The cell phone is now a ‘Sell-phone’
Statistics show that as of September 2014, there are 930.20 million cell phone subscriptions in India. This staggering figure is explained by the growing popularity of cell phones in rural India, which has been crowned as the primary growth driver. Studies show that 70% of all page-views in India are generated by mobile internet users. This reflects in the nature of internet usage in India, which is changing the way customers are shopping on e-commerce websites. Snapdeal has declared that a whopping 50% of its sales happen through mobile devices. A new battle is now emerging in e-commerce : Who will be the Sell-phone king?
Optimizing e-commerce for the mobile
Internet –based companies like MakeMyTrip and Naukri have already optimized their sites to work best on mobile phones. This is in response to statistics displaying that nearly half of their total traffic inflow is attributed to mobile internet users.
“In India, the mobile internet traffic now outweighs personal computer traffic. With increasing penetration of smartphones, India is all set to be a massive market for m-commerce,” says Mr. Amit Agarwal, Amazon India Vice President and Country Manager.
Since it is a personal device, the mobile phone is perfect for personalisation of the consumer’s experience on the website. Usually on the desktop, the consumer’s behaviour and choices are traced by his/ her activity on social media and email. This gives e-commerce companies the opportunity to display product suggestions on the consumer’s screen. With mobile phones, this becomes a big challenge as consumers do not tend to share their activity or purchases directly on social media.
Getting more personal
E-commerce companies are working around this difficulty by bringing in a completely fresh approach to mobile shopping. Flipkart claims to not wanting to replicate the consumer’s desktop shopping experience on the mobile. They have introduced a ‘push notification’ system which regularly gives the consumers in-app notifications about discounts and deals. This personalisation has successfully increased mobile transactions.
According to Flipkart’s Senior Market Director Mausam Bhatt, m-commerce helps companies to “expand their market outside of the traditional metro regions where a lot of e-commerce players are historically focused on and that is one of the big driving factors why e-commerce companies are now focusing on the mobile segment.”
E-commerce on the desktop is different from e-commerce with mobiles- and companies should develop policies to benefit from these differences instead of suffering from them.
Instant browsing and quick transactions
The mobile phone has the advantage of being portable, which makes it the best option for last-minute shopping, emergency travel bookings or quick transactions at the workplace. India’s largest travel portal MakeMyTrip claims that a significant number of its travel and hotel bookings are made a few hours before departure by its customers. These bookings have been facilitated on mobile phones via their app launched in 2011. This feature of mobile phone shopping could be used to cash in on last-minute festive shopping, especially to promote limited-time sales or offers.
Mobile phones are the next big thing in e-commerce, promising a wide potential of tremendous growth. The m-commerce battle can only be won by the companies or online marketplaces that strike the right balance between making their website both desktop and mobile-friendly.
May the best online marketplace win!