Wednesday 31 January 2018

Small-town wallets power growth of ecommerce in India

With small-town Indians accounting for around 41 percent of all online shoppers, they are increasingly becoming the driving force behind ecommerce in India.
India lives in her villages - so said Mahatma Gandhi all those years ago. The ecommerce industry, specifically online retail, seems to have taken this quote to heart.
Large marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon, and the newest kid on the block Paytm Mall, are all focusing on getting the small-town Indian consumer to shop online and this focus is showing results.
Advisory firm RedSeer Consulting shared that e-tailers saw a 33 percent rise in monthly active shoppers in 2017 from 15 million in 2016 to 20 million last year.
ecommerce online shoppers growth
2016 was a bad year for Indian online retail with growth slowing to 12 percent, according to analysts. For the fiscal year 2016-17, the Economic Survey puts the ecommerce market’s growth at 19.1 percent with the overall size at $33 billion.
Harish HV, ecommerce expert and Partner – India Leadership team at Grant Thornton India, says:
I would say that they (online retailers) underperformed to potential. Along with issues like lack of funding, GST and demonetisation, they also had cut down on discounting. The good thing is they are all back to business and are all looking to grow. Aggressive discounting is not happening even now, but people are shopping online for reasons beyond discounts. That's a good sign. I expect growth to be back this year.”
Ecommerce companies knew that if the industry had to grow they would have to get small-town shoppers on board. To ensure this, the companies launched a slew of initiatives like Flipkart’s no-cost EMI that is available even for shoppers who do not have credit cards and Amazon’s Project Udaan, under which the company has partnered with small stores (through partners like StoreKing and Vakrangee) in rural India, whose shopkeepers help customers buy on Amazon.
The numbers show that small-town shoppers have responded with enthusiasm.
Shoppers in Tier II and smaller towns grew three fold compared to metro shoppers and accounted for nearly 41 percent of the overall online shoppers in 2017.
ecommerce unique shoppers
Residents from non-metro towns will account for 55 percent of all active online shoppers in 2020, according to RedSeer. The advisory firm predicts that overall there will be 185 million active shoppers in 2020.
In an interview with YourStory in December, Amazon’s India Head Amit Agarwal disclosed that almost 85 percent of the company’s customers come from Tier II and smaller cities.

It's all about access

The reasons for the growth are not hard to find. Modern organised retail is still a big city phenomenon. While modern trade in India is growing at 15 to 20 percent per annum, it has a low penetration of just 8 percent, according to PwC. This is where online retailers come in as they provide small-town shoppers access to a massive range of brands and products.
It is a myth that non-metros do not have high spending power. Kotak’s Wealth Report states that emerging cities and small towns account for 45 percent of India’s Ultra HNI population.
Harish, of Grant Thornton, says ecommerce companies have built their brand in smaller towns now and that has led to increase in sales in these locations.
“Well-to-do shoppers in small towns had to travel to big cities earlier. Now they can get the same products online. These shoppers will drive the online consumption story,” Harish says.
One of the major contributing factors is the high investment into logistics, especially by Flipkart and Amazon.
Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and National Leader (Retail and Consumer Products) at advisory firm EY, says:
The bigger players have ensured high logistics penetration in smaller towns. They claim to reach 80 percent of India and that is impressive. In the early days of ecommerce a lot of people said telecom penetration would lead to growth. That’s not necessarily true as ordering online is just one part; the products have to reach the consumers and that’s why logistics penetration has been an important growth driver.”
ecommerce economic survey
Graphics by Anisha Tulika

