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The evolving m-commerce space in India

India is increasingly serving as home for the booming ecommerce industry and the growth of smartphone penetration in the country is paving way for companies to explore avenues in m-commerce. At the e-tailing and Travel Commerce Conference 2015 by Internet and Mobile Association of India in collaboration with TechProcess, industry experts came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities in m-commerce.

Shamik Sharma, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Myntra cleared air around misconception that the smaller screen size of mobile and said that it is no challenge as mobile is the first internet screen for users in this mobile-first nation.

The app-only platform Myntra is looking forward to next six-18 months to create a richer experience on mobile and take advantage of the same for the growth of its business. “The app-only transition did lead to a fall in traffic but fresh consumers have made up for the loss. The transition is going better for us than expected,” Mr Sharma said.

Besides fashion, food ordering start-up’s Pushpinder Singh, Founder of Travelkhana reiterated and said, “We are seeing 15 per cent higher engagement on mobile than any other platform. Currently 40 per cent of the market is coming via the mobile platform but this number is expected to go up 60 per cent in one year which will be seen as a significant change.”

The banking industry is seeing this transition in a different fashion. Deepak Sharma, Head of Digital Initiatives at Kotak Mahindra Bank explained that two thirds of the payments on its platform are on the B2B side and one-third is dedicated to m-commerce. “So, web is here to stay for banks,” he added.

The mobile wallet industry in India is contributing only USD 4.3 billion or 3 per cent of the total ecosystem globally, according to Mr Sharma.

At the discussion, the experts also discussed issues related to app discovery and the impact of the mobile ecosystem in the same. Satyam Bansal, Director of Mobile Alliance at Flipkart emphasised that alliance is key to foster app discovery. “We focus on product, alliance, pricing and offering and partnerships with banks for better app discovery.”

Travelkhana still relies heavily on the call-centre set-up. “The mobile ecosystem, poor network connectivity is a challenge as most of the ordering on the platform is last-minute discovery and in case of smaller towns and cities, call-centres are a boon,” said Mr Singh.

Mr Bansal’s closing remark outlined the mobile wave and its reception in India. “Earlier India was copying the west but in the mobile world, West is now copying the innovations which took place in India last year.”