Will mobile commerce live up to its promise, the role of strong payment gateways, cheap and accessible broadband – these were some of the pertinent topics that came up for discussion at the National Conference on Digital Commerce, organised by IAMAI in Delhi on November 27, 2009.
The session on ‘Building the digital commerce ecosystem’ was moderated by Amitabh Pandey, President eBiz, Thomas Cook. The panel members included Rishi Lhiana, CEO, Times Internet Ltd; Vivek Nayak, COO, Avenues India; Brijesh Agarwal, COO, IndiaMART; and Cory York, Country Director, Novator India.
Initiating the discussions, Pandey asked the panelists, “Why are we bothered about the infrastructure when we don’t have business? Currently, e-Commerce is mostly confined to ticketing. The infrastructure is not yet in place.”
Rishi Khiani noted, “We have come a long way. We have 400 million mobile phone users in the country today. However, in my opinion it is going to take some time to get a good pace in the business. Mobile commerce will not work for commodities as we are addicted to the touch and feel experience while buying a product, but it will surely work for ticketing. The introduction of 3G will go a long way in promoting mobile commerce.”
On the various payment gateways, Vivek Nayak explained, “The Internet will create benefits when the more audience will come to it. There are lots of payments gateways emerging today other than credits cards. The transaction tools will further boost e-Commerce. However, there must be risk management and fraud protection for the future growth of the digital commerce.”
In a short presentation, Brijesh Agarwal took the audience through the journey of, what he called, ‘from Man-to-Man transaction to Man-to-Machine transaction’. Agarwal stressed on the pre-selection process of customers while focusing on e-Commerce. He added that it was important to see what kind of a user experience and value was provided so that the user was enticed to adopt e-commerce.
According to him, growth in digital commerce depended on three factors – quality concerns, security concerns and reliable fulfillment. “We need to avoid copying blatant business models of the US and the UK, and instead concentrate on what users in India want,” he added.
For Cory York, it was not just building an ecosystem, but building the right ecosystem for digital commerce. Speaking at length about mobile commerce, York said that mobile commerce would live up to its promise only when 3G technology is widely available. Speaking on logistics, he said that convenience should play a large role while building an e-Commerce site. “The user wants to use an e-commerce site when he can’t go to the usual retail network,” he noted.
He further stressed on reducing the delivery time of goods ordered via an e-Commerce site. Doing a comparative analysis between some leading US and Indian e-Commerce sites, York said that while in the US, same day delivery took place, in India the delivery time took as much as 7-10 days, which defeated the very purpose of online shopping experience.
He further said that webstores needed to offer multiple options as far as products were available and also in terms of payment modes.