In current times, e-commerce is no longer an alternative to the traditional marketplace but rather a considerable part of it
E-commerce in recent times has seen an unprecedented boom like never before. Although the concept of e-commerce had already started budding in the early 90s of the last century, it was with the advent of fast and affordable internet that e-commerce gained momentum.
In current times, e-commerce is no longer an alternative to the traditional marketplace but rather a considerable part of it. With the rising use of smartphones with better connectivity, most brands big or small will have to participate in the digital marketplace to stay ahead in the race.
The pandemic situation has shown us how the digital marketplace can save the day during trying times. When you cannot step out of your house, the marketplace comes to you! Not only the younger generation but the more conservative and mature elderly are also starting to trust and make use of the e-commerce platforms.
Be it food or groceries, medical supplies or home essentials you can have it all delivered to your doorstep with just a click of a button. Also, most e-commerce platforms offer certain advantages such as more choices, a lesser price range than the physical market or easy exchange facilities, which makes it more lucrative for the customer to opt for the digital platforms for their shopping needs.
The Indian e-commerce sector is growing faster than ever and is expected to reach a value of around 99 billion USD by 2024 according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). So what are the advantages for the Indian local brands who jump on to this bandwagon?
The biggest boon that e-commerce has given to the local brands is greater outreach. Not only can the small or medium-sized enterprises (SME) reach customers across the country (even remote villages), but can also reach out to the widely spread Indian diaspora all over the world. E-commerce also gives international outreach to individuals or small businesses who deal with unique Indian goods such as local arts and handicrafts, which would have been next to impossible without it.
Another considerable advantage of e-commerce is the reduction in cost to run a business, which matters especially for small start-ups or home businesses. This also implies that a lower
investment is required to start a solely digitally-based business. Thus even a local artisan or a home-based manufacturer can leverage the benefits of the e-commerce space.
Maintaining a physical store involves a lot of hassles as well as unavoidable expenses which add up to the price of the end product. When the cost of running a business is lower it will automatically translate into a reduction in the price of the product. The customers will obviously prefer a lower selling price which again translates into more business.
There are a number of marked advantages of the digital marketplace. Business owners can make use of technologies such as search engine optimization to increase their visibility without the added costs for more advertisements.
The businesses can also choose a target audience and make use of platforms like social media to reach out to them specifically. Businesses can receive customer feedback in a more organized manner and channelize it to improvise their business strategies.
Additionally, more advanced tools of technological development such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can be put to use by e-commerce platforms to enhance customer satisfaction and amplify business development.
Not only are the e-commerce platforms not bounded by geographical locations, but they are also free of the bindings of the normal working hours. While the physical marketplace can operate only for so long, the digital marketplace is open 24/7 for 365 days a year.
This is a big advantage for both the buyer as well as the seller. One can place an order in a digital marketplace any time of the day according to their convenience. This definitely leads to more sales. Also, the business owners can offer their employees more flexible timings and thus have happier and more productive workers.
Last but not least the advent of e-commerce opened new doors for both women entrepreneurs as well as the female workforce in general. The advent of digital platforms has made it less challenging for the female entrepreneur to start a business in many ways. The lower investments and lesser steps to starting a business are all they needed to make a jumpstart.
Also, many women experience a break in their careers due to family responsibilities. The flexible timings or remote working opportunities not only give them the opportunity to rejoin the workforce but also help them to maintain a perfect balance between personal and professional life.
With a population of 1.39 billion and growing, the interest in the digital marketplace is ever-growing in India. Technological developments and unique marketing strategies will also play a significant role in the growth of e-commerce in this country. The good news is that the local brands of India already have and should continue to make use of the digital shift to grow in the global marketplace.
*The author is Chaitanya Nallan, Co-founder & CEO, SkinKraft Laboratories
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. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
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