How localizing your e-commerce site can help you gain more traction?



India of 2019 is a changed country compared to the last decade. With market enablers like availability of cheaper smart phones, low mobile data tariffs and an ever increasing digital literacy, Digital India has progressively been moving towards more inclusive growth. The Indian e-commerce and consumer internet sector has witnessed multiple waves of entrepreneurship due to these factors.
With an ecosystem in place, new age startups have taken to the challenge to solve problems in traditional industries. Increase in rural commerce and under tapped potential of tier 2/3 cities is witnessing the next wave of growth for these e-commerce startups.

We are still in the beginning of the marketplace evolution in our country and three emerging trends which are revolutionizing ecommerce are:


  1. Verticalization of ecommerce: Shopping preferences are becoming more defined and differentiated. Consumers are now looking beyond large marketplaces to verticals in specific categories for a dedicated experience. The growth of vertical marketplaces is likely to be more hyper-vertical and hyper-local. Examples: Craftsvilla, Lenskart, Oyo Rooms etc.
  2. Double commit ecommerce:  A two-sided marketplace where sellers and consumers interact with one another, and create a network effect between them will see a rise. Increasingly users want to curate, filter and match providing customization to their specific needs.
  3. B2B Ecommerce: B2B marketplaces where brands are able to sell their products and services (in bulk) to other businesses will see multiple players. From a handful of companies in the past – IndiaMart & Trade India to startups and SMEs catering to big and small clients - those offering seamless services will carve their niche in this sector and survive in the long run.  

With the ever changing landscape and newer opportunities, founders and business owners will continuously need to think quickly and have a strategic focus. Thinking about – what big ecommerce players are measuring and how could they develop a moat by implementing essential growth strategies? From product development to keeping customers happy, making decisions on the go in order to stay relevant would be critical. Connecting with the target audience (vernacular in many cases) would be a prerequisite and without a localization strategy, it would be difficult to engage with this segment.

Conversion Rate was, is and would be essential to ecommerce success as it measures profitability. The best salesman needs to be the website/app providing seemless user experience. It matters because improved conversion rate means a lower cost-per-acquisition. Since the conversion rate affects (average 2 -3 %) ecommerce business’s bottom line, localising ecommerce website around high quality product visuals, driving quality visitors with targeted advertising, free shipping and product videos would be key hooks to capture a market.

A few metrics enabling data driven decisions would need to be adopted in order for new ecommerce businesses to generate recurring revenue. Here are some to help you gain more traction:


  • User-Generated content to build consumer trust: Providing a rating and review mechanism in the customers’ language will help an ecommerce website leverage its potential of generating revenue from different versions of website. Understanding the offline environment will provide insights on how successful one would be in online sales. As one goes about collecting geographical data about customers, marketing campaigns can keep getting refined.
  • Avoiding Bounce Rates: Poor design or non-engaging user interface could lead to customer leaving the marketplace without browsing or clicking on any products. A lower bounce rate means visitors are finding relevant content on website. 
  • Analyzing Customer location data: Measuring pin codes or IP data to analyse population density, institutes, residents, and commercial complexes will help in mapping a tier 2/3 city within a state.
  • Hourly, Daily and Weekly Sales: Measuring sales by the hour or daily as oppose to only weekly/monthly will help in identifying specific trends like what time of the day are purchases taking place and which are the down days
  • Average Order Value: While SEO, paid advertising, and other marketing tactics are valuable, you want AOV strategies in place to maximize each purchase opportunity. Analyse how well customers are responding to your products and brand to adjust pricing.
  • Decrease cart abandonment rate: Besides providing incentives like discounts, simplifying the process like guest checkout and convenient ways to pay – BHIM etc will be critical for repeat customers.
  • New VS Early Repeat customers: On average for ecommerce companies, 43% of revenue comes from returning customers. Learning about your early repeat customers can provide you insights into their purchasing behaviour – driving focused future marketing initiatives for other products.

India’s big advantage is our huge and vibrant domestic market. Digital inclusion comprising of voice, video and vernacular will keep becoming part of day to day lives. With increasing number of aspirational and technology embracing entrepreneurs, favourable regulatory environment and declining cost of doing business – the country will witness emergence of new models and localized ecommerce will play a very important part in it.

Originally published on: https://startup.siliconindia.com/viewpoint/in-my-opinion/how-localizing-your-ecommerce-site-can-help-you-gain-more-traction-nwid-19657.html

- Shashank Randev

Published on: October 16, 2019