Sunday, June 03, 2012

Retailers, be very afraid

In the second wave of online shopping in India there are many new entrants. They are breaking into hitherto untapped spaces (or spaces that were not viable in the earlier run) like toys, baby stuff, groceries etc.

Personally, I have never tried buying groceries (and I am just a step away from trying them) or baby stuff or toys online, but there is no reason for me to believe that they wont be good - since the leader in this space, Flipkart has set a stellar example of on time delivery and customer satisfaction.

I am also very close to shirt shopping from The Stiff Collar - which is capturing a need for bespoke shirts. I wish they had some way of fabric shopping as well.

A few days back a retailer announced a huge discount sale on electronic items. When I visited the place, it seemed exciting enough. But when we compared it online, we found that the price differential was not very high and they also had the item we needed in stock - which was not the case with the retailer. And that brings me closer to ordering electronic stuff online - another first.

If am not mistaken, in the developed world the behaviour is similar - people window shop offline and then order it online.

As a retailer, I would be very very afraid of this kind of behaviour. Online shopping is the biggest threat and opportunity to malls and other shops. Personally for me, beyond a point, shopping is a pain. Driving, parking, shopping, selection, billing, driving back - I would much rather do it online!

Also, as oil prices go up, it is also becoming cost ineffective to go around burning oil to buy groceries. I would much rather burn bandwidth!

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