Venu Somineni, Chairman & Founder of MyDeals247 and International Best-Selling Author of OneBookforLifeSuccess shares his views on the current challenges that ecommerce industry is undergoing. MyDeals247 is a personalized eCommerce platform in India that provides most of the branded products and services at the lowest prices in the rural areas (across India).
What are some of the issues faced by the Ecommerce industry?
Establishing trust is a key factor for an ecommerce company. Quality of the product, delivery, warranty and all constituted to developing the proper trust. So, if we can consolidate all these issues and get them fixed for good, a major part of the challenge would be dealt with and the trust factor will be established. Another challenge faced by the industry is regarding the attitude and beliefs of the buyer. Every business is aggressive to do array of services, but still the buyers are not responding that positively. A large percent of Indians go online on a regular basis now, but a good majority of them do not buy online.
The traffic is good but not the sales. It is like a shopping mall, wherein tens of thousands of people are stepping in, but only a few hundreds of them are actually buying products.
It’s about the people at the end of the day. The estimated worth of retail industry in the country is around Rs. 8 lakh crore, but only about 5.5 percent sales of this industry is happening online. This testifies that the majority of customers still do not trust online buying.
People have to understand the business model and start trusting the business. A major revolution should come from people. Also, there is no real time platform for buyers and sellers in the local city. For instance, when you go to a website, it is no different from you walking into a personal store and picking up products for the price they offer. The buyers do not know where the product is shipped from. This can be a catalyst for delivery issues among the customers. Moreover, the most players are selling everything and this is resulting in the buyers getting a bit defocused. I believe the future lies in complete personalization of the customer’s needs.
Why many of these ecommerce companies fail these days and struggle to survive?
The major reason is "Following the Followers." It’s alright to get your inspiration from someone else's idea, but you need to refine it and create a differentiation. Today, creating a website to sell your products or services is not a herculean task. The real problem lies in creating that factor that differentiates your company from other companies in the same market, and this has to be done in order to build a successful company.
How do you see the consumer trend in the U.S. and India?
U.S. market is very different and way more mature when compared to Indian market. Their ecommerce game plan is probably 5 - 7 years ahead of us. Every big company that you see today started very small and unknown like here in India. If something goes wrong with the delivery or attempt to fraud, the matter is very sensitive there, and companies take good care in making none. And that is the reason people order without any fear or doubt. The delivery is also very prompt.
As an industry India is good. It is a very attractive market to be in, we just need to work out a really good process and eventually overcome the problems.
What is the current priority and plans for India?
We started as an online company focusing on the volume of products. Discount is directly proportional to the number of products. Our business is kind of a group buying where people come together and share it amongst themselves. The top 5 lowest offers are picked as the best and sold. And money is made only when transaction happens.
We are the first company in India to get into the rural areas and encourage companies there to partner with us, and we very happy to see the excellent results. We have 650 partners in South India itself. We go to every district and identifying influences. There are two problems that I noticed in rural areas: the awareness of such a kind of business is less and the access to connectivity is comparatively low. We are trying to solve both these problems. The minute a company joins with us they can assume they have added 650 sales force. And our plan is to tie-up with ten thousand companies by the end of this year.
(As told to Christo Jacob)