While the booming Indian ecommerce industry in the year 2014 was abuzz with fresh funding of close to $3.9 billion among top-e-retailers, the Flipkart-Myntra merger; Ratan Tata making personal investments in Snapdeal, Reliance’s entry into e-commerce, mega sale days like Flipkart’s Big Billion Day etc., the year also saw the recognition for cashback & coupons websites as the best performing platform for driving quality traffic & sales.
Being a price sensitive nation, India has a huge fascination with discounts and takes immense pride in the power of bargaining. Keeping this trait in mind, cashback and coupon sites are gaining a foothold in the country, and the trend of affiliate marketing is gradually gaining popularity.
On a global level, acquisition of US based cashback site Ebates.com for $1Billion by Rakuten Japan was a great precedent for cashback sites globally. Acquisition of CouponDunia by Times Internet was again recognition of the value affiliate marketing is driving to e-commerce. Affiliate sites now contribute to about 10-15 per cent of e-commerce sales and are an integral aspect in every company’s marketing plan as a great way of driving quality sales. The sector is also drawing increased investor attention and we expect 2015 to be an even stronger year.
Acknowledging the importance of affiliate sites, e-retailers like Amazon.in often offer increased commission to cashback & coupons sites to help drive traffic.
CashKaro.com alone has witnessed an overall growth of 1000 per cent in traffic and 500 per cent increase in revenues in the past 12 months.
On the legislative front, we can probably expect developments towards loosening of FDI rules in ecommerce. It also likely that we will see more Cyber laws and consumer protection acts being extended online. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) already has formed a Digital Commerce Committee which comprises of leading ecommerce companies of India as members. IAMAI would then liaise between ecommerce sites and the government to provide adequate input in the formation of new guidelines that affect our evolving ecommerce economy. Topics such as proposed amendment of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 are discussed and the IAMAI conveys feedback to the government.
This is just a glimpse of ecommerce and it’s just a sign for greater things to come. However, market leaders are emerging in many categories so while funding will remain available, investors will now look more closely to identify key USPs of ecommerce sites that will enable them to beat the existing leaders. However, investors strongly believe in the Indian fundamentals – large population, many potential consumers, and huge rate of growth so successful online businesses will have no dearth of support capital to expand. It is a very exciting time to be in Indian ecommerce right now and the industry is excited for an even bigger and better 2015.
The author is Swati Bhargava, Co-Founder, CashKaro.com