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Last Updated : Feb 12, 2016 03:42 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

'E-tailing era set to revolutionise SME sector in India'

E-tailing sector promises to revolutionise the business model of small and medium enterprises in every district and village in India. The sector is growing at an annual rate of over 35% and its size is expected to reach $30 billion in three years from the present level of $15 billion.

“E-tailing sector promises to revolutionise the business model of small and medium enterprises in every district and village in India. The sector is growing at an annual rate of over 35% and its size is expected to reach $30 billion in three years from the present level of $15 billion. Availability of smart digital devices, internet penetration, skilled manpower are growth drivers in this sector. Small and medium enterprises are able to take advantage of the e-tailing industry owing to the advancement in the information and communication technologies. SMEs can compete effectively in the online space through innovative branding strategy. Online branding is an important part of the success of e-tailing,” said Shri. Moize Hussain Ali, Deputy Director General & State Informatics Officer, National Informatics Centre, Government of India in his keynote address at the moderated Panel discussion on ‘Branding: Embracing the E-tailing Era’.

The panel discussion was organized jointly by the World Trade Centre Mumbai and All India Association of Industries (AIAI) on February 11, 2016.

Mr. Ali further pointed out that the sustainability of e-commerce business model depends on the level of trust it generates amongst consumers, the risk perception on web security, internet penetration etc. Government must evolve standard operating procedures for doing business through the online platform. The sector can attract foreign direct investment owing to its strong growth potential, policy environment.

In order to ensure safety of online transaction, Government of Maharashtra is working on setting up cyber security cell in every district. Also, efforts are underway to set up computer emergency response team to track online frauds and take suitable remedies, Mr. Ali informed.

The central and state governments are leveraging the potential of information and communication technologies to deliver public services in villages through initiatives like e-panchayat, digitization of Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) markets, Mr. Ali added.  

Mr. Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan from Networked India moderated the session.

Mr. Amit Thapliyal, Head- Marketing & Digital Initiatives, Vinculum Group pointed out that there is a huge growth opportunity for third party logistics providers in the B2C segment of e-commerce. The marketplace model has tremendously enhanced the consumer reach of small and medium enterprises. E-commerce companies must take efforts to create brand loyalty which is not only the result of product quality but also timely delivery of orders. Companies can meet the customer satisfaction through innovative partnerships of retailers and marketplace e-commerce platforms, Mr. Thapliyal added.

Mr. Soumya Banerjee, Senior Vice President - Product Management Digital, Infibeam.com, emphasized the need for e-commerce companies to distinguish themselves from their competitors by communicating the unique selling proposition and brand image of their products and services through proper online channels. Companies must select the right product and target the right category of consumers to compete successfully in the online space.

E-commerce companies must be capable of generating leads in online searches by designing mobile friendly websites, so that consumers can easily discover their products on internet.
Mr. Chirag Arya, Co-Founder, iChef.in, suggested that e-tailing companies must identify gaps in products and services market and exploit it by creating an innovative, cost-effective business model. E-commerce companies in the food delivery sector are adopting efficient cold storage and logistics technologies to deliver food items to far off consumers while preserving the quality of food.

Mr. Apurva Mankad, Founder & CEO, WebXpress, pointed out the growth opportunities provided by tier 2, tier 3 and tier 4 towns in India for e-commerce companies. There is huge entrepreneurship opportunity in the logistics and warehousing industry which is valued around $120 billion in India presently. Leading e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon have established strong logistics and transportation network in the last five years to create efficient delivery model and ensure consumer satisfaction. Small enterprises in the e-commerce space must emulate the successful business model of Flipkart and Amazon to remain competitive in the industry. The industry is grappling with the issue of manpower shortage, especially availability of delivery boys. In the next 10 years, the industry would offer job opportunity to around 5 lakh delivery boys or biker boys. Going forward, e-commerce companies must partner with logistics companies to create a robust supply chain in the industry, Mr. Mankad explained.

Earlier in his welcome address, Capt. Somesh Batra, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai remarked that India has made a great start in the e-tailing or electronic retailing sector. The e-tailing companies support micro small and medium enterprises eliminating middlemen, enhancing customer reach and prompting brand image. Capt. Batra highlighted the importance of branding in creating appropriate image of the product in the minds of the customers. E-tailing companies also ensure cost-effective delivery of goods from factory gate to consumer points. The growth of the e-tailing industry depends on widespread availability of internet, availability of logistics infrastructure, access to finance and progressive policy environment, Capt. Batra concluded.
First Published on Feb 12, 2016 03:42 pm