Guest Column: Immersive experiences will drive ad business in 2017: Surya Narayanan, Hungama Digital

As digitisation moves into a new phase in 2017, Surya Narayanan, Head of Business at Hungama Digital Services (HDS) lists out the trends the advertising businesses will have to factor in

e4m by Surya Narayanan
Published: Jan 10, 2017 8:21 AM  | 2 min read
Guest Column: Immersive experiences will drive ad business in 2017: Surya Narayanan, Hungama Digital

As digitisation moves into a new phase in 2017, Surya Narayanan, Head of Business at Hungama Digital Services (HDS) lists out the trends the advertising businesses will have to factor in.

Smartphone penetration: cutting across boundaries

With the smartphone user base increasing by 300 million, smartphone adoption is only set to become more democratic, cutting across demography and class lines. From early adapters to the older generation, you can expect more truck drivers maids, drivers and senior citizens on the platform. These consumers represent two ends of the consumption pattern. While the base of the pyramid has small individual values but impressive volumes, the apex consists of digital savvy retirees who have the wherewithal to purchase high-end smart phones. Mobile marketing will have to evolve to chase both ends of the pyramid.

Riding the demonetisation wave

E-commerce without COD will only work if online advertising pushes UPI, CC and other digital payment solutions. I see a lot of push happening here, especially for renewals and sales.

Reaching out with virtual reality

Immersive experiences are going to drive all categories from fashion and entertainment to BFSI, with customised communication and emotive, experiential marketing being the order of the day.

Women as 'individual' consumers

Today, 73 million women in India are taking their own financial decisions. Marketing will have to start thinking of women, and single women in particular, as viable TG for their own personal consumption. In other words, it is time to look at women as individual consumers as opposed to group/ family purchase decision makers.    

(The author is Head of Business, Hungama Digital Services)    
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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Programmatic woes: Is unified data platform the solution?

Unified systems and platforms can bring together various tools and data sources to reduce complexity and prepare for the future, say industry players

By Shantanu David | Oct 2, 2023 8:06 AM   |   7 min read


Data is the new oil has become a rather old saying at this point. But the fact is that as data sources continue to multiply, managing the complexity becomes a significant challenge. This is why some marketers are now questioning if a theoretical unified system can simplify the data ecosystem and reduce the complexity of managing multiple disparate tools, like DMPs (Data Management Platforms), CDPs (Customer Data Platforms) and CRMs (Customer Relationship Management).  

This is because working with disparate tools and platforms can lead to inefficiencies, as data needs to be moved and transformed between them. A unified system can streamline data workflows, reducing the time and effort required to access and analyze data.

For Ramya Parashar, COO, MiQ, the foundational aspects of data quality, consistency, governance and security are critical for accurate analysis and decision-making. Having a centralized control over data access, permissions, and auditing, enhancing security and compliance is paramount.

 “There is no doubt about a growing need for unified systems and platforms that can bring together various tools and data sources to reduce complexity and prepare for the future. As companies assess their specific needs, looking at existing infrastructure and data maturity before embarking on such a project is key,” she says.

Gopa Menon, Head of Digital – Mindshare South Asia, agrees that there is a growing need for unified systems that can bring together various data tools and platforms into a single cohesive ecosystem. “As data volumes continue to increase, organizations are faced with a number of challenges like data silos hindering data accessibility and sharing. Data consistency is also an issue if data is being accessed through various tools. And as we progress scalability and real time insights because of different data tools will also be a challenge.”

According to Menon, a unified system, often referred to as a Data Integration Platform or DataOps platform, can address these challenges by providing a centralized hub for data management, integration, analysis, and reporting. And indeed, even without a universal system in place yet, industry experts are looking at more accessible solutions in the interim.

