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Guest Column: Mobile commerce and the future of online shopping

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Guest Column: Mobile commerce and the future of online shopping

There's no doubt about the fact that 2014 was the biggest year for the e-commerce industry. Not only did the industry see a huge number of first time shoppers, we also observed that the average cart size has increased by a good margin.

And mobile has been one of the major factors for it.

The year gone by saw major players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, etc. give a huge push to their mobile app. Their strategy was plain and simple: get users to download the app first, convert them later.

Undoubtedly, this has worked really well for the entire ecosystem.

By the end of the year, mobile commerce has become so big that it now drives 40% of our traffic – a 3X jump from 2013. Moreover, we have noticed the people now increasingly use coupons received via app in offline stores as well. For this, we leveraged location based targeting which can only happen via mobile devices and users seem to like it a lot – it's all about convenience.

This convenience of shopping & saving while on the go is the major reason behind the increasing popularity of mobile commerce.

In fact, mobile will soon take the centre stage when it comes to digital transactions. It is being predicted that more than 500 million people will shift to smartphone in the next 3-4 years, so this trend will only rise. Currently, 29% of transactions are being driven by mobile and it would be interesting to see how it will increase when RBI does it away with 2-step verification for smaller transactions. In the coming days, many of the first time users will be from tier- 2 & 3 cities, so it becomes pertinent for the industry to look at these sections as well.

Now the challenge lies in making mobile commerce a habit amongst consumers. Reaching out to digital savvy & social media users is already being done by all the ecommerce players out there. Brands with bigger budgets (Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc.) are using TV & print to promote their apps while smaller brands are using digital ads to drive installs. And this will continue to go for the coming many days.

Apart from these, however, the industry also needs to focus upon building apps that encourage people to share & drive more installs. Product marketing needs to be integrated well in the marketing plan of the industry if brands want to keep the ad cost low and grow organically.

In the coming years, the focus will shift on converting the app users into high paying consumers. As it stands, big ecommerce players already have millions of downloads for their apps. Their objective is now to encourage the app users to use it frequently, which explains the app centric festivals such as Flipkart's Big App Sale & Amazon's Appiness Sale.

We will see more such festivals in 2015 and I won't be surprised if mobile shopping surpasses 60% of online shopping, leaving desktop far behind.

The author is Sameer Parwani, Founder and CEO- CouponDunia.

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