The Rise of Ghost Malls: Why E-commerce SEO is Now Mission-Critical

Published Date: May 20, 2024
The Rise of Ghost Malls: Why E-commerce SEO is Now Mission-Critical

The retail landscape in India is undergoing a dramatic shift. A recent Knight Frank Report highlights this change, revealing a staggering statistic: a 59% increase in ghost malls across the country. This isn’t just an Indian phenomenon; it reflects a global trend towards online shopping.

India’s digital revolution has been a critical driver of this shift. Increased digital literacy, widespread internet access, economic expansion, rising disposable incomes, and the growing reach of e-commerce in Tier-II cities have all contributed to a surge in online shopping. Brands are now strategically allocating more resources toward influencer marketing and strategies targeting Gen Z, a generation known for its preference for online shopping.

This rise in online shopping presents a golden opportunity for businesses to capture market share. But with competition in the online marketplace fiercer than ever, simply having an online store isn’t enough. Here’s where E-commerce SEO becomes mission-critical.

in Touch

Contact AdLift for a 360-degree marketing plan

India’s E-commerce Boom: Poised for a $325 Billion Future

A recent report by Invest India paints a bright picture for India’s e-commerce landscape. The report predicts a staggering surge in the industry’s value, reaching a colossal $325 billion by 2030. This growth coincides with an impressive expansion of the nation’s digital economy, expected to reach a value of $800 billion by the same year.

Currently, India’s online shopping sector accounts for roughly 7% of the total retail market and is valued at $70 billion. This presents a significant opportunity for growth, fueled by several key factors.

The Power of Affordability

India boasts the world’s second-largest internet user base, with a staggering 881 million users. This positions the country to become the third-largest online retail market by 2030. A key driver of this growth is the rapid expansion of India’s digital economy.

One of the biggest contributors to India’s internet penetration is affordability. With data priced as low as $0.17 per gigabyte, a substantial portion of the population is incentivized to participate in online activities. This is further evidenced by the surge in mobile data traffic between 2018 and 2023.

Mobile Boom and Digital Payments

By 2026, it’s projected that over 1.18 billion people in India, representing over 80% of the population, will have access to smartphones. This user surge and increasing data consumption are poised to bolster the digital economy. Further fueling this growth is the dominance of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in digital transactions, facilitating a staggering $1.5 trillion in transactions in 2022 alone.

Vernacular Content and Rural Focus

The report also highlights the increasing content availability in local languages as a significant driver of the e-commerce boom. With approximately 73% of internet users engaging in Indian languages, a regional language user base of 540 million is established, fostering a market valued at $53 billion.

Invest India underscores the growing importance of rural-centric e-commerce. They anticipate a significant portion of demand to originate from tier 2-4 towns and rural areas by 2026. Government initiatives and the emergence of quick commerce further reinforce this trend.

Looking Forward

The anticipated expansion of online shoppers in India is substantial. A compound annual growth rate of 22% is expected in rural India, bringing the number of online shoppers to 88 million by 2026. Urban India is also expected to witness significant growth, with a CAGR of 15% and a projected 263 million online shoppers by 2026.

This shift towards rural-centric e-commerce is a notable development. With over 60% of demand expected from tier 2-4 towns and rural areas by 2026, government initiatives like the National Logistics Policy aim to streamline deliveries to remote areas, further enhancing logistical efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

India’s e-commerce landscape is poised for a remarkable transformation, driven by a combination of factors like affordability, mobile technology, digital payments, and a growing focus on rural markets. This trajectory positions India as a major player in the global e-commerce landscape.

However, with the rise of e-commerce giants and countless smaller players vying for attention, the online marketplace has become fiercely competitive. To stand out and thrive, e-commerce businesses need a strategic approach to online visibility. Enter SEO for ecommerce.

Why SEO Matters for E-commerce

In this era of explosive e-commerce growth, simply having an online store isn’t enough. To thrive in the digital marketplace, you need a strong digital strategy to ensure your products are discoverable by the right audience at the right time. This is where Search Engine Optimization for ecommerce becomes your best friend.

Imagine millions of potential customers searching for products online, using keywords that related to what you offer. Effective SEO makes your website a top contender in  SERPs for those crucial keywords. This translates to organic traffic – a steady stream of qualified leads actively looking for what you sell.

Here’s how SEO fuels the e-commerce engine:

  • Product Page Optimization: SEO involves optimizing your product pages with relevant keywords within the product descriptions, titles, and meta tags. This ensures search engines understand what your product is and who it’s for.
  • Content: Creating high-quality, informative content like blog posts, buying guides, and product reviews establishes your brand as an authority within your niche. This content not only engages and educates potential customers but also provides opportunities to embed relevant keywords naturally, further boosting your discoverability.
  • Technical Prowess: SEO goes beyond content and encompasses your website’s technical health. Fast loading speed, mobile friendliness, and a clean code structure are crucial factors. Search engines prioritize user experience, as well as a website that delivers a smooth browsing experience will be rewarded with higher rankings.
  • Local Focus: Local SEO strategies can be implemented if your business caters to a specific region. This includes optimizing content on your website for local search terms, building local citations, and engaging with local online communities.

By implementing a strong SEO strategy, e-commerce businesses can achieve:

  • Increased Organic Traffic:   Attract more qualified leads who are searching for the products you offer.
  • Enhanced Brand Awareness: Improve brand visibility and build trust with potential customers.
  • Cost-Effective Growth: SEO offers a sustainable and cost-effective way to drive traffic compared to paid advertising channels.

Get your
e-commerce SEO Audit

AdLift – The E-Commerce Experts

The advantages of a well-executed SEO strategy are undeniable. Here are just a few examples of how we have helped businesses thrive with e-commerce SEO:


We have been the Titan Watches SEO agency on record since 2021. Our objective has been to increase organic visibility on Google and increase the company’s market share.

In our latest case study, we increased the brand’s organic traffic by 33% year over year, increased non-branded clicks by 80% year over year, and achieved  204% keyword growth, ranking in the Top 1 position!

Our e-commerce SEO efforts for Titan watches have won us the following accolades:

Adgully Digixx 2024 – Search Marketing/Display Marketing (fashion and jewellery category)

Adgully Digixx 2024 – Content Marketing (Retail)

Adgully Digixx 2022 – Gold Search Marketing / Display Marketing

Hear what Subish Sudhakaran, Head of e-commerce, Watches Division, Titan, said about our partnership.

As LG Electronics’ SEO agency, we achieved a 63% increase in organic sessions! You can see the full case study here.

Our e-commerce SEO efforts for LG Electronics have won us a Gold at the  Internet and Mobile Association of India’s Indian Digital Awards 2023.

At AdLift, we are a band of SEO experts with a reputation of delivering successful campaigns for the e-commerce industry. We know the challenges of online retail like none other and can develop a customized SEO strategy that propels your online store to the top of search results.

in Touch

Contact AdLift for a 360-degree marketing plan

Ready to catapult e-commerce business?

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how our e-commerce SEO services can help you achieve your online marketing goals.

Get in Touch