The Ecommerce boom began with a few small companies like Flipkart and escalated to multi-national corporations setting up camp in India, hoping to profit in its massive Ecommerce market. Ever since Amazon and Walmart pledged their fealty to Ecommerce in India by pumping in Billions of Dollars, the future of Ecommerce has never looked this promising. India’s massive population has fostered Ecommerce growth and has transformed it into a billion-dollar industry. Indians have become increasingly aware of the convenience of online payments for everyday transactions and this has further strengthened the potentiality of online purchases.
Since the Indian government is stressing heavily on using mobile internet for payments through e-wallets, Ecommerce has an excellent opportunity to achieve immense growth within a few years. Ecommerce companies selling through mobile apps are already in high favour with Indian shoppers online looking for a variety of products and services. Ecommerce is now a stand-alone industry with entire teams being dedicated by organizations for the development of websites and mobile apps, setting up of payment gateways and sufficient digital marketing tactics in place to attract Indian online customers. India boasts of an internet usage base of over 300 Million which is more than sufficient for Ecommerce to thrive in the next few years.
Proof that Ecommerce in India is rapidly growing:
India is ditching offline commerce at an alarming pace and switching to Ecommerce for most, if not all purchases. Below are 5 solid reasons that leave no doubt about how Ecommerce in India is growing uncontrollably:
Internet Users reaching Critical Mass:
The government of India has tried very hard with the ‘Digital India’ campaign to convert its population largely belonging to remote areas into active Internet users. And it looks like their efforts are starting to pay off since the amount of Internet users in India is rapidly increasing by the day. With smartphones now available at throwaway prices, and ISP’s offering affordable Internet plans, online users are turning into customers every other day. Almost everyone in India uses the Internet for searching nearby services, social media, and for minor or major purchases thus ensuring that Ecommerce is India is headed in the right direction.
Middle Class is the new Rich:
It won’t do to underestimate the Indian Middle Class any longer. Most people belonging to middle class families can now afford necessities along with sufficient luxuries, especially through online purchases. With the rise in modern jobs that offer incredulous salary packages, the barrier between the middle class and the upper class has thinned. Ecommerce in India is and should target the upper middle class with wealth to spare for luxuries. In fact, there are several luxury online stores selling high-end brands at affordable prices online.
Streamlined Payments and Logistics:
Payment Gateways are slowly moving towards one-touch payments, instant transfers, and e-wallets, making Ecommerce and Mobile Commerce a breeze. The average Indian user is no longer struggling to remember several different passwords and security answers. With enough support from Indian banks towards streamlined and safe online payments, there is no more struggle to search, find, and buy the product or service of your choice online. Logistics in India is becoming streamlined as well, given the immense population and heavy traffic on Indian roads. Ecommerce companies are brainstorming for clever ways to deliver your goods bought online by setting up nearby logistics services, that can quickly procure packages and conveniently deliver them to your location at the time of your choosing. Ecommerce companies also have GPS tracking applications in place which have tightened the noose around logistics companies to co-operate with Ecommerce companies to the fullest extent. Ecommerce in India is now successfully processing international payments and shipping around the world, thanks to streamlined payments and logistics.
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Challenges we need to get around:
Ecommerce certainly has assumed a powerful stance in India, but there are still several challenges India needs to get a way around if it expects to really integrate online purchasing into the system. The major roadblocks Ecommerce faces in India are as follows:
Lack of Digital Infrastructure:
For half the population, Digital Infrastructure is still a dream. Internet has not yet been able to spread its wings fully in every crevice and corner of this massive country. Students in villages do not have access to laptops or computers let alone to high speed internet. If Ecommerce should permeate every city, town, and village in India, first arrangements must be made to set up Digital infrastructure in a way that its accessible to the rural population of India.
Low Cyber Regulation:
Internet is still unregulated in India with few cyber laws in place to check money frauds, which leaves Ecommerce companies uncertain and wary to fully immerse itself in the Indian market. Banks must work in tandem with the governmental cyber cell to bring financial freedom on the web devoid of security risks so that the Indian online shopper can enter their payment information without worry and not have to go through tedious security checks.
Tax is another big challenge to Ecommerce in India. Credit payments and virtual currency are not very popular in India and does not come within the premise of the Indian Tax administration. The war between tax evasion regulation in India and the Ecommerce demand is very real. The government is sceptical about whether digital transactions in India must be taxed so until this is sorted, Ecommerce cannot flourish in its entirety.
The Return and Exchange Drama:
Ecommerce in India has worked hard to streamline payments and logistics, but product returns and exchanges still pose a problem. Fraudulent returns and exchanges are on the rise online since most Ecommerce companies are liberal with customers showing dissatisfaction for products paid for online. Heavy Returns and Exchanges add to logistics costs which poses additional burden for Ecommerce companies owing to traffic problems, and lack of co-operation with logistics companies who are less willing to dance according to the whims and fancies of customers.
The fact that India is on the road to development is a boon for Ecommerce as the potential for online users turned shoppers is immense. But losses have become an everyday norm for Ecommerce companies owing to the heavy marketing and promotions done to serve the Indian Online shopper. The Indian Government is doing its best to support Ecommerce in India, but they still have a long way to go until Ecommerce successfully overtakes offline commerce in this massive country. Innovation is key to revolutionising Ecommerce in India so that it is irresistible to Indian consumers. Increased outreach is also the main goal that all Ecommerce companies in India must strive to achieve.
International Ecommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart are set to change the face of Indian Ecommerce and are already doing a good job. Foreign investment looks to be the source and power in Ecommerce in the next few years, challenging Indian companies to intensify their efforts several notches higher. At the heart of it all lies exceptional customer service which Indian online consumers thrive on. Small and medium sized Ecommerce companies can learn from the big players by keeping customer service at the fore. That, along with co-operation from the government will take Ecommerce to its peak and beyond in India.