Data Lakes

Brands are increasingly embracing the concept of creating a unified data repository, whether, in the form of a data warehouse or a data lake, which consolidates all their data sources, including behavioral and transactional data. This approach is gaining traction as brands recognize the advantages of having a comprehensive data ecosystem. These consolidated data lakes serve as the cornerstone of data-driven decision-making, offering a singular source of truth for analysis. This strategy eliminates the complexities of managing multiple data silos.

Abhimanyu Vyas, Business Head of the MarTech arm of Havas, PivotConsult, says many are opting to build their own data lakes using cloud-based solutions like Data Databricks or Snowflake. “By doing so, brands streamline their data management processes, reducing reliance on disparate systems such as CRMs for transactional data, Analytics and DMP solutions for behavioral data, and CEM for user journey data.”

“In our work with clients in the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) and QSR (Quick-Service Restaurant) sectors, we're actively involved in building and leveraging central data lakes. These data lakes play a pivotal role in various aspects, including measurement and reporting, advanced analytics, and the deployment of machine learning use cases,” he says.

“While some aspects of this approach are already in practice, they are not uniformly implemented across all channels,” says Paras Mehta, Business Head, Matterkind India, adding, “At IPG, we've recognized the significance of bridging this gap. Collaborating with our data experts at Acxiom and drawing upon the knowledge of various Adtech, Martech, and Analytics tools, we are actively educating our clients on the importance of adopting an integrated approach. We firmly believe that, with ongoing technological advancements, we are moving closer to the development of a unified solution that will empower our clients to make more informed marketing decisions."

Cost of Unity

In a world dominated by existing systems like CRMs, CDPs, and increasingly DMPs, Preetham Venkky, Chief Digital Officer at DDB Mudra Group, agrees that a unified data system is theoretically a good idea, but is chary about the practicality and mechanics of such a system; and perhaps most crucially, the cost.

“The thing is that, at its core, everyone is anchoring towards CDP, because that's the core engine where the customer data essentially sits. After that, there are multiple layers. There's obviously a data lake which sits beside it and where you're storing the CDP, which is the primary data point for you to essentially pick and pull the data set. And then you come to actionability. CRM is an actionability platform. But most people look at it as the maturity of the company. If the company is in the early maturity stage, then usually you will go with just a CRM platform, that's all you have to budget for. If you're in the mid majority stage, you will go for a DMP. And if you're at an extremely mature stage, we'll move to CDP. So, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution,” he says.

“Are all of the platforms useful and does it make sense to have one? The answer to that is yes. Should we integrate all the three into one? The answer to that is no. Largely because of cost infrastructure and capability infrastructure. CDP's capabilities are extremely wide, while CRM is used only very specifically,” he says, before elaborating.

For instance, MailChimp is a CRM platform. You can run a MailChimp platform for as low as $50 a month. So obviously, if you're an early startup, that's sufficient that's all you can afford. “But if I went directly for a CDP with Salesforce, the starting cost is about $10,000 a month. Clearly a startup can't afford it. So that's why from a capability as well as from just an economic standpoint, it makes sense to have all of the three because it's like having basic Windows Word versus one with all the features. So I don't think they're going to go away.”

Interestingly, Parashar has a different take on the price factor, noting, “As data volumes grow, the scalability of data infrastructure becomes essential along with managing multiple tools and platforms, which can be expensive in terms of licensing, maintenance, and infrastructure. Consolidating these tools into a unified system not only provides cost savings but also opportunities to optimize.”

That being said, she agrees that we also need to be wary of data integration, compatibility, and user adoption challenges that may arise during the implementation of a unified system. “We look at a hybrid approach, where we integrate and centralize certain critical data and processes while allowing flexibility for specialized tools and platforms to coexist. Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between unifying data operations and accommodating the diverse needs of different teams and functions within our organization,” she says.

“It's important to note that implementing a unified data system can be a complex undertaking, and organizations should carefully consider their specific needs, existing infrastructure, and budget constraints,” observes Menon, adding, “Data integration and migration can be challenging, so a well-thought-out strategy and proper planning are crucial for success. In summary, as data volumes and complexity continue to grow, the need for unified data systems is becoming increasingly important to streamline data management, improve efficiency, and enable data-driven decision-making across organizations.”


