Archive for the 'Retail India' Category

Online Flower retailing – Killer E-Commerce application from and for India

With IAMAI becoming the biggest body after NASSCOM to voice concerns and release stats on E-commerce activities in india. Bloggers and media have being going gaga over simple e-commerce sites like ones selling flowers and gifts doing great volumes of business. Recent posts by and again highlighted the niche b2c sector blooming in india post dot com bubble burst and how people in india are comfortable using credit cards online.

I had first heard of online flower retailing  in 1998, at that time one would laugh at the simple notion of providing such service online due to the same factor which VC’s factor in while making investment, example quality standards and major revenues in this sector are generated by unorganized retailers. Those were the days when you also heard of mucchad panwalla with online website and whole idea of shipping pans to anywhere in the world. Most of the sites that time were concentrating on NRI market with fancy credit cards and ability to pay dollars to convert to sentiments in india. Technology was also hindering e-commerce growth in that era with no quality server farm available in india or payment gateway to process credit card transactions in indian rupees.  The online flower business in those days revolved around high markup price of goods sold and areas of delivery divided between various websites with none offering pan-india presence.

The business still revolves across the same basics of pricing but supply chain has become more efficent and lack of brand visibility has given any run of mill website with good flower selections catalogue opportunity to compete with big players. This year on valentines day i myself helped atleast 20-30 friends to orders flowers online for their girl friends online.This is another reason why i m doing SWOT analysis of the business model.

Key factors contributing to building successful online flower retailing model

– Have a catalogue of more than 100 designs. This helps user with choice but also with trust building

– discount factor should not be the main thing attracting a visitor to buy flowers online. Look at value addition like the ribbon material of greeting card with your custom message. Or free box of chocolates to go with it. Value packaging is key for deriving sales.

– Prominently display credit cards available and try to create a single page checkout page to reduce number of clicks and covert more hits to sales.

– Indian flower sites have one thing missing which is zip code/pin codes of delivery areas. If they could add that how much would it simplify for a user selecting the provider and also help you reduce extra site load which cannot convert to sales.

– has launched online flower retailing – one piece of advice for them implement an auto update service advicing buyer confirmation of delivery via e-mail/sms. This will enable buyer to call in time to capture the emotion right and use the service for this advantage.

Online flower retailing is here to stay but an organized player like ferns ‘n’ petals are better off to take advantage as e-commerce trends india suggest brand building helps in selling. Keeping in mind major sales are been still driven by NRI’s.

Sunsilk Gang of Girls bubble ready to burst

This is one review i have been thinking of doing for a really long time. Product of an advertising company taking benefits of new web 2.0 technologies ranging from blogs to power of social networking. You ask for it its all their at .

Why i liked the site it was an idea of an advertising agency not a web agency to come up with an online initative to mobilize the connected girls of tommorow. Though when the campaign was running frequently in months of Oct-Nov the site was seeing lot of activities but since then if you look on alexa for site traffic it has tend to slow down a bit. Probably HLL was right when they said they would like to take this concept further to other countries as the bubble for the site is ready to burst as far india is concerned.

Though to keep concept alive HLL later announced that concept would be re-launched for rural initative as Sunsilk Saheli it needs more than branding making available array of tools of collabration for keep the concept going.  Couple of ideas looks like deriving collabration and content via mobile phones. As mobile phones have better penetration as compared to internet in tier-II and tier-III india. Example subscribe for hair tips via sms. Competition for girls,local meets etc.

Even the current site needs lot of moderation or pumping in of fresh contents as just like most of the social networking softwares its very hard to keep users intact and force them to keep updating new content. If we dont see new user generated content comming online .We may see death of the concept for urban chick too.

As far as brand is concerned plus side for sunsilk here is ability to use power of technology to position brand successful and create following among niche users whom must have generated enough feedback for the brand to understand demographic served.  Other brands need to take a cue from here and understand how web can be used as an effective brand delivery/promotion tool.

