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Ecommerce in the era of 5G

At the recently concluded India Mobile Congress, India achieved a landmark in the digital landscape when Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, formally launched 5G services for the nation. Much has been talked about the game-changing capabilities of 5G and how it will impact every aspect of our lives. To reiterate, 5G will integrate and immerse digital technology into our lives.

Coinciding with this, ecommerce has seen a phenomenal growth in India. From being an ancillary channel to sell, today all brands, including those selling traditionally offline, are embracing ecommerce and seeing growth in it. Redseer estimates $11.8 billion revenues during the festive season. Market analyst firm Counterpoint predicts $7.7 billion worth of smartphones to be sold during the festive period, while Techarc estimates smartphones worth $18 billion to be sold for 100 days between September and December 2022.

All these estimates suggest the significance of ecommerce in today’s trade, which is increasingly becoming channel agnostic, attempting to leverage the best of legacy channels and the digitally powered channels. Now that 5G has started in the country, let’s examine how it is going to affect ecommerce and what we need to do to be prepared for it.

Live commerce

Live commerce has already commenced. This year, there were several live commerce sessions carried out by influencers, with exclusive deals for consumers. With 5G pushing consumption of video content, live commerce will become more frequent, and ecommerce platforms will be hosting more such sessions during the festive season and business-as-usual periods.

This will mean more performance campaigns where the objective will be to have interested people register for the event and attend it. It will be an acid test of performance campaigns. In live events, it’s next to impossible to ‘manage’ the performance. Just like in webinars, where the organisers might be able to secure registrations, but what matters is how many really attend it live.

Video and ultra-rich content

Ecommerce platforms might need to go for an overhaul, revamping the product pages, where video gets precedence over anything. Right now, there are roughly 5-10 multimedia assets uploaded on a product page, one of them being a video. This will change, and users will want to see more video reviews and product descriptors. Currently, video descriptors are not generally up to the mark and don’t make a convincing appeal. This will impact the definition of A+ content, pushing brands more towards videos and ultra-rich content.

Influencers will not just recommend

So far, influencers have only recommended a product and left it to the consumers to decide. Now, influencers will also be helping consumers to buy through live and social commerce. Influencers will become ‘micro’ publishers who will drive sales through their unique tags and earn attribution for them. 

Many of these influencers might not be aware of brand safety and organic stealing. Now influencers will also be required to understand these digital fraud challenges and proactively protect their reputation and business interests. For instance, in the gadgets world, what an influencer like Rajiv Makhni recommends will matter a lot and help consumers to buy. But how his unique identity would be managed would be one of the biggest challenges influencers like Rajiv will face.

NFT and digital art

5G will fundamentally revolutionise the web. We have already seen how high-profile auctions like the digital artwork ‘The Merge’, by artist Pak, collected over $91 million—the highest ever NFT transaction. With 5G, Web 3.0 will come live into action and we will see such areas also going for online trade.

The biggest challenge here would be that of infringement. Protecting infringement digitally has been a nightmare so far, where even the most reputed brands get abused through infringement of their assets and trademarks. It will require advanced image computation and analytics to keep track of digital art infringement, protecting the copyright and intellectual property of artists whose creativity could be put to risk due to this.

Cloud gaming and vulnerability for children

There is a consensus among the 5G community that cloud gaming is an immediate opportunity for consumers in the 5G era. While other use cases will take some time to develop and reach out to the consumers, cloud gaming is something that is already there, and 5G can accelerate it. It also removes the barrier of owing a great device—smartphone or laptop—to be able to play heavy graphics games.

The primary users of cloud gaming are going to be children. We may have a legal age to enter a contract, but here, borrowing from the consumer act, the consumer and the buyer are going to be different in many cases. Children, and even minors, are going to play these games using their parents’ accounts and digital identity. This is going to pose serious threats, such as scams, thefts and ‘mind games’, impacting the overall wellbeing of children.

The need here is for the ecosystem to come together to create a brand- and content-safe environment for children to be able to play in the digital playfield, without fear and the constant supervision of parents.

Ecommerce is not just trade confined to buying and selling of products and services. It is now a behaviour in our lifestyle, wherein we are increasingly spending our time and other resources. 5G will make it immersive and enable many new use cases and extensions to the whole concept of ecommerce.

As an ecosystem, we all need to come together and collaborate to create a forward-looking and thriving ecommerce system, which can unleash the power of 5G only to exuberate the user experience. At mFilterIt, we are all geared for it. Are you? 

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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