Hate to stand in queues? Hate to wait in the train ticket booking queue? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps you have found the solution in doing few of these things online.
I will begin this article with my personal experience of growing up in the massive metropolitan city of New Delhi.
Year 1990: There was only 1 state provider of telephone. It may sound fascinating but the rush to apply for a telephone or to pay your bills was so enormous that one had to take half day leave from work to stand in the queue to get this work done.
Year 2011: The queues have all but vanished. Why? Read on…
Many would credit this change to the telecom revolution which happened in India. I would go a step further and say that this change is also because of the option to pay for your bills and utilities online. The online buying and selling of goods and services is seeing an exponential growth in the Indian market. Every day brings up an online start-up company which is being funded by an angel investor.
Here is why I think e-commerce works-
Buyer’s Perspective and popular products – I think the biggest reason people shop consumer products online in India is because it is more likely that you can find a better deal online than in a retail store. Using the internet to pay utilities is solely because of the convenience factor. Since the discomfort in the past has been so horrifying that people don’t mind taking the ‘odd risk’ of paying online. Also, I feel that these days the online shoppers in India are very well informed and do their research and look for the best deal online. Electronics, mobile phones, watches, travek tickets etc. are known to be best sellers online in India. The online market is slowly expanding to other products like clothing and perfumes. The other big reason for shopping online is the very nature of busy lives of people which does not give them enough time to shop.
I have also come across some rather bizarre reasons which people have given me on why they like to shop online. The funniest being: ‘I look cooler amongst my friends if I say I bought something online’ or ‘I just love to buy online and I find the wait for my favorite products exciting!’
Seller’s Perspective – I feel the biggest reasons for businesses to move online is because selling online means higher profits, higher return on investments and more importantly the feasibility of starting an online business. For someone who did not have much capital to invest in a business, the only option left was to go the e-commerce way. There is no need for having huge manpower, no rentals to give for brick and mortar showrooms, convenience of working from anywhere… The list goes on and on. Moreover, the opportunity is huge and the young population of India is internet savvy with high disposable income and access to a credit or debit card.
To wrap up this article, I would like to say that the change of consumer behavior towards purchasing things online if very positive and reflects the changing times. We need to wait and see how the industry innovates and make this experience even better in future.