Friday 22 February 2008

Internet start-ups and E-commerce

For sometime now I have been associated with internet, professionally. From selling broadband connections to now being a part of an internet start-up. Had it not been the latter, I would have remained one of those who felt that internet = entertainment.

Things are different now, having put in a year in an internet start-up, I have been a part of many projects including website build, maintenance, rebuild (improvents to previous versions), photography sessions and marketing. All this has given me an exposure towards internet that I had never imagined!

From just regular once-in-a-while logging on, I am online almost through the day...from just checking my e-mails and chatting, I have subscribed to various RSS feeds...from downloading porn to purchasing lingerie for my wife! With this new found love for internet - I have also started respecting it more and it is becoming a part of life!

In this post - I would like to talk about an interesting question that I had come across nearly couple of months back. The question was: there are many start-ups in this field, but not many are e-commerce models. There is a huge number that is going towards social networking, job-sites, information - but how many are truly selling products (not services) online? Not many...but why? This question, though asked by someone I didn't know then - but I realised it is something that I have been thinking about for sometime myself. I want to discuss this with you as well...

First, let me give you some numbers (that I have read in recent past) - IRCTC does nearly 50,000 transactions daily, about 80% airline tickets are bought online, movie tickets along with tickets for concerts are picking up in online sales...but how many plain white shirts sold on the internet or how many mobiles were sold online - well these are relatively small in numbers or not known in public.

What it tells me is - we Indians are not averse to using credit cards and are becoming more confident of security of credit card details when used online. This is evident from soaring business that Travel companies are doing. Then the question becomes - what stops consumers to go online and purchase other products? And is this question the reason why there are not many e-commerce start-ups selling products in India.

Is touch and feel such a big deterrent that when it comes to products that can be seen, held, felt - they have literally no or few takers online? Or can we say that India has not become so busy that shopping is still an activity for which we want to get out of our homes and convenience is really not an advantage? I somehow am not convinced that Indian are still averse to using credit cards online!

Do give your feedback and comments - I will appreciate it deeply. Thanks.

No comments: