The first 10 Steps to taking your retail business online [#IRE 2014]

Ecommerce is becoming an integral part of retail consumption in India, with a valuation of USD 12.6 Bn in 2013 — a 34% growth since 2009 (Internet and Mobile Association of India). The entrance of some major brands like Coca-Cola, IRCTC, Titan industries, NDTV, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Indiatimes Shopping) and Network18 (HomeShop18 and BookMyShow) etc., depicts that the Ecommerce is the future. Also, Indian Ecommerce is expected to reach USD 70 Bn by 2020.

Knowing all these stats, either you are an upcoming entrepreneur or a retailer in traditional brick and mortar segment, you can realise the potential this segment offers. An online extension of your business will definitely give you easy scalability, intimate and direct customer interaction and a global footprint on the web without diluting value you get from your store network.

But before entering into the Ecommerce space, its important to understand a few basics. At iamWire’s Internet Retail Expo 2014, Dhruv Gupta, CEO GKB Opticals and Cory York, Co-Founder, Powerstores joined together to give more insights.

As per Dhruv, its important to first evaluate the market before entering into any segment, as it would help in assessing the available challenges as well as scope for the product. One must leverage its strengths.

He also stressed on the fact that web businesses are typically different from traditional retail and requires freedom of operations, wherein content acts as a powerful game changer. If a retailer is already in retail business, than he/she has already got the experience, expertise and a brand name. All one needs is to get adapted to the online environment.

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“Internet businesses are not cheap, just their cost structure is different. If you are first in India, you should be willing to take risk or wait for someone else to take it first. Learn from your experiences and give your ideas time,” added Dhruv.

Cory on the other hand believes that with a competitive market like India, its important to figure out one’s competitive advantage.  A significant level of research will help in understanding the markets as well as will also enable to know one’s reasons to go online.

Next is picking up the right technology and design. “Videos are expensive, and hard to develop, but they are investments that are worth it. Design, on the other hand is the most important factor in a website as it attracts the consumers,” said Cory.

Apart from these, rightly picking logistics providers, significant focus on customer care and deciding upon the marketing strategy are few other steps one must keep in mind while going online.

For an overview of the social media discussions around this session, see this Storify. You can also watch this three-minute trailer or the full video.

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