fully-furnished home, tastefully designed with a selection of products available from that company each product viewing in its natural setting, with of course a clickable link from the product image to the product page.ex can be seen at product pages at DietKart.com
Shoppable videos can be used in a similar way. With the typical high-production values of a fashion video, a company can display this seasons must have products the difference being that the products in the video are clickable (even as the video plays) and when clicked, bring the viewer to the product pages of the selected product.
Emergence of B2B
The Indian e-commerce story so far has been dominated by B2C e-commerce companies. However, there is one trend that has yet to really hit the subcontinent, which we believe will begin to feature more and more in 2013.
This trend has revolutionized how business is conducted in the developed world and the numbers involved are incredible. The trend is B2B e-commerceIndian B2C e-commerce is currently valued at $14 Bn, with many commentators predicting it to reach $60-80 Bn by 2025We believe that the B2B e-commerce wave could soon hit India because of the educational role that B2C has been playing for the past 5 years.The advancement of B2B e-commerce is very much supported by the prior establishment of a strong B2C market.