Digital Lifestyle store India – Fight between Videocon Next and Tata Croma

With Videocon joining the retail bandwagon its interesting to see they have decided to come in the high end electronic segment which surely aligns with their group strategy. Though different from Others like bharati airtel, ITC,reliance which are trying to ride high on Agri Business. Tata on other hand have also ventured in digital lifestyle store format. Interesting to know TATA does not have their own manufacturing line in this space to fill the shelve but will be dependent on other providers.

If we look at the segment these 2 players which to build up. It has got a good margin call and people are not comfortable even abroad with idea to pickup television from the woolsworth or coles next door this means Vishal Megamart and other big retail players would not pose a really big threat to the format. The problem this section will face is from existing single brand revolving flagship stores. Example Sony World, LG,HCL digital lifestyle store etc. Though for videocon investing in brand “NEXT” will pay off as end of the day its in line with retail strategy being followed by other consumer electronics providers.

Though for TATA its a different ball game altogether. They have to work two ways. First create efficent supply chain and invest in shelf space. They will be competing with players at two different spectrum first with supply chain organizations like redington whose pie they will be eating into.Though they have tied up with Woolsworth for this end of spectrum. It will help in reducing the overall margin hence offering as player on price cant be expected. Secondly offcourse the small time next door retailers who have been converting from just another consumer electronic retailer to a branded life style digital store with all branding sponsored by big brands like samsung,sony etc.

E-commerce 2.0 – Online Shopping is India Ready

With starting to advertise in media about their online shopping website. It looks like comming in of a new wave of online shopping portals which will start to mushroom up. Though this time game and strategy will be all together different. First of all customers will be comming online not because of value online shopping derieve but convienance of shopping at the same branded retailer they do offline. As trust is the biggest factor downplaying use of internet as online medium for shopping.

Once the brands are able to establish trust factor they will be able to service large section of customers they were not able to reach out with products they could not put on shelves and by just maitaining JIT (Just-In-Time) inventory management technique. But to encourage such online ventures its important for manufacturers to create IT infrastructure which helps in real time information sharing for creating a value chain which benefit both the vendor and supplier.

Majorly following factors can be termed as potential reason for growth of B2C sales for India in 2007-08

– Retail sector will become more organized and establishment of brand names

-Broadband Penetration

– New method of E-Payments like cash card, net banking etc being promoted for online transactions

– Mobile phone acting as delivery point of information and potential sales channel.

Lets keep a wait and watch situtation for now.

Indian Online Deal Aggregator – New channel for E-Retailing

In continuation with our effort to bring out advantages of e-retailing. We look at online deal aggregator and how they are different from comparision website and value they can help you derieve.

Worldwide scenario is seeing rise of e-retailing with retailers who had invested in online sales channel comming out of red. This is a sign of encouragement for new breed of organized retailers joining the bandwagon to take the advantage.

Retailers need to maximize their interest by creating online pressence which is compatiable with new channels like comparision shopping websites,online deal aggregation sites etc.

About Online Deal Aggregators

In the west they are also called the leachers but personally i feel that these sites help consumers reduce time in sniffing through dozens of e-retailer sites for finding deal of the week. Its a newsletter website open for public advantage with link directly to the product page on merchants website. They are not selling things to you their motive is to provide right information at right time

Difference between online deal aggregators and comparision shopping websites

comparision shopping websites need more than 2 merchants offering same product for them to compare online. Now With e-retailing still a niche we dont have smaller merchants playing in this space competing at price factor to catch consumers. Most of them people joining the e-retailing bandwagon at this stage are manufacturers directly.

But Doest, Indiatimes shopping and rediff shopping exist to provide comparision ?

well as an organization foraying into e-retailing one need to understand all of the mentioned providers are e-commerce platforms. They help merchants setup shop and host their catalogue. So same merchant can be hosting his catalog at rediff shopping and indiatimes shopping. This defeats the purpose for comparision shopping websites.

So How to make your Online Shopping cart compatiable for these channels ?

