The Online Retail Industry of India is expected to reach Rs. 7,000 Crore mark by 2015. The industry is catching the fancy of a growing crowd at Udaipur. Increasing number of Internet users is fueling this shift. You no longer have to leave your home in the scorching sun or in the deep chills to shop. The growth of online retail is nothing but astounding.
After spreading up in metro cities the DOT COM Retail boom is gripping Tier II and Tier III Cities like Udaipur. UT is presenting an extended study of pro and cons of buying things online and how the online business is evolving in the City of Lakes.
Online Shopping portal: jabong.com
Online Shopping goes High in Udaipur
Blue Dart’s Deepika Sharma provided UT with important insights and information about the kind of volumes they handle on an average day. “We easily get more than 100 items daily for Udaipur from the e-commerce websites. The whole trend was initiated really only after the introduction of COD [Cash On Delievery]. We saw an influx of deliveries that have been rising with the newer websites and accessibility of internet for the common folk.”
HomeShop18 clearly has an edge over its competitors because of their own TV channel. The orders include mainly cell-phones from HomeShop18, apparels from Myntra and about every kind of stuff from Flipkart and Naaptol.
The reach of this can be seen just from the fact that consumers include people from the villages on the outskirts of the city like Gogunda, to posh localities of Udaipur. Just as I was there, a package from IndiaTimes Shopping, probably a cell-phone was waiting for its new owner at their office.
Orders they deliver frequently range from 75-100 rupee stuff to things that cost about 20 thousand. Larger Electronic items like Laptops are fairly rare and so are more expensive things too but they still can be seen in a month or two. People in Udaipur tend to avoid buying from International stores as more things are getting readily available on Indian websites which usually take no extra shipping charges plus they’re not beset by customs.
AFL WiZ Express is the largest courier service in the region on the basis of the 300+ orders (from the e-commerce websites) it handles on a daily basis. Parvez Hussain of AFL told UT, “The trend is on the rise. We deliver more than 150 orders daily [for Udaipur] from Flipkart only, about 50-60 parcels for Jabong.com and a total of 100 parcels comes from other websites.”
The ‘other websites’ include Lenskart, Fashion and You, Snapdeal, FirstCry, LetsBuy, Rediff Shopping and Tradus. (LetsBuy was acquired by Flipkart for US$ 25 Million earlier this year and all the traffic is redirected to Flipkart now)
Consumers are usually attracted to the web as opposed to their favorite store in the city as the former offers lucrative discounts, new offers and COD with replacement warrantees. Advantages of shopping online also include the accessibility to reviews of individual products from buyers and the customer satisfaction/feedback of these websites that can be noted on Twitter and Facebook.
For those who seek quality, web sets such a high standard that is unmatched from the options available in Udaipur. I bought my laptop from Flipkart; it did and has proved to be a great deal.
Meanwhile Bangalore and other larger cities in India have been introduced to websites selling groceries online, with AaramShop and BigBasket.
The trouble with Physical Shops
With only a few shopping malls in the city, shopping for things physically has far too many shortcomings which can be easily be resolved by the Internet. Parking hassles, Traffic, Fuel prices, all of these contribute to the rise of e-Commerce among the folks in Udaipur.
Talk about proper all brand Electronic stores? Oh wait, we don’t have them at all.
What is more astonishing than there are only about 3 or 4 bookstores in the city! Even from which, only Crossword, located what is practically the other end of city for half of the city, offers a decent enough collection of books. (For that if I may recommend, get an e-ink based reader)
A possible solution: Buy things over the internet
E-commerce by no means is a new thing. Within 2 years of the invention of World Wide Web (WWW), in 1994 we had online banking, and a great deal of things had already started to show their presence on the internet. With that also came SSL, the encryption method now an industry standard during transaction of money. Your answer to ‘Is it safe to buy online’.
Amazon and eBay were both founded in 1995. The two are right now the biggest international names in the sector.
It took some time for India to catch up with it, although there were many shopping websites around, it was not before Flipkart, that started as an online bookstore founded in 2007, that online shopping was rejuvenated in the country. By 2010, they were selling more than 1 book per minute.
Plastic money penetration has remained low in the country and it is even less in Udaipur. Retail spending still relies heavily on cash not just at Udaipur but at most of the Indian cities. Flipkart’s introduction of Cash-on-delivery (COD) in 2010 brought them customers who hadn’t been targeted very effectively yet.
For those who are unaware Cash-on-Delivery, as the name suggests, is a mode of payment made to the order placed on the websites where the buyer/recipient pays the amount in cash only after seeing the product.
As of now, all the big players have COD as mode of payment.
Since then, online shopping of merchandize has proliferated in Udaipur along with a plethora of small-cities. Cash-on-delivery also instilled a sense of trust in the minds of customer even those with credit and debit cards for this new electronic medium to buy stuff.
We have seen only in last two years plenty of more websites coming along, giving away attractive discounts and aggressive marketing campaigns. The names include Jabong, Myntra, HomeShop18, Snapdeal, FutureBazaar, Naaptol, LetsBuy and the list goes on.