Leaders from the e-commerce industry tell us where the industry is headed in 2022.

The pandemic and lockdown period has brought many new learnings for all businesses, and e-commerce has undoubtedly been one of the sectors with the biggest takeaways.
As we enter a new year, we reached out to e-commerce platforms to understand what role it would play in 2022.

The e-commerce segment has been witnessing a good growth over the last few years and has been showing no signs of slowing down in India. And why would it? Hasn’t shopping become so much easier now? We can buy anything, from groceries and perfumes to expensive jewellery, from the comfort of our homes. The pandemic further brought fundamental and long-term changes in the way people shop and make their purchase decisions. It has accelerated the industry’s growth in the country as historically offline shoppers also downloaded ecommerce apps onto their phones to shop from within the safety of their four walls. The past year and a half has brought millions of new e-commerce users, including from smaller cities and towns who now are comfortable with buying online. The industry has witnessed an uptick of 77% between 2020 and 2021 and Tier II, III cities are transacting more than ever, said a recent report by Bobble AI. This trend has pushed e-commerce platforms to embrace a wide range of regional brands and local sellers, which offer a compelling value proposition to consumers.
With increasing internet penetration, e-commerce players are expecting new growth from Tier II, III and beyond, which will cumulatively contribute to $150 billion of e-commerce as per RedSeer Consulting’s report. The Indian market is expected to surpass the US to become the second-largest e-commerce market in the world by 2034, revealed another report. It is poised to reach US$99 billion by 2024 from US$30 billion in 2019, expanding at a 27% CAGR, with grocery and fashion becoming the key drivers of this incremental growth.

As we enter a new year and e-commerce further expands its presence deeper into the country, we speak to a few e-commerce platforms to discuss what lies ahead, where would the second phase of growth come from and trends that would dominate the industry. Here’s what they had to say:

Manish Taneja, Founder and CEO Purplle.com:

The year has witnessed major growth in the beauty ecommerce industry, ushering in the next year with great potential. In 2022, the emergence of virtual reality tools will fuel the industry. Offering virtual beauty experiences that seamlessly merge with an omni-channel approach will be the norm. Over the next year, we at Purplle will invest heavily in technology and data science advancements to further personalize customer experience. Natural, transparent beauty products, effortless shopping with shorter delivery times, data-based product development, and value-driven experiences, are some of the other trends that will emerge in 2022.

Bharati Balakrishnan- Country Head and Director, Shopify India:

The Indian ecommerce market will continue to evolve in 2022, with D2C brands taking centrestage, driven by growing consumer demand and local brands increasingly making ecommerce a priority. On the one hand, the new shopping habits formed over the past 18 months will become an important factor: consumers have embraced online shopping and are actively choosing small, independent brands. This means that D2C brands are here to stay, and we anticipate the emergence of a new generation of proudly Indian brands across food, fashion and lifestyle. Simultaneously, traditional brands and retailers who dominate offline are evolving to meet the demands of the new consumer – they are building to provide a consistent experience to their consumers across online and offline, and would like to use their own online stores to truly extend their brand promise to existing and new customers. It’s an exciting time to be a consumer brand in India.

Amit, CEO, OLX Autos India:

Rise of the prosumer: The many faces of personalisation
With the majority of buyers now clearly preferring online shopping over the traditional format of in-store purchasing, the new trend is inclined towards the forward-thinking, influential and proactive prosumer. Personalisation of the products according to customers preference will be key in 2022.
E-commerce marketers will need to integrate personalizing products through advanced technologies in order to provide tailor made and seamless customer experiences.
In a cookie-less world, contextual marketing has reared its head in a big way. Targeting consumers has come of age – from category, to keyword, to semantic contextual targeting, now. Many more trends like crypto payments, and dynamic pricing will grow for pure-play retailers. But it is personalization for the prosumer that will chart the way forward.

