E-retailing, most commonly known as e-tailing is nothing but shopping through the Internet and other media forms. There are many things that are common between direct retail stores and online retail stores. Both have the process of billing of the customers and have to maintain a relationship with the suppliers.
Bottlenecks Faced By E-Retailing in India
Problems with the Payment System
People in India are not used to the online shopping system and moreover the online payment system through the credit card is also totally alien to them. Most of them do not avail of the transaction facilities offered by the credit cards. They are also dubious regarding the online payment system through the credit cards. Hence different payment options should be made available to them like the credit card, cash on delivery and net banking to give them further assurance.
Problems with Shipping
The customers using the online shopping channel should be assured that the products that they have ordered would reach them in due time. For this the retail companies have resorted to private guaranteed courier services as compared to postal services.
The customers should be assured that the online retailers are not only available online but offline as well. This gives them the psychological comfort that these companies can be relied upon.
Products offered at discounted rates
The online retailers save on the cost of building and employee salaries. Some part of this benefit should also be enjoyed by the online customers by a reduction in the price of the product. The customers should be conveyed this message that they are getting the products at a discounted price.
Most internet retail shops use English as their mode of communication. English may not be comprehensible to the majority of the Indian population . To increase the customer base, content in the online retail shops should be provided in local language.
Another reason why the concept of e- retailing or online retailing has not gained prominence in India is that the Indians prefer to touch the products physically before buying them. This facility is provided through the multi-brand outlets, not available online. Studies have revealed the preferences of the customers towards the traditional shopping methods. Hence the retailer online should first make it a point to spot the potential customers and accordingly plan out the product. If the customers are more open to online shopping, then nothing can be more beneficial. They save the time and effort to visit, departmental stores, shopping malls, etc. products can be delivered by a click of the mouse.
Another problem is that the retail industry is standing on its point of inflexion and considering its infant stage, it would take time for the new concept of e-retailing to take off.
Some online retailing sites in India
E Bay is heading the race of online retailers. In this race it has become very difficult to determine the online retail store that makes the products available at convenient and cheap rates. From this very difficulty has cropped up comparison sites. Comparison is done on the basis of an index which is constructed from the data available from different shopping sites. The bechna.com and the ultop.com are such sites though many more sites are entering this zone.
The comparison sites not only help to choose the online sites that would be providing the best deal but also offline as well. Sites like Rediffproductsearch, Compare India.com have constructed the data that is taken from the conventional local retai;ers. These sites help the customer in finding out the local retail store that will best suit his purpose.
Future of E-retailing in India
There are divergent views on the future of e-retailing in India. Some experts are of the opinion that the giant, big brand retailers would dominate the small ones due to their wider investment capacities. It would be next to impossible for the small retailers and the kiranas to prove their existence in the battlefield of online retailing. Another viewpoint is that there would be an exponential growth in the online retailing business in India.