Billion lives will change with things over internet - Antiquity to Ubiquity
The Indian e-commerce industry has been experiencing unprecedented growth over the last few years. Increasing rate of technology adoption and wide access to high speed networks using smart devices has resulted in a high volume of active consumer base. Indian players like Flipkart, Snapdeal and entry of global players like Amazon and Alibaba in the Indian market has created a competitive ecosystem. Indian consumers evolved to a situation where wide variety of product choices across multiple criteria based searching mechanism powered by agile order fulfillment system thus achieving better consumer experience. The clutter caused by continuous increase by the new entrants to the market placed compelled the e-tailers to come out with innovative customer engagement models. In the face of competition, the e-tailers always trudge to bring relevant traffic to the website therefore strategies of viral marketing and search engine marketing have become things of paramount importance.
India has an active internet user base of over 354 billion with addition of almost 6 million each day but with a low market penetration compared to the overall population of the country which indicates the potential for this industry in near future. In 2009, India’s e-commerce market was USD 3.8 bn which rose to USD 12.6 billion in 2013. Conservative estimates by Goldman Sachs predict that Indian e-commerce market is going to cross USD 100 billion by 2020. Many significant factors have contributed this steady growth including high smart phone penetration, digital wallet adoption and last-mile logistical services backed discount pricing and smooth execution.
Propagation of networks like Internet of Things (IoT) where billions of devices will be connected over internet which in turn will help in collection and collation of consumer behavioral statistics at a micro level. Since the consumers today have moved away from market push to strategic pull therefore marketers also have mapped their sales pitches tailored to suit individuality of consumers. Facebook’s social graph application effectively tracks an individual’s circle of acquaintances which helps the engine to cluster into different groups suitable for targeted marketing campaigns. IoT has brought in a structural change into the industry specifics where this disruptive innovation has gained acceptance among people and believed to have made life easier. Multiple electronic devices connected over internet gather real time data ranging from inventory status to shipment details, health diagnostics to financial transactions. Computing is going to be ubiquitous, with real time transactional data capture.
Online market place brings together the buyer and seller in direct contact and the premise of brick and mortar setup with high entry barriers have been broken to give rise to new economy companies that had left many giants redundant. The startup ideas could not have blossomed if the entry barriers were very high. The domain of e-business has evolved from the traditional communication medium to the platform with visual merchandising offering a significant value proposition. If we could talk about companies like Ola, Uber or Blah Blah Cars and Ryde where hassle free taxi ride services could be bought online with single applications working across the globe. Online grocers are only growing in business volume with each passing day. Habits are changing. Erstwhile ordinary middle class are going online thus constituting a potential TG with high proliferation rate. Social enterprises through crowd funding or angel investment are in the offing. Projects like Billions in Change, Bharat learn are gaining momentum.
Keeping pace with the evolution in the digital space the Centre for E-Commerce Studies envisages growing as a vertical unit within IMS Noida which will work a platform for people from industry and academia to incubate research ideas, conduct short term training programmes, provide consultancy to corporate and execute research for industries through commissioning of research panels. This centre would work as a knowledge resource to other institutions and would take a position on socio-technical issues like net neutrality and cyber security.