The flip side

There are, however, concerns. New markets always see a spurt in growth in the initial days and then there is a tapering. This is what has happened in the metro markets. In the initial years of online retail, it was metro markets that drove growth leading to the 180 percent growth in 2015. The growth in metros has slowed with only 11 percent growth in unique shoppers in these cities. A similar trend will follow in smaller towns in India.
"Access has increased but need has not really increased. When you provide more access there will be over-consumption for some time. But only among those people who have higher disposable income. Fewer people in small towns fall in this category,” says Pinakiranjan.
Also, it is primarily those in the “creamy” layer in smaller towns who are shopping online. This section of people will have similar tastes, and product and brand preferences as their metro counterparts. Getting the rest to shop online is the more difficult task.
Pinakiranjan says the addressable market is definitely large.
But at a certain price point. That’s the critical piece that online retailers need to understand. People have a budget. What’s the unit price at which people will buy? The challenge is, is that price point profitable for ecommerce companies?” says Pinakiranjan.
The many private label brands that are being launched -- Flipkart has launched over 30 across categories -- are a step towards increasing the range of affordable products. It is still too early to judge whether these private label brands have helped increase sales in smaller towns.
Grocery is expected to be another growth lever for the industry. Amazon and Flipkart are scaling up their grocery operations. Paytm Mall, along with Alibaba, is expected to announce an investment into e-grocer BigBasket soon. The idea is that grocery is the largest segment in Indian retail at $566 billion and getting consumers to start buying grocery online will help ecommerce companies grow.
However, that's easier said than done.
“It is a tough market. The neighbourhood grocery store has its own strength, with consumers preferring such stores for features like immediate delivery, easy exchange of products in case of problems, and availability of credit,” Harish says.
He, however, admits that the market is large enough for multiple online retailers to flourish. The online grocery market was just $1 billion in size in 2017. While it is small compared to the overall grocery and e-tail markets, we must remember that this $1 billion is split primarily between BigBasket, Grofers, and Amazon. So there is room for growth, but smaller towns will not switch to online easily.
Another challenge comes from an unexpected quarter--organised brick-and-mortar retail. Online retail was expected to finish offline organised retail. This segment did take a hit between 2015 and 2017, primarily because of e-tail with revenue growth slowing down to almost 12 percent, according to this article by Anuj Sethi, Senior Director at credit rating agency CRISIL. However, he goes on to add, that offline organised retail is expected to see revenue grow at around 20 percent a year over the next three fiscals.
This revival of brick-and-mortar modern trade will impact the growth of e-tail in the metros. Even as firms like Flipkart and Amazon try to win over more small-town shoppers, they need to ensure customers in metros remain loyal.

Saturday 27 January 2018

Ecommerce companies, startups lining up offers at B-schools

Campus hiring by ecommerce companies and startups is once again on the rise at the country’s leading business schools after a slide in the past two years. 

Ecommerce companies such as Amazon, Paytm, ShopClues and Flipkart — back after a year’s hiatus — to debutants like Go-Jek and UpGrad are among those going to the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other premier B-schools this placement season to recruit the brightest management talent. 

“This placement season, we are planning to hire about 60-70 from B-schools for Paytm Mall, and for the larger organisation we will hire at least 80-90,” said Manav Jain, associate vice president, Paytm. 

“This is an increase from last year since we have been continuously adding to our business portfolios over the last few months,” said Jain. 

Sayan Dutta, head of university relations for India at Amazon, said, “We remain committed to investing in MBA talent as we scale up our operations in India.” 

ShopClues is hiring engineering and B-school graduates to fill vacancies, said Babu Vittal, human resource (HR) head at ShopClues, with more than 30 of them being management graduates. 

Institutes On Radar 
Institutes on ShopClues’ radar are IIM Calcutta, Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development (SCHMRD), XLRI and IIM Nagpur. 

Ola senior vice president Yugantar Saikia said the cab aggregator is planning to visit seven-eight campuses and hire students who will play an integral role in helping the company expand its operations with innovative mobility solutions. 


B-school grads will join Ola’s operations, product management and human resource teams, and some may even work on a rotational assignment basis, said Saikia. 

While top IIMs will host final placements next month, at Bschools that have already completed the process, the increase in ecommerce and startup hiring is evident. These schools had seen hiring by the segment reach a high in 2015, then decline as the sector went through a rough patch. 

Things are looking up again. At Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Delhi, for instance, there has been a 63% rise in ecommerce offers coupled with a 19% jump in the average salary package, said Sanjay Verma, placement advisor. 

Students of Mumbai-based SPJIMR have got 27 offers from ecommerce companies: 10 from Flipkart; seven from Amazon and four from Paytm. Salaries offered ranged from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 39.5 lakh per year. MDI Gurgaon placements chairperson Kanwal Kapil said 10 companies from the sector absorbed 23 students this time. Major recruiters included Oyo (six), Lenskart (two), Moglix (two) and UpGrad (three). 

