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Shenaz Bapooji

After her 20 year tenure with Ogilvy, Shenaz Bapooji is now CMO at Shopmatic Group, an international ecommerce company launched to help business owners sell their products and services online.

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India has Over 50 Million SMBs so Why isn’t There an Established Player Yet?

A group CMO of an ecommerce company ponders the dilemma; one reason maybe the overly complicated tech back end busy SMBs have no time to dally with

Photo Credit : Business Today,

In India, the retail and ecommerce industry may not be as established as it is in the west, but numerous tech-driven disruptors are taking steps to offer improved choices at lower prices and with more convenience to Indian online shoppers.

India is a booming startup destination and is home to major players in the country’s startup ecosystem. The imminent competition that domestic ecommerce marketplace operators face from international ecommerce giants, Amazon and Alibaba is notable. India has seen the emergence of several marketplace models as well as ecommerce enablers in the industry. However, the market is still waiting to see a vast number of successful, strong, established players.

Some factors and trends have impacted the ecommerce industry and in turn, prevented them from wholly tapping the 51 million strong Indian SMB market.

1. The lack of modern infrastructure

India’s retail industry is tremendously unorganized and exceedingly fragmented. A very large share of the country’s retail sector remains to be captured by modern and tech-driven retailers.

2. Lack of awareness

Consumers see ecommerce through the lens of marketplaces, and while that is good, it’s probably not the only tenable option in the long run. There is low category involvement with building one’s own site- as a result of which there is possible inertia in finding out what players really have to offer! Once they go past this gap, the market will surely see a significant boom!

3. Customers look for low prices and are hesitant to invest

Even with the Indian economy growing, several Indian consumers are still quite hesitant with investing in new platforms. The average Indian is sceptical on the returns they will make by using these platforms. It is noteworthy that at most times, the pricing is much less compared to building one’s own website through freelancers or development houses.

4. Consumers prefer to pay cash on delivery (COD)

India is a cash-centric economy. COD payment allows more shoppers to buy online and is a fundamental feature of ecommerce retail in India. Most platforms do not enable this option for their businesses and hence lose out on customers.

5. Complicated models

One of the issues that merchants face is that most ecommerce enablers do not provide a simple platform to work with. It is complicated and requires the merchants to have knowledge of web page creation coding languages like CSS. Consumers shy away from platforms like these as they prefer convenience and ease when it comes to going digital with their business.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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