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Court restrains rogue websites from streaming ICC Cricket World Cup

The court reportedly issued the order in response to a plea by Star India Pvt Ltd and Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which operates Disney+ Hotstar

By e4m Staff | Sep 29, 2023 3:07 PM   |   2 min read


The Delhi High Court has restrained online platforms from unauthorisedly streaming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, to be held from October 5 to November 19, according to media report.

The court reportedly issued the order in response to a plea by Star India Pvt Ltd and Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which operates Disney+ Hotstar platform.

In the plea, the petitioners are reported to have claimed that they have the exclusive global media rights for the world cup, but, the tournament being one of the most popular sporting events in the world, a large number of websites were likely to indulge in unauthorised dissemination of the content.

Announcing the order, the court, according to a media report, said, that undoubtedly the World Cup cricket matches were "extremely popular, especially in the Indian subcontinent" and rogue websites, which in the past have also indulged in piracy, were very likely to continue the authorised streaming.

 "Thus, there is a need to restrain any rogue websites from disseminating and communicating to the public any part of the cricket match events without authorisation or license from the plaintiffs," the court said in a recent order.

"Accordingly, defendant Nos.1 to 9 (various rogue websites which are stated to be primarily hosting illegal and pirated content) are restrained by an ad-interim order from communicating, screening, making available or disseminating any part of the ICC World Cup Cricket matches on any electronic or digital platform in any manner whatsoever," ordered the court.


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e4m-Samsung Ads CTV Roundtable: Industry heads discuss leveraging the power of screen

The e4m-Samsung Ads CTV Roundtable saw industry experts deliberate on the increasing CTV viewership, India’s share in streaming content and more

By e4m Staff | Sep 29, 2023 2:08 PM   |   6 min read

e4m-Samsung Ads CTV Roundtable

Maximising TV budgets and preparing for a larger addressable CTV universe has become critical for advertisers in today’s era. According to Statista, as of 2022, the number of households in India that owned connected TV sets amounted to 25 million. This figure was estimated to almost double by 2025. The viewership of CTV was found to have increased by over 30 per cent between 2021 and 2022.

To dwell more on the booming CTV landscape, a set of industry experts discussed how to leverage the ‘power of screen’, at e4m-Samsung Ads CTV Roundtable in Gurugram on Wednesday.

The speakers included Anupam Tripathi, Media Head, Lenskart; Anusha Srinivasan, Digital Media Activations Manager, Reckitt Health, Reckitt India; Archana Aggarwal, VP – Media, Airtel; Bhawna Sikka, Category Head; Oral Health Care, Haleon; Kunal Dhrangadharia, Global Brand Lead, Royal Enfield; Monika Mishra, Director – Marketing, Mobikwik; Sahil Rawal, Vice President - Brand Product Platforms Marketing, Max Life Insurance; Samir Sethi, VP and Head of Brand Marketing, and Syed Sibtain Imam, Media Head, Honasa Consumer Ltd (Mamaearth).

The discussion was moderated by Prabhvir Sahmey, Senior Director, Samsung Ads while Abbhishek Chadha, Executive Vice President, North & East, Interactive Avenues was the co-moderator.

Sahmey kickstarted the discussion with a presentation, where he highlighted that connected TV essentially started selling in India around 2017. Before this period, most televisions were not entirely internet-enabled. In 2022, India saw nearly 25 million monthly active CTV users. “Of all TVs that we see, about 80% of them are connected to the internet on a daily basis, we estimate this number to be around 40 million and expect it to be much higher by the time it is 2025,” Sahmey shared.

He also mentioned that a significant portion of Samsung TVs are spending time watching streaming content. In this regard, he said, “India is the only market where streaming content is the largest. US & Europe markets are just playing catch up.”