Online education platform UpGrad is recruiting from Bschools for the first time this year. It plans to hire 15-20 students from the IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow and MDI, said cofounder Mayank Kumar. 

Another startup making its debut at management schools is Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first unicorn. 

“We are hiring graduates with at least two-three years of work experience. We are looking at talent from the ISBs (Indian Schools of Business) and IIMs, as well as Great Lakes,” said Sidu Ponnappa, director, Go-Jek. 

While UpGrad is paying salaries of Rs 15-18 lakh, Go-Jek is paying around Rs 25 lakh. 

“Innovative perks and ESOPs (employee stock options) are on the rise. One company in our portfolio is also considering a cryptocurrency-based reward system,” said Rohit Chokhani, principal founder of Mumbai-based early-stage venture capital firm White Unicorn Ventures, which has about 20 companies in its portfolio. 

“Strong entrepreneurial skills will be preferred. Among the softer skills we are looking at are good time management, leadership abilities and conflict resolution.” 

Apart from IIMs and other leading B-schools, the portfolio companies are also looking at local B-school hires in their territories because of candidates having a better understanding of local markets. 

Apart from IIMs and other leading B-schools, the portfolio companies are also looking at local B-school hires in their territories because of candidates having a better understanding of local markets. 

“One major trend we foresee at B-school placements this year is many more internet product companies like us opening verticals for programme management teams,” said Sriram Vaidhyanathan, chief human resource officer of BankBazaar. “This is an area in which companies will be investing heavily in terms of talent, so it looks to be a good year for management graduates.” 

The online lending marketplace plans to recruit at least 15 graduates as business and product analysts compared with last year’s 10. 

The demand for more management talent is also spurring some companies to add more campuses to their list. Online fashion retailers Myntra and Jabong are looking to recruit at least 5-8% of their organisational size off B-schools and have added institutes such as XLRI and IIM Lucknow to their list of campuses to recruit from, said Amit Mathur, head of talent acquisition, Myntra and Jabong. 

Since they are among Day 1 companies at most B-schools, salaries are competitive, Mathur said. At ISB, for instance, the lowest offered by Flipkartowned Myntra-Jabong was Rs 18 lakh; the highest was ?25 lakh. “We are looking at those with a high level of ownership who can demonstrate a good culture fit. We want candidates who can learn quickly, strategise and execute work in various functions,” said Mathur. 

Thursday 18 January 2018

Amazon vs Flipkart: Which e-commerce giant attracts more eyeballs?