Se for indian retailers cost is a big factor so for now will advice them to look at RSS – catalog syndication this will benefit them in reaching out to a larger audience and be ready portals corping up as new sales channels.

More of this will get answer from this small email interview with Nidhi Modi from which will help you understand the new medium of online deal aggregator and whats in for any e-retailer/merchant.


How does differentiate from other shopping aggregation sites like ULTOP? is primarily focused on serving best deals to its visitors. However ULTOP is a good effort to bring the online comparison shopping in India.

We publish new deals everyday or sometimes even 2-3 times a day to serve the fresh data to the shoppers. Lot of people purchase stuff when they find a good deal on it, whether or not it’s on their immediate shopping list. Users visit our site to check the daily deals and plan to buy a product if they are getting something for really cheap prices. I would like to visit Ultop when I would like do initial research about the product, compare or read reviews but it tedious to visit every product to find the good deals.

With live feeds of catalogue not available how are you managing to keep track of new items being posted?

Currently the process is manual, so we do all the hard work of searching the shopping websites and gathering information. Not getting the live feed catalogs from big online merchant is the main constraint.

We understand that we cannot scale up with the manual process and hence moving towards automation (or better call it semi-automated). We have some 22 sellers/merchants registered with us who provide us their catalog data and the number is growing everyday. These merchant are companies like and sellers on shopping portals like rediff or Indiatimes and provide us the data in our format.

Deals cease to publish on the expiry date mentioned by the merchant. Also our team checks the website to remove any stale deals.

I had a good discussion with the team in Redmond, WA few weeks back regarding the need for automation. You can check the summary of our discussion on

What is current site usage statistics in terms of hits etc. How are you monitoring user click through to other shopping sites?

With online shopping is in nascent stage in India, we have around 1500-1700 page loads everyday with 500-600 unique users. However we are getting word of mouth publicity and visitor trend seems to be good.

Yes, we do register the clicks to analyze the traffic we send to other shopping website. Recently we started sharing this data with registered merchant to show them the value addition we are doing to their business.

What is your basic revenue model and what volumes do you need to generate to become a major force or starting point for Indian shoppers?

We do have a revenue model but still not any significant revenues to mention however we earn some money through Google ads. But Google ads are not our main focus for revenues. We plan to move to CPC model soon and also actively looking for affiliation programs.

We just started our journey and it’s a way to go to become a primary online shopping source for Indian shoppers. But we are running fast!

Your own views on e-retailing scenario in India and is their enough products available in Indian internet online space for an online aggregator to function?

There are 38.5 million Indians online as per the last forecast from IAMAI. The Internet offers an audience that will grow to a 100 million users by 2007-08.

Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) forecasts that e-commerce transactions will cross the Rs 2000 crore mark (2006-2007) which translates into an increase of over 300% from financial year 2004-05.

Great opportunities for merchant and consumer are about to unfold. I agree that e-retailing is still to pick up but it going to explode in a year or so.

e-retailer’s with the advantage of low operating cost with give retailer (only with offline presence) run for their money. Big retailer needs to create an online presence like, the latest offering from Pantaloon Retails.

There may not be sufficient products available online currently but they will be available in very near future. Anyone who wants to play this game should buckle their shoes now!

E-Retailing – Indian Shores await Impact

E-retailing is still to pick up in india. Keeping in mind organized retailing is just seen growth in recent years. But important thing to learn from the west here is that e-retailing has been used as an incremental business growth tool by small retailers and businesses to compete with large brands. In india things are looking the other way around where large retail chains are foraying into online market as an additional channel of service to increase brand power than to increase sales revenue.

Largely cost associated in setting up e-commerce infrastructure has been seen reason for manufacturers to jump into e-retailing of their own products. But with E-commerce consulting organizations jumping into to help mitigate costs and provide extended infrastructure it brings a strong argument on board for e-retailing to be given a shot for 1 financial year.


– Help in brand building

– ability to understand customer demographics

– Ability to experiment new product lines

– Existing channels can take advantage of online catalog

E-retailing is not only about setting up technology infrastructure but about creating a new channel hence it requires same dynamics as any other offline medium.

