Only 12% of the Indian population has ever bought a commodity or availed of a service through an online transaction. That is tiny as compared to our neighbours- the Chinese. More than half of their huge population has had some online buying experience.
Now while that does sound depressing, the good news is that the Indian eCommerce industry which grew by 33% last year and saw goods and services worth $3.5 billion exchanging hands is poised for tremendous growth and is all set to touch new highs. Gartner predicts a 70% growth rate for the sector and expects $6 billion worth of business in 2015.
Flipkart co-founder and chief executive officer Sachin Bansal hopes Indian e-Commerce sales to be approximately $50-70 billion by 2020 on the back of a fast growing internet-connected population and improvement in related infrastructure like payment and delivery systems. However, a report from ASSOCHAM also estimates india eCommerce market worth $56 billion by 2023.
A truly epoch making period in the history of online retail in the country.
In the wake of huge interest generated by buyers in online shopping, eRetailers want to know what goes inside the mind of an average online buyer. What eggs him/her on to go ahead with a purchase and what acts as the biggest deterrent?
A recent survey conducted by the DTMI (Digital Marketing Training Institute) has confirmed that the main influencers for online purchases fall in the 18-25 age group whether it pertains to personal purchases or buying for the family.
Since online retail constitutes only 1-3% of the total retail sales in India, a larger percentage of online buyers being young are a huge pointer to the fact that eretailers need to focus on this young-and-restless group to get the best returns from their sites.
The ecommerce market in India being primarily discount driven, most of the respondents also said that if the online price is no lesser than the market rate, they would prefer to buy it from a brick and mortar store.
The Most Happening, The Most Promising And The Most Ignored Segments
DTMI found out that though some segments like electronics, travel and tickets are ‘hot selling’, there are certain products where consumers are still wary of making online purchases- that is where they prefer to touch and feel the product before they finally make up their mind to buy or ignore it.
Few categories of products which are not popular among Indian online buyers are furniture, jewellery, international food items and groceries.
One of the fastest growing segments on the Indian eCommerce scene in the next two years will be online jewellery retail. It is expected to be an $8 billion industry over the next two years.
Even online grocery retail is expected to touch $10 billion by 2020.
Remarketing/ Retargeting Requires Rethinking
A friend of mine once cribbed how after clicking on a pair of earrings by an online jewellery site at Facebook she saw the same pair of earrings on each and every site she logged on to. New to remarketing / retargeting, she felt so ‘haunted’ by the picture of those earrings that she just wanted to get rid of them- I helped her do that by clearing her browser history.
Not before I started wondering how this supposedly one of the most sophisticated algorithms rolled out by Google is helping e-marketers? My doubts were reaffirmed when I came across these findings by DMTI.
Though digital marketers hail remarketing as a ‘revolutionary’ concept which has given a cutting edge to digital marketers’ efforts, a study conducted by the DMTI (Digital Marketing Training Institute) proves otherwise.
The DMTI questioned 1,235 Indian respondents who had some online shopping experience and came to some conclusions which are bound to startle online marketers.
The DMTI report mentions that the customers feel that they are “being followed”, “haunted”, “a breach of privacy” and see remarketing as “useless” acts of “desperation” on the part of sellers.
Just like my friend, 43% of the people who see the same ads over and over again on every website, blog or social platform they visit, find these acts obtrusive and haunting. They feel they are being tracked everywhere over the web space.
Obviously, they do NOT like it!
Not only that, an overwhelmingly large (57%) of the respondents came down heavily against brands that force pre-roll ads on YouTube, which they HAVE to watch.
Now what online sellers need to understand that not only do the buyers get bugged by their remarketing efforts and being force-fed into watching ads, a majority of them fall in the 18-25 age group. They UNDERSTAND remarketing, unlike their older counterparts. Worse still, they know how to block ads.
So instead of bombarding the consumers with ads, they need to keep the number of their ads across various social sites acceptable and tolerable. They need to think out-of-the-box and come up with lesser but more effective ads. A clear case of the need to go for quality rather than quantity.
Spending millions of dollars mindlessly will not help, since a majority of the buyers are young, smart and tech savvy. Sellers cannot hook them on to their sites by popping their ads up on their devices and by forcing their ads down surfers’ throats.