Consumer journey has seen its set of shifts pre, during and post Covid. Chadha addressed the same and posed to the experts that in this regard, how should CTV as a medium be evaluated.

Dhrangadharia chimed in here and mentioned that as an emerging media, it definitely is an avenue that one can explore. “But right now how things are structured is that we ask for a structure, a brief is floated on that basis and then a plan is given back to us with certain measurables in place,” he said.

He further highlighted that if the objective is to drive awareness, and if there is a certain audience that the brand is able to take care of on the basis of this medium, it needs to come automatically from the agency’s side that ‘this is the preferred medium’. “If that initial conviction is not there, as a brand I would not give a lot of organic precedence to this media,” Dhrangadharia added.

Speaking of what has happened in the past two - three years, Sikka shared that while CTV can be considered under digital, what it does within digital has evolved. “Now when you are looking at media, you are looking at a more integrated approach. When it comes to efficiencies for a mass plan, it will still be TV because it gives me the kind of reach it does. TV from an efficiency perspective would still remain dominant,” she said.

However, Sikka added, when it comes to effectiveness, CTV can come into play.

Mishra said that for a brand like MobiKwik, the view through rate is way more on a CTV than on any OTT platform or YouTube. “This may be because there is inertia in getting up and pressing the skip ad button. It is too early for us to say that it has worked for us, but that is one help that CTV has done for us. At Least for the last two campaigns, where we had planned for CTV, the VTR has been to tune of 98%,” she mentioned.

Aggarwal believes that for an emerging media like CTV, it is just a matter of getting enough scale. “Right now it is very fragmented in terms of everybody selling it separately and what is included in CTV, there is a lot of grey area on that part. That bit of clarity within the segment is also very critical,” she said.

Chadha pointed out that when one looks at the aspect of measurable business impact, that is where CTV would get a seat at the table. “Whether we have a sizable scale to measure the business impact, that is the question,” he said.

Rawal added that from a life insurance perspective, there are two ways to look at the CTV medium – branding and performance. At Max Life Insurance, he shared, the conversations have mostly been around allocating spends to branding. “TV is something that is definite and gives you a large reach. But eventually there is something called a CTV, which will have a bigger screen and immersive audience and also something that we can measure,” he said.

Tripathi pointed out that the reason why the view through rates are higher on CTV is the same reason why the clicks are lower. “So for us, it comes 100% under branding,” he mentioned. Speaking of challenges, Tripathi shared that while brand awareness is of importance to Lenskart, consideration and purchase intent are also very critical. And for that just being present with FCT or ad or CPMs doesn’t really help.

He also highlighted that the success of CTVs largely depends on the success of OTT platforms. “A majority of the programs shot today are being produced for TV. So the control of the OTT players to give you integration and hardcore brand value positioned in the content is very limited,” Tripathi said.

Sahmey feels that over the next 5 years, there will be a clear demarcation between what is being watched on mobile and what is being watched on TV. “CTV CPMs will be much higher than current linear CPMs that we are seeing today, because on CTV you can know exactly how many people watched that program. You have actual metrics which can be validated by any third party platform,” he said.

Imam highlighted that another challenge is consolidation. “If I have to make a CTV plan, wherein the objective is to reach 60-70 million audience, I have to plan YouTube separately, I will have to have a Sony LIV or a Hotstar or a Samsung TV. So if there is a way in which I can do a unified planning, that can help,” he mentioned.

Sethi acknowledged the discussions around how to best measure the effectiveness CTV advertising spends and how the various brands as well as the Samsung team shared what they have been seeing on this front. “I really hope measurability becomes a lot tighter in this space,” he mentioned.

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‘Made for Ad’ sites gobbling up big chunk of digital ad spends: Is there a way out?

