One Big Idea by Ankur Warikoo: Local e-commerce is the way ahead for small businesses

18 Feb,2013

By Ankur Warikoo, CEO, Groupon India


The next big idea for the Indian industry is local e-commerce – defined as buying and selling of products that are distance- or location-dependent. Think of restaurants, beauty and wellness services, and health services.


Over 70 per cent of the Indian retail segment constitutes local trade, with food dominating it. This segment is not only a high-purchase-frequency segment (compared to traditional product e-commerce), it is suffering from lack of marketing innovation from the business side.


For the customer, the introduction of local e-commerce is inevitable. India is perhaps the only country where internet penetration has almost magically timed itself with the average population age. We have half the population aged below 27 years, making us one of the youngest countries in the world – and an internet penetration that is only scratching the surface. This population has grown up on the Internet and is willing to transact. Compare that with developed economies, where it is the older generation, hard-wired to traditional media, that is driving the Internet and its use. The convenience of buying services only, as against products, is new for the customer but one that is inescapable.


For businesses, the digital platform will prove to be a blessing. For years, traditional forms of advertising such as newspaper, local cable, direct marketing have been non-measurable and expensive ways of marketing. Digital introduces them to a new way of marketing – one that is measurable, controllable, customizable and relevant.
India is unique in several ways. I believe we are at the cusp of one more such unique feature. That’s becoming the world’s biggest country in local e-commerce.


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