The Indian e-commerce scenario as I see is crowded, operationally expensive, technology & infrastructure gaps to solve, spoilt on discounts & chasing for market shares to drive valuations..
Is it worth the money spent? I feel we are trying to replicate the success stories of the west by trying to be the Walmarts, Ebays & Amazons of the world...which in my view is not an innovation or solving the problem of the Indian masses....
Certainly the buying pattern of consumers has changed by leaps and bounds...people have become sophisticated and want to get pampered with choices to make...
China is able to create a flavour of its own....the leading ecommerce site "taobao" is a standing example, they have more than 400 Million registered users, selling 50,000 items every minute. Taobao has leveraged the china factor and able to sell the products at the wholesale prices....
Every country is adopting to its local model, the Indian ecommerce market is yet to see such transformation....
What? will make the Indian e-commerce space to feel like a "Desi"..
Is there a place for small players in the e-commerce space? Is it really necessary to remain big to win in the market place? Will the boutique shop culture spring up in the future???
A business anywhere in the world is seldom out there to solve a problem of the masses as its primary goal. With bulk of the consumer markets being focused on the Tier 1 cities in India where classical retailing overheads are high, e-ecommerce theoretically wins the race on day-1 for atleast the commodities. To what extent can technology fill the gap for products usually purchased with a look-n-feel way is continuously evolving and a challenge for the e-commerce industry. Competitive pricing, Quality, Delivery, Pre, In and Post Sale experience should differentiate the winners - it is much easily said than done though.
I believe there should be no conscious attempt to add the "Desi" flavour to the ecommerce evolution in India, though I am sure there'll definitely be sparks of it from time to time, something which would easily qualify to be "Desi" with us Indians. Believe what is happening in India in the Ecommerce space by the hands of Indian Entrepreneurs in these times as "Desi" as that is nothing but the truth. The transformation will happen if that is logical, I'd believe that there is enough brain power behind it.
The small players will definitely survive and a decent percentage should thrive, going by trends in the rest of the world, they will have a speciality offering not easy to replicate or commoditize.
Still our masses are obsessed with Vadapav, chai, chat, dosas and idlis than burgers & pizzas which they fancy to eat once in a while not everyday...there is always a strong influence on the local cultures...
The new trend emerging in the Indian consumers buying pattern is walk into the malls or retail stores feel & experience the product, check on the prices then place an order with a e-tailer offering good discounts....this applies to shoes & apparels as well...eCommerce in India is getting pushed into a low margin business...which can be compensated only by increasing the volume of sales & driving huge customer transactions...i think that is the desperation which is driving all the big players today to increasing lookout for multiple rounds of funding to sustain in the market. The burn rate is quite high...not sure if there will be any linear growth.