STAY AHEAD TO STAY ALIVE: E-COMMERCE STARTUPS
When Nokia sold its mobile division the fact that ‘no matter how big a brand name you are or how big your market was doesn’t matter unless you stay ahead of your competition and have better business practices’ was reinforced strongly. E-commerce like the mobile phone sector is booming with new ideas and new challenges every day, staying ahead means staying alive.
To make a profitable business it is wiser to know the challenges which could become bottlenecks and the aspects which could be exploited to stand out and make our service a unique experience. Unlike other sectors in e-commerce which sell services, e-tailing handles physical goods, which makes it a complicated process. E-tailing as a business can be broken down in to various parts. Startups can focus on providing Software and hardware support and solutions for one or more steps in the online shopping chain.
I have listed some important strategies to follow to sustain and multiply your online business. There are avenues for growth in e-commerce which could provide an edge over the competition.
Create your own store
Sellers sell online either through an e-tailing portal and their websites or exclusively through their own sites. Selling through existing and established portals is popular now as it brings down the work of the seller in the initial stages.
As your business grows improving brand awareness and establishing your brand will help you develop a customer base. The major online consumer base in India relates selling to big online portals rather than to sellers. Selling on own websites is more profitable and cost effective than selling on portals. Niche market is growing and is the next step to a brands development. Brand development, website creation, online marketing packages, performance marketing, affiliate network awareness will increase among online sellers and has high chance of being outsourced to experts.
Customer satisfaction and views matters
Maintaining a good rating and review could prove to be more effective and attractive than low price with the changing attitude of buyers. Buying quality products at reasonable price is what makes it attractive to the Indian shoppers. Product feedback affects discoverability and buyability of products. Customer support has always been India’s forte there will be increase in domestic demand with more people buying services and goods online.
Fix Supply chain bottlenecks
Effective functioning of warehouse management, inventory management and logistics will help you deliver the right product on time and reach more consumers. Online shopping can enter the next tier cities and regions only with proper supply chain management. E-tailing centric warehouse and logistics management is a good line to invest in. The initiatives for fast delivery or 1 day delivery by amazon, Flipkart and other big players for select cities at nominal shipping charges is a good initiative. Pick up stores by Flipkart and Amazon flex delivery are innovative concepts that could transform last mile delivery. Providing e-tailing centric efficient warehousing, inventory management and logistics as a service to online sellers is a gateway to exploit.
While in Rome be a Roman
For a country like India where local languages are widely spoken than the common language Local language content is the need of the day. In India nearly 80% of the 1.2billion people do not speak English. To reach the mass speak in the language of the mass. Major online shopping portals like Snapdeal are moving in the direction to rope in more consumers. Local language content is a definite success story based on the examples of China, Korea and Japan. With the growing affinity towards local language content there will be a huge demand for Local language content developers in the near future.
In most of the developed e-commerce countries women are turning out to be biggest consumers. More women are shopping online in India. A growth of 35% on women centric sales is expected by 2016 says a study by Accel Partners. Women centric product and market development is the right direction to move towards.
Ease of access on mobile phones will improve your chance of making it online. The number of mobile internet users is increasing. Capitalizing on this expansion requires development of mobile apps for ease of access. At the moment MySmartPrice receives 45% of all its 12 Million monthly visitors through mobiles. Mobile app developers are having a field day with the ongoing boom of smart phone sales and mobile internet purchases.
Cash on delivery to e-payment
Move from cash on delivery to e-payment with trust. Cash on delivery played an important role in the growth of e-commerce in India. Indians prefer transactions in cash over electronic payments. Last festive season saw a change in the pattern with about 40% increase in credit card usage and 77% growth in debit card usage to purchase online. E-payment helps buyers plan purchases and makes providing EMI easier. Card on delivery (Mobile point of sale) and incentivizing e-payment will encourage this change. Easing the e-payment process and making it a few steps easier. Updating RBI regulations on Subscribing and recurring payment for monthly purchases will give sellers a secured consumer base.
If you have better ideas or predictions about e-commerce in India share them with me. The underlined parts leads to sources of information on which my ideas are based.
Swathika Periasamy Rajasekaran,
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