How Apps Can Unleash the Potential of E-Commerce in Mobile-First Economies – The Financial Express | Hot Mobile Press

By Sanjeev Barnwal

As e-commerce gains momentum in India, technology in its multiple dimensions remains the main driving force behind online marketplaces. Given the technology’s pivotal role in markets around the world, industry analyst Benedict Evans has likened it to the solar system. Here, smartphones resemble the sun while all other elements revolve around these smart devices.

According to a Cisco study, India will host more than 800 million smartphone users this year, with these devices accounting for 44 percent of all internet traffic. In addition, the proliferation of smartphones will cause per capita data consumption to grow from 2.4 GB in 2017 to almost 14 gigabytes in 2022, the fastest growth rate in the world, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index .

E-Commerce to M-Commerce

Given the demographic dividend that comes from India’s population of nearly 1.4 billion, mobile apps have immense importance in e-commerce, which could more accurately be termed m-commerce or mobile commerce. Because apps offer ample opportunities for personalization, they help e-commerce players better understand consumers, engage with them more often, and target those cohorts with relevant products based on their browsing history. India is adding nearly 25 million new smartphone users every quarter, underscoring the importance of apps and m-commerce.

Fueled by pandemic-related tailwinds that prompted millions of consumers and retailers to embrace digital transactions, the country has now transitioned into a mobile-first economy, according to InMobi’s 2021 Annual Mobile Marketing Handbook. Thanks to these trends, the country accounted for around 11.6 percent of all app downloads worldwide in 2021, according to a recent report by App Annie.

According to the same App Annie report, Indian consumers spend almost 5 hours a day on mobile apps. This is also due to the emergence of m-commerce app categories such as gaming, health and fitness, entertainment, edtech, long and short video content, and hyper-local delivery, which are gaining prominence post-pandemic. The availability of these apps in colloquial languages ​​also plays a crucial role in empowering content creators and consumers.

Retailers need to jump on the bandwagon

There is no doubt that the pandemic has changed consumer habits and significantly impacted marketing strategies. Consumer preference for mobile-first services appears poised to fuel the transition to an app-based economy.

As India transforms into a mobile-first economy, retailers who successfully adopt apps will make greater strides in the highly competitive market. To see positive results, app developers must focus on building lighter apps with minimal loading times so users can enjoy a relatively seamless experience. But even if the apps are kept lean, they need to ensure great content for an engaging consumer experience.

Developers should also customize apps for different cohorts of users. This is especially important as businesses are seeing an increasing number of orders from Tier II and Tier III cities, underscoring the importance of multilingual and regional language content. The convenience of conversing or conducting business in their language facilitates higher conversion in non-metropolitan areas.

M-commerce enables consumers to order anything, anywhere, anytime. Ordering products or services from home saves time, money and effort, especially during the pandemic when consumers are avoiding crowded malls and markets.

With changing consumer habits, using apps to generate more leads and conversions is no longer an option for retailers. Rather, it is imperative that retailers do not want to be left behind in the ongoing struggle to win, retain and grow their market share, even as a significant percentage of retail businesses move from offline to online.

As the YOY ecommerce user base grows, even SMEs are realizing the importance of apps to expand their customer base. After all, there is no better way to reach consumers 24/7, from anywhere, anytime.

(Sanjeev Barnwal is the founder and CTO of Meesho)

Leave a Comment