“E-Comm, E-Comm everywhere, not a shop to see” would have been the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, had he been born in present day India.
The pace at which the Indian E-Commerce Sector is growing is awe-inspiring but then there is just half a word difference between awe-some and awe-full.
With over 500 registered E-Commerce sites, numerous problems have arisen due to a fight for the same space; in fact most of these sites are contesting for a slice of the same pie (which has already been fought over and conquered by Flipkart, Amazon & Snapdeal) when there is a whole sector waiting to be explored by the young and the wise. ‘Perhaps greater the risk, greater the reward’ still isn’t a compatible philosophy with the New Age Indian Entrepreneurs who have to fight dozen other odds when compared to their counterparts in the US of A.
However, there are some sites like Olx, Freecharge.com, Fabfurnish, Zomato, JustDial, Lenskart, & the likes who are ‘so far’ comfortably ensconced in their established niches. They need not worry about competitor strategies, for there aren’t many, as the idea is new and different and not many are daring to enter this space of uncertainty.
So what are some of the challenges faced by the Indian E-Commerce Sector?
- Some would suggest Fidelity as the common thread between Modern Day marriages and the Indian E-Commerce Customer Base. The moment a competitor gets a better proposition, loyalty is tossed out of the window, only in this case the e-commerce company can’t afford a divorce and keeps trying to woo the customer back by bending over backwards with a lot of flexibility and enthusiasm. (How long this continues will be determined by the perseverance backed fuel of Investor funding).
- Cash on Delivery (CoD) – (A Revolution or Narcotic?) It is not a surprising fact that a majority of online shoppers prefer CoD (protects the customer from the painful process of having to return the item and wait for the refund). But do companies feel the same way- apparently not, since there is extra complexity in supply chain, a longer deal completion time which leads to a direct hit at the margins.
- ‘Paying for Delivery – Are you kidding me Bro?’ is the most abundant sentiment across 90% online shoppers. When Flipkart and Amazon tried to expedite the delivery process by charging 99 or 49 INR for 1 & 2 Day confirmed delivery, it didn’t seem to gel well with the Indian masses who by now are accustomed to free delivery above a certain minimum order. This again leads to an aggressive fight for quickest delivery without expecting the customer to foot the bill.
- What’s common between E-Commerce Sector in 2014 and Engineering Colleges in 2000? – There is yet another one up & running in a blink of an eye.
- Internet Connectivity – Even though India is known to have low telecom and internet prices, the internet speed is just not enough for a comfortable & cozy shopping experience on cellphones and tablets. The 3g packs are too expensive for people to spend on intensely data guzzling e-commerce browsing. Even though m-commerce is rising, the pace is far slower than what had been expected by the analysts and consultants.
To sum up, the opportunities are abound and the prospective target consumer market is largely untapped. The need of the hour is:
- To diversify and invest in new ideas apart from traditional product procurement and delivery model. (Like Freecharge did and now is one of the biggest firm within their sector)
- To stress upon physical advertisements may be a good move, as many a non user may actually try online shopping for the sake of experience, and once they do, it’s up to the company to deliver the best experience, timely delivery and convert those atheists into happy shoppers.
- Offer Unique products (Indians are still enamored by fancy imported products far more than familiar Indian brands) –Xiaomi Flash Sales of a 5999 INR phone and it sold over 4.5 lakh units in just 4 flash sales.
Interested in this sector? Check out some exciting e-commerce jobs below:
This is a guest post written by Nikhil Mukhija.
He is a final year student of Master of International Business, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. His MBA decision was driven by his English teacher who congratulated and suggested his parents to make him pursue an MBA in marketing after his toothpaste advertisement assignment back then in 5th Standard. His areas of interest include: Marketing, Psychology, Reading and Arbitrary Thinking.