The past year has seen the rivalry between Amazon and Flipkart further intensify. From funding to shopping extravaganzas, the e-commerce behemoths went all out to outdo each other.
With both parties contesting third-party research findings about market share, the jury is still out on who sold more products.
But a look at a few other metrics provides some interesting insights on how the e-commerce giants grab eyeballs.
According to data from three independent platforms, Amazon’s app and website are more popular than rival Flipkart’s offerings.
Between November 2016 and October 2017 – the 12-month period for which the latest data is available – Amazon was consistently ahead of Softbank-funded Flipkart on desktop and mobile browser visits, app downloads and average daily active app users.
Amazon ended October last year with 5.4 million downloads for the month to Flipkart’s 4 million, according to app metrics tracking website App Annie (The number includes both Android and iOS downloads, but Apple has a minuscule market share in India).
Last October, Amazon and Flipkart had each crossed 100 million cumulative app downloads.
However, adding Flipkart’s subsidiaries PhonePe (digital payments) and Myntra and Jabong (both fashion) to the mix will see India’s largest e-commerce company well ahead of Amazon on this parameter. Each of those apps has between 10 million and 50 million downloads.
Google’s Play Store provides a wide range data for the cumulative app downloads. While downloads for e-commerce rival Snapdeal’s app range between 50 million and 100 million, smaller players such as Paytm Mall and Shopclues have between 10 million and 50 million downloads each.
Customer retention
According to data from digital marketing analytics firm SimilarWeb, around 4.8% of users who installed the Amazon app visited it daily. This also means that more users visit the Amazon app daily than Flipkart and Snapdeal combined.
But even as the overall app customer base grew, both Flipkart and Amazon struggled to sustain regular interest. Between November 2016 and October 2017, Flipkart saw a particularly sharp drop – from 5.6% to 3.2% – in daily active users on its app. In the process, it also lost its leadership position on this front to Amazon.
But Flipkart says quantity isn’t the priority when it comes to viewers.
“Flipkart focuses more on quality of traffic coming to its app, mobile site and website properties rather than traffic volume,” said a Flipkart spokesperson. “While traffic volume can be bought with marketing dollars, the majority of our user traffic comes to us on its own. And this traffic is of higher quality with a much higher user intent to purchase, directly leading to higher sales.”
Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst at market research firm Forrester Research Inc, warned against reading too much into these numbers.
“App downloads could be the result of paid advertisements,” he said. “If we assume that Flipkart has higher sales, that means Amazon’s conversion rate of traffic to sales is below par. But the traffic gap is big enough between them that the players could still be equals in terms of sales.”
He said that customers of Amazon Prime – its paid membership service – are high spenders and an estimated 30% of Amazon’s customers are Prime subscribers.
Another analyst with an international research company, who did not wish to be identified, said that Amazon could be ahead of Flipkart on sales on a standalone basis.
The analyst noted that Myntra and Jabong (which combined have more than a billion dollars in gross merchandise sales), together with PhonePe, could see a consolidated Flipkart beat its rival.
​​Browser traffic
Amazon’s browser traffic is impressive too.
Data from Similarweb shows Amazon’s monthly desktop visits rising nearly 25% to 102 million between November 2016 and October 2017.
During the same period, Flipkart saw its monthly desktop visits go up from 50 million to 60 million.
However, browser visits may not be a fair comparison. In 2015, Flipkart had focused on selling via its app while considering shutting down its website altogether. It has not managed to regain its leadership position in web traffic since then.
Before launching its existing web application on the Chrome browser, Flipkart had even briefly shut down its mobile site.
On mobile browsers, Amazon had around 340 million visits in October 2017, more than doubling its tally in a year. Flipkart, too, doubled its monthly visits in that period but only notched up 120 million views.
“ was the most visited destination as per all standard traffic reports,” said an Amazon India spokesperson. “We know that our deals that already draw the maximum online traffic have a huge impact on customers’ buying patterns. ”
​​Continuing trend?
Despite Amazon’s clear advantage till October last year, it’s not clear whether the trend is continuing.
Multiple visits to the Google Play Store in January this year found Flipkart and PhonePe among the top 10 most popular apps on several days. Amazon did not find a place in the top 50. Myntra was also consistently among the top 50 most popular apps.
Forrester Research’s Meena pointed out that Amazon had led Flipkart in a consumer survey on customer satisfaction done by the research firm in 2016 and had strengthened its position as the top-rated platform in 2017 as well.
“There is no way we can track consumer spending though,” he said.
Harish HV, partner at accounting giant Grant Thornton, says the real numbers are hard to come by.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Between India and the US, this startup combines social networking and ecommerce for travellers

TravelUR aims to make travel more memorable and hassle-free by offering a platform for travel-related services and social engagement.
Photo by Steven Lewis on Unsplash.
What Amazon is to retail, TravelUR aims to be for travel.
TravelUR is targeting every traveller who wants to have a record of their travel experiences. Launched in May 2017 in Arizona, US, this startup aims to be a platform for end-to-end travel-related services and social engagement.
TravelUR’s services include online flight tickets, domestic and international holiday packages, bus tickets, hotel reservations, and more on website and app. It also enables digital storage of all travel-related media, which you can share digitally with friends without risking privacy.
Not surprisingly, both co-founders are avid travellers. Sunil Konduru, who has 25 years of corporate experience, is an extensive traveller, and has lived in Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. Sekhar Kolla, who founded an IT consulting services company, and has single-handedly grown it to multimillion-dollar business, is a keen traveller. Both of them are now settled in the US.
Having worked for global corporates for close to 20 years, Sunil and Sekhar were sure they wanted to do something they were passionate about: travel. They are supported by a co-founding team, advisory board, and technology leadership team with extensive travel domain expertise. TravelUR, which has raised $1.5 million till date from family and friends, now has offices in Pennsylvania and Hyderabad.

