The pandemic saw lockdowns become the new normal. Consumers increasingly went digital for their essential needs which hastened the urgency for businesses, especially small businesses to go digital. This also led to massive growth in online sales with global e-commerce having crossed 4 Trillion in GMV. India alone has been on an upward trajectory with a growth of over 30 per cent and this momentum will only continue. This need for MSMEs to unlock digital capabilities and set up online shops serves as a huge opportunity for web professionals in India.
This opportunity was the cornerstone and theme of this year’s flagship event for web professionals, Cloudbazaar. Cloudbazaar is a conference and trade show organized for the last 10 years with an overarching mission to help web professionals advance, upskill and win!. It is supported by some of the leading web presence brands like Bluehost, ResellerClub, etc that serve the web professional community.
This year’s conference theme emphasized and addressed questions related to the future of e-commerce for all web pros and businesses. It brought together a host of veterans and some of the biggest names in the web and digital ecosystem. Held on December 3, the event featured speakers such as Manish Dalal, Head of Strategy and SVP of Global Channels, Newfold Digital; Paul Maiorana, CEO, WooCommerce; Bhaskar Ramesh, Director of Omnichannel Solutions, Google India, and more.
In its tenth season, but being held virtually for the second year in a row, Cloudbazaar offers web pros with various exhibits, workshops, brand sessions and conferences. The event also gives web pros and budding e-commerce enthusiasts a chance at networking with some of the biggest names in the industry.
Reading the patterns
The event began with a keynote address by Manish Dalal, who spoke on the topic ‘A Year in Retrospect: Digital Transformation Through Online Commerce’. One of the key insights the keynote provided was how retail e-commerce surpassed $4 trillion in 2021 globally, which meant that the sales through e-commerce had nearly doubled over the last 4 years. Every region in the world saw a growth of more than 25 per cent in retail e-commerce sales.
As of India, the country had the third-highest number of e-retail shoppers in the world behind China and the USA. Looking forward, the future growth of the vertical is expected to be driven by smaller towns that account for four out of five new shoppers in the present day.
Women and older shoppers have gained prominence in the shopper base over the last year, and DTC e-commerce revenue grew by 94 per cent in the final quarter of 2020.
Another keynote address on ‘Using Domain Names To Establish An Online Presence’ by Andy Simpson spoke about the Global Domain Name industry and its growth at 1.9% CAGR over 5 years. He mentioned that drag and drop website builders are used by over 40 per cent of Domain Names with a website, especially e-commerce focussed builders.
Retail e-commerce constitutes 19.6 per cent of the total Global Retail Sales in 2021, and it will continue to grow in the next 5 years. Although China and the USA lead the charts in contribution to e-commerce spends currently, countries like India, Brazil and Russia are quickly catching up.
Back to the future
Another great session that offered powerful insights was the Fireside Chat between WooCommerce CEO Paul Maiorana and Newfold Digital’s Group Product Manager Drew Wilde on the topic ‘From The Lens Of The Biggest eCommerce Enablers’.
The relevance of e-commerce has shifted for small and medium businesses, and according to a report, e-commerce sales in India will triple over the next few years, now that the pandemic has changed people’s perspectives about shopping online. A survey done by Bluehost India in 2021 showed that almost 20 per cent of the interviewed businesses started a website in the pandemic and 14 per cent of these were with payment options.
WooCommerce is one of the largest platforms available for online stores today. The team is working on localized solutions including Woo payments and shipping.
Attendees got to hear eminent speakers talk about how even though businesses and investments saw degrowth due to the pandemic, the growth of e-commerce has come as a silver lining. Digital adoption and engagement has grown from 2 per cent in 2016 to 34 per cent in 2020 and with an estimated 900 million internet users in India by 2025, this will only continue to grow.
59 per cent of businesses that are digitally engaged are one and a half times more capable of surviving and growing during a pandemic, which shows how web professionals have a great opportunity to promote e-commerce growth.
Cause marketing has become highly effective in recent times, web professionals got to know how it helps in creating differentiation for the brand. Brands that have worked for a cause have managed to encourage 79% of consumers to switch to their brand, and have seen an 85 per cent increase in profits due to brand loyalty.
Apart from that, 71 per cent of millennials pay more if the money is going for a good cause, which makes it the perfect time to adopt cause marketing.
D2C brands are highly popular in the market, and more brands are pivoting towards D2C because of expansive growth potential and reduced distribution costs. Customers are also pivoting to D2C because of superior customer service, frictionless purchase, price to value, and novelty in products and services.
The entire theme of Cloudbazaar focused on what the future of e-commerce would look like, and attendees got to know how the segment can be made better in the coming times. Brands were suggested to digitise as many products as they can, and that if the product cannot be digitised, brands must focus on digitising the services around it.
The idea of gamifying buying experiences is slowly gaining popularity, and brands must try and partner up with companies to try and create a virtual experience for consumers.
Building on the theme of Cloudbazaar 2021, a panel of prominent names from the digital world featured Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-Founder and Director, Wakefit.co; , Bhaskar Ramesh, Director Omnichannel Solutions, Google India; Swagat Sarangi, CEO, Smytten; and Vedanarayanan Vedantham, SME & Startup Business Head, Razorpay, who got together to discuss how the next million brands of India could be brought into the digital ecosystem.
The discussion, which was moderated by Zinnov’s Partner and Global Head-Digital Praveen Bhadada, covered topics like the transformation of e-commerce, the availability and importance of tech stacks in the evolution of businesses, etc. They also discussed if web pros should focus on large enterprises, going digital, or focusing on SMBs thinking of D2C as the primary mode of market.
Connecting enthusiasts to brands
Cloudbazaar’s second consecutive virtual edition also consisted of an Exhibit Hall with booths that were set up by major brands like Google, .Org, Bluehost, sedo.com, .Store Domains, .Me, Jetpack and ResellerClub, along with other Partners like Verisign and Acronis. These stalls provided visitors with all the information they needed to know about the respective brands, and also gave them an opportunity to chat with them directly.
The event also presented workshops that provided tips and insights into the e-commerce business and using tools to make it big in the industry. These workshops were conducted by industry speakers like Meherzad Karanjia, Chief Learning Officer, IIDE; Arjun Pande, Brand Manager, .Store Domains; Jayesh Bali, Product Manager, ResellerClub; Jesse Friedman, Director of Innovation, Jetpack Business; and more.
Cloudbazaar also offered a networking room that allowed enthusiasts to network with various brands and like-minded visitors over chat and video calls. The Leaderboard Grand Prize offered visitors a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G by staying tuned to all workshops and conferences, visiting all booths, and participating in the plethora of activities offered by Cloudbazaar.
The scavenger hunt involved 10 clues that were scattered throughout the event, which the participants had to figure out. The winner of the event was selected on the basis of a randomiser.
All in all, Cloudbazaar paved the way for all stakeholders in the e-commerce industry to think more about the future and help the industry unleash its full potential in India.