Android application development will be a game-changer in India’s e-commerce market. It is not very fashionable to make such a strongly worded statement for an industry that is so frequently rocked by disruptive innovations. As the e-commerce growth story in India gathers momentum, it is worthwhile to take a look at the technological drivers specifically and thus decode a pattern of technology shocks and how these have affected the ecommerce market in India.
Starting with the analysis of technological shocks in the past and the present scenario we can attempt to predict the next big thing in terms of innovation and its impact on e-commerce in India.
The Telecom Revolution
The ecommerce industry was yet to take shape in India in the last millennium. The biggest bottleneck to the growth of business was the lackluster information and communication infrastructure. The asymmetries of information combined with the difficult geographical terrain can always be a daunting challenge for business enterprises. The tipping point came probably in the year 1996.
An application through the standard route with nominal fee for a landline telephone connection took 13 months for delivery to the applicant. For a landline telephone connection to be delivered within 15 days it took an application fee of approximately one lakh that many entrepreneurs could not afford.
The liberalization of the telecom sector opened up the avenues of investment to the corporate firms that brought new standards in technology, pricing, user benefits and customer service. Impact on business was felt across functions of sales, customer relationship management and marketing. Primarily it allowed Indian business enterprises to reach out to customers and clients with higher reach and frequency. It allowed for the foundation of a supply side model with enterprises in different verticals participating in price warfare and reducing the cycle time of sales transactions.
While the telecom revolution liberalized the telecom industry and took verbal communication to the masses, the initiative to reach out to the market lay with the sellers and suppliers.
The Web Revolution
With the initiation of the digital infrastructure setting and the auction of the 2G and 3G wave spectrum the seeds of ecommerce were sown on the Indian soil. The mass acceptance of the web, its penetration into metropolitan cities, tier 2 cities and now into rural areas has enabled the Indian customer to change the way purchases are done.
To begin with it has allowed customers in different verticals in India to be driven by market research and not by marketing campaigns. Well informed choices are the best choices that customers can make and the web in the new millennium was the gateway of the Indian customer to the market even while sitting in front of the web or the personal computer.
The decentralization of the web has been able to unleash a new seamless contact point between sellers and customers. The biggest merit of the web and its favourable impact on ecommerce has been to make the process of customer research to purchase “search” based. Search engines have been able to engineer an ecosystem that works on the principles of visibility, user interface, navigation and keywords for products and services.
This eco system has democratized the market place like never before by giving search options of all types to customers. In terms of business this has resulted in a transition in the orientation of business enterprises. From being supply based in the last decade of the new millennium, Indian enterprises have turned around their business models to make it demand based. The web has enabled the Indian customer to seize the initiative to build a bridge between brands and themselves at will.
The Smart Phone Revolution
From being one of the laggards in the areas of information and communication technology, India today is astonishingly the largest producer of mobile applications. With more than one million mobile apps being produced ever year, it is beyond doubt that the application mania that the Indian customer is going through currently will not fade away into thin air.
The number of business verticals that have built applications gives an insight into the sheer width of industry verticals that the mobile commerce function is catering to. With smart phone manufacturers allowing some brands to on board their devices with free built in mobile apps, the competition to get noticed through a mobile app has got tough.
The Non Linear Trajectory of Technological Shocks in India
While many cynics may disavow of the observations made above as no more than a compilation of archives of India’s information and communication technology, there is more to it than what meets the eye. In a space of 25 years economic reforms have brought technological drivers of business to the driver’s seat.
There are no prizes for guessing that those business enterprises that do not paddle the technology innovation bicycle regularly will loss speed and eventually fade out. Having spoken of the transition of the supply led model of telecom to the demand led model through web, it has to be stated that mobile apps present enterprises to create and work on hybrid models of business which are technically more insulated to financial and operating risks than the two preceding models.
Thirdly, the path of progress from telecom, web to mobile applications shows a highly non linear pattern meaning that the future of ecommerce in India must not be seen as a scaled up repeat of the past.
Why Android Apps are the Best Pick for Business Enterprises?
India is still an emerging economy that is torn apart in strife between graceful innovation streams that hit the corporate sector rapidly on one hand and the challenges of accessibility, affordability and awareness. The greatest merit of Android app development is the possibility of combining affordability, accessibility and awareness in one metric through simple technological innovation.
Given that the R&D costs involved in developing Android apps is marginal and that the SDK (software development kit) is readily available for developers to design and build apps with ease, Android apps are by nature low cost and thus has the potential to bring the disconnected people in India on board.
This is not just a matter of social inclusiveness but is yet another way of answering the debate on net neutrality. For business enterprises this means an opportunity to create cost value based business models in health care, education, legal advisory, medical transcription, travel, tourism, groceries and many more verticals.
Growth in business would stem from an arithmetic progression in customer headcount and an exponential progression in lifetime value created through repeat transactions.
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