Flip The Kart To Snap The Deal Online: Redefining Way Of Shopping
Posted in Operations & IT Articles, Total Reads: 2260
, Published on 26 October 2012
The need of an average Indian consumer living in the new urbanized India has always been a puzzle many brands have been trying to solve. The decent growth of Tier 2 likes Pune, Ahmedabad, etc. and Tier 3 cities over the past 5 years have been one of the prominent reasons for this. Cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi have been known for online shopping whether it is buying a pair of shoes or a branded clothesline or even for that matter electronics gadget; but now the population from these urbanized cities has also been hooked onto online shopping leading to an extensive growth of the ecommerce industry.
The reason for this could primarily tracked down to be the ease of shopping as one and the extensive and exclusive offers which are being put up at these online shopping websites and also the free shipping incentive provided by them simultaneously. There are quite a few innovative trends that the ecommerce industry has employed to attract consumers to come out of the standard mode of physical shopping to a virtual mode of shopping. One of the most innovative techniques that have been implemented by these firms is the cash on delivery and 30 day replacement guarantee. Apart from the innovative methodologies that these sites are trying to put in place which we would discuss sometime later in this article, the important part in case of a ecommerce site is Security as consumers would be exposing their bank account details via these sites for payment.
The infrastructure on which an e-commerce site is built is critical to ensuring its security, dependability, and ability to handle sudden and/or seasonal spikes in demand. At the same time, e-commerce applications must be able to handle the business of commerce: accept and manage payments, manage the checkout pipeline, and pick, pack, and ship goods to customers. For many companies, these are not their core competencies. They’d prefer to focus on improving the online experience and driving qualified customer traffic rather than building and managing an e-commerce platform. An e-commerce solution provider should address these concerns in an easy-to-use and trustworthy manner. The payment security once dealt with and the consumer confidence is gained in this regard, ecommerce companies actually get down to their main business of making people buy from their respective sites.
If we look at the figures of some of the leading companies in this domain like FlipKart which clocked revenues of Rs 5000 million in FY 2011-12, a ten-time increase from Rs 5000 million in FY 2010-11 which shows that they are being readily accepted by the average Indian consumer. The market strategy adopted by Flipkart was something niche, they started with sales of books and once this hit success they expanded by selling a variant range of electronics goods and now they have wide range of healthcare products, home appliances to cater to the consumer’s needs. On the other hand if we have a look at snapdeal.com, which is ranked 2nd in the ecommerce industry also has earned revenues close to 3000 million indicating the fact that the industry has a very tight and cut throat competition. A brief look at the top 10 companies is stated below.
If we look at the ecommerce industry in itself there is a hardly 10-20% revenue difference between the leaders and thecompany at 10th position; stating that innovative methodologies in promoting your product to the consumer using the web and making your presence felt in the very minimal time the target is present on the internet. This has lead to these major ecommerce sites to cut down the prices at which they offer prices to consumers of various products starting from books to electronic gadgets. They hold the edge from the normal retails shop in this respect of pricing cause they do not have an outlet for which they need to spend maintenance and rent cost for the place. They just would have to ship the product from the ware house to the end consumer thus bringing down costs to a large extent. The low and discounted price of the products is not the only USP of the ecommerce industry; their commitment to deliver customer satisfaction in spite of being part of a virtual setup is a key factor.
They have taken into account that India being a “feel for product” domain where in people like to pick, feel and then select their products after meticulous enquiry about the products; online shopping would be a thing they would be deterred from doing. Thus, sites like yebhi.com have come up with innovative ideas like “TrynBuy” where in if the consumer has a liking towards a particular shoe or a clothing product; and not sure about the size; he can order for a 3 sizes and when the delivery is done he can select from the 3 after checking the size; giving the look of a normal retail outlet feature. There is more and more innovation happening in this field to reduce the virtual aspect and increase the personal aspects. The ecommerce industry is making use of social networking sites like Facebook in India to get more and attention of potential consumers. India with its growing number of users makes Facebook a very potent force for marketing for these Ecommerce websites. However these websites also make use of TV advertising as a medium to connect with the audience. A surge of advertisements on TV suggesting online shopping as the most convenient and cheap mode of purchase has left an impact on some of the consumers if not all.
Having said all this, the challenges that are faced and which would continue to be faced by this emerging industry in India would still be the psyche of Indian consumer. His need to verify, cross verify and select the product with his real eyes and not through the eyes on his PC. The task is cut out for all these companies; and if they want to stay in the horse race where they are somewhat at a disadvantage they would have to work out many innovative ways and modules similar to some mentioned above to win the race.
This article was a brief insight about the 1 of the most potent forces available for the Indian consumer and the most emerging market for trade in the Indian economy. The boom of this industry in recent times has not only shown encouraging signs to many who would like to start up something on similar line but also has given the industry in itself the courage and motivation to stand tall and achieve even more by servicing the consumer in a even better way.
This article has been authored by Abhinav Sridhar from Welingker Institute, Mumbai.