MUMBAI: India's start-ups are setting a new standard for marketing and customer service on the subcontinent, a market expert believes.

As the country's start-ups embrace the digital revolution, established brands and bricks-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up with agile, digital-first competitors. Avinash Jhangiani, Managing Director of Digital Mobility at Omnicom Media Group in India, argues in an exclusive piece for Warc that brands in the country must rethink their approach to marketing and customer service to be successful in India's emerging digital economy.

Indian consumers have higher expectations of customer service and brand responsiveness as smartphones bring information to their fingertips. Consumers in major cities are being spoilt by start-ups and e-commerce portals with same-day delivery, 24/7 customer service and 365 days of discounts. For shoppers, this leads to even higher expectations of service delivery – they are simply less willing to wait.

India now has the second highest number of mobile phones in the world behind China, and internet connectivity is soaring year on year. Though the percentage of Indians connected to the internet remains relatively low in rural areas, the potential for growth is huge – and marketers must act now or be left behind.

Jhangiani argues that startups have "redefined marketing in the Indian context" and are setting new standards in customer service, a trend he believes will spur a rethink in strategy for bricks and mortar brands as they battle with agile competition in the online space.

Marketers are beginning to respond: in an attempt to take on India's well-funded startups, established companies are rethinking mass marketing channels and adopting digital technologies for higher returns on local marketing investments.

Jhangiani recommends that brands must stop developing isolated channel strategies in India, and begin to track and analyse underlying consumer behaviour changes as the internet continues to evolve customer behaviour. Today there is a smartphone and tablet explosion; tomorrow, it will be the Internet of Everything.

Warc subscribers can read more expert views here on what to expect in advertising and marketing in South East Asia in 2016. .

Data sourced from Warc