Even as the number of e-commerce sites is growing, there are certain fundamental stumbling blocks that the industry has not been able to overcome completely yet. Consumers are still not comfortable shopping online. Some of the main issues that haunt consumers are trust, quality of the product and sharing personal details online.
Harish Bahl, Founder and Chairman, Smile Group, noted that it is trust that build customer loyalty and business relationship. “Many Indian customers prefer going offline when it comes to shopping; it is only a small segment of the people that buys products online.”
He urged e-commerce outfits to be nimble to address consumers’ concerns as well as demands.
Brand loyalty differs from person to person and also among different class segments. Suneet Manchanda, Co-Founder & COO, Ladyblush.com, felt that women are more loyal to brands, when it comes to online shopping, though it differs when it comes to shopping offline as they bargain at that platform often.
He considered the voucher system also affecting the e-commerce industry as most buyers visit a site only for the discount coupons. “Consumers visit the site to find out about the deal of the day rather than being loyal to the website,” he said.
These issues apart, consumers are extremely wary when it comes to sharing personal details while shopping online.
In order to address these issues, Manu Kumar Jain, Co-Founder, Jabong.com, suggest reaching out to the consumers and value their time spent online.
Admitting that his father too never shopped online as he is comfortable sharing the credit card details, Jain said that consumers need to be educated about the security systems in place and also point out the fact the whole process as simple and safe as swiping the card while shopping offline.
Agreeing with Manchanda, Amit Tiwari, Country Head, Media & Digital at Philips India, observed, “Customers open various e-commerce sites and goes through all of them. When they find the product at the lowest price, they opt for it.” Thus more than loyalty to a site, consumers tend to go bargain hunting online too.
The panellists were speaking at the Pitch Roundtable on e-commerce, oragnised by exchange4media in New Delhi on August 30, 2012.