These sites generate a whopping 21 percent of ad impressions and take away 15 percent ($13 billion) of digital ad spend of the Open Web Programmatic, which is a $88 billion global market

By Kanchan Srivastava | Sep 29, 2023 8:42 AM   |   3 min read


Ad industry’s most influential trade organizations have come together to spell out new definitions for ‘made for advertising’ websites, which are designed solely to attract an influx of ad dollars and gobble up a significant portion of digital ad spends. 

The consortium, which includes the Association of National Advertisers (ANA, US), the World Federation of Advertisers and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, this week released a detailed definition of “Made for Advertising” websites which lack organic audience and are instead highly dependent on visits sourced from clickbait ads that run on social networks and websites of reputable publishers. 

These sites generate a whopping 21 percent of ad impressions and gobble up 15 percent ($13 billion) of digital ad spend of the Open Web Programmatic which is a $88 billion global market, the ANA said in a report released early this year. The report blamed data gaps, lack of ad viewability and a huge number of publishers (44,000 websites, mostly created for ads) for the massive ad-waste. 

The move has come at a time when marketers are increasingly facing pressure to justify their ad spending, reduce wastage and deliver ROI. 

“Advertisers are often not in control of their media placement decisions as much as they should be,” says an Indian CMO, adding that programmatic players should weed out such publishers. 

While Google commands a significant portion of programmatic advertising, marketers are increasingly allocating more budgets for Open Web programmatic advertising to reduce their dependence on Google. 

According to a densu report, programmatic contributes 42% of digital ad spends in India which corresponds to Rs 12,000 Cr.


MFA sites impact ad rates: Indian Publishers 

Indian marketers expressed concerns over the extent to which MFA sites have grown and impacting their ad dollars. 

Such websites affect genuine publishers as well, industry players say. “Excess supply of inventory created through such websites impacts ad rates. In India digital ad rates have either remained static or have declined since 1995. The same is not true for US and other markets,” says Pradeep Gairola, Digital Head of The Hindu. 

Abhishek Karnani, Vice President of International Advertising Association (India chapter) and Director, The Free Press Journal Group of Newspapers, echoes the sentiments. “It is surely a cause of concern as it eats into the genuine publishers’ share in ad revenue. I am glad that the issue is coming to the forefront and being discussed,” says Karnani. 

He added that Google is making its robot and crawlers smarter to wean these types of websites by regularly posting updates on the algorithm. 


How to spot MFAs

As per trade organizations, MFA sites usually exhibit a combination of the following five characteristics:


  1. High ad-to-content ratio (Up to 30%)

  1. Rapidly auto-refreshing banner ads, autoplay video ads, slide shows forcing visitors to click through multiple ads to access content

  1. High percentage of paid traffic sourcing


  1. Generic low-quality content, often syndicated, dated and non-unique


  1. Poorly designed sites






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TRAI releases consultation paper on rating framework for digital connectivity in buildings

Comments from stakeholders invited by November10, 2023

By e4m Staff | Sep 28, 2023 6:34 PM   |   2 min read


The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on ‘Regulation on Rating Framework for Digital Connectivity in Buildings or Areas’. The comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper are invited from the stakeholders by November10, 2023 and counter-comments, if any by November 24, 2023.

According to the authority, digital connectivity has become an integral part of personal, professional, and social life. The exponential growth in digitalization of services and manufacturing sectors has revolutionized the world, impacting everything, from economy, innovation, science, and education, to health, sustainability, governance, and lifestyle. 

“The demand for digital connectivity has increased many folds in the recent years. The crucial role of digital connectivity has been acknowledged pandemic, witnessing a surge in the demand across all segments of users, irrespective of their locations,” stated TRAI. 

The authority further stated that the TRAI has been monitoring the quality of service of telecom services across the country by conducting detailed studies and issuing suitable directions to the stakeholders, to improve the quality of service. While there have been significant improvements in coverage of telecom services on the street, there are still gaps observed in meeting the perceived quality of service demands of the users, especially inside the buildings, residential or commercial areas.

