In last two years , I have been into roots of eCommerce in India. I was as close to Tier 1 as I am closer to Tier 2 -3-4 locations in India. I have given service to my customers in terms of directly placing Cash On Delivery order on my website , Directly prepaid orders , orders through chat facility , orders through call on Toll Free Numbers or through whatsapp. In fact , All possible channels I could open up. Years and months and days and hours and minutes have been challenging and still they are ! Its there with all but few have a team and few are just alone as me! Fewer have ample money to pool in and few have Re.1 , twenty five days a month in current account too. Anyways!
- First - I believe that Cash on Delivery is one thing which has not been right in terms of eCommerce. Because of Cash on delivery the eCommerce has become a cash burning model , the business is going to grow month on month hence there is no limit to required funding till India gets a saturation point in eCommerce , which is not possible in next 20 years too. Opening up cash on delivery for India market was important in many folds but for eCommerce industry cash on delivery has proved as a disaster.
- Second , We have brilliant minds working in India , who pioneered eCommerce in India. Thats the best part they did. India got a new direction , but seems like we started from Top and our base is very weak. We have poor logistics set ups , Many logistics companies are coming up , which is a good sign but what will they do just opening up , again we need improvement on large scale in terms of roads to various locations, we need more vehicles , more flights and of top notch technology to support.
- Third , The great projections of biggies or even small startups are in terms of the population in India , and the big projections while their funding rounds claims that they can achieve the handsome sales figures in near future. But what about internet?? How fast it will reach to that population which is the base of our projections? Even if it reaches how many people will afford it ? Even if they afford how many are literate and open enough to use it? Will India be able to be app only platform sooner in Tier 2-3 4 locations which is more than 85% of India. The eCommerce can undoubtedly do it , I respect the talent but will the other factors like internet reach , literacy will let it happen sooner as projected? Even in Tier 1-2 locations if you travel you are never able to access app well while travelling.
Fourth , I highly doubt the startups in payment gateways - what is the basis? Hardly Indian customers pays online. It may be too much to say but maximum of 3% , If I talk about small eCommerce startups and case must be same for biggies too.
Fifth , We lack moral science! Where sometimes seller is cheating and sometimes customers. The painful agreements of the eCommerce and logistics , where they say we will charge marketplace fee 15% from shipping cost too , where they eat up more margins of seller. When they say seller have to send goods to warehouse at his cost and if not sold take your goods back at your own cost. When logistics say if your parcel is wet it is Airlines fault not ours , sue them. If your parcel is even of 150000 and it get lost , we are liable to pay only 5000. Pay for all RTO , fault may be of anyone. You are not generating volumes like lacs of shipments so you will be charged more - we will not let you grow man!! I have experienced logistics in such a way in India that encourages more RTO than delivering the products in order to earn double the two way freight. Banks in a way who do not issue credit cards or give cc limit or loans even if you have current account for 2 years, whereas in developed countries startups are supported by business credits from first day of business. My experience says you raise 10 tickets at Prime minister's portal too nobody is ever bothered to reply you. Where the payment gateways too take yearly fee first , even you may have just 20 transactions in a year, whereas international payments have no criteria of paying 10,000 bucks first even to start a payment gateway. Seems like more people are running after making some quick bucks by just tearing down the real goal under their feet.
With my sincere efforts!
Note: My article is strictly not particular to any brand. I have shared my own views as per my experience working on my own venture simbacart.com. My views may not be right as I have not taken any references while writing this article. It is just an honest piece of writing from an entrepreneur who is a layman & thats me :-)