Tech for the travel lover 

According to Sunil, travel experiences are scattered in terms of planning and memories. “After talking to many frequent travellers and noticing from our own experiences, we came up the idea of combining social engagement with all travel services to make every travel a lifetime digital memory,” he says.
Since the idea of TravelUR evolved from the individual traveller’s point of view, the name Your Travel or Travel UR was a natural choice.
Sunil Konduru and Sekhar Kolla, co-founders of TravelUR
Building a single platform combining social engagement and travel services was a challenge for the team in the initial days. “We developed all APIs that would integrate with other service providers. Doing it ourselves, we understood the inner nuances of the entire value chain,” Sunil says.
TravelUR storage is driven through PostgreSQL with Bootstrap frontend framework (JS, CSS, HTML5), jQuery and is supported by Ajax, PHP backend using Code Ignitor. The hardware is powered by Microsoft Azure web services. They are planning to release native Android and IoS apps in April.

Redefining e-commerce for travel

TravelUR mainly serves as a travel networking space and helps with destination research. Members can create their profile with personal travel preferences, share travel experiences and real-time travel updates, and meet other like-minded travellers just like on a social network.
Additionally, TravelUR combines social engagement and travel-related e-commerce services with an analytics-based platform with AI integration. It aims to give value to both users and travel service providers. They claim to have already established tie-ups with the best hotels, flights, and other travel services providers.
After having studied user-preferred features through global surveys and interactions with passionate frequent travellers, they are developing unique features in this regard. For instance, TravelUR analyses user choices, travel interests, demographics, and behaviour, which enables travel service providers to market their services and offers by targeting the right user base.
“We plan to engage all age groups from various locations with attractive customised vacation packages. We are more focused in socially active members and groups, and would want to leverage from their travel experiences,” Sunil adds.

The vast ecosystem

Being based in the US has given a specific advantage to TravelUR, which aims to scale globally.
Sunil explains, We would like to get the best out of both worlds and leverage the advantages of getting to know the latest trends in the travel industry and align with global expansion strategy.”
TravelUR currently has over 35,000 registered users and has generated over $150,000 in the last nine months. At present they provide 185 vacation packages across 880 destinations in 32 countries globally.
Apart from all the travel business stakeholders like airlines, hotels, and travel agents, TravelUR aims to include all the socially active travellers/groups for last-mile connectivity. They have developed APIs that would integrate with all the other service providers.

A clear business model

TravelUR faces direct and indirect competition from Trip Advisor, Facebook, WAYN, Kayak, Makemytrip, and ClearTrip. In fact, Sunil says that “revenue vs social traction” was a big dilemma initially.
Team TravelUR

“We adopted a conservative approach for TravelUR and aimed for both social and revenue traction in the initial days to ensure that the team was motivated towards achieving tangible goals. Our aim is to be social first, and then a service provider,” he says.
To grow the existing product line, scale up operations, and market at global scale, TravelUR is planning to raise pre-Series A equity funding for the next 18 months of growth, especially for customer acquisition and marketing in India and the US. Sunil says that they are in discussions with some VCs active in India. They want to build their technology and expand their 35-member team, while scaling up existing partnerships and building new ones.
In 2018, TravelUR is eyeing one million users and a presence in 2,000 destinations. Way to go!

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Online shoppers beyond metros grow 3x, drive e-commerce growth

Indian e-commerce is starting to mature, it would seem
Although a wide customer base is essential to recover the cost of customer acquisition, over the years, the industry has focused on Tier I cities for sales. But, according to a study by consulting firm RedSeer, the number of online shoppers outside metro cities in India are growing by more than three times as compared with their Tier I counterparts.
Accordingly, the number of shoppers from these cities made up nearly 41 percent of overall online shoppers in 2017. The number of unique shoppers in metro cities in 2017 stood at 11 percent, while other Tier I cities accounted for 18 percent. For Tier II cities and beyond, this number stands at 34 percent.
The study says this will be a significant lever for the growth of e-tailers in the Indian market in 2018 as well. “With the sharp increase in the number of online users due to the Jio effect the overall industry benefited. Key sectors saw good growth, and there was a significant shift observed in the business models of some sectors to ensure better consumer experience,” it adds.

