Social Networking opening new vistas in e-commerce

Date:   Monday , March 31, 2008

From a speculative beginning in 1999-2000 when dotcom companies selling all sorts of goods sprouted and perished, e-commerce has come a long way. The online shopping market is on a growth path with more and more users finding it a convenient and faster option. Vendio made its entry into the e-commerce solutions market early in 1998 with products and services to help e-commerce merchants reach their customers, manage transactions, and profitably grow business. In an exclusive interview with The Smart Techie, Rodrigo Sales, CEO of Vendio shares his views on the key trends in the fast growing e-commerce space.

What are the current trends in e-commerce?
Today, merchants are looking for more channels for selling their products. If you look back, five years ago ebay was the only cost effective platform for small and medium vendors. With the proliferation of comparative price listing sites, they are now showcasing their products in more than one platform. Another noticeable trend is that they are opening up online stores and are able to drive in traffic without any abnormal burden. The online store is becoming the center of e-commerce for these vendors. Few years back, having an online store was an expensive affair. They are using adwords campaigns and email marketing to grab the attention of the shoppers. The business intelligence tools are also helping the vendors to know where customers came from and what prompted them to buy, among other things. One of the major turning points has been the entry of e-commerce in social networking sites.

Witnessing the steady growth in the e-commerce space, we are planning to add more features and functionalities to our platform Dealio and make it a robust one.

That means there is a lot of change in the online consumer behavior. How do you define the online consumer behavior today?
Recently, the e-commerce space is capturing a different variety of consumers and the percentage is increasing steadily. With the penetration and increased use of Internet, consumers are adopting e-commerce and are finding it more convenient to shop in the online space. Today, the online shopping engines provide a great user experience. Moreover, consumers can also compare the prices in the space, without having to physically visit different stores to check the prices. Even the lack of trust factor, which was a major hurdle for the growth of e-commerce, is improving due to the strides taken by the online vendors to protect and secure the personal information provided by the consumers. The emergence of online pay channels like PayPal, the single point payment portal, also encourages consumers to have more trust in online shopping.

Much is being said about m-commerce or mobile commerce. Is it just hype or does it really have a growth potential?
M-commerce is not hype and it does have a growth potential. But we have a long way to go before this captures a larger share of the market. Today, only the high end phones support browsing applications and allow Internet usage. Another major hurdle is the security of the vital information passed from the mobile phones. The portals also will have to optimize their mobile interface. Though sales will gain momentum in another few years, consumers will be using it mostly for comparing prices to avoid an impulsive buy at a store or for some immediate purchase.

What are some of the road blocks or hurdles in the e-commerce space?
Even today, to find an exact list of results for your search profile is a technology challenge. For example, if you search for a mobile phone in the shopping sites, you will not only get mobile phones but there will be a list of related things like mobile headset, mobile phone cases or covers coming up in the search. The Vendio Bangalore center is working towards making the search technology more optimal and faster.

How strategic is the India center to the company and what are your future plans for India?
The India development center has significantly contributed to the growth of the company. We have had a great deal of success, building top notch products from ground up from our IDC, Bangalore. We are planning to further expand the India operations and hire more product engineering talent in the center. There continues to be an excellent talent pool in India and we are planning to leverage those resources towards Vendio’s success.