Online shopping has had a rather slow and tumultuous journey in India, it has not picked up as much as it should have primarily due to the fact that internet penetration itself is quite low and secondly (and importantly) the online shopping experience has been bad to say the least.
Although their are grass root problems, I still believe that Online Shopping in India is evolving fast and has the potential to grow exponentially in the times to come, as the internet penetration reaches far and wide across the rural area.
Traditionally, Indians are conservative in their approach to shopping. They want to touch and feel the products and test its features before buying anything.
In fact, selected price-savvy customers would also like to squeeze in an economical deal for themselves with appropriate price negotiation with the vendor. They are not the ones to accept the price at the face value. Well, nothing wrong in that as well ;)
With the passage of time came an era of less popular tele-shopping which dealt in limited range of products such as Astrology and spirituality products (such as Rudraksha Mala, Hanuman Kavach, Bal Raksha, etc), Health and fitness equipments (such as Tread Mill, Leg Massager, Height Increaser, Sauna Belt, etc) and even some of the Cooking ranges (including Juicers and Mixers, Vegetable Choppers, etc). But, most of these products could be termed as low-intensity and niche products which could interest only a limited target of people.
Most of us are also a witness to the recent mall culture where all the products are available under a single roof and at competitive price points. Little needs to be analyzed about it over here as most of you might have visited a mall at least for once as a past time on a weekend, if not for shopping precisely. Well, I often do it, to be frank. J
Next in line is the concept of virtual mall or online shopping which is already existent at its preliminary stage in India and is gradually growing exponentially. The market opened up with innovative online shopping initiatives from eBay, Rediff shopping and futurebazaar.com just to name a few.
In a sort of change of version from tele-shopping to a broader form of online plus television shopping saw the emergence of a 24-hour shopping channel from Network 18 – TV 18 Home Shopping Network.
As per the report, this fast growing channel has spread speedily with market presence across a range of products. It accounts for 4.5% of all digital camera sales in the country and largest seller of Reebok merchandises. In fact, the report further says that Home Shop 18 sells 480 brands under its portfolio.
It is akin to mentioning that, “I am wary about implications of carrying out online transactions to pay my utility bills fraught with risks of phishing and hacking fraud. But, since I wouldn’t prefer to stand in those long and cumbersome queues (and keep pondering as to ‘Mera number kab aayega?’) with my busy schedule, I would like to latch-on to online bill payments. I could as well write an article for Trak in those 30-40 minutes which I spend standing waiting in those serpentine queues.
Thus, with modernization and fast paced life, came the constraints of time and eventually increasing dependence on online shopping. This has led to online shopping coming off age in India. People have commenced shopping through the convenience of online portals from the comforts of their drawing rooms.
With case study of Home Shop 18 narrated above also points towards a new trend of convergence of online and TV shopping. It is needless to say that shopping has been revolutionized by its wide spread presence across the various mediums such as TV, online portals and even cell phones now that even internet can be accessible through affordable category smart phones.
Given above all the facts, Indian marketers are also increasingly becoming conscious about the viability of returned goods, if customer is not satisfied with the product. This may not sound true over here, but it is a part-and-parcel of the game involved in online shopping.
It is estimated that about a fifth of the buy orders get returned for the goods bought online. As such, most of the online sales are carried out on the condition of ‘If not satisfied with the product, full money to be returned’. Another factor is that most buyers pay on delivery which also keeps their options to return good open, if they do not like a particular product.
Waiting for you to add something on the prospects of Online Shopping? Would you…