The Path Ahead for E-Services in India

DebaduttaUpadhyaya, Co-Founder&CEO, TimessaverzIndia's move towards a digital economy impacted every business category in some way or the other. The Demonetization drive launched by the Indian government and the days following that massive change, brought to the fore advantages of e-services. It was just the launchpad this rapidly evolving business category required. In the following days, Uberification, shared economy, democratization of employment, selective employment, and digital economy were the buzzwords everywhere! Ride hauling services, and e-payment services were grabbing the headlines. Powered by fast Internet, for once the Indian populace understood: they could exist with a cashless economy! And it was the e-services that made this rapid transition happen!

Evolution of e-Services
After the tumultuous times,now that the things have settled down, it is a good time to ponder over what the e-services have attained in India and what they could further aim at. This is one business category that can be proud of itself, for e-services have leapfrogged in terms of their evolution, adoption and consolidation rates. It took about a decade for e-Commerce to translate into a habit for the Indian populace. e-Services have attained this feat in twice less time! The sector is of course fueled by factors such as mobility of things, skill development initiatives and a nuclear family focused urban ecosystem. The declining mobile Internet rates across India have also played their part in reaching this new business model to the end users.

Services that People Need
This business category has ushered in a life of convenience and comfort for the end users. As mentioned before,one of the key influencer's behind the meteoric rise of e-services is the nuclear family based urban ecosystem existing today. While the modern day nuclear families like to make their purchases from e-Commerce stores, they have other requirements too.They want instant help (in the forms of services) to support their fast going lifestyle. Further, the services are needed at prices and timings of their
choice. Unlike their predecessors, the families of the modern times look upon physical searches(for essential services) as a wastage of time and energy. They are looking for solutions on the Internet, to be precise through utility mobile apps. If they find affordable and convenient services, which reaches their doorsteps on time, they are happy! And the on-demand and timely e-services are supporting them ideally.

Like any other business category, the e-services business sector too would go through the evolution-churn and finally settle down into a tried and tested business model

Bringing New Employment Scopes
While talking about the massive growth of the e-services sector, it should also be pointed out that this business category is ever under the magnifying lenses of the business analysts. As the category facilitates more intensive customer touch points than any other of its peers, it is always under the scrutiny. The scope of operations for the e-services has also expanded in the last few years. The operations scope that was restricted outside homes (through cabs) has now come inside homes (through doorstep deliveries and services). This proliferation of the scope opens room for new support ecosystems such as background verification, skill up gradation and digital coaching, which in turn can open up new employment scopes for Indians.

Path Ahead
Having harped on the highlights of this sector, it should also be remembered that just like any other developing business category, e-services still needs some time to mature. The services under this category are still grappling with the fundamentals of standardization in scope of service and experience. As the last mile delivery remains and will remain, for better part, un-automated having huge dependency on human efforts. So, the major players need to make judicious choices in terms of their execution plans. Consumers have already got a taste of the convenience that the e-services (doorstep delivery and services)model can offer. And now that they have choices,the differentiating factor for the major players in the niche would be the customer experience or satisfaction quotient. Brands in this business category should rightfully aim at creating brand evangelists, and not just end consumers. Rightfully, many service providers are moving away from judging their success in terms of the vanity metrics and adopting the hardcore ones such as NPS, return usage, cohorts on multiple service adoption, and others.

Models that Work
Business models within this business category are changing at a fast pace, from lead based to multiple market place models. As we move into the future, it would be interesting to watch how these models evolve: whether the unit economies or full stack model works best for the business category. Till date, the major players are doing their own permutations and combinations to find a winning model.

Like any other business category, the e-services business sector too would go through the evolution-churn and finally settle down into a tried and tested business model. We at Timesaverz, have had the privilege to witness these interesting changes ongoing in the business category. It has been a fulfilling experience to see e-services grow so fast in India!