The Indian eCommerce industry is expected to generate 100 billion dollars in online sales by 2020. The number of smartphone users in India increased to over 220 million, beating USA for the first time and coming in second only behind China. The Indian pool of engaged smartphone and internet users is increasing every year, presenting a great opportunity for businesses to grow their marketing and brand visibility endeavors.
Users have become more mobile, and businesses have responded to this change by adopting various digital strategies to reach out to the nearly 500 million combined users of smartphones, computers and other internet-enabled devices. Companies have dynamic websites, mobile apps that are updated continuously, and engaging social media presence, to reach out to as many customers as possible.
A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, has pegged the number of people below the age of 25 at 500 million. There is a new generation of millennials, with more spending power than any generation before them. They are also among the most confident consumers in the world, according to certain studies.
So, how can businesses reach out to this new, digitally enabled class of Indian consumers? By adopting the right digital strategy. A mere website isn’t sufficient any longer; there are other channels that you need to incorporate. Depending on the industry, the type of business (B2B or B2C), and the degree of investment, a digital strategy comprises one or more of the following:
More than 40% of users between the ages of 25 and 40 expect to understand a business better through a website before making a purchase decision. This means that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on hundreds of thousands of potential customers.
If you have a website and it isn’t bringing in business the way you expect, that could be because of a number of reasons:
- Your site isn’t ranking well on search engines because your SEO isn’t comprehensive.
- You don’t have a social media presence, which contributes to off-page SEO.
- Your site needs to be redesigned, in keeping with the web design trends of 2016.
- Your site isn’t responsive (compatible with mobile phones). Over 60% of internet users in urban India check their mail and browse the Internet through their smartphones. Google also downranks sites which do not perform well on mobile devices.
A mobile application:
No matter which industry you belong to, once you have a sizeable customer base, you need an app. This is because:
- 55% of all smartphone users say that it is more convenient to check for updates through an app than by using a web browser. This means that your customers can continuously keep up with your business updates through your app, which increases customer retention and engagement.
- Out of sight is out of mind. This aphorism never held more truth than in the extremely fast-paced digital world we live in today. When thousands of customers have your app on their phones, it is a continuous presence, adding far more value than any billboards or TV advertisements can.
- Over 50% users actually buy when they view products through their phones. This means that you maximize your chances of conversion when you have both an app and a website. Of all the website traffic in the country, 72% is from smartphones. This means that a large number of engaged users can be reached through smartphones.
Once you decide to develop an app, you will need to choose between two types of mobile apps:
1. Native apps: These apps are created specifically for one type of operating software: iOS or Android.
iOS apps are built using Swift, and Android using Java.
Native apps cost more and take longer to build, but these apps can handle large user bases, can perform complex tasks and are more reliable.
2. Hybrid apps: These apps have a common module, from which iOS and Android apps can be developed separately.
They run on frameworks like Ionic, and they are built using languages such as HTML 5 and AngularJS.
Hybrid apps take 30 - 40% less time than native apps to build, and are more cost-effective. However, complex apps cannot be created using this method.
Which type of app you choose depends on the demographics, location, purchasing patterns of your potential customers, as well as the function and your industry.
India’s retail sector is booming. It is expected to touch one trillion dollars by 2020. eCommerce stores are a class unto themselves, given the large daily volumes, dynamic product pages and the need for watertight security when it comes to data and payments. Look at Flipkart, for example. The Indian eCommerce company’s valuation has been growing by 150% every year, and is looking at $10 billion in sales by the end of 2016. Flipkart uses 256-bit encryption technology to protect card information, while securely transmitting it to the banks for payment processing. Besides, all credit card and debit card payments on Flipkart are processed through secure and payment gateways, managed by leading banks. As an additional layer of security, banks now use the 3D Secure password service for online transactions, which ensures identity verification.
While various platforms are used to build eCommerce sites, our go-to suggestions would be Drupal Commerce and Magento.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices that are given an IP address, and can connect to the internet. The idea is to build a worldwide network of tangible objects (cars, buildings, electronic appliances etc.) that can perform automated tasks through the internet.
IoT works best for industries such as Automotives, Security, Entertainment, Home automation and Healthcare, where large-scale automation and remote operation will help save hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, using sensors, a camera and IoT technology, you can use your phone to see what’s in your refrigerator as you head home from work, which will help you decide what you need to take home from your grocery store. IoT technology can also help you monitor the amount of electricity all your appliances are using, including switches, plugs, lighting devices and motion sensors, from your smartphone.
IoT is a nascent field in India, and one that you can benefit from immensely, by starting early. Whatever the nature of your business, and wherever you operate out of, you need a digital strategy to stay competitive in 2016.
You may have websites that aren’t converting. Or, you may have a functional website, but no mobile app. Even if you have both, you could still be losing money, because of a reluctance to adapt IoT technology without sufficient understanding.
With so many parameters in today’s digital equation, it is no longer enough to employ third party consultants who are just good at web design, or just adept at app development. What you really need is a consultant who understands what each of these components does, as well as how they all contribute to the bigger picture.
Digital strategy consultants can help you understand how much you can get out of a comprehensive digital presence, as well as what you need to do to stay ahead of competition. This could include some or all of the components mentioned above, customized to work for your particular business. The strategy should include definitive plans and goals for each part of your digital presence.
Confused by the myriad options out there?