In India, ecommerce has shown tremendous growth in the last five years. The ease, convenience and variety available online often surpasses the benefits of shopping from retail stores. However, only 1-2% of retail sales take place online. This means that there is still tremendous headroom for growth in the Indian market and we do not anticipate a slowdown in user acquisition for the top guns in this space. Currently 13.5% of the total ecommerce shopping in Indian happens via coupon sites and other affiliates. Ecommerce sites often put out attractive deals and coupons for products they wish to promote heavily, new products and to clear stock of old inventory. Couponing sites are an easy way for e-tailers to distribute and advertise their coupons. The traffic on such couponing sites is high intent as those users are looking for bargains; thus it is a great way for ecommerce sites to drive conversions and for shoppers to save money.
As Ecommerce in India evolves, we will see a lot of new and interesting trends emerge, the following are a few that we anticipate.
Ecommerce Loyalty programs: There has been a strong adoption for loyalty programs among consumers in the recent years. Exciting discounts and gratification from loyalty programs always excite consumers, and we expect to see this trend continuing the year ahead. In fact, companies will look at deepening the wallet share with their current users to reward them for their repeat purchases.
Personalization: While most companies monitor consumer buying patterns, not many ecommerce players have effectively crafted the art of predictive selling based on previous buying history. Like in the case of Amazon, if someone buys a mobile phone, Amazon promptly send options like a scratch guard, cover related to the specific model purchased. Brands now will try to focus on such a personalized approach.
Couponing will go mobile: While there already has been a fast paced adoption of Smartphones, we can expect a larger exodus of consumers moving to Smartphones for transactions. The rising penetration of Smartphones into smaller markets and access to faster internet network will accentuate this adoption. Businesses will also hence navigate into m-commerce format in order to stay close to the consumer. Hence, couponing will also have to shift to were the consumer demand is.
Travel: Traveling is going to be on top most priority in the coming year 2016. Industry sleuths expect to see a increase in not only business travel but also in leisure, owing to the long string of extended weekends and holidays in the year. So apps and services that help in making easy and economic bookings and last minute deals will be a buzz. Couponing sites typically have the best deals for travel and hotels and it is definitely recommended that a consumer checks these portals before making reservations.
Advent of Hyperlocal services: While the last year saw hyper local services mushroom across categories. We expect to see a synergy among hyper local businesses and couponing, as consumers will start to expect discounts similar to those available from ecommerce merchants which using these hyperlocal services. For the hyperlocal merchant, couponing will serve as a user acquisition mechanism.
Tier II & III cities gain momentum: While the metros and urban audience will be the focus for most marketers, we cannot neglect the emerging Tier 2 and 3 markets as potential areas to drive the next phase of growth. There has been a remarkable growth in the use of couponing in these smaller markets and we can expect them to continue to contribute to the business growth. Interestingly the audience here is aware of new market trends and is open to adopt these changes which is the significant reason to drive encouraging business numbers.
The couponing business is very popular in the western countries and India is to follow the trend. It comes as a relief to the consumers to shop smartly and save money with the use of discount coupons. The future of couponing in India looks bright and promising as most buyers are using them in pursuit of discounts and to avail the best offers.