Low internet penetration

The study also states that although the growth has been fair so far, there is a still a significant opportunity for the many categories in the e-commerce sector, as a majority of them has less than 10 percent online penetration.
While the sector is showing clear signs of growing, it is still being driven by discounting. The online fashion industry in India is worth $3.5 billion at present, and the other e-commerce verticals, together are worth $14.5 billion. The online grocery vertical is worth $950 million.
The problem, however, is that for these categories, online penetration is still less than 5 percent, whereas travel reservations and hotels, due to their proven value, have 100 percent penetration. Also, awareness about the pros of e-commerce is still low among the rural middle class, which is a challenge. Although efforts like Amazon’s assisted e-commerce model – Udaan – which was launched in 2015, enable customers to buy on Amazon through small retail stores (through partners like StoreKing and Vakrangee) in rural India, the initiative remains the only one of a kind.
More than discounts, better connectivity, and infrastructure are essential to bring new customers on board. The bigger players are still developing their logistics network to provide faster delivery. Experts believe that while services like Amazon Prime – which promise one-day delivery - can bring in customer loyalty, bringing in new members for this subscription service will demand more warehouses with a larger selection. Since the majority of Indian population lives outside metro cities, a growing customer base in these regions is definitely good news for e-commerce.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Welspun India sets up US arm to invest in e-commerce firms

Textile firm Welspun India has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary in the US to invest in e-commerce companies. 

"The company has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary Welspun Nexgen Inc registered with the state of Delaware, US having paid up capital of USD 4.25 million to make investment in e-commerce companies," Welspun India said in a BSE filing. 

The firm however did not elaborate on the matter. 

Shares of Welspun India were trading 2.23 per cent higher at Rs 73.40 per scrip on BSE. 

Thursday 4 January 2018

How the e-commerce sector performed in 2017

Moreover, terms like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning came into the fray, and are all set to become the new normal. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Indian e-commerce! So, I decided to sum up the performance of the Indian e-commerce industry in 2017.

The Indian e-commerce industry is riding a rapid growth wave and its effects in the past one year alone have been huge. In 2017, we saw the entry of global giant Alibaba, the launch of PayTm Mall and a slew of app first e-commerce brands. Meanwhile, the draught in funding forced many brands to shift focus from driving GMV to revenue growth & profitability.
Moreover, terms like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning came into the fray, and are all set to become the new normal. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for Indian e-commerce! So, I decided to sum up the performance of the Indian e-commerce industry in 2017.
Surge in wallet usage
The cash-crunch caused by demonetization forced a surge in cashless methods like mobile wallets, debit/credit cards and net banking. According to a survey by, almost 50% respondents switched from cash on delivery to digital payments, mobile wallets reaped colossal benefits. According to Business Insider, wallet payments forerunner PayTm witnessed transactions worth 120 crore per day only 12 days post demonetization. Today digital payments have become an essential part of urban India’s day-to-day life; fast spreading to the rest of the country.
The rise of niche stores
Online shopping portals like MamaEarth, TeaFloor and Coolwinks grabbed a sizeable chunk of the market. Sitting on a higher rung on the e-commerce giant chain, Nykaa, Myntra, FirstCry, UrbanLadder and LensKart launched brick & mortar stores becoming ‘Omni-channel’ retailers. Meanwhile, Flipkart, went on an acquisition spree adding fashion portals Jabong and Myntra to its kitty.
Mobile takes center-stage
In 2016, with the advent of 4G and lower subscription costs, mobile phones became the preferred device for shopping. As of 2017, mobile and internet penetration is such that one out of three people in tier I and II cities use their smartphones to shop online. In 2017, 82% of shopping queries were made through mobile devices, compared to 76% in 2016, according to a study by Assocham and Deloitte. Secure payment gateways, availability of alternate payment methods and offers on mobile payments have all contributed to this increase in mobile e-commerce. As internet and smartphone adoption continues to rise across the country, use of mobile as an online shopping platform is expected to cross $50 billion in value by the end of 2018 from the current level of $38.5 billion.
Growth of artificial intelligence
Technological advancements in machine learning made it possible for the e-commerce industry to adopt artificial intelligence (AI). AI has majorly affected customer service for e-commerce, bringing companies closer to consumers than ever before. E-commerce portals are using chat bots to personalize experiences while acquiring insights about consumer behavior. Major players such as Flipkart and Amazon aim to use AI for product recommendations and enhanced user experience.
As we walk into a more tech-centric era, we can expect these trends to snowball further. Combining trends from 2017 and predictions for 2018, its full steam ahead for e-commerce and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.