GST & tax measures play a crucial role in e-commerce: Sundeep Malhotra
In spite of the devaluation of the Rupee, e-commerce has managed to exhibit considerable growth. The medium has nonetheless been flooded with a number of issues, including need of OpEx, higher logistical assistance and extensive internet penetration.
In conversation with exchange4media, Sundeep Malhotra, Founder and CEO, Homeshop18 chats about the opportunities and threats the industry is facing...
How has devaluation of the Rupee affected the e-commerce industry?
There aren’t many repercussions of the devaluation of Rupee on the e-commerce industry. As e-commerce is broadly divided into online shopping and online travel, there is no direct impact on a pan-India virtual retailer like HomeShop18. As most of the brands sold by an Indian e-commerce portal are India-based local offerings, there is no major impact of the Rupee falling in value.
What are your views on FDI in e-commerce?
We would definitely say that the FDI ban on e-commerce should be lifted. This will not only speed up the growth of this booming industry but will also channelise the growth in the right direction. Besides FDI, uniform GST and tax measures across states will also play a crucial role in strengthening virtual commerce in India. E-commerce is a high investment, long gestation business and hence, needs to have access to substantial funding over extended periods. FDI would help the industry grow faster.
How should the Government proceed to get India in the rank of China ad America in terms of e-commerce?
E-commerce has a great future in India, given the growth of internet, changing lifestyle, growing faith in online shopping, etc. As internet is growing multi-folds, so is the online shopping business. It is interesting to note that the e-commerce growth in India is very rapid as compared to the West. In the West, Walmart was created 50 years ago, QVC about 30 years ago and Amazon just 15 years ago. In India, all these are coming at the same time. So, there is a fundamental difference between the West and India. Indians as consumers are imbibing technology rapidly and quickly.
For it to expand further in India, it is important for our Government to recognise e-commerce as an industry. Mobile and internet growth drives e-commerce penetration. Further development in internet (broadband & 4G), especially in tier II and tier III towns will definitely help. Uniform GST and tax measures across states will also play a crucial role to make e-commerce a success story in India. There is also a need to have better logistical infrastructures across cities to boost services and delivery by e-commerce companies.
Do you have any interesting plans in the pipeline?
We plan to grow our customer base by reaching out to more people and continue servicing existing customers to their full satisfaction in terms of great value and service. HomeShop18 aims to continuously innovate and expand to provide better for the online shopper. We are investing in strengthening our back-end technology and logistics to provide a seamless and differentiated shopping experience.
CRM is another area of focus for us. Our investments in Customer Relationship Management will increase as we believe it’s very important to know your customers and their preferences. This will help us in servicing them better and ensuring loyalty towards the brand.
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