E-Commerce B2C Sector - Trends to Watch Out in the Future

B2C or Business-to-Consumer is a setup where businesses directly cater to the consumers, without the involvement of any intermediaries. In the e-commerce sector, it refers to online sellers who either host their own website, or choose to sell their products via B2C portals (platforms that connect companies to end-users e.g. Google).
E-Commerce B2C Sector - Trends to Watch Out in the Future
For many people, it is hard to imagine a life without online shopping. However, did you know the origins of e-commerce could be traced back to the early 1980s? British inventor Michael Aldrich created a technique [1], which eventually became known as e-commerce, in 1979. This technique involved a TV, computer and telephone lines. The idea behind it was to enable shopping from home!

The arrival of the Internet played a major role in the evolution of e-commerce. In fact, the dotcom boom in the early 2000s accelerated the transition from traditional storefront B2C to online B2C [2].

According to an IBEF report, the online penetration of retail was 4.7% in 2019 and it is expected to go up to 10.7% in 2024. Additionally the report also highlights that smartphone users are expected to reach 859 million. The total number of internet users in India stands at 503 million users, of which 227 million reside in rural areas and 205 million in urban areas.
Trends to Watch Out in the Future

Benefits of an e-commerce B2C business

According to a Statista report, in the financial year 2017, e-commerce in India had a market size of INR 50 billion. In comparison, banking financial service and insurance stood at INR 10 billion. The numbers indicate the expansion of the e-commerce sector. The proliferation of e-commerce businesses can also be attributed to the benefits and convenience that the online channel offers, besides the conventional models of retail business.

Let’s not forget the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on this sector – a situation that not only forced billions of people to stay indoors, but also motivated them to explore online shopping. In fact, there has been a significant increase in the number of first-time users on e-commerce platforms, since the outset of the current pandemic. This was because consumers began exploring online shopping platforms to stock up on essential goods and to avail other services, keeping in mind safety concerns.

Some key advantages of having an e-commerce B2C business:

- Low Capital Requirement

Online businesses usually require a smaller capital investment. According to a report, the cost of operating an online store is comparatively lesser, and therefore leads to better returns.

- Operating Hours

Businesses with online presence do not need to be time-bound. Your products can be made available to the customer outside of normal working hours, which increases your chances of selling more.

- Geographical Advantage

Selling your products on the internet means an infinite reach, unrestricted by distance. In simple terms, having an e-commerce business has the possibility of opening up new markets, enabling you to expand your customer base.

- Access to Data

B2C online businesses have access to demographic data about their consumer base. For example, online businesses ask their customers to share information about their age, gender, location, birth date and feedback. This data can be used to better understand consumer behavior and make informed decisions in accordance with consumer needs.

Challenges faced by B2C businesses

Despite the benefits, people engaged in online B2C business models can also face several challenges such as:

- Traffic Generation

The backbone of any online marketplace is the traffic it generates, or in simple words, the number of consumers it attracts. To get a considerable number of visitors, it is essential for a business website to rank up high in the search results. One easy way of doing it could be through search engine optimized content. Another way of reaching your customers easily could be by choosing a reputed online marketplace.

- Payment Platforms and Processing

Seamless payments processing has always been a challenge for online marketplaces including B2C business models. Providing a wide range of payment gateway options can increase the ease of transaction for the consumers. Apart from payment cards and COD, online payment service providers can widen the payment option for consumers. The payment process should also be safe and convincing to gain the trust of the customer.

- Customer Service

Consistently delivering satisfactory customer service can be an uphill task for all businesses including online B2C business models. Poor customer service can repel potential customers. To maintain a positive symbiotic relationship with the customer, all businesses including online B2C business models need to employ customer relationship management (CRM) tools and services.

- Product Appeal and Traceability

With similar products flooding the internet, it can be overwhelming for the consumer to select the right option. On the other hand, this can also make it difficult for a seller to grab the attention of the consumer. Here, presentation comes into play. Online B2C business models should focus on presenting their products in ways that foster engagement and call-to-action. Photography and product description are some of such crucial aspects.

What is the reason for India’s e-commerce boom?

A study conducted by the Competition Commission of India reveals that the revenue from the e-commerce sector in India is expected to grow from USD 39 million in 2017 to USD 120 billion in 2020. Funding in the e-commerce sector has also seen a staggering growth. Since 2009, the e-commerce sector in India has received a funding of more than USD 13,338 million. Currently there are around 4757 active e-commerce start-ups in India.

The reason for a seemingly unprecedented growth of the e-commerce sector in India can be summarized in a few points.
  • Steady growth of internet users in the country, and a decrease in the gap between the number of users in rural and urban areas. India is the second largest internet market after China.
  • A huge youth population that spends a considerable amount of time online. According to the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey, the youth in India largely prefer online shopping.
  • Government initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India and Digital India have helped boost small businesses including the e-commerce sector by helping sellers create an online presence.
  • Non-governmental actors also play an equally important role in the growth of the e-commerce sector. For example, in 2018, Amazon collaborated with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries). The main aim of this partnership was to help Indian exporters expand their international sales, essentially through Amazon Global Selling. It also aimed at educating manufacturers and exporters on B2C exports through various workshops conducted by both FICCI and Amazon.
  • In the present time, because of the coronavirus pandemic, online B2C businesses have seen a huge growth. With malls and physical stores mostly closed, more and more people are shopping online. Online B2C witnessed a significant increase of First Time Users (FTUs) during the pandemic.
What is the reason for India’s e-commerce boom?

What does the future look like?

What does the future look like?
For the e-commerce sector, specifically the B2C business model, the future looks quite promising. An array of developments, specifically in how businesses leverage technology for growth will radically transform the concept of e-commerce going forward. The following are some of the sweeping trends that are all set to affect the sector going forward:
  • Increased usage of data analytics - With improvements in the field of data analytics, businesses now have the opportunity to understand the needs and demands of the consumer better. This can significantly enhance quality of service.
  • Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to go mainstream - AI can help businesses enhance the accuracy in predicting consumer behavior. It can also help you understand the sentiments of your customers and serve them better with chatbots. Voice-based service assistants can provide a personal touch to any transaction, and reduce the physical work of replying to queries of each customer.
  • Social Media will be a game changer: B2C business models can leverage social media tools to promote their products. Businesses are already collaborating with social media influencers to draw traffic to their online presence, and this relationship between businesses and social media influencers will see a manifold rise in the near future.
  • Flash delivery and advanced logistics will gain prominence - Online marketplaces have been looking for ways to enhance the delivery process for long now. They have succeeded to some level, with facilities like same day delivery in metropolitan cities. However, with t advancements, we will soon be receiving our orders via technologies like drones.


It is clear that the world is fast moving towards a digital future. The time is ripe for small and medium businesses who wish to leverage online channels and expand their portfolio. COVID-19 has been pushing more and more people towards online shopping, and this might be the perfect opportunity to extend your business online.
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