Online India… the web of milk and honey
India was shining and now its booming. Rich are getting richer, poor are where they were, the growing middle class is growing at great speeds and we have a new world of online entrepreneurs putting India on the world map!
I decided I had to gain entry into that club of online entrepreneurs; after all I am married to an online entrepreneur (see www.bestphonedeals.com.au) and digital marketing professional. (See www.oneclickcustomers.com).
But first, THE STRATEGY: (~takes me back to my LBS days)
Internet users in India have crossed the 100 million mark with Indians surfing the net via desktops, laptops, Ipads, mobile phones; soon we will see the internet being accessed by our little toddlers on their toy laptops! Although probably not, because my daughter is far more comfortable in using my Ipad than her toy laptop!
People go online in their offices, at home, in the car, in the cafe, anywhere really (seriously what was life like without the internet??). Not to mention that it’s not just the SEC A surfing the internet and shopping online (see infographic below courtesy www.oneclickcustomers.com).
When I first moved back to India in 2009 I used to be amazed at watching rickshaw wallahs talking on their mobiles while cycling or street vendors selling kulcha channas chatting with their friends (by the way I noticed that Prince Paan guy in GK 1 who has the most delicious gol gappas in Delhi, has the latest Apple Iphone!). There are more mobile phones in India than there are bank accounts. The mobile phone has penetrated across societies, across income groups, across everything… and with the mobile comes the internet.
So the point is that no matter who you are, what you do, where you live, how much you earn, chances are that you are surfing the internet and shopping online. Bottom line, the online retail market is huge (over INR 2700 Crores), it’s young (72%) and it’s growing! According to an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) survey, the online retail market in India may grow to INR 70 billion (over $1.30 billion) by 2015 from INR 20 billion in 2011 as internet access improves.
From travel to electronics and baby products the universe is vast and anything you sell online (as long as you do it well) will sell. There was a time not long ago when we used the internet to conduct research via Google if we were on the lookout for a new mobile phone or TV or any home appliance. Now we are actually buying these products on the internet. We have only just scratched the surface though, penetration is still low and so the potential is enormous.
There is a huge market for gifting in India, apparently about INR 12,000 Crores worth, so I thought I’d take a shot at it. We are creating a unique product within the gifting arena which is based on the ‘gift experiences’ concept. We are tying up with well-known brands in India to offer experience vouchers as an option for gifts. More on this in my ‘Here it comes’ blog…
With all the media frenzy about ecommerce sites winning large amounts of funding from angel investors and Venture Capitalists, I decided it’s time to take the plunge! For example, India’s largest group buying portal, Snapdeal raised US$12 Million first and US$ 40 Million about six months later, all in 2011. Fashionandyou.com, a private shopping site for luxury brands and designer apparel & accessories, has raised US$ 50 Million so far. Other sites like babyoye.com, launched by a young couple not too long ago now have the likes of Karisma Kapoor advertising for them on primetime television!
The REALITY CHECK:
These are the success stories amongst hundreds of internet flops unfortunately, so one has to be careful not to get too carried away. For example taggle.com which was a group buying site first in the service business and later selling products. Although they saw increasing revenues, with the Flipkarts of the world coming into the picture, Taggle couldn’t deal with the price war and bowed down early. They too received hefty funding – US$ 8.5 Million.
It’s a new game, but with the right offering and more importantly the right marketing, it’s a game which can be won.
What used to be the 4 Ps for traditional marketing have now become the 4 Ss for Internet marketing (concept created by Siddharth Lal).
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) aka Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Social Media Optimization (SMO)
- Site Analytics Optimization (SAO)
Summer 2012! Watch this space for more on my daily struggles and successes in setting up this online business with the dream of one day also receiving copious amounts of funding and the likes of Hrithik Roshan advertising for us
aah, the thought…………………