How technology is boosting Indian online retailers

e-commerce

The wide reach of internet and ever-rising use of smartphone have changed Indian consumer habit in recent years and brought fortune for online retail companies operating in the country.

Technology is at the heart of any company operating in the digital era. Enterprises use cutting edge technologies to attract customers and find new revenue streams and to remain competitive in tight market conditions.

Growing interest in internet, technology and the penetration of smartphone among India’s dense population are encouraging factors for major e-commerce companies such as Amazon, eBay, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Future Group, Shopclues to invest in advanced technologies.

Recent technology initiatives by e-commerce companies

Snapdeal recently shared data on its self-service seller ads platform, Banner ads, launched 9 months ago. During this time, over 10,000 sellers, 200 brands and agencies have used the ads solution and this number continues to grow.

Banner ads were launched to cater to both brands and smaller sellers to help them utilize prime real estate on the Snapdeal website, enhance their visibility, increase conversions, and ultimately build brand loyalty.

It expects that the ads platform will rake in 100 crores in annual revenue for the company by the next 3 months. As more and more sellers come on the platform, ad revenues will be a growing contributor to Snapdeal’s profitability goal.

Operating cost is a major factor companies consider while adopting technologies. Hence, its wise to develop a solution that caters the company’s needs cost-effectively.

Snapdeal’s in-house hybrid cloud solution Snapdeal Cirrus has helped the company to cut its monthly infrastructure costs by 75 percent.

Since its launch in last September, Snapdeal has migrated over 300 microservices and 200 datastores onto Cirrus, without any downtime required. During this live migration, it built the capabilities to orchestrate any microservice at will on their own private cloud or any of the public clouds like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

Rajiv Mangla, Chief Technology Officer, Snapdeal said, “Since the launch of Snapdeal Cirrus our monthly burn on public cloud has been cut down to one-fourth. When we decided to build a hybrid solution, our infrastructure needs were growing exponentially and in a short span of 10 months we have built an extremely reliable and scalable platform, with a small but extremely talented team.”

Further, the smart communication applications Snapdeal uses, also helped the company to cut costs.   The company witnessed a drastic drop of 50 percent in travel expenses through an increasing trend of online meetings among teams.

The teams at Snapdeal have had access to the state of art CISCO tele-conferencing and have been using it for multi-location large meeting. Employees also use whatsapp video call and face time for quicker resolutions and action points without physical meetings.

Also Read: Flipkart offers equity stake to eBay

Flipkart

Launched in 2007, Flipkart claims to have over 100 million satisfied Indian customers. In February, Flipkart said it will adopt Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud platform to provide consumers in India with the best online shopping service.

Under the partnership, Microsoft Azure will add a layer of advanced cloud technologies and analytics to Flipkart’s existing data centres. Microsoft’s strong presence in India along with its global scale allows for continued growth and expansion, setting the stage for the long-term partnership.

Additionally, Flipkart plans to leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities in Azure, such as Cortana Intelligence Suite and Power BI, to optimize its data for innovative merchandising, advertising, marketing and customer service.

Future Group

In April, Future Group’s Retail Light Techniques implemented WorkApps Enterprise Collaboration for team.  As a lighting solutions provider, RLT has lit up over 40 Million sq. ft. across the country.

WorkApps will be able to deliver information, files, project status and all data needed across the value chain.  In addition a multi-dimensional collaboration platform like WorkApps enables to fast track implementation processes.

Retail Lights has implemented its solutions for retail, warehouses, offices and the pharma sector. Future Group and associated brands, Reliance Retail, Aditya Birla Fashion and Brands, Shoppers Stop, HyperCity, Flipkart, TCS, HDFC Ergo, Infosys, SBI, Mercedes Benz are some of its valuable clients.

Also Read:  How digital focused retailers can improve customer experience

India online retail market

The online retail market had grown 114.4 percent in 2015, making the country one of the fastest-growing online market in the world.

However, it is a fact that growth significantly came down to 33.7 percent in 2016. That was due to many factors, including a slowdown in venture funding, demonetization, and other government regulations related to discounts.

Despite last year’s hiccups, the country maintained its status among its global counterparts. Market research firm Forrester predicts that online retail sales in India will reach $64 billion by 2021, growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.2 percent.

However, the sector also faces some headwinds. A slowdown in venture capital funding, logistics challenges, and slow growth in the number of online buyers are holding back India’s online retail market.

But, Government’s Digital India initiative, which promotes a cashless economy, is expected to boost e-commerce in the country.

Growing e-commerce habit

In January, a study by ASSOCHAM-Resurgent India revealed that the number of consumers who purchase online is expected to cross 100 million by 2017 end with e-retail market likely jumping 65 percent on year in 2018.

The report also says that by the end of 2018, Indian e-retail is expected to hit $17.52 billion.

At the same time, mobile commerce is predicted to grow between 45-50 percent in 2017, up from 30-35 percent at the time of study conducted.

The report also observed a surge in the number of people shopping on mobile across India with tier II and III cities displaying increased dominance.

Growing e-commerce habit of Indian consumers is one of the reasons why world retailer giants are investing in the country.

Most recently, Amazon has invested Rs 1,680 crore in its Indian unit.  That was in addition to an already spent Rs 15,000 crore.

Arya MM
editor@infotechlead.com