Thursday, February 02, 2012: 08:04:39 PM

Retailing Guest Column

E-commerce, the new innovative way of looking at retail - Ambuj Jhunjhunwala, MyGrahak

With the emergence of e-commerce, shopping of household items can be made easy

Retailing in India has evolved a lot over the last few years. The emergence of newer concepts like e-commerce has helped immensely in this upheaval. The large internet penetration that the country has achieved in recent years has been the main reason behind the increasing popularity.  

Shopping for household items
Shopping for household items can often become hectic as it is mostly a regular affair. People usually have to travel to different places to get what they need. For example, if a Bengali person living in Delhi requires some Bengali items he or she will have to go to CR Park to get it. So, if the person is staying about 30 km away from that place and does have a regular need for that item, the scenario becomes quite pathetic. In addition, if that person wants some organic food, lets say, he/she has to go to another different shop to buy that.
The idea behind online marketing for food item is to give people a one-stop shop for their monthly buying needs. Online marketing also concentrates on a keen relation between service providers and customers. While engaging with the consumer, the online service provider can track various customer needs and enable them to shop according to their needs. These providers also ensure free home delivery services, which is of optimum help for consumers who cannot spend additional time behind marketing.   
Popularity of online marketing
The key enabler behind the increasing popularity of online marketing is the ever decreasing cost of going online and the higher speeds available. Internet has now become cheaper. The devices used to access Internet have also become a lot cheap. Moreover, the popularity of smartphones has helped to gain stronger online penetration of late. It only costs about Rs 8,000-10,000 or even less to acquire a smartphone today. With more and more people having access to Internet through smartphones, the e-commerce industry is expected to grow even more.   
The ideal target for this kind of e-commerce companies are the money-rich, time-poor customers. People usually do not want to spend additional time on buying groceries. Particularly, the working population does not have either the time or patience to go shopping everyday. These people having a larger exposure to the digital world are more Internet savvy and prefer buying online.
Another advantage of concentrating on household goods is that people do not usually cut down on the consumption of these daily necessities. So, chances of getting impacted adversely, especially during recession or inflation, are pretty low. Even the issue of FDI in retail has not had a major impact on the sector and is infact expected to boost the market.
Although there have been a lot of discussions on the issue of ‘FDI in Retail’ in recent times, it is not perceived as a major issue at all when it comes to sale of FMCGs.  FDIs would definitely be welcome in retail. Currently, retailing of grocery in India is done through multi-brand supermarkets, where FDI is presently not allowed. When it comes to single brand retailing, direct investment would be welcome as it would be done without affecting the people who actually matter. It, would, therefore be a welcome move and companies are eagerly looking forward to the implementation of the move.   
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala, founder and CEO of, a leading online grocery store

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