Prabhkiran Singh, Founder CEO, Bewakoof:

Live video commerce, Virtual trial rooms (or AR/VR driven fit assists), customized lifestyle products and 3D animated UX interactions are the key trends we expect to disrupt shopping experience in the coming year.

Video or content commerce would be largely driven by influencer or user generated content. To drive scalability, there will be multiple SAAS companies launching solutions to simplify handshakes between brands and influencers in content acquisition, ingestion and performance driven payments space. Early movers in the space are Myntra Studio, Trell and Bewakoof Bshots.

With large VC investments going into the Web 3.0 and metaverse space, a lot of the product cataloging problems around accurate sizing or fit assessment would become more trivial. We will see brands launching virtual trial rooms, 3D product shoots and fit assistants to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping experience.
3 out of 10 customers who shop on our platform would like to customize their product design and sizing. We see this as a growing trend that multiple brands will adhere to in the coming year.

3D and animated content will become a UX trend in the consumer internet industry. Animations used to be a hindrance to many designers and developers as they may slow the loading speed of websites or apps and it is data consuming. With 5G scaling up and 4G becoming a norm across the country, designers will chose to use more animations.

Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Officer & Business Head, Pepperfry:

‘MarTech’, which essentially means amalgamation of marketing with technology, is the future of commerce where brands will run marketing in a digital and connected ecosystem to offer an immersive experience to their customers. With the advancement of technology in marketing, consumers are constantly looking for an enhanced buying experience. Thereby meaning, from 2022 onwards we will witness more technology integrated experiences like development of offline Virtual Reality shopping rooms for consumers. Since VR offers an immersive 360-degree perspective, products in virtual design, especially big-ticket items like furniture can be easily a luscious offering for customers who want an interactive experience with the product before making the decision, therefore, simplifying the buyer’s journey.
Going forward, I believe, Martech will play a dominant role in the strategic priorities and investments of brands, pushing marketers to embrace digital operations and integrated customer experience.

Shubh Darpan, VP- BI & Analytics, Cashify:

From the trends we have seen over the past couple of years, we at Cashify believe that the demand for refurbished mobiles is here to stay. It started with the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns when having a mobile became a necessity. Refurbished devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. were seen to be preferred by the Indian consumer. Mainly because of the economic aspect of it, the refurbished market has seen an upward motion in India. Moreover, with the shortage of chipsets, there have been fewer smartphone launches in recent times. This too has been a factor in pushing consumers towards refurbished mobiles. Refurbished smartphones offer an optimal and sustainable solution to today’s tech-dependent world and we can see it going a long way.

Gitanjali Saxena, Business Head – Global Luxury, Tata CLiQ Luxury

Inherently, shopping is a social experience. As people continue to spend an increasing amount of time online and on social media, online shopping, which witnessed a huge boost because of the pandemic, is now also becoming social. Social shopping, which is already booming in countries like China, has been gaining momentum in India and will be a leading trend in the coming year.

Engaging and immersive formats of selling, such as live commerce, will be at the forefront. In addition, AR and VR will play a crucial role in enhancing the online shopping experience, enabling more personalization, and targeting niche customers. Some of the biggest brands in the luxury fashion and beauty industries are working closely with social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to leverage their capabilities of live streaming, in-app shopping, and augmented reality to offer an experience that every luxury customer desires. Snapchat has harnessed the power of technology and introduced an augmented reality lens that allows for a virtual try-on of products.

Convenience, personalization, and a sense of community are some of the drivers fuelling the growth of social shopping. The advancement of technology is unlocking a slew of exciting opportunities in social shopping, including user-generated content, virtual product try-ons, direct interaction with brands and peers, and instant gratification. E-commerce platforms will reimagine their strategy to integrate social shopping elements by introducing innovative and engaging formats to bolster their reach and engagement with customers. With social shopping, e-commerce platforms can revolutionize the way people shop on their platforms by presenting a new way of shopping.

Source: Business Insider