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Marketing’s eCommerce awards judge from Samsung on convergence and growth

A digital business leader with over 15 years of experience in delivering business impact to organisations in India and APAC regions, Madhur Chaturvedi currently holds the role of director, online strategy at Samsung and is based in India. In this role, he enables growth for Samsung’s mobile business in India through online channels and third party eCommerce sites. According to Chaturvedi, he achieves this through strategy, planning and driving new initiatives across sales, marketing, supply chain and customer experience.

Chaturvedi brings with him expertise in strategy development and digital transformation for B2C companies. Prior to Samsung, he was AVP of customer experience and strategy at an online marketplace Shopclues, director – insight and customer strategy at Oracle, as well as various consulting roles at global services firm Alvarez & Marsal, and McKinsey & Company.

As a judge for the second year of Asia eCommerce Awards, Chaturvedi looks for sustainable practices from brands apart from innovation and success. Here’s more of his views.

Marketing: What is your perspective of the eCommerce industry?

The customer is at the centre of eCommerce. This industry exists to make it easier, more convenient, and more cost-effective for consumers to get what they want, need and desire. In addition, digital is allowing companies to co-opt consumers into their product planning, pricing decisions and marketing messaging. The companies leading eCommerce have recognised this and are single-mindedly focusing on consumers, as a true long-term sustainable competitive differentiator.

Marketing: How have you witnessed the eCommerce industry evolve over the past few years?

First, eCommerce has traditionally been perceived to be a young Millennial / GenZ-oriented phenomena. While these age segments continue to be important customers, shopping online has become mainstream across age groups in the last few years.

Second, eCommerce has become a source of competitive differentiation. Companies that are effectively leveraging digital channels generally, and eCommerce specifically, are winning across industries by understanding their consumer needs more deeply, being more relevant and agile in interacting with consumers, as well as by fundamentally lowering their cost of operations.

Marketing: What comes to mind when you think of eCommerce excellence?

For me, eCommerce excellence is closely related to consumer delight and works at two levels. First is the short term daily / weekly operational level, where companies have to get even the smallest details of a consumers shopping and ownership experience right, repeatedly and at scale, which is also called “Act à Delight à Repeat”.

Second is the mid to long term strategic level, where companies have to challenge traditional business models, value chains and processes to bring innovative propositions to consumers, “Innovate to Survive”.

Companies who achieve mastery in the short term operational level as well as mid to long term strategic level survive, excel and thrive in this industry over a long period of time.

Marketing: What qualities will you be looking out for in the entries for Marketing’s eCommerce awards?

I will be looking for the following attributes in the entries:

  1. Innovation: new ideas to solve traditional society, industry and business problems
  2. Creativity: companies that challenged the boundaries of conventional thinking
  3. Successful implementation: examples of implementation at scale resulting in clear consumer or stakeholder benefits
  4. Sustainable: practices that focus on building sustainable propositions for consumers, and therefore sustainable business, as opposed to focusing on short term growth metrics.

Marketing: Why do you think recognising eCommerce players is important to the industry?

First, the eCommerce industry is seeing great innovation in sales, marketing, analytics and consumer experiences across Asia and the world, very often by young entrepreneurs and innovators. Recognising and rewarding such innovations can act as source of inspiration to budding entrepreneurs looking to set up their own digital businesses, as well to executives in traditional retail, consumer goods and other B2C industries undergoing own digital transformation.

Second, a lot of innovative work in this industry may be happening by startups working under the radar or not getting the due limelight. Recognising such companies can help them get the right support for growth, monetary or otherwise.

Marketing: Where do you think eCommerce will be in five years?

In major eCommerce markets such as US and China, boundaries between eCommerce and traditional retail are getting blurred through convergence of online and offline channels.

Shoppers are increasingly taking complex multi-channel journeys in their research and purchase life-cycle.

I anticipate this convergence to be mainstream in five years, where if a consumer going to an eCommerce site or app, or walking into an offline store, get the same experience related to information access, pricing and deals, assisted purchase experience and delivery / ownership experience. In addition to making shopping more seamless for consumers, this convergence will fundamentally alter the cost structure in the retail industry.