In an official release, TRAI said, “The quality of telecommunication services inside the buildings is an integral part of protection of the consumer interest. TRAI has already taken various policy initiatives including the Recommendation dated  February20,  2023 on "Rating of Buildings or Areas for Digital Connectivity". These recommendations provide for introduction of Rating of Buildings framework to ensure good digital connectivity experience to the consumers through a collaborative and self-sustainable approach.”

The Consultation Paper on "Regulation on Rating Framework for Digital Connectivity in Buildings or Areas" is released to deliberate on regulation for implementation of rating framework for buildings and areas for digital connectivity to improve QoS inside buildings and for seamless consumer experience.

TRAI said that the paper highlights the need for Rating of Buildings or Areas for Digital Connectivity that meets not only the current expectations of the consumers but is also ready for future expansion or upgradation with the advancement of technologies or change in users' demand. This CP also discusses the benefits of the rating framework to the end-users, service providers and to the ecosystem.

“The consultation paper describes overview of the 'Rating framework for Digital Connectivity' based on the practices being followed internationally and rating frameworks like GRIHAor Credit Rating in India,” reads the official statement. 



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Tech giants, ed tech cos face 18% IGST

These companies will be taxed for their services in the Online Information Database Access and Retrieval category

By e4m Staff | Sep 28, 2023 10:43 AM   |   1 min read


Google, Facebook and several ed tech firms may have to pay nearly 18% GST on services provided to the government and individuals, as the exemption is likely to end starting October, media networks have reported.

These companies will be taxed for their services in the Online Information Database Access and Retrieval category.

The integrated goods and services tax will be applicable to overseas companies providing advertising, cloud services, online education and some other services, media reports said quoting government officials.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has already decided to amend central and state laws from October 1 to implement a 28% tax on online gaming, casinos and horse racing.

The tax will be applied not to each value of the bets placed but to the entry amount that users pay.

There will be an income tax on winning as per the law. The GST Council also has decided to amend the integrated GST Act related to importing goods and services. Offshore money gaming platforms that do not comply with the requirement will also be blocked.

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Generative AI: Top e-comm players have a new ‘salesman’ for the festivals

From personalizing shopping experience to predicting product demand and automating recommendations, brands are working hard to enhance consumer experience this year

By Kanchan Srivastava | Sep 28, 2023 8:42 AM   |   5 min read


Leading e-commerce players are utilizing the potential of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gain deep insights into consumer expectations and preferences, enhance the shopping experience of buyers and predict demands based on past sales. 

Walmart-backed Flipkart, for instance, is set to introduce a range of advanced technology integrations to elevate the shopping experience of customers. 

“This involves the implementation of virtual assistants and generation of product descriptions, high-quality images, creative materials, and augmented reality visualizations, all aimed at enriching the user experience,” Mayur Datar, Chief Data Scientist at Flipkart, tells e4m. 

Datar explains, “With deeper integration of Generative AI, we are reimagining product recommendations based on customers' preferences and behaviours. Flipkart has also developed chat-driven interactions for both customers and sellers, enhanced search capabilities using semantic search technology, and created internal tools to boost productivity and efficiency.”

Ajio, an online fashion and lifestyle store from Reliance Group, has introduced a dreamlike sequence that transports influencers into an AI-Verse generated by artificial intelligence. 

“Within this virtual realm, influencers seamlessly transition between various outfits sourced from Ajio, before returning to their normal selves. This innovative approach to brand promotion is unparalleled,” says Rashi Agarwal, Founder, Megalodon, an AI firm that is working with Ajio to develop its generative AI capabilities. 

Ajio has also appointed influencer Aiyyo Shraddha as “Chief of Small Talk” to add humour into their branding proposition. Besides, the company’s prowess in the ‘moment marketing’ game would also be on display in the festive season. 

Amazon too has rolled out a new set of generative AI capabilities early this month at their premier annual seller conference-Accelerate 2023. 

