The dawn of the Internet era opened up amazing new possibilities and e-commerce has emerged as a perfect amalgamation of technology and marketing acumen.
India has joined the bandwagon and the numbers themselves do all the talking. The latest statistics reveal that India has been reported to have 70 million active Internet users, the count rising exponentially by the minute. However, markets involve intricate interactions involving a variety of business/organisational factors, general economic and social trends. And the actual scope of growth in e-commerce can't be evaluated without taking into consideration the aforementioned factors. For such doubts to be remedied, one may take notice of the recent industry reports. One such report, shared by ASSOCHAM, estimated the online retail industry to touch Rs 7,000 crore by 2015 (rising from the current Rs 2000 crore), with an annual growth rate of 35 per cent. Adding on to this, IAMI has facilitated data to indicate a zoom in India's e-commerce sector, with transactions rising 50 per cent annually. Online retailing or e-tailing, which accounts for about 6 per cent of the Rs 46,000 crore industry, has taken the forefront of this rapid growth.
Such strong current indications to massive changes, occurring across the entire business spectrum, have already wiped out doubts about the scope of e-commerce in India. The expanse of the tremendous ambit for the growth of Internet marketing in India being clear now, it can conveniently be stated that marketing through the Internet can be an extremely potent ball game.
With copious amount of literature, thousands of articles and multiple studies conducted around e-commerce, it undoubtedly is the new mantra in the world of marketing. In justification to the aforementioned statement, there is practically no dearth of e-tailing portals and deal websites floating in the market at this moment.
The basic explanation to such a boom lies in the fact that e-tail has surfaced as a boon to both the sellers and the consumers. It has garnered significant attention from consumers due to the convenience of shopping. The need to physically visit stores has, in some cases, been eliminated. Instead, you can just sit at home and order, easily browse through a host of products, conveniently compare prices and avail the best deal. It's all about saving on precious time, energy, money and get what you desire. On the flip side, it has succeeded in pleasing the sellers by providing a faster buying/selling procedure, resulting in saving a lot of time. Now, products can be made available for purchase and sold around the clock. This also provides a wider reach, defying all theoretical geographic limitations in reaching out to customers. Sellers have shown remarkable enthusiasm for this system as their need to continuously augment and keep abreast of customer expectations and desires is aptly catered to.
Not long ago, when the concept was newly induced in the Indian markets (first put to practice by companies like Dell), the average Indian was sceptical. While the west comfortably transacted and shopped through Amazon.com and eBay, the Indian markets still went after the touch-and-feel of physical products, opulent showrooms, salespersons with good etiquette and liquid transactions. But over the time, with a number of payment gateways coming into the picture and making e-transactions effortless and trouble-free and curbing security threats, people have grown comfortable with e-shopping. This to the extent that today, four out of five Internet users shop or do their pre-shopping research online, thus recording 13.5 million customers of consumer products and outnumbering 8.5 million customers of travel products. Customers today are hooked to online shopping and are not even fighting shy of deal sizes that cross Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000 while earlier, they hardly went up till Rs 2,000.
Industry figures suggest that the soaring numbers in the e-commerce space are driven by the young blood and these are expected to grow tenfold, being pushed by the Gen Z. The most sought after categories for these buyers currently are: mobile & accessories, computer hardware & consumer electronics and travel products like train and air tickets.
However, plenty of competition has been observed in the e-commerce market. With countless congruent e-commerce players, the winners will be those who will be able to provide a delightful experience across the entire ecosystem, will have robust business models and can scale quickly. Their reward will be to take a healthy share of the $100 billion industry in the next few years.
E-commerce is the new mantra, building a splendid crescendo of excitement, and it definitely has a long way to go.