The overall e-commerce ecosystem, be it in terms of marketplaces, in terms of sellers, or in terms of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, will continue to accelerate in the coming year. There is also a lot of innovation that is happening around engaging customers in different ways. We see emerging trends such as live commerce, social commerce. Companies are using new customer engagement tools. I think that this is an area where we will see a lot of innovation in the industry. The penetration of e-commerce in India currently stands at a mere 3% or so, creating room for more innovation. The other trend that we see taking a broader shape at an industry level is quick commerce or the delivery of products in 10 minutes—players are focusing on speed. The push to get more and more sellers and more local stores on the marketplace will be a key focus area in 2022. We have seen some great success with digitising offline stores and it is still early days. Expediting the digitisation of local stores is something I am really excited about. In terms of category, grocery is sure to get a lot of focus. There is a lot of innovation happening in the space. The grocery penetration in India is still very very low, in single-digits of the market.
While there are various ways of engaging new customers and we are humble enough to learn from competitors, our focus is always on the consumers, on getting the right selection, the right value and the right convenience…this has been our flywheel. Speed is just one part of customer experience. If you overaccelerate on speed and do not offer the right value or the right selection, the customer engagement towards your offering might not be as good as you want.
Tier two; tier three regions are driving the growth of e-commerce. About 65% of orders and 85% of new customers are coming from tier two and three cities. Close to 60%-70% of our new sellers are now coming from these cities. Adding regional languages was one of the things to enable more users from Bharat to navigate the app. Having a video is again a very big thrust because it brings a lot of consumers. We need to focus on the next 100 million and the 100 million after that.
Is Super App the way forward?
Consumers everywhere in the world and in India are discerning. A super app in some ways is like being good at multiple use cases of customer engagement. So yes if you can do that, it will definitely succeed. But it is difficult.
Eight years back when we started, we had some 100 odd sellers. Today, there are over 10 lakh sellers, you can buy 130 million-plus product, but it is not only about shopping, you can also watch videos on the app; you can use the app to get access to other engagement products like reading; you can use the app to pay both online and offline.
Two years back, I would say it was more of a shopping transactional app. Today it is a shopping plus payments app. Even if you don’t want to shop or pay, you can engage with the right kind of content and more. We believe that the customers would like to do more than just shop. I am not using the term Super App but today you can do a lot more than what you could do earlier on the app.
(As told to Asmita Dey)