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2012-02-21 00:00:00Starting a BusinessEnglish Businesses and E-Commerce in India

Small Businesses and E-Commerce in India

3 min read

With the e-commerce trend in India growing exponentially; there was never a better time for small businesses to set shop online. India Inc. may have been slow to catch up on the advance e-commerce trends of the Western world, but it has made one grand entrance. Currently, the e-commerce industry is growing at an annual rate of 70 per cent. According to the market research firm Juxt, 30 per cent of the total number of 61 million active internet users, like to shop online. As of 2011 the total value of this industry stood at a whooping INR 47000 crores.

Analysts predict that this upward swing will continue over the next few years too. If you are a small business operator who wants to jump aboard the e-commerce bandwagon, this might just be the best time to do so. With consumers becoming more internet savvy by the day, it is sensible and also cost effective to make a foray into digital commerce. Here are some figures and facts that can help you make the right choices about e-commerce.

E-commerce Industry Growth   Source: Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)   Sector Specific Growth According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), as of 2010, the e-commerce market share comprised of five major sectors. These sectors were mostly in the business to customer domain, specializing in selling both products and services online. The five main sectors identified were: Online Travel – 80 per cent E-Tailing- 6.48 per cent Financial Services- 6.31 per cent Other Online Services- 5.09 per cent Digital Downloads- 2.12 per cent Buy Later Syndrome Here’s a list of the main reasons why people hesitate from confirming the order when it comes to online shopping in India. Lack of trust Fulfillment issues Shopping experience Want to see product before buying No need for shopping online Getting Consumers to Proceed to Checkout Here’s how you can address this “buy later syndrome.”

Building trust Build Trust by creating different ways to showcase user generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews for users about the products/services. You could try and upload photos sent in by satisfied consumers, who have clicked snaps along with the product they bought from your web store. Also increase your online presence by staying active on social media networks and digital forums. The more your audience see you, the more they are likely to trust the familiarity. Good after sales service When it comes to fulfilment issues, small businesses can tackle it by focusing on good after sales services. Once consumers hit the “Buy Now” button, start by mailing them a confirmation and setting realistic expectations. Provide buyers the facility to track their orders and you track the order statuses too. Once the product is delivered, mail buyers a feedback form and address any issues right away.

Create an experience Agreed, you may not have a coffee shop attached to your online store but you can think of innovative ways to create an experience for your customer. For instance, instead of having long product descriptions, why not have them in video formats? You could also try and tie up with other online sellers, so as to give your customer a way to find other products or services that complement your own. WYSWIG What you see, is what you get (WYSWIG), is an important principle when it comes to the online world. To build customer confidence in your product/service, you can upload photos clicked from many angles, use videos, right accurate descriptions, etc. Again, UGC helps when it comes to customers who like to see the product before buying.

Creating a need Get your customers to visit your virtual store by tailoring some exclusive online deals and discounts that they might not necessarily find in-store. This can be discounts, online sales or even tie-ups that present your customers with gift coupons. You could also run a free delivery campaign, since customers would not have to invest more than the cost of the actual product. With an online store, a small business does not have to worry about rent, electricity and other overheads. All you need to do is get a web developer to create a good online store. Make sure your technical team monitors your online store, your brand’s online presence and also address any anomalies. If do not already have a virtual store, now might be the only time to do so, since India’s e-commerce bandwagon is moving ahead at full speed and paving the way for mobile commerce (m-commerce)!

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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