Jaipur-based Divya Gems and Jewellers’ owner, Leela Ram Bunkar, had a humble beginning as a craftsman before he capitalized on an opportunity to move his business to an e-commerce marketplace that gave him access to a global audience for showcasing his products. Today, he proudly services international clientele across continents.

Like Bunkar, millions of business owners have experienced a life-changing impact from selling online. The last eighteen months have redefined its importance and accelerated the pace of its adoption. Today, e-commerce is no longer a good-to-do; it has become a business imperative for ensuring continuity and growth.

COVID-19 has unlocked doors for global trade in innovative ways. According to Payoneer, global e-commerce revenue grew by over 80% in Q2 and Q3 of 2020, boosting online shopping across the world. The report also states that India is amongst the top 10 countries in cross-border e-commerce growth. Global cross-border commerce is fast emerging as the next big growth opportunity for the Indian e-commerce industry. As per Forrester Research, cross-border commerce is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.3% by 2022. It may see its market share in the global e-commerce market grow to 22% in 2020 from the earlier 15% in 2015.

E-democracy in e-commerce

Over the years, the general perception has been that e-commerce is an expected choice of marketing for only well-established retail brands. There has been a drastic change in the business strategy of local businesses who have been successfully navigating their operations to online platforms.

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands and independent sales channels have been trending alongside e-commerce. Retail companies are doing away with distributors and middlemen and connecting directly with consumers through e-commerce platforms. This allows them to not only reduce costs and overheads but also get a closer understanding of their consumers’ buying patterns, deal with product enquiries and directly provide customer service. By offering enhanced customer experience, brands get deeper insights into their shopping behaviour. This allows D2C brands to customise their products for different markets catering to local cultural differences, and thus succeed in diversifying into different countries.

Key Factors Driving Cross-Border E-Commerce – Unlocking global trade for Indian sellers

With expanding digital access, consumers are today able to connect with sellers and retailers from international markets to tap into a wider choice of products with competitive pricing and quality.

The first key factor driving cross-border e-commerce is consumer preferences for the most relevant product no matter where the source. This fulfils the premise of an open marketplace as we saw in Bunkar’s case that cross- border e-commerce gives sellers’ access to millions of diverse buyers.

The second factor is the ability for sellers to manage fulfilment and complete transactions through a range of integrated logistics as well as payment on trusted open marketplaces that enable a frictionless experience. This gives immense confidence to small sellers and large retailers as well as buyers to participate in the cross-border ecommerce market thereby contributing to a vibrant two-sided marketplace.

These marketplaces provide equal opportunity to all types of sellers not just by providing integrated services but also deep insights on what to sell.

Lastly and most importantly, the evolving ecommerce ecosystem in India which includes the marketplace, logistics providers and government agencies need to work in close coordination to make Indian sellers’ competitiveness matches those of other cross border sellers from around the world.

Three key elements to make Indian seller competitive in global marketplace would be:

  • Simplification & digitalization of export procedures to reduce delivery timelines
  • Offering low-cost logistics solutions through India Post to be price competitive
  • Favourable policies for India centric categories such as jewellery and ethnic wear

As exports from India reached a high of $35.4 billion in July ’21, the momentum augurs well to capture the massive headroom for growth that exists. With strong long term growth projections cross-border e-commerce, it is time that Indian businesses focus their attention on going global.

(The writer is
Country Manager – India and South East Asia, eBay)

(The one-stop destination for MSME, ET RISE provides news, views and analysis around GST, Exports, Funding, Policy and small business management.)

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