By Daina Martin
India’s contribution to Ecommerce on a global scale is unprecedented; it is one of the largest bases for this growing model of business, especially with the stupendous rise in access to the Internet. India’s explosion in the ecommerce situation occurred post that of the markets in the UK and the USA, but given its unique qualitative and quantitative population base and rapid increment in economic growth, it poses as a potential market for flourishing businesses online.
Thus, within a decade or so, it has witnessed the inauguration of innumerable online marketplaces, based on various stable and innovative business models, thereby bombarding the virtual world with a plethora of choices and options. Nonetheless, in this fiercely competitive arena, a few companies have surfaced in strong ways by ingenuously grabbing potential traffic and succeeding in customer acquisition and retention at the same time.
For most customers in India, Flipkart (founded in 2007) has become synonymous with ecommerce in general.It burst into the Indian market, especially with its striking television ads that marked a watershed moment in the country. While it began with selling books online, it has expanded into other arenas such clothes, electronics etc., thereby making it one of the most expansive sites.
It works on a marketplace and warehouse model (WS Retail) and is perhaps rated highest on credibility and trustworthiness, given its fast courier services, resolution of customer issues and unique discounts and deals that it continually provides to ensure customer loyalty. Sellers prefer Flipkart because of their courier service Ekart, which ensures quick dispatch of products and thus, enduring customer satisfaction.
The legitimate competitor of Flipkart! Snapdeal was founded in 2010 as a portal for various kinds of deals, coupons etc. to online shoppers. It then expanded into one of the largest online marketplaces in India with products ranging from clothes, electronics, and accessories to furnishings, gadgets, etc. Since, it was founded on the ‘deals’ model, Snapdeal provides its customers with innovative deals and offers as its USP.
It works on a literal ‘marketplace’ model, i.e, it mediates or provides a platform for seller-customer transactions. This provides impetus to the kind of choices the customers have, while simultaneously ensuring that small sellers get to sell their products more visibly and recognizably through the site. Thus, it works on a performance-based pricing structure for the sellers, which ensures rigor in sales, thereby enhancing Snapdeal’s own credibility. In this kind of a model, the sellers themselves usually undertake shipping, even though the marketplace through its tie-ups mediates it with various courier companies.
3. Amazon India
Amazon is a relatively new entry in the Indian ecommerce scene, but triggered itself off as THE competitor primarily because of its branding in the global market. Thus, having already established a name, India’s reception of this company was more than welcome given its international credibility as a trustworthy and exciting site for online shopping.
Like Snapdeal and Flipkart, its expanse is across products and services offered in a variety of departments (clothing, electronics, lifestyle etc.), which has made Amazon into one of the largest online market places in India. It too works on the ‘marketplace’ model, which allows sellers to have visibility in their transactions with customers. Sellers can choose to ship products by themselves or by signing up with FBA, the service that Amazon provides for the same.
One of the oldest platforms in India for ecommerce, Ebay too began on the basis of an established name in the international circuit and thus, did not have to resort to rigorous advertising for it to become popular. But in comparison to the ecommerce giants mentioned above, its growth has been gradual primarily because the Indian market was not as receptive to the idea of ecommerce then, as it is now.
In many ways, Ebay was discovered by the target audience long after a lot of other major companies had become conspicuous into the scene. Yet, its reach in terms of sellers and customers is quite expansive, especially with the infiltration of the knowledge of its multinational power base.
The USP of Ebay lies in its common platform for all kinds of buyers and sellers (registered, small-time, individuals etc.) to meet and allowing a seller to sell anything or everything, fresh or used at prices set by them. Also, because of a deliberate lack of strict categories, in which to divide the products and services, Ebay offers the seller and the customer the right to sell and buy a stupendous variety of products and services.
A relatively young debutant on the Indian ecommerce scene, Shopclues was founded in 2011 and has witnessed rapid growth ever since. It is gradually making itself a popular name within the masses and thus, is a significant upcoming competitor in the business. It offers a variety of choices across distinct categories.
It too works on a zero inventory marketplace model like Snapdeal (with tie-ups with leading courier companies) and is concerned with the mid-tier shopping crowd. Thus, it pays significant attention to regional brands in comparison to high-end ones, primarily because a large part of its customer base comes from tier 2 or tier 3 cities.
In terms of innovation, it also offers the option of bulk orders, which can be customized as per the choice of the customer. Moreover, it also sells products, through television marketing.
Daina Martin is a freelance author and writes for a variety of online publications like Huffingtonpost and Sitepronews etc. She actively writes blogs and articles related to business, marketing and ecommerce. When she’s not working, she likes to cook, dance and travel. Follow her at @MartinDaina28.