With the e-commerce boom, customers today have more product options, but the industry must continue to evolve to meet their growing needs, said a report of a policy think-tank on Friday.
Titled ‘Policy recommendations for Customer-Centric E-commerce in India’, the report launched by the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, a policy think-tank of the Indian School of Business, flags several challenges facing the industry while recommending critical policy changes to boost e-commerce growth.
The document stresses the need of a customer-centric retail ecosystem, which is fast-paced, yet equitable for all stakeholders, to drive India’s e-commerce growth.
“Consumers also value the promise of choice: the more possibilities available, the more likely they are to find something that is ideal for them,” said the report.
Thus, more choices give them more power and satisfaction, it noted.
The report comes in the backdrop of the recently released “New Draft E-Commerce Rules, 2021”.
The document seeks policy intervention in four broad areas: foreign direct investments, business models, data search, and taxation. It calls for simplifying FDI norms, laws for digital economy, an apex national body for online adverts, capacity building of small retailers, issues of double taxation, etc.
Avik Sarkar, the lead author of the report, said “digital transformation, internet penetration and increasing disposable incomes have led to the rise of e-commerce in the country”.
However, “given the dynamism and multidimensionality of the sector, there needs to be constant research for better policy making, he added.
Customers would select a product only if the marketing of a company demonstrates that it understands the unique needs of a consumer. Hence, the concept of customer-centric e-commerce “puts the consumer once again at the center of the purchasing experience”, the report noted.
Technology innovations are driven by consumer demand, with people’s lifestyle changes, spending and shopping habits. Also, the ease of availing goods and services is a major deciding factor before buying, the report said.
During the launch event on Friday, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice president of Bharti Enterprises, led discussions with experts from the government, academia, and the industry.
Mittal said that e-commerce has facilitated connectivity across businesses and consumers, besides creating employment opportunities.
Others who participated in the panel discussion included Aruna Sharma, ex-secretary, steel, government of India, Aarushi Jain, associate director of Bharti Institute, and Sharique Hassan Manazir, co-author of the report.