India is rapidly marching towards becoming a digitally empowered society. The push for e-governance, the proliferation of smartphones, increasing Internet access, and booming digital payments are fueling the country’s journey towards a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025. The widespread acceptance of digital is being seen as a catalyst for overall economic growth, and with the combination of favorable demographics and policy reforms, India presents a unique and powerful growth story.
Nowadays the thought of living without E-commerce seems unfathomable, complicated and an inconvenience to many. It wasn’t until only a few decades ago that the idea of E-Commerce had even appeared.
The history of E-Commerce started 40 years ago and, to this day, continues to grow with new technologies, innovations, and thousands of businesses entering the online market each year. Electronic Data Interchanges and teleshopping in the 1970s paved the way for the modern-day E-Commerce stores. The history of E-Commerce is closely intertwined with the history of the internet. Online shopping only became possible when the internet was opened to the public in 1991. Amazon.com was one of the first E-Commerce sites in the US to start selling products online and thousands of businesses have followed since. The convenience, safety, and user experience of E-Commerce have improved exponentially since its inception.
In 2011, while a lot of online retail had started already like E Bay, Flipkart etc. with the easier categories such as electronics, books and the likes, the first wave of lifestyle products started becoming big with the likes of apparel, accessories, and jewellery being sold online. Some of the big names, including Myntra, Jabong, and Yebhi, started becoming big around this time. Today, a lot of the growth of the E-Commerce marketplaces is contributed to by fashion and lifestyle products, and furniture, while standardized products still continue their big share of the revenue.
In 2012, A lot of private online-only or online-first brands came into existence around this time. These included Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Dollar Shave Club, among others in the US, and closer home in India there were Urban Ladder, Bluestone, Zivame, Zovi, and Yepme, etc. These brands started creating distinct brand recalls.
In 2013, Google controlled pretty much all of the companies’ marketing budgets until 2012. Once Facebook started monetizing its newsfeed, it also became a big force to reckon with; a 360-degree strategy (which involves social media, re-targeting, and mass media) is the preferred strategy for most brands, was implemented during that phase.
The internet has played a significant role in our daily life, in that people can talk through the
internet to the ones who are actually on the other side of the Earth. They can send an email around the clock, can search for information, can play a game with others, and even can buy things online. Meanwhile, Internet shopping has been widely accepted as a way of purchasing products and services. It has become a more popular means in the Internet world.
On the other hand, there were and are consumers who still feel uncomfortable buying online. Lack of trust, for instance, seems to be the major reason that impedes consumers to buy online. Also, consumers have a need to examine and feel the products and to meet friends and get some more comments about the products before purchasing.
Back in those days, the way we shopped for products was drastically different from the way we shop today. Most of us still trusted brick-and-mortar stores, we didn’t have price comparison services, and we were at the mercy of large corporations for discounts.
Here’s an example to describe how consumer behavior worked back in those days and how it works now:
Imagine yourself as a customer in the year 2005. You just walked into a grocery store to buy a bottle of shampoo. You look down the aisle and see over 10 shampoos of different brands and types, and you need to make a decision on which one to purchase.
You may consider several factors when making this decision — the design of the label, the position of that shampoo on the shelf, and the detailed explanation on the label.
Now let’s go back to the same story from the start but in the year 2011. Today, as a customer, you have sufficient access to smartphones and the internet to go beyond the shelf when evaluating the product.
In fact, you might not be at the physical store at all since E-Commerce stores like Amazon and Walmart.com have also become significantly more popular, serving as viable alternatives to the physical retail store.
Therefore, when you need something like shampoo, you are unlikely to go directly to the store to purchase, but rather go online to search for something like “the best shampoo in the world”.
Beyond all the hype about the arrival of e-commerce lies the pros and cons of it for the global and Indian fashion industry. There’s no alteration to the fact that the emergence of e-commerce has transformed the modern marketplace. As a coin has it’s two sides, in the same way, online fashion services also have its own set of disadvantages and advantages compared to conventional brick-and-mortar businesses. Therefore, industries have their perspectives on the value of e-commerce, for the fashion industry emergence of e-commerce has more pros than cons. E-commerce has led to the expansion of the fashion industry, it made shopping convenient for the consumers as they need not travel to long distances to purchase a product. Following are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of e-commerce in fashion-
1. E-commerce in fashion minimizes the need for physical fashion stores and allows international and fast fashion brands to enhance their customer base.
2. Moving to online platforms has cut down on finances by saving money on rent, utilities, maintenance, and other costs associated with physical stores.
3. E-commerce provides virtual fitting options with the use of technology
4. E-commerce has led fashion brands to scale up easier than physical retailers.
5. It has made it easier for fashion brands to maintain contact with consumers.
6. E-commerce makes things easier for the companies when it comes to the supply chain, easier transactions are flown with fewer opportunities for accounting errors.
7. Last but not the least, e-commerce allows your business to track logistics, which is key to a successful e-commerce company.
8. E-business fashion houses offer huge sales and discounts as compared to physical stores.
9. E-commerce sites for fashion are well equipped in terms of safety, so there is no fear of using websites.
10. E-commerce offers you more options as compared to the physical stores.
1. In the future, it may erase or minimize the concept of physical stores, altogether.
2. Numerous shoppers still rely on the personal touch and relationships formed at a brick-and-mortar shop.
3. With the arrival of e-commerce, cyber crime has also increased, security and credit card fraud have become huge risks when dealing with online shopping.
4. There’s no doubt that e-commerce offers low prices than physical marketplace but there’s a multiplicity of regulations and taxes that come with opening an e-commerce shop
5. Shipping is extremely convenient for the consumers but it sometimes adds inconvenience and confusion to the business.
6. At times fashion brands who compete in these price wars witnesses, their profits decline.
We have two main fashion E-Commerce sellers that have changed the vogue and lifestyle scenario over the past few years with their hard work and customer-centric developments.
1. Myntra is one of the leading fashion centric Indian E-Commerce company, with their headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It was founded in the year 2007 by Ashutosh Lawania, Mukesh Bansal and Vineet Saxena. Initially started as a B2B platform, Myntra was acquired by Flipkart in 2014 and since then, it has grown many folds.
2. com a venture started in 2010, it is an online fashion store that sells looks of the universal street styles, superstar looks and runways. It has currently tied up with many national and international brands and also launched products under its own brand name.
3. Pernia Pop Up shop was set up by Pernia Qureshi in the year 2012, giving 500 designers a platform to showcase and sell their designer wear outfits. Just recently Pernia Pop Up shop has been taken over by Purple Style Labs.
4. One of the leading online portals for fashion, Jabong has turned the tables for the entire fashion industry with their trendsetting styles. Founded in 2012 by Praveen Sinha, Lakshmi Potluri, Arun Chandra Mohan and Manu Jain, the company has its headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka. In September 2017, Jabong was declared as the 3rd largest global E-Commerce partner for one the topmost brands, Dorothy Perkins.
With new E-Commerce platforms paving a path to success for the nation, sales in fashion and the lifestyle sector have gone up! Since the advent of social media such as Instagram and Facebook stores, and commissioned sales platforms like Etsy that run on a very low commission model, especially to promote newbies in the industry, Indian E-Commerce is seeing new heights. The only thing being, till how long can these platforms sustain on the same low-cost model when they’re already against such cut-throat competitors like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, and eBay? And if they don’t, how else do you think start-up businesses can thrive if not for these budding E-Commerce platforms?