Clicking frenzy as e-commerce biggies eye India takeovers

12 Sep,2011

By Tuhina Anand

 

The news of online shopping behemoth Amazon.com firming up plans to enter India by 2010 has stirred up the e-commerce waters in India. Speculation is rife that Amazon is in talks with existing e-commerce players like flipkart.com and letsbuy.com to enter the Indian market. It is not clear how it will enter the Indian market, and players like Flipkartwhich has built an impressive name in this space who are thought to have discussed with Amazon chose not to comment on being open to selling a stake, being bought over or getting into a joint venture.

 

One thing is clear the news of Amazons entry has made existing players look at the drawbacks in their respective systems and plug them. Quickly.

 

Amazon has the advantage of being an established brand name. However, the challenges posed by the market in India are unique – from supply-chain and logistics to warehousing and payments. Any company which is starting operations in this country will have to invest time and resources to overcome challenges that most other companies operating in this space have already faced, says Mr Sachin Bansal, CEO and Co-founder, Flipkart.

 

E-commerce in India is at a nascent stage. The industry is evolving and the growth will escalate with the entrance of serious players like Amazon. Such a development should boost the momentum that the e-commerce market is now witnessing. We do not see this impacting Flipkart’s plans to a great extent. We have met all the benchmarks that we had set for ourselves and will continue to do so in the near future.

 

With consumers getting more comfortable shopping online and exploring beyond the travel market, there is boundless opportunity for existing players in this market as well as for new players. An Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) study that came out early this year suggests that the e-commerce industry in India should grow by 47 percent in 2011 and estimates that it to be around Rs 46,000 crore from being Rs 31,598 crore in 2010. This figure itself is encouraging for new players to enter the Indian market.

 

Mr K Vaitheeswaran, Founder & CEO, Indiaplaza.com, was a pioneer of online shopping in India when he founded India’s first online shopping company, www.fabmart.com, in 1999. In 2002 I co-founded an integrated online and offline shopping company, Fabmall, and later in January 2007, acquired Indiaplaza and rebranded the company as Indiaplaza.com. He is of the opinion that for the last 12 years, they have been building their online shopping company waiting for the day when e-commerce will really explode in India. That time seems to be now.

 

In fact, he says, over the past six months, their traffic has jumped five-fold and sales have tripled. One thing is sure that all the players are keeping a tab on Amazon’s entry into India.Amazon.com is the gold standard in online shopping worldwide. Their entry will be good for the consumer and the industry. For sure, their entry will increase the bar for Indian companies like Indiaplaza and we have to improve our offerings and service levels which again will benefit the consumer.Having said this, there is no need for Indian e-commerce companies to worry as such. Some players will have enough strengths and assets and they will be able to cope with the entry of Amazon.com. Those who cannot cope will fall away. This is the natural order of things. For the record – Indiaplaza will be pleased to see Amazon.com in India.

 

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