“The generative AI tools will simplify how sellers create more thorough and captivating product descriptions, titles, and listing details. These new capabilities will make it faster and easier for sellers to list new products as well as enrich existing listings, helping customers more confidently make purchase decisions. The new tools can recognize, summarize, translate, predict, and generate text and other content, to build more comprehensive product descriptions,” the company announced at the conference.  

Top D2C brands too are enthusiastic about presenting engaging content that instantly connects with their target audience, utilizing methods ranging from computer-generated videos to AI creativity, Agarwal says. 


AI-Powered Designs

Traditionally, fashion designers have relied on their intuition and creativity to envision new collections. Now, they are increasingly collaborating with AI systems to generate unique patterns, colour combinations, and even entire garment designs. 

AI is also revolutionizing the supply chain, enabling fashion brands to streamline their operations and minimize waste. This data-driven approach ensures that brands produce the right amount of inventory, reducing excess stock and the need for heavy markdowns. 


Demand predictions 

Brands typically focus on the festive season due to the significant surge in traffic, translating into increased sales. They often overlook some critical aspects of user experience. 

Shashank Rathore, Vice President, E-commerce, Interactive Avenues (the digital arm of IPG Mediabrands India), explains, “As consumers, we've all encountered out-of-stock products during festive seasons, leaving us wondering why brands miss out on potential sales opportunities. However, this time around, brands are harnessing the power of generative AI to analyze historical data and accurately predict product demand.”

These initiatives extend far beyond the festive season as AI has evolved into a long-term sustainable strategy for growth in this digital marketplace, says Shubham Srivastava- AVP, D2CPro Powered by Team Pumpkin. 

He noted, “AI tools may assist in streamlining tasks like data analysis, strategic planning, trend forecasting, and improving customer buying experiences. Amazon, Google, and Shopify are already at the forefront of Gen AI and are utilizing its capability to understand and help with customer needs.”


“E-comm sales to touch Rs 90,000 Cr during fests”

A Redseer report predicts that the Gross Merchandise Value for the entire festive month of India’s eTailing in 2023 will reach approximately INR 90,000 crores, marking an impressive 18-20% growth compared to the previous year’s festive month sales. This growth is expected to be fuelled by a significant user base of around 140 million shoppers who are projected to make online transactions during this festive month. 

“We expect increasing GMV contributions from non-electronics categories like Fashion, BPC, Home & General Merchandise and more this festive period,” says Mrigank Gutgutia, Partner at Redseer Strategy Consultants. 


Separate budget 

Expecting a great festive season, Brands are not hesitant to allocate significant resources for AI. 

Rathore says, “Brands with large budgets are investing in AI by creating in-house AI research and development teams. Mid-sized e-commerce players are choosing to invest in third-party AI tools and platforms that offer ready-made solutions for personalization, recommendation systems, chatbots, and more. However, most of the ecommerce related companies are motivating current teams to learn AI by investing in training programs and educational resources for their employees to build AI knowledge and skills.”

They also allocate separate budgets for hiring data scientists, machine learning engineers, and AI experts who can develop, implement, and maintain AI solutions in future, Rathore noted. 


Will AI help lift consumption?

As per Gutgutia, generative AI will lead to better and novel consumer experiences and drive stronger growth momentum. Some experts are not very hopeful though. 

Rathore opines, “While AI is poised to have a notable impact on driving consumption this year, it's still just a single component in a multifaceted environment, and its effects must be evaluated within the larger framework of consumer behaviour and market dynamics. Furthermore, consumer actions during festive seasons can be shaped by a variety of factors, encompassing economic circumstances, cultural customs, and external occurrences.”

Attributing a direct influence on consumption can be challenging for brands at present, but as we move into the next year, we can anticipate more precise measurements of its impact, he added. 

Moreover, consistency remains a major hurdle in AI, with many AI video tools still in their beta stages yielding unprofessional results, experts point out. 


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