When I see people browsing on their mobiles, one trend is clear-the plethora of products available in the online marketplace has generated a lot of excitement amongst mobile users.
The excitement stems from ready access marketplaces such as fashion, books, electronics etc., but is also propelled by social recommendations (the positive social pressure of the concept of ‘like’s and such recommendations) and steep discounting as well.
Back in the good-old days in Bangalore, walking along Commercial Street was a favorite pastime.
While it had its own charm, in a traffic-jammed world with little parking available, these are times one is happier being indoors and avoid the street altogether. This is the time for online markets such as BigBasket.com, Amazon and the Flipkarts of the world.
A few forces are getting aligned: the instant access to variety, solving the issue of search and discovery, the convenience of goods being delivered at the door-stop. It also encourages impulse buying which is not a bad thing.
In my own experience, I have over 30 books from amazon.com that I bought in a burst
of passion for reading. The e-pipe of unread pile of books have only increased…And I am a conservative shopper !
While Facebook and other social media subscriptions and traffic is on the wane, my view is that explosion of online marketplaces is what will drive up data traffic. To boost consumer interest there are new monetization models that are catching operators’ fancy. Operators are stubbornly refusing to be reduced to be the dump pipe for over-the-top players. There are two options emerging which will give this a boost: favoring traffic from online marketplaces by giving them differential treatment and sponsored data.
While differential treatment which may have net neutrality around it (which has been a controversial
topic for decades), sponsored data will be a major force in fostering online marketplace traffic. In this model, marketplaces will pay for usage and subscribers don’t get charged. It’s like being ferried from your home to the market and back without having to pay for it.
Sponsored data is itself a fairly complex piece involving many elements in the value chain of this ecosystem: from enterprises who provide users with applications and services, partnership with telecom operators, a technology player who will deliver on core infrastructure to enable access of enterprise applications to users with enterprises paying for user’s access and not to mention the intense operational aspects that those go with it.
Such an arrangement is win-win for all sides.
From a Comviva view-point, we are in a unique position to stitch together such a ecosystem and bring the value of technology to it.