Industry bets on e-commerce

CIOL Bureau
New Update

  BANGALORE: Having learnt the hard lessons from the dotcom bust early this decade, Internet companies in the 2.0 era are gearing up to serve the e-commerce market in India, is expected to touch the Rs 2300 crore mark in 2007.


The industry feels that e-commerce is slowly but surely coming of age now. This was the over-riding feeling among participants at the Nasscom event, What's Next: The New Realities in eCommerce, held here today.

“The pace of innovation has accelerated in web 2.0. In-season retail is on the increase in India and the world is now different, since no intermediary is required with search technology being in place,” said Gautam Thakar, country manager, eBay India marketplace.

He added that proof of the rapid spread of e-commerce could be gauged from the fact that it is popular in B and C class towns in India. This market currently accounts for 40 per cent of the online shoppers on eBay.


Highlighting current e-commerce trends, Ajith Balakrishnan, chairman and CEO,, stressed that it was a myth that online shoppers were always looking for cheap deals. “In-store/ full price products are a popular product category. People don’t mind paying 6-7 per cent premium for convenience,” he said. He added that unlike the US, online sale of end-of-life products and collectibles had not caught on in India.

Balakrishnan also said that e-commerce companies could borrow ideas from Chris Andersen’s book the Long Tail, to target specific opportunities. “On, the top 10 best sellers don’t account for maximum sales, but only make up for 5 per cent of the 200,000 titles sold every year.”

In the panel discussion, participants felt that rather than on relying on international models, companies would need to look at India-specific models to be sustainable. Deep Kalra, founder of, said that compared to the US, which has a population with more or less homogenous preferences, the same could not be said of India.


Illustrating the same view-point, Mahendra Swaroop, former CEO of Indiatimes, said that job sites and took totally different approaches to the Indian market. “While Naukri preferred to put in 600 people to tie up with companies, took the self-service route.

He also added that businesses need to tap opportunities in the “real world” to be successful.

“E-commerce is not all virtual, but is in the real world. Companies would have to take up opportunities that are created in the real world instead of creating their own virtual e-commerce platforms.”


Presenting a bullish view on the Indian e-commerce segment, K Vaitheeswaran, CEO, Fabmall, said that the success of the Indian railways ticketing site had raised the credibility of online transactions in India.

“People felt that if the Government-run Indian railways site can be safe, e-commerce would be secure. People are becoming comfortable on the Net. In the next 12-18 months, we’ll see big growth.”

He also said that fears over online security were misplaced. “Security compromises happen offline and not online. Yet millions believe that it’s a security risk.”

© CyberMedia News