Ed­i­tor’s Let­ter

Shoes & Accessories - - Contents - AMITABH TANEJA Ed­i­tor-in-chief

Once the space of on­line shop­ping was con­fined to some cor­ner of an e-mail ser­vice provider’s plat­form. It was also the time when shop­ping malls be­gan to sprout across the ma­jor cities in In­dia. Their foot­print, how­ever, wasn’t as wide­spread as those in other de­vel­op­ing na­tions. As a re­sult, de­spite their pres­ence, malls and su­per­mar­kets in most cities still re­mained not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. What was more in­ter­est­ing was that the In­dian mid­dle class pop­u­la­tion was grow­ing and they were en­dowed with some­thing un­prece­dented, greater dis­pos­able in­come. To­day, quite a lot of them have be­come well-wheeled and whose taste has di­ver­si­fied.

In this back­drop, the like of Flip­kart, Yebhi and oth­ers found a greater space where they could ex­per­i­ment ideas which were to turn big­ger even­tu­ally. On­line plat­forms were viewed with a great de­gree of sus­pi­cion and most im­por­tantly on­line trans­ac­tion was treated with greater de­gree of dis­trust. To­day, the story of In­dia’s e-com­merce is that of an evolved one: mul­ti­ple play­ers have emerged; larger ones have swal­lowed up the smaller ones; ex­change as well as try-and-pur­chase ser­vices have been in­tro­duced; 3D has been in­cor­po­rated; lo­gis­tics and pay­ment op­tions have grown longer; even the def­i­ni­tions they use to de­scribe their na­ture of busi­ness.

In spite this swift and prospec­tive story, and pri­mar­ily most of them en­joy­ing easy ac­cess to cap­i­tal, prof­its seem to be most elu­sive up un­til now. Only when some of the ma­jor play­ers ran out of cash to burn, then they bowed out of the com­pe­ti­tion and thus cre­at­ing an ecosys­tem where the big­ger fish or those with deeper pocket gob­ble up the smaller ones. What’s in­ter­est­ing and have not been ques­tioned con­stantly is their busi­ness model. At a such a junc­ture, what is most easy and rel­e­vant ques­tion is, how long they can con­tinue re­ly­ing on a model that hasn’t helped them make any prof­its? Another be­ing, how ra­tio­nal it is for ma­jor e-tail­ers to in­vest heav­ily in In­dia?

On the Cover: Pic Cour­tesy: Part­ner­ship with Da Mi­lano.

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