How apps can unlock the potential of e-commerce in mobile-first economies

By Sanjeev Barnwal

While e-commerce in India is gaining momentum, technology in its various dimensions remains the main driver of online markets. Given the central role of technology in markets around the world, industry analyst Benedict Evans likened it to the solar system. Here, smartphones are akin to the sun while all other elements revolve around these smart devices.

According to a Cisco study, India will have more than 800 million smartphone users this year, with these devices generating 44% of its total internet traffic. Additionally, the proliferation of smartphones will result in per capita data consumption reaching nearly 14 gigabytes in 2022 from 2.4 GB in 2017, the highest growth rate in the world, notes Cisco’s “Visual Networking Index.” .

From e-commerce to M-commerce

Considering the demographic dividend that comes from India’s population of almost 1.4 billion, mobile apps are of immense importance in e-commerce, which could more accurately be called m-commerce or m-commerce. As apps offer a lot of possibilities for personalization, they help e-commerce players better understand consumers while communicating with them more frequently and targeting these cohorts with relevant products based on their browsing history. Nearly 25 million new smartphone users are added every quarter in India, highlighting the importance of apps and m-commerce.

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

According to the same App Annie report, Indian consumers spend nearly 5 hours a day on mobile apps. This can also be attributed to the emergence of m-commerce application categories such as gaming, health and fitness, entertainment, edtech, long and short video content and hyperlocal delivery which are gaining traction. importance after the pandemic. The availability of these apps in vernacular languages ​​also plays a pivotal role in empowering content creators and consumers.

Retailers need to jump on the bandwagon

There is no doubt that the pandemic has transformed consumer habits, impacting marketing strategies in a major way. Consumer preference for mobile-first services appears poised to drive a transition to an app-based economy.

As India transforms into a mobile-first economy, retailers who successfully deploy apps will further advance in the highly competitive market. To achieve positive results, app developers should focus on developing lighter apps with minimal load times, so that users get relatively smooth experiences. But even keeping the apps light, they should ensure quality content for an engaging customer experience.

Developers also need to customize apps for different user cohorts. This is especially important as businesses see an increasing number of orders from Tier II and Tier III cities, highlighting the importance of multilingual content and regional languages. The comfort of conversing or transacting in their language facilitates higher conversion in non-metros.

M-commerce allows consumers to order anything at any time and from anywhere. Ordering products or services from home saves time, money and effort, especially during the pandemic when consumers avoid crowded malls and markets.

Due to changing consumer habits, using apps to generate more leads and conversions is no longer a choice for retailers. On the contrary, it is imperative if retailers do not wish to be left behind in the ongoing battle to gain, retain and grow market share, even as a significant percentage of retail businesses move from offline to online. line.

With the growing YOY e-commerce user base, even SMBs are realizing the importance of apps to expand their customer base. After all, there’s no better way to reach 24×7 consumer cohorts from anywhere, anytime.

(Sanjeev Barnwal is the founder and CTO of Meesho)

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