Wikipedia defines eCommerce as – It is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Ecommerce in India, was just a theoretical topic for discussion until 2009. This was the time when companies like Flipkart, Infibeam, Myntra, ebay had actually started taking big steps. To be more precise, it all started during 2002 when ebay started their operations in India. But till 2007 they hardly faced any competition or even got a big business in India. In 2007 two gentlemen from IIT Delhi Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal came up with a plan to change the style of shopping in India through Flipkart. They started with books and are currently into all sector of products. In the same year, Myntra came into picture with their model of fashion industry. Likewise, there were several other companies like Home shop 18, Infibeam, Lets buy etc. which came into the league.
There might have been quite a few companies in the between 2005-2010 that came into online business but none of them received great number of positive responses from the crowd at the first go. The main reason behind this was India was not ready for this business model until then. Very few percentage of the population was on the internet and very few knew that shopping can be done online. But, by 2010 the picture started to change a bit, things started to look better, people started to understand what these sellers were doing online, what they were offering. People in India started to explore and accept the change in shopping trend from the traditional ways of shopping. As per the data of Wikipedia, by 2014 June number of internet users in India was more than 240.2 billion and by 2015 it was supposed to increase drastically. India’s eCommerce sector has grown from 3.8billion$ in 2009 to more than 20billion$ by 2014. Analysts have predicted looking at the growth of India’s eCommerce business model that India will cross the 100billion$ mark by 2019. All these numbers that we have, definitely shows a drastic improvement in the eCommerce market even from the global standards. Indian eCommerce might not be as big as that of USA and China, but the fact is India is growing rapidly and buyers have accepted this change with an open mind.
All these numbers which show unprecedented growth of the eCommerce sector in India has actually been able to attract the big players of the industry. Recently, we saw a clash of titans where Mr. Azim Premji of Wipro funded Flipkart while Mr. NRN Murthy funded AMAZON India with an amount more than a billion$. This does not only reveal the fight between the eCommerce giants, it also shows that eCommerce in India is growing at a rapid rate and everyone wants to get a piece of this development. Showing more such examples which depicts India’s growth as an eCommerce giant of future, is the movement of Amazon to India with a full-fledged long term business model and also the rumors of the well-known Alibaba starting their business operation in India.
Some of the giants of Indian eCommerce industry have some good views to share with people of India.
Problems & Hurdles crossed by India’s eCommerce companies:
India was little apprehensive for the eCommerce sector and as predicted, the companies did not receive a very good welcome. This definitely led to the shutting down of some smaller companies which did not have enough experience and vision on how to handle the Indian market. The companies that survived in the beginning had brilliant vision and understanding of the people of India. These companies are now the king of eCommerce in India. It will be best if we can note down some points in order to understand the major obstacles that the companies faced initially.
– They had very less number of target audience as number of people on the internet were very less. Internet had just started to grow that time. Opening Cyber cafes with some 5 computers and a normal internet connection was profitable business during that time. Thus, with limited number of inexperienced people to target, the introduction of this business model itself took a great beating.
– During the growing years, building the trust factor was a very big challenge. Indians were only used to pay by cash not through cards. Suddenly transforming their nature of procuring things could not be changed. They had never thought of buying a dress by looking at a computer because there was a tradition that had continued from thousand years, which was very difficult to change. The fear in the consumers mind went to the extent of thinking of paying and not getting the product.
– Quality concerns– People were hesitant to buy anything online because they were not able to see and feel the product before buying. They always had the fear that what if the product is not good and the money is wasted? On top of it, few negative reviews would make their fear stronger. It is the return policy of the companies which helped to transform the thought process of consumers.
– Negotiating – the best and most important feature of Indian buyer was not at all possible if you were doing it online. Until and unless they know that the shop is giving them discount they will think that they are being cheated. Online they were not able to understand initially whether they are getting the best price or not which ultimately use to lead them to offline stores even after browsing products online. This in fact has led to the price war amongst the companies in the current market as well.
– Quality plays a major role in making any product or business strong. Customers were still not sure of the quality of the product that they would be getting. They believed it was a big risk buying anything online as they were not able to feel and touch the product by their hands.– Delivery was also an issue in the beginning as the logistic management from the companies was not satisfactory. The products use to enter after 7 days of order initially. This actually pissed of the audience because of several delays
– Even lack of customer support also made people stay away from the online shopping.
Show different clothes available in stores during 90’s
– Unlike the current trend, where we can get 50% more product options and brands on the web portal, initially, the number of options were very less. Thus, people preferred the offline portal where they got more number of products.
– In the initial days of online shopping, the eCommerce companies did not find or attract as many sellers as it is doing now. It was only because people were not able to understand how this market will grow, or you can put it in other way that these companies were not able show them the future of this industry.
– Brand loyalty– In India, people believe that if you want to buy a school shoes 90% public will go to Bata, if they want to buy a toothpaste it will be Colgate or for a soap it will be Lux. The effort of the companies which were trying to bring them to a stage to use some other products which has better qualities than the one they were using, became a big challenge.
These were the challenges that this industry of eCommerce in India had to face. They still have to face some of these challenges but I would say that it has reached to a level where the company providing the best product or service at the best price is destined to get success.
In this blog, we have discussed more about the development of eCommerce in India and their hardships. We all know that with the evolution of DigitalMarketing the eCommerce industry was also showing some positive signs.
In the nextBlog we are going to present you the way this industry has managed to overcome these problems. We will also present to you the future of eCommerce in India.