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Posts Tagged ‘e-retail’

Small Businesses, Get Online. With Ease!

August 5, 2012 1 comment

By the year 2020, India will have the third largest internet population, behind China and the US in that order. But, India will have the ‘youngest internet user’ out of the three economies.

The current online retail market for all the products and services is estimated at $10 billion. E- retail accounts for 6% of the total online commerce and is valued at $0.6 billion today. By 2020, the online retail or e-retail will cross $70 billion when the total e-commerce will cross $200 billion. Now that’s a huge increase! No wonder e-retail start ups are mushrooming all over the place and getting funded too.

The current market is cluttered with a handful of online retailers such as e-bay, flipkart, yebhi etc, and then a large number of tier two players with varying amount of reach and product catalogue depth. But what do small retailers with physical stores do to get online? Majority of them just discard the thought of ‘going online’ because they find it cumbersome to manage a website and to have an IT team of their own. This void has been there since long until Google came up with the initiative – India, Get Your Business Online. But, it is a tedious process to “get onto” the Google’s platform.

Here is s start-up, that is helping small businesses to set up their own online stores and web-presence- at a very minimal cost and with no need to worry about the hardware, the software and human resources for the task. RetailEMall (www.retailemall.com), a venture of Creative Monks, helps small businesses set up their online store on their own domain / website in few clicks. The best part is, it is FREE to some extent. RetailEMall does not charge these businesses anything if they are not able to sell anything through their online store. Business need to make a nominal payment as per their chosen plan only for the months when they do sell online on their e-commerce store.

Using RetailEMall one can start his online store in few minutes and can make it available on their custom domain like www.mystore.com. Have a look at their demo store. In addition to it, RetailEMall platform also provides an option of setting up Facebook stores (complete e-commerce store on Facebook) in few clicks, this feature is avaialbe to all store owners on platform. Have a look at sample Facebook store setup using RetailEMall. As soon as one registers an online store on RetailEMall, one will get an access to his / her store administration account from where one can manage every aspect of store for instance, one can manage products, store details, order details, customers etc from their store administration account. Store owners can also customize the store’s look and feel without an codng ot technical skills required. Stores on RetailEMall can choose a template from available ones to change their store’s look and feel. Store owners can further customize the  color scheme of selected template without any technical or coding skills.

Another excellent feature and key differentiator is that, the products of all stores on RetailEMall are also showcased on the “E-Mall” store front (www.retailemall.com/mall) – the mall interface of the platform. Its something similar to Amazon’s Junglee.com. This mall interface connects end-customers to vedors. If a customer clicks on a product on the mall interface, he is directed to the retailer’s online store to which that product belongs. The platform also provides integration with online payment gateways like PayPal, ccAvenue, EBS etc for retailers to accept online payments. Yes, the retailer just need to signup with payment gateway and simply configure the provided details in his store admin account, thereafter they can start receiveing online payments on their online store.

RetailEMall is a brilliant attempt at creating a ‘get online’ platform for small businesses. The major positive point of the platform is that a business can get online in just a couple of hours. The ease of use is pronounced by the fact that one does not need any technical knowhow to manage the store once it is set up.

And, yes, the RetailEmall team is always there for support!

For more details visit: http://retailemall.com/store/

 

 

 

Letsbuy sell-off and Zansaar investment- Where are we heading to?

March 9, 2012 4 comments

About two weeks ago, the start-up world woke up to the $25 million acquisition of letsbuy.com by flipkart. A week back we had the news of Zansaar securing a $6 million investment from Accel Partners and Tiger Global. The e-retail world in India is abuzz with lots of hectic activity, so much so, it is confusing the consumer on who is offering what?

The news of letsbuy being on the block was in the air since last few months. First time I heard it, I was told they are looking for a $80-85 valuation. But, when the deal was struck, it was pinned at $25 million. Why such a drastic difference in ‘asking’ and ‘getting’ dollar value? Of late, the has been a lot of start ups coming up in the e-commerce and the deals space. As sources put it, letsbuy.com was finding it hard to raise additional capital and hence the sale. The fact that both letsbuy.com and Flipkart had common investors made it easier for the deal to go through. With the acquisition, Flipkart, which has not been able to shed the ‘bookseller’ tag will have a wider range or products to sell.

The VCs have already burnt their fingers in funding the deals based start-ups. Both the demand and the buy sides of the deals space were over rated. Today, I wee most of the deals sites selling nothing more than dinner, spa and massage coupons. The next best bet for investors is the e-commerce space. But, have a look around and you will find many websites selling similar products- hardly we see any differentiation. Least to say, the space is already overcrowded. Recently there was the case of taggle.com which started as a deals site, pivoted once and became a e-commerce site and finally shut down due to what the promoters said was ‘hypercompetition’ in the e-commerce arena.

Whats the future?

As I see it, although the Indian e-commerce sector has a lot of potential, you cannot have a lot pf websites selling the same stuff. Its not  as in the case of physical outlets where proximity to the customer is an important factor. In online retail, each of the portal is at same distance- just a click away. Here is what I see happening in future:

1. After a few years, there will be a handful of mega-online-retailers (with/without offline stores). This will be achieved at the cost of either shut down or acquisition of other e-retailers. These are the likes of Flipkart, Letsbuy and e-bay. A lot will depend on the spectrum of choice offered and efficiency in handling customer dissatisfaction.

2. Along with these mega-online-retailers, there will be a few dozen ‘specialized’ retailers selling high end or niche products but with a much smaller catalog. Freecultr is one example of the high end players. Chumbak is an example of niche products player.

3. There will be another set of ‘specialized’ retailers selling only one category of products e.g. accessories for gadgets.

4. I am not very sure if one-category-sites e.g. bagskart.com– selling bags, lenskart.com– selling sun shades and glasses will be able to survive the mega-e-retailers. They will have to shut shop.

5. Group deals websites will become history as the e-retailers will incorporate simiral of not same discounts into the price (guided by the sales volumes).

The above five points are just the over view of the e-retail world dynamics in India today. There are much more details to these five points. I would like to detail each one of these pointers, whenever I get time. Till then, enjoy the rain of offers and offerings around you!