New Startups in this domain should watch out being dependent on a supplier can be very dangerous for a business model. Beware to enter this domain untill unless you have product line of 200-300 products from a repute brands to offer. Sold – New Owners Aditya Birla Retail

A.V Birla group has brought the principal owners of – Trinethra retail chain. The retail chain is based in South India with pressence across Andhra Pradesh, Karnatka and Tamil Naidu. The offline venture concetrated on grocery and super market format. The online pressence projects itself as e-commerce platform providing dealers of items to host stores and share per sale item cost with Group revenue is approx 250 crores prior to fabmall acquisation in 2004 group revenue stood at approx 150 crore.

As compared to North India, south india has been more mature and seen concept of retail hyper markets. This also answers question why realiance started from Hyderbad instead of mumbai or delhi. What it changes for i dont expect much as at time of earlier acquisation offline 12 stores were the major source of attraction for acquisation. Over the years not much has changed for the online store operations though revenues have seriously scaled up. Its example of how effective online shopping sites can be without backing of a retail venture. – Online Movie Ticket Booking Service Delhi

Doing a search recently to find service which provides online movie ticket booking service in delhi brought me to Will the site had unimpressive UI. The ajax widget which help you select theatre and movie timing was pretty cool. Though end of the day were useless keeping in mind didnt connect right to registration page as new customer or ask for login kind of thing.

Important thing for these sites is competition they will be recieving from M-Tickets venture. Though their are issues and still possibility is Movietell kind of model can sustain better in india.

First issues with movietell and how can they improve their business model.

# They need to get UI design more clearer with better presentation

# They are charging 10 Bucx per ticket they got to work out a better model. Example if they are issuing E-Tickets why not  sell ad-space on the e-ticket itself. As only 30% content is going to be movie details .Rest 70% can be used for displaying ad’s which can help in keeping the cost down to zero.

# Secondly they can increase the actual volumes and negotiate with cinemas to work on commission basis. Its common to work on 4-5% distribution or printing cost reduction margin basis.

# You can try to go in for a franchisee model where people can goto buy ticket offline from a franchisee who has deposited money at your end. This way you are creating a bigger value chain and pressence pan-india.

# Try not to just concentrate on movie tickets. Get Concerts and sports events also online.  As these are mediums still selling via banks etc.

This can be a great model which can surely work if right people for execution are available. If they need help do e-mail me.

Tech enable Offline Travel Agency Operations

For offline travel agents to remain competetive in the changing world of online flight bookings and travel portal is to remain top of customer relationship. Few things travel agents can learn from their american and european counterparts.

#Travel agency need not to run from a high rental commerical retail space. To cut down cost it can be run from low rental areas.

#Travel agents should have database of every single transaction they are doing on phone, email or face to face. This information should help travel agency identify top 50 customers and also tailor program to upsell and cross sell deals to existing clientle.

#Use website and email as effective tool to attract new customers as once people start visiting online travel search engine and their customer care centres start to have 7-10 minutes wait to talk to reps they would surely like to know if some one is available locally to answer calls within 2-3 minutes and is in 2-3 km distance.

The idea is for customers to be dependent on you as a Family travel agent keeping track of all your travel needs and be on speed dial like doctors,lawyers and accountants. – DVD Rental Delhi and Mumbai is another entrant not covered before at this blog. Just saw an ad in local Delhi Times. The Ad was effective to the point as the name is pretty clear on offering. Talk about importance of naming business.

The site was very clear and decent as it covered a good collection of latest DVD releases and couple of them previously not available with other providers servicing by delivery location. They have a good RSS feed feature using which you can subscribe feed directly keeping updated on latest releases instead visiting site very often.

the pricing model is expensive as compared to other providers. Though one thing would like to know from them is if they are accepting credit card as mode of payment and will be keeping the credit card details on file. Then why are they charging security upfront. I am not sure if netflix and others in US follow similar security deposit scheme.

Contact Details Call Me :+91-9910444460
July 2020