With 190 million internet users in the country, the Indian e-commerce market pegs about $13 billion. Over the past five years online shopping in India has caught up in a big way and the growth of e-commerce ventures, like Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong (among others), outlines the immense potential of the sector.
When considering the annual rate of growth which is at 41-43% – [India is expected to cross 375 million unique internet users by end of 2015 (source: IAMAI)], in the future it is quite possible for m-commerce to become even bigger than e-commerce, especially in a country where there are over 930 million mobile subscribers (including approximately 100 million mobile internet users).
A few months ago, Flipkart’s CEO, Sachin Bansal, had said in an interview that the company which has a GMV of $1B would largely be a mobile commerce company in the next two or three years. Recently Snapdeal stated that nearly half of its orders came through mobile channels, thereby earning them a 20X growth over the previous year.
The above numbers signify the emergence of mobile devices as a transactional channel rather than just a means to drive traffic to the website. Proliferation of 3G/4G networks and an improved user experience has been driving users to make transactions via mobile devices.
“Currently, 25% of the traffic comes from tier II and III cities, whereas 50% Scrapbookers are from smaller cities. Suchi Mukherjee, co-founder of the women-focused retail store, Limeroad, says that the mobile is personal, free and at hand all the time. Whereas, from consumer studies about women, we can infer that a desktop computer would be shared and used by the whole family or can be accessed only at the office. In fact, within 45 days of Limeroad launching its mobile app, it had close to 100k installations.
Gurgaon-based marketplace ShopClues does 40% of its business through the mobile platform. “With the recent launch of our customer-facing Android app, by the end of the year we expect to get about 25-30% of our orders via mobile,” says Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder of ShopClues. The Nexus Venture-backed company plans to launch a feature phone/smartphone-friendly shopping experience soon.
For Paytm, the majority of the transactions come from mobile phones. “About 60% of our orders (mobile, DTH, data recharge etc.) comes through mobiles,” reveals Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder of Paytm.
What’s driving users to shop on the go?
High speed/stable internet bandwidth (with relatively cheap 3G/4G tariffs) is step one towards enabling people to shop in the first place. Mobile phones can also take advantage of your location and share targeted offers and services.
Another reason, especially in India, is Cash on Delivery (CoD). People can browse for their favourite items, add it to the ‘cart,’ and have it shipped to them. The online payment experience, especially on mobiles, is still not very smooth (with redirects to payment gateways etc.). Sonaal Bangera of Effect Works points out that, on the other hand, organisations have figured out things like product-availability check, delivery tracking through SMS and e-mails, more sophisticated courier services, 24*7 customer care etc., which helps in the overall shopping experience.
Are freebies driving app-downloads?
Who doesn’t love freebies and discounts?! According to Bangera, as mobile experiences keep getting better and better, organisations are confident of steering customers through their mobile channels by giving better discounts or freebies if the customer uses their mobile app.
This is one way of reducing the learning curve of using the app itself. Additionally, the hope is that, since they the customer is now familiar with making purchases on the mobile device, they are more likely to do so in the future, too, because of the anytime-anywhere availability of their mobiles. This in turn leads to higher conversions. Bangera further adds that he has seen such onboarding styles, right from booking tickets to group purchasing, and that it works quite well.
How is the mobile user different from the web user?
Consumers logging-in from a mobile is much more technology-friendly as compared to a web user. According to Mukherjee, today, about 60% of the women say that their mobile phone is the most important device in their lives, and that they have it with them all the time, be it when they are out grocery shopping or waiting for their kids to finish art class. Women typically spend approximately one-and-a-half hours a day socializing and shopping on their mobiles. According to a study, women install 40% more apps than men, and willingly spend 87% more money on online-purchases.
As a medium, the mobile is more similar to a TV than to a PC. Aggarwal has revealed that the mobile shopper is more likely to make impulse purchases while the PC user makes well-informed, meditated purchases. This essential difference translates into the kind of products searched for and bought on mobiles, as well as the differentiated marketing approaches e-commerce companies take. The fact is that the mobile is a highly personalized device, and in India it has far greater penetration than the internet, especially in tier II and III cities which make up a bulk of her customer base.
Challenges with going ‘mobile first’ means understanding the real estate of the mobile device and creating an engaging shopping experience in that limited space. Bangera cautions that, more importantly, the user experience doesn’t end with the look and feel of an app or mobile service, but that it encompasses all the logistics, delivery, and customer support too.
The wheels are in motion and mobile shoppers are growing steadily every day. So, businesses need to consider having mobile apps for their shopping websites. There are few mobile shopping platforms that can make mobile apps by integrating with an existing store. Vajro offers a simple, faster and hassle-free mobile platform to create well-crafted and feature-rich apps for stores. Do check our plans and features if you’re interested.