Friday, March 16, 2012

e-Commerce in India: Roadblocks & My Story

e-Commerce is booming in India. Some died prematurely like Taggle, while some left the market and came back powerfully like BigAdda. Well from my aspect e-commerce boom is just started and it has to go long distance.

What are the road blocks for e-Commerce in India?

During 2007 I bought a Cowon iAudio U2 - a PMP. That time no one around me in Kolkata was doing online shopping and tried to convince me that it is safe. I contacted Cowon India reseller as there was no online seller selling Cowon products (Now Flipkart has a seperate store for Cowon PMPs). After sending 30+ mails I was convinced and ready to pay by cheque. I sent the cheque and got the mp3 player (still working, though battery problem is there and excellent sound, take my word Cowon is better than Apple iPod in terms of specifications) within 15 days. 
In 2008 (from history search of GMail) I talked with customer services to buy some electronics, but it did not work, as I did not have a bank account at that moment to send the money via cheque or Credit Card. I asked some friends if their dads have credit card, most answer were negative and some of these uncles believed that Credit Card is a passport of loosing money via scam.
My first buying over online comes when I bought some books from Flipkart. For obvious reasons I took Cash-On-Delivery option. Flipkart rocked with their own logistics and delivery man including prompt delivery. As internet freak, I came to know that other sites offer at a lower price, and that basically pushed me to pay by card (they donot have COD option at my place). After the first transaction I felt confident and that's it. Till date I tried my hands on flipkart, letsbuy, indiaplaza, ebay, tradus, infibeam, the it bazaar, paytm, mobikwik [read more], snapdeal, bookmywish, bata, peeperfry and some individual sale. Experience is overall good. I think online transaction is the future. 
This is the my story of online shopping. 

1. Internet Connectivity

I find that many of my friends do not have desktop or laptop, they just stay away from online shopping. Secondly some friends have internet connectivity over mobile, which is slow, and from their previous experience during payment process one may end up in the Error 404! So availibility of internet connectivity is important and e-commerce sites can not change this scenario.
When broadband penetration will increase, e-commerce will increase more.

2. No bank Account, No ATM card

Teenagers are in this group - if their parents do not allow to use cards except in ATM. But this problem is low that people having ATM/debit card is not using over internet.

3. Orthodox Mindset

Some people(not only elder people) do not still think internet is a place for scam and cheap price means bad quality. To convince them is hard and only way to convince is to showcase the advantages of online shopping.

How to overcome this roadblocks:

1. Brand awareness - internet ad, TV ad, and word-of-mouth are the ways. Also flipkart model for COD is a way to build a brand value. After I bought books over flipkart I told my friends and they find that it is cheaper than price of College Streets! So they joined the trend! Also Flipkart has COD on books in wide coverage they easily made brand confidence.

2. Educate people about netbanking, online payment via credit/debit cards

Post a Comment