Why E-Commerce is so vital for Start-ups & incumbents

1.7 billion people. A market that is still being tapped. Over 5 billion online cash transactions a day of amounts yet unknown. Mull over that stat for a second. Now imagine if even 5 percent of those 5 billion online transactions were for the purpose of online shopping. Don’t waste your time on the math. See the big picture instead. E-commerce is here to stay.

If you’ve got an idea, the internet is where you implement it. With people getting more and more comfortable buying and transacting online, the sky’s the limit for e-commerce. Little wonder then that Jeff Bezos led Amazon has invaded the online shopping space with such fervour.

This is just the beginning. Think about it this way, the traditional Indian mindset has always been to try it or feel it in person, before committing to purchase anything. Conversely India has the largest young population in the world. With youth of course comes the urge to instantly gratify their impulses. So almost overnight, the traditional mindset has been overhauled and replaced by this quick thinking, forward looking one. What does that mean for e-commerce? Quite frankly it means that the good times have only just begun.

Even traditional players in the offline space have begun to realise this fact. Take for instance telecom giants Motorola and their strategy of selling their latest smartphones exclusively online. Or an unheard of Chinese company selling out its flagship phone within seconds of posting their first batch of product on a popular online shop! A combination of smart marketing and catering to the largest youth market in the world sure seems to be the way to go, wouldn’t you say.

Now what does that mean for you, the wannabe e-commerce mogul. Quite frankly it means, explore the market, find a niche you can easily exploit or cater to and fill the need gap. Today’s Indian consumer looks for two things, one is the age old paradigm of VFM (value for money) and the second is novelty or rarity. If you can find a way to marry these two propositions to an attractive marketing strategy, you’ve got a real winner on your hands.

Look for sectors that are little catered to, such as adventure travel, online concierge services, online retail of exotic products or convenience services or merchandise that you prepare yourself and is one of a kind. These are the clothing, lifestyle and book categories of tomorrow. In the words of an age old economist, J.M.Keynes, “find a gap and plug it with a quality offering, the demand shall soon follow.”

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