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Internet has revolutionized the way we do our Shopping. More and more people,across the world and in India, are turning to online shopping for their needs. Books, Clothes, shoes, products, even groceries can now are purchased via the internet. Indian e-commerce Market is projected to grow from approximately $1.2 billion in 2012 to $1.8 billion in 2013. With about 130 million internet users, India is regarded as a virtually untapped market for online retail. This articles delves into the online shopping, its advantages, disadvantages, e-commerce in India, who are shopping online,popular online sites, how to make most of e-tailing and how are these e-tailing sites fairing.
What are advantages of shopping online?
  • Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24 x 7,you can shop at ANY time without restrictions,
  • No waiting in lines or in traffic, you can shop from the convenience of your home.
  • Choices: One can get several brands and products from different sellers at one place.
  • You can shop from retailers in other parts of the country or even the world without being limited by geographic area
  • Deals: Online stores prices are better because products come directly from the eller without middlemen involved. Hence many online shops offer discount coupons and rebates.
  • Comparison shopping. Online shops make comparison and research of products and prices possible. Online stores also give the ability to share information and reviews with other shoppers.
What are disadvantages of shopping online?
  • When shopping online you have to wait to receive your products, whereas shopping in store means you can get your product right away.  There could be delays on the delivery, or miscommunication and you can’t go to the store or get in contact with someone face to face.
  • Shipping costs : Shopping online can also add on extra cost to your product by having to pay for shipping.
  • Sometimes looks can be deceiving. You don’t get to test the product before you buy it. What might have looked beautiful to you in picture might not live up to your expectations once received. Then what?
  • Returning of product: How do you return the product?Returning or exchanging items bought online can be more difficult than making a return or exchange of products you’ve purchased in a store. Some stores will allow you to make returns and exchanges of products you’ve bought online through their website, though others may not. Stores that only do business online will require you to repack and ship the item back to them to receive a refund or exchange. Some online stores may not reimburse you the cost of shipping meaning you will have to spend money out of your own pocket just to make the return. Always read the return policies of the online store’s website to know what to expect.
  • Security concerns surrounding payment by credit card over the Internet. Cash on Delivery (COD),a payment option that allows buyers to pay for goods at the time of receipt, catalysed the entire e-commerce sector
Who shops online?
Around 8 million shopped online in 2012, said Google India. Its study also shows mobile phones are increasingly driving the surge in online shopping, which is expected to see exponential growth in 2013.  In terms of product categories, consumer interest on Google search for apparels & accessories (30%) emerged as the second biggest product category after consumer electronics (34%). E-commerce in the country grew 128% year-on-year last year, with 25% traffic coming from places outside the top 20 cities, it says.  Read about Yourstory.in Google report Checkout the  video made by Google summarizing Online Shopping Trends in India, 2013 here
Women: About 40% of the 150 million Internet users in the country,i e  around 60 million, are women and close to 24 million of them log in everyday to check emails, interact on social networking sites and shop online, according to a study conducted by search giant Google. With easy access to Internet at homes, cyber cafes, offices and growing adoption of smart phones,
Who is Shopping online
Who is Shopping online
Which are the popular sites?
FlipkartEbay.inIndiaPlaza,Myntra,Zovi,HomeShop18,Bestylish,Infibeam,Yebhi,Jabong,Snapdeal,India Times Shopping,bluestone.com,BabyOye,FirstCry etc are some of the popular sites selling books,apparels, shoes,mobiles,electronic gadgets,jewellery. Picture from Onlineshoppinginindia Great Online Shopping Guide ,given below, shows various sites across various products (Click on the image to enlarge).
Popular Online e-commerce Sites of India
Popular Online e-commerce Sites of India
 How to make most of online shopping?
Compare, Cashback,Coupons,Discount, Cash On Delivery (COD) can help you in online shopping. This picture from onlineshoppinginindia How to make the most of online shopping in India? captures it all
How to make most of online shopping
How to make most of online shopping
How are the e-commerce sites in india doing?
Amazon, the world’s most well-known e-tailing site Amazon launched its marketplace model in India in July 2013 the battle field is going to get tougher in an already intrepid marketplace.While nobody doubts the potential of eCommerce in India, but people have started questioning profitability paradigm. E-tailing is characterized by low net profit margins. Indians haven’t taken to online shopping as widely as hoped, I mean What percentage of your monthly spending is done online? People distrust using credit cards online, so retailers began offering a cash-on-delivery option but in Jun 2013 Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce dealer decided to stop delivering goods worth more than Rs 10,000 to customers in Uttar Pradesh as customers would log onto the site, order for fun via the cash at the delivery scheme and then refuse to pay.
Some of the reasons that make Indian e-commerce especially e-tailing(retailing on internet) currently unprofitable include high customer acquisition costs, high inventory carrying costs, cash on delivery offer, and high cost of fulfilment, and for the business to be sustainable they have to be rationalised. At this point, most e-tailing brands  are financing customer acquisition through venture funding. Taggle.com launched in 2010 shut down the business in 2011, declaring the business model unsustainable. Flipkart is struggling, Forbes article on Can Flipkart Deliver? covers it in detail. Wall Street Journal E-Commerce in India at Turning Point  says  these companies are finding it harder to get fresh funding so there have been mergers and closures among India’s e-commerce websites( baby product-seller Babyoye.com merged with Hoopos.com, Zovi.com bought rival Inkfruit.com) .
India is not a mature ecommerce market. A small percentage of India’s population is accessing the Internet but internet is projected to reach small towns and the low rungs of the economic ladder ,there’s plenty of growth ahead. But not just yet. In this pursuit many of them like Flipkart,Myntra,Yebhi, Ebay, Jabong, Olx, Quikr, are parking humongous marketing dollars on high decibel television advertising, celebrity associations and activation hoping to crack the code and have loyal customers. The burst of advertising can get people to the etailer’s site but the overall customer experience has to be good for them to stay, purchase and come back again. But as EconomicTimes e-tailing the reality show  reminds us that e-Commerce across the world is an industry with a long gestation cycle Amazon which started in 1995, went public in 1997 and recorded its first profit in 2004.
Some infographics about online shopping or e-commerce:
While right now You, the customer is the king. You can choose from the plethora of e-tailing sites.  What have you shopped online for? How much do you spend on shopping online? What incentive will make you do more shopping online (more discount, coupons, Cash on Delivery), what would make you loyal to a e-Commerce site.
Manish Verma

Manish Verma

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