Impact Of Cross-Border Trade On The E-Commerce Space

Anuraag Gambhir, holding an MBA in Marketing from International Management Institute, he boasts of a 15 years long career during which he has successfully handle key roles Accenture and SnapDeal prior to joining ShopClues in 2015. Passionate about marketing, he has also co-founded a digital marketing startup named CoPlance in 2010.

Siliconindia recently got a chance to interact with Anuraag, where in he shared his insights on cross border trade, current e-Commerce industry in India and various other aspects. Below are the excerpts of the exclusive interview –

Briefly explain about the importance of cross-border trade and its impact on the e-Commerce space.
Taking into consideration the travel industry for instance, there is always a fascination among people to travel to other countries, experience different cultures, try new cuisines and lot more. The first and most important aspect here is the internet, which gives people information about various aspects about other countries. Since today’s youth are very much inclined towards experiencing new things, the travel industry has witnessed significant growth in recent times. The same holds good for other industries as well, where people today want to experience products from other countries, and this has been the cornerstone of cross-border trade. Also, the recent e-Commerce boom has enabled people to order products from foreign countries online and get them delivered at the location of their choice. The Indian government too has realized the massive demand our country’s products have abroad and are putting a lot of efforts to improve cross-border trade with various countries.

How can e-Commerce companies overcome the challenges of people wanting to touch and feel the product, especially the high value ones, prior to making a purchase?
I contradict this statement because during 2017-19, over 50 percent of the DSLR and laptop sales happened through online channels. Also, I feel that although many people do want to have the touch & feel of thee product, a larger number of people go with the ‘comfort’ factor, where they are able to get their desired products delivered at their doorstep without having to physically visit the stores. Also, since most e-Commerce companies buy in bulk and offer products at a cheaper rate as compared to offline retail stores, many people still prefer online medium for their purchases and this is very much true the fact that India is a very price-sensitive market. However, the amount of customer trust and the kind of brand image an e-Commerce company has built for itself in the market is the driving force that attracts consumers to make purchases online.

What role does AI technology play in cross-border trade?
Currently, there is a lot of experimentation happening in e-Commerce with AI technology in terms of chatbots for customer support, assisting customers at both pre- & post-purchase levels, tracking customer experience, and many others. Although AI technology is already a key driving force for the sector, its implementation in e-Commerce is relatively slow as compared to other sectors. One area where AI is helping e-Commerce companies a lot is in managing/handling return orders of customers, which is major challenge for every e-Commerce platform today due to the huge logistics costs that they must bear. Here, AI is enabling companies to analyze past data patterns of return orders such as in terms of geography, courier partner and feedback/reasons from customers about why they are returning the order. With this data, companies are now able to make necessary changes for each order in order to maintain bare minimum/zero losses in terms of logistics costs. Lastly, all the above mentioned function generate a humongous amounts of consumer data, which e-Commerce companies can analyze using AI to draw valuable insights that help them immensely in their decision making process.

How do you expect the e-Commerce space to evolve in the next five years?
With the massive plans the government has and the $2 trillion target it has set for exports by 2030, cross-border e-Commerce will be the next big driver for the industry to flourish even further in the coming days. With India poised to be the 3rd highest consumption economy in the world in the next 4-5 years, there is no doubt that a majority of that consumption will be fulfilled by e-Commerce.