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.
When did E-Commerce arrive?
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.
Sale of fashion and lifestyle products on E -Commerce platforms
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 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 till 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.
What followed after this is history!
Consumer Behaviour in the beginning
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 email around the clock, can search for information, can play 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 to buy 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 a shampoo, you are unlikely to go directly to the store to purchase, but rather go online to search something like “the best shampoo in the world”.
Pioneers of India based fashion E-Commerce sellers in India
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
From the IKF Desk on when did E – Commerce arrive?
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 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?