Narvar is India’s first enterprise platform for post-purchase customer experience in the e-commerce sector. As an enterprise-grade customer engagement platform, Narvar enables seamless post-purchase experiences that retain and engage customers from cart to doorstep. Here Sunil Rajguru talks to Founder & CEO Amit Sharma to find out more about the company and the Indian e-commerce market.
Q: Can you explain what Narvar is and what it does?
A: We are a software company that works with e-commerce brands and retailers to engage end consumers. World over, even if you look at large sites like Amazon, they all start as “value seekers”. That’s the first iteration and generation. But then they gravitate towards choice and convenience and are willing to pay for it. For example, membership is a convenience that you are ready to pay for. We are a software platform that is one of the building blocks for the ecosystem that helps brands and leaders to engage their consumers in these key areas. Nowadays you can engage consumers in so many different ways and channels.
In a brick and mortar store, you can buy a product and walk out with it immediately. You can’t do that in an online store. So we focus on the consumer cycle. Online platforms focus on demand generation or user acquisition. That means upstream in the funnel: Through promotions, or discounts or bringing customers to them. What we focus on differentiation is that once you make a commitment, when to actually click the buy button, what happens after that. That’s our interest area because the consumer has made a commitment. He’s not a shopper anymore but your customer.
The shopping brand may do nine things right but if the last experience is not good you may never shop there again. No matter how many benefits, one hassle will make it not worth it anymore. And if due to smooth operations, you're not calling your call centre and they're not emailing you back and forth, your immediate cost of servicing customer in terms of customer service agent and ball centre goes down. Those are the immediate tangible way that retailers can measure the ROI
Even when it comes to things like chatbots and AI, the fundamental issues remain the same: Can you solve the problems of the consumer? How can you increase and better their interactive experience?
Q: What is the Indian e-commerce market overview?
A: Broadband investment and hardware prices are all going down, making smartphones more accessible. The payments scene is changing dramatically and 5G is also coming. The Government is making concerted efforts too. Also what has changed in the last few years is that in the relevant players, there is an appetite for buying enterprise-grade software.
More and more global brands are coming to India through the online e-commerce route. Consumers are getting more comfortable in buying high purchase point items online. Women are getting more comfortable too. The next generation millennial shoppers are also coming online. They don't have the other preconceived notion of the older generations. Just look at the flourishing apparel and footwear sales. In the past, you couldn’t imagine say Rs 20,000 being spent on apparel online.
That’s the case with the cities, but slowly disposable income trickle down to Tier III & IV towns too. If we look at Europe, we have e-commerce in 18 languages because there is enough of a demand. India has more languages than that and similar language software will see that market being tapped too. That’s why it’s really exciting times to India market as so many changes are happening.
Q: What is your Indian market strategy?
A: Our platform has broad appeal even for the Indian market. We focus on where we are adding value with a focus on ROI. There are many issues like in cash on delivery co-ordinating on real-time delivery vis a vis the recipient. We find that an SMS alert, which worked in the past may not now and hence we may switch to a WhatsApp alert. We are doing many things like that.
We have a team in Bengaluru and partner with brands and retailers to enable our capabilities with their technology platform. We are taking a two-pronged approach: Investing in our business development so that we can educate and create awareness in the market. We’re also investing in our design and research in our engineering capacity in India. That will help us tackle the new use cases for the India region.
Q: How will the Internet of Things (IoT) affect e-commerce?
A: IoT can be applied in a couple of areas like Smart Homes and automobiles. Then there are voice-enabled devices like Alexa. However, your smartphone is also similarly voice-enabled. But it comes back to my earlier question: What kind of use cases you’re solving which brings choice and convenience to the consumer. In the next three to five years we will be able to leverage more in the wall space environment and visual touch with the ecosystem. It may not be a significant share of the Indian market, but it will be there.
Taking a mature market like South Korea: Only 25% of shopping is done online and 75% in stores, which are reinventing themselves. Similarly, IoT may become something in single digits.
Q: What about cloud and AI?
A: Consumer demand is forcing companies to change their approach. But sometimes you can't keep up with the pace of change. In house rate of innovation may not be able to keep pace with what is happening outside. So enterprise companies are investing in Cloud and AI because they know that the long term Cost of Ownership is cheaper there.