February - 2013 - issue > CEO Spotlight
Choose the Right Business Model
Niraj Shah
Co- founder & CEO-Wayfair.com
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Headquartered in Boston, Wayfair is a multinational e – commerce company and is a provider of online houseware and home furnishing goods. Launched in2011, the company has raised a total of $201.3 million to date from Battery Ventures, Great Hill Partners, HarbourVest Partners and Spark capital.

The last few years has seen a tremendous influx in the worldwide base of internet users’ with the global audience poised to reach the 2 billion landmark. However, the past two years has witnessed a lot of exciting entities for the internet in general. The advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has revolutionized the way individuals consociate and there has also been augmentation of a plethora of applications which has transformed the accustomed process of carrying out day to day tasks.

Since its onset as an online bookstore, the E-commerce industry has undergone a prodigious change and emerged as a contemporary trend in shopping. The emancipation of E-commerce industry can be attributed to the vast base of internet users along with the recent technological advances, which has provided shoppers with convenience and flexibility while providing value addition to the product. The addition of new product categories which cater to a much mature market segment and ability to choose from a wide range of products has been an impelling cause behind the success of E-commerce and that the next few years are going to be phenomenal for the E-commerce industry.

The Impetus

According to a report by Interactive Media in retail group (IMRG), 2013 will witness the global E-commerce sales figure surpass the $1.25 trillion benchmark. With developing countries increasingly adapting to changing technologies, the industry is hovering on the thresholds of further expansion. In my opinion the next big change will be when companies modify their catalogues to incorporate product categories that are more profound and critical in nature by using various visual tools available thus making E-commerce more convenient and ideal.

The major challenge for startups in E-commerce is to identify the business model that works best in the market. Most of the time it has been noted that a business model that works in one region may not work in another.

Startups should also understand that different regions have different adoption rate and it depends upon the infrastructure available in the respective region. A great example of growth of E-commerce would be Japan and South Korea. The U.S. has been a leader in the E-commerce industry but given its acceptance in the Chinese market, China may soon evolve to be the leading E-commerce market. Another great example would be the Indian market which has a challenging environment still companies like Flipkart are performing commendably owing to their aggressive nature.

My advice to young entrepreneurs would be to be patient and work hard, and always strive towards offering best services to the consumers. Different business models are timed differently, but given time and through hard work and innovation it is only a matter of time before any business takes off.

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