Digital era has enveloped the industry in a way that it has become inevitable for any brand to make itself available in the online space. Be it paying bills, ordering flowers or shopping for just about anything – today, almost every single commodity or service is just a click away.
Though, there have been shopping portals such as eBay, Indiatimes Shopping, Homeshop18 and Futurebazaar, only a handful of brands have seriously ventured into direct e-Commerce. Now, some well-known names like Microsoft, Tanishq and Domino’s are venturing into the e-Commerce space, offering their services online in India.
Deliverability in digital space – Why now?
Calvin John, Brand Manager, Tanishq, elaborated, “We appreciate the growing importance of the digital medium and have consciously chosen to embrace it. Today, our online consumers are hungry for information and driven by convenience. With Tanishq launching its online store, we intend to provide the latest happenings on the brand and provide consumers a convenient option for all their gifting needs when it comes to jewellery. One of the other important reasons for launching our online store is the innumerous requests we get every day from our consumers across the world.”
Emphasising on the time being right to due to the growing number of Internet users, Vineet Durani, Director, Central Marketing Group, Microsoft India, said “The Microsoft Online Store is a well established brand globally that is recognised for the ease and simplicity of buying Microsoft products online. The Indian consumer market for original software is growing at a good pace and we are seeing increasing uptake for online commerce. Given these factors, we have brought the Microsoft Online Store brand to India and have licensed the brand and its assets to Quasar Media.”
Meanwhile, Domino’s believes that the Internet as a channel is quite powerful to reach its customer base. According to Dev Amritesh, Senior Vice President, Marekting, Domino’s India, “India has a fairly large online population, which, according to various estimates, ranges anywhere between 35 million and 45 million, which also makes India one of the top 10 online populations in the world. Also, for us there is a very high degree of overlapping between this online base and our target consumer. Given this piece of statistic, the case for using online as a channel to reach target consumers is very strong. We also realised that to harness the full potential of this medium, we should go beyond just mere presence in our media mix and leverage it to make an additional sales channel.”
Low on limitations
When it comes to a brand like Microsoft, the authenticity is only questioned when bought from regular dealers and not from the company owned retail outlets, but players like Tanishq might feel the heat because the customer surely wants to touch and feel the expensive ornament he/she plans to buy. Similarly, ordering pizzas online also mean the user would, most of the time, be a Domino’s consumer who knows the product in and out and at times, there could be apprehensions in the customer’s mind whether he/she would get the pizza delivered on time.
Tanishq’s John commented, “We understand the consumer’s need to touch and feel jewellery before purchasing. We have a two-pronged approach to the same. Firstly, we are currently showcasing online, product categories like pendants, ear rings, finger rings and chains below the price point of Rs 30,000 in the shopping catalog. All these product categories are represented in three perspectives like a front shot, side view and on a human model to provide consumers a perspective of how it would look on them. Secondly, we have provide do-it-yourself PDF documents like finger ring sizer and chain sizer, which can be downloaded to know what is your finger ring/ chain size.”
“This apart, online customers have the option to return the product within seven days of receiving it in case these don’t help. In addition to this, we have set a strong backend to ensure the customers are guided appropriately,” he added.
Domino’s, on the other hand, feels that technology and outlook of the consumer plays a vital role in his/her decision to go online and order. “E-commerce as such is picking up slowly in India and has not become as big as it was envisaged. There are limitations on both sides of the table. On the seller side, there is an issue of connectivity and reliability of the infrastructure networks, and on the consumer’s side, there is sheer inertia and inhibition as they have not tried this medium earlier. Also, the penetration of broadband in India is abysmally low, which means that majority of people use dial-up connections with low bandwidth to access the Internet. This really slows down the entire ordering process and acts as an experience dampener. But these are minor issues and would get sorted out with time,” Amritesh explained.
(The concluding part of the report appears on July 7, 2010.)