Technologies like Generative AI, machine learning and big data analytics are transforming the e-commerce and retail landscape in India, improving and personalising consumer experiences, according to industry leaders who also believe that social commerce momentum is here to stay.
Industry's top leaders, including Tata CLiQ CEO Gopal Asthana, Snapdeal CEO Himanshu Chakrawarti, Zivame COO Lavanya Pachisia, and DHL Supply Chain India MD Vikas Anand, were speaking in a panel discussion at the 'DATE with Tech' event here.
According to Newsdrum report, The panel discussion on 'Navigating Online Offline Retail Convergence: Strategies for Success' deliberated on various aspects like market opportunity, the outlook for 2024, omnichannel retail strategies and the role of new and emerging technologies in driving consumers' shopping experiences.
Panelists were of the view that the increasing popularity of social media platforms, particularly among younger shoppers, is set to drive social commerce going forward.
"Social commerce is here to stay...the adoption of say WhatsApp, or buying on Instagram is something that consumers are looking for," Pachisia of Zivame said, adding that companies are now looking at social commerce as a "normal business avenue".
Pachisia further noted that e-commerce players are looking at traditional and offline formats even as the traditional players are going for an omnichannel approach.
"The challenge is to give similar or uniform shopping experience whether a consumer is online or offline," she said.
Tata CliQ's Asthana asserted that the DNA of an online retail business is quite different from the DNA of an offline business.
However, the omnichannel approach, he said, is an extension of DNA for both offline and online models.
He agreed that the social commerce play is getting "bigger and bigger by the day", as usage and user base of Instagram and other social media platforms continue to increase.
According to DHL's Anand, companies that have nimble distribution channels and logistics networks, and are willing to tweak it based on the dynamic market requirements, will hold a sway.
"The way in which people are ordering has compelled companies to look at their networks in a different way. Companies have to decide what is the most optimum way of ensuring that product reaches consumers, going right from the manufacturing site, warehouses, to distribution and finally consumers," Anand said.
The panellists said that the advent of new technologies and tools will continue to drive transformative changes in the retail and e-commerce landscape.
Retail and e-commerce are likely to have a "fairly good year" in 2024, said Chakrawarti.
He said the use of generative AI and machine learning as well as new-age technologies will drive user experiences in shopping.
"Making online navigation tabs and feeds more relevant to users using machine learning becomes important and it can make a huge difference," he said, adding that generative AI and data predictability are other key areas driving momentum for online retailers.
According to a Deloitte India report, the online retail market size could reach USD 325 billion by 2030 (USD 70 billion in 2022), fuelled by momentum in smaller cities and towns.
It is pertinent to mention that the aspirational consumer base of millions of shoppers, who are increasingly comfortable with technology and gadgets, is driving the e-commerce growth story in India.
Armed with digital strategy post-COVID, brick-and-mortar retailers are strengthening their online presence, even as online companies are eyeing offline play, experts say, adding that omnichannel retail is creating a seamless bridge between digital and in-store shopping for consumers.