e-commerce is reaching India’s hinterland thanks to reverse migration, greater internet access, digitization, and technology adoption. Language, customer service, and logistics assistance in e-commerce has dramatically increased. e-commerce in rural India provides new options for retailers and small-scale industries to get their items online and grow their businesses.
The pandemic disruption has proven to be an effective trigger in expediting the digital transition. It goes without saying that having an online presence is more convenient and beneficial for enterprises. The rural population dominates the Indian economy since a large portion of the population lives in rural areas. When we glance at the potential future growth, it appears that e-commerce in India’s rural regions is crucial in today’s context of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The e-commerce market in India will surpass the US to become the second-largest market in the world by 2034. The report suggests the e-commerce market will reach US$ 111.40 billion by 2025 from US$ 46.20 billion in 2020, growing at a 19.24% CAGR. In 2021 alone, the industry saw a whopping 77 percent rise compared to the previous year.
Looking ahead, it can be claimed that the rural Indian market is an untapped potential that most e-commerce enterprises would like to enter as the availability of internet services in India’s rural areas has enabled consumers to obtain the things they desire at their leisure. It has generated a significant opportunity for rural customers to embrace a different and better way of life and for e-commerce enterprises to develop a large client base by fulfilling the demands of individuals living in India’s rural regions.
The government’s Digital India project has established the groundwork for future technological advancement. Quicker connectivity in retail could boost global GDP by $1.2 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030. The introduction of Live E-commerce would be critical in triggering a paradigm shift in India’s e-commerce business by digitising practically every aspect of the product and consumer journey. A future-ready e-commerce business may soon become a reality thanks to 5G.
Acknowledging the local culture during occasions like local festivals would assist e-commerce businesses to generate sales and establish a customer-centric approach. During the festive season, e-commerce companies can publish their products and services in the regional language, for a more personalised experience. Furthermore, establishing an effective consumer grievance answering cell in regional languages can aid in establishing e-commerce websites as more customer friendly.
E-commerce platforms that are robust, accessible, and address the market’s demand gap will thrive in rural India. Rural customers’ needs vary, and their challenges like after-sales services, reliability within affordability, and user-friendly technology all play an important role; not all households are technologically competent, so designing consumer-friendly technology is essential. Both B2C and B2B are potential businesses that can thrive in rural India. The Kirana model has a lot of potential for first-mile pickup and last-mile delivery as local distribution centres facilitate logistical providers’ ability to serve in non-urban areas.
Local/neighbourhood/Kirana stores function as PUDO (Pick Up Drop Off) sites, allowing retailers to serve within a few kilometres using the model.
The government-led ONDC is a step towards democratising digital commerce for small vendors in tier-2, and tier-3 cities, and villages. ONDC works to unify activities including cataloguing inventory management, order management, and fulfilment in a framework comparable to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
India is building a suitable ecosystem to support the deepening of trust established by e-commerce platforms as India today has an industry with enormous potential to lead the next age of economic growth and create new jobs. A well-established e-commerce market will provide opportunities to rural communities while also empowering them with a feeling of entitlement and sustained economic engagement. It will create jobs, lead to industry growth in rural India, and allow rural sellers to conduct larger and more active business.
The range of products offered in brick-and-mortar shops in India’s smaller cities and towns is relatively low. E-commerce platforms address this requirement by offering access to a wide range of brands as well as information about these companies in the form of product ratings and reviews. This provides consumers with greater value in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and patterns, boosting the number of customers opting to shop online.
India has developed a stronger and more robust e-commerce ecosystem and has evolved in operating e-commerce, by building a robust framework with respect to omnichannel retailing, marketing, warehousing, payment solution, retail exports, etc. for the country to realize its true potential as one of the top e-commerce destinations in the world.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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