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Public Administration News  
India: The E-commerce Evolution
Source: mydigitalfc.com
Source Date: Monday, April 14, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: India
Created: Apr 22, 2014

One of the things that really separate us as humans from the high primates is that we’re great tool builders and we learn and execute fast, hence are acknowledged as the crown of creation. We have seen this happening for long that we don’t settle but keep improving and innovating for convenience.

There has always been a strong wave of revolution in existing models to try and make them better for our convenience. Take for example e-commerce, when it started in India a lot of us were skeptical about the concept due to various reasons like internet, devices and shopping online. But few strong visionaries have changed our buying habits and most of us by now would have experienced shopping online. India’s e-commerce business jumped by more than 80 per cent in 2013 and the momentum is likely to continue for at least the next five-six years. Catching the trends early experts who were running big retail businesses as specialty stores now have e-stores and have started competing with the big players in the e-commerce race.

By June 2014, India will have 243 million internet users, at which point of time, it is expected to overtake the US as the second largest internet base in the world, the I-Cube 2013 report, released by the internet and mobile association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International said. At present, China leads with more than 300 million internet users while the US has an estimated 207 million internet users.

All of this is great and will surly take e-commerce business to heights beyond imagination. But here is the catch, smartphone penetration and growing internet penetration on mobile in India is touching unexpected heights YoY. Now since the consumer is on mobile and trained, his demands and expectations have increased. Today, consumers want to know the best of products, offers and services in and around their location right now and not wait for something to be delivered after 24 hours (best case). Big players like Google, Facebook and others are moving their attention to mobile and location is a testimony around this and makes it a global movement and the next big revolution to what out for in near future.

There is a common saying about the Indian retail consumers’ mentality, “can’t touch, won’t buy”. In L-commerce the experience is totally magical, for instance you saw a t-shirt, which you wanted in your vicinity, you could immediately visit there and check for great discount and get a guarantee of return and refund. Nothing can replace this experience.

In an environment that is getting better every year we would witness the big location-based commerce (l-commerce) revolution soon and local merchants will start competing with the big brands in e-commerce. L-commerce refers to the localisation of products and services through mobile commerce and context aware computing technologies.

L-commerce revolves around five key service areas: Location: determining the basic position of a person or a thing; Navigation: plotting a route from one location to another; Tracking: monitoring the movement of a person or a thing; Mapping: creating maps of specific geographical locations; Timing: Determining the precise time at a specific location.

E-commerce is publishing best products with great offers and is a one way communication, but l-commerce is a personal two way communication and the merchant would treat you with velvet gloves to ensure he gets a long-term customer.

L-commerce has, in a way, revolutionised the industry, benefitting both — the consumers and merchants. With the entry of e-tailing, malls, supermarkets and grocery stores have seen a decline in the number of annual footfalls. This has drastically affected the revenues of these stores as they mostly have only physical presence. The larger players are a huge threat to these smaller players. With the five key service areas of l-commerce, it is proving to be a great platform that will help in the revival of this number.

The location aware technology is proving a be an innovatory technology by providing real-time offers and deals that consumers can avail of in a vicinity closest to them. By using location aware technology, user’s location can be identified to provide the most relevant offers and deals in a category the user is looking for. The categories can range from apparel, entertainment, mobile devises to food, health and beauty.

Another added advantage of this revolution is that it has caught the attention of the unorganised markets as well. Local stores have seen the potential business it can bring if they publish their offers and deals online. This technology is undoubtedly helping merchants to promote their offers and discounts to drive consumers in their stores, which otherwise went undiscovered. In the early days, it was only the organised market that was getting accounted for. But with l-commerce and location aware technology, the unorganised market is also being recognised and will soon have a revenue number being put on this market.

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