eCommerce
Ecommerce Development company

Top things to look for in an eCommerce development company

For every business, today, having a digital presence is the need of the hour. With eCommerce developing at a rapid pace, there is a surge in eCommerce development companies in the market. However, given the plethora of options available it can be quite daunting to select the right company that meets your business needs and requirements as well as budget. So for you to hire a trustworthy eCommerce company, we’ve put together some crucial factors that will help you in making the right decision easily:

  • Client List and Portfolio

A seasoned eCommerce company will have an eminent list of clients and portfolios. Such a company will be at par with the industry trends and standards and be aware of eCommerce developments in and outs. So if you are looking for someone who can craft the best solutions for your business, remember to deep dive and research the client list and portfolio before making the final decision.

  • Case studies

A successful eCommerce business will always showcase the case studies of their client on the website. Read through it and evaluate the different ways they have suggested and developed the roadmap for their existing clients. As a business owner, this will give you an idea of evaluating how the company will handle different situations and problems and judge their approach in developing strategies that will assist in the growth of your business.

  • Team strength
    Team strength is one of the fundamentals of any business. If the eCommerce development company is sufficiently staffed and has a good strength of developers, coders, content curators and managers you know you are in safe hands and will have a network of individuals assisting your project and crafting solutions for your business without any hiccups.

Use of latest technology and development

To stay at the forefront of new emerging eCommerce technologies, companies need to be in sync with the latest trends and developments while making use of the best offerings of technology for their clients. Developing a website for such businesses is piece of cake, but it is important to evaluate the features and highlights that are being utilised by the agency to make your business offering cohesive and stand out from the crowd.

  • Service skill-set
    A full-fledged eCommerce company will have a plethora of niche services that will be customised as per your business needs and requirements. Evaluate and validate their offerings and check their flexibility in crafting solutions.
  • Agency fee and service cost
    Every business has a pre-set budget in mind before hiring an expert solution provider. Remember to be transparent at all times and communicate the budget with the company. So your project can be offered flexible solutions as per the budget. Always check for hidden costs to avoid surprises later.
  • Maintenance Service

For seamless business operations, an effective eCommerce development company will always provide regular maintenance services. For example – updating the platform, checking on security etc. It is always best and important to clarify this point at the beginning of the project as later hiring developers for maintenance can be quite heavy on the pockets.

Ecommerce Consultancy firm?

What To Look For In An E-commerce Consultancy Firm?

Brands globally are ramping up their e-commerce businesses. It’s being taken seriously by the top management across sectors. When brands look at establishing an e-commerce roadmap to exploit the potential to maximize online revenues – they know that they’ve got to build out an e-commerce department. And then starts the question – do we build that team in-house, or do we outsource it? What are the consequences of that decision? 

At Tenovia, we believe that getting the right team in a fast-growing space like e-commerce is tricky – and the cost of the wrong hires can set a brand back by 6 – 12 months. And that’s why at the core of our belief – we’ve built a model where we work as the outsourced ecommerce department for a fast-growing brand. 

The idea of this blog post is to help you consider some factors when selecting an e-commerce consulting firm: 

Tips to remember while selecting an e-commerce consultancy firm

  • Look at the firm’s services 

Look at the team’s services – will they work for you as a team extension? Can their services be bundled up and also be deployed in parts. 

  • Look at the firm’s portfolio. 

Look at the track record of the consulting firm/agency. One good way is to see the brands they’ve worked with. Go through the case studies. Ask them to talk you through their most successful projects. 

Look for how their expertise can help your brand increase e-commerce revenues

Moreover, looking at their existing portfolio gives you a better idea of their work and their ability to understand various products and market demographics. A portfolio will tell you about the clients and size of companies they would have worked for. This will help you understand how well the firm can gel with your business. 

  • Look at the firm’s expertise areas.

Do they have the expertise in your industry? Or do they have the expertise in the functions where you need the most help? Remember – e-commerce is a large space – and it has its niches of expertise in multiple functions such as merchandising, supply chain, warehousing, logistics, cataloguing, customer service, marketing, analytics, and others. 

  • Look at the firm’s competencies in the three areas.

Your ideal e-commerce partner would be good in Technology + e-commerce business strategies and execution + digital transformation.

Gauge the capabilities of these competencies as well. 

  • Team size of the e-commerce agency

Will the e-commerce agency be able to provide enough resources to breathe life into your e-commerce business? You want to know the team size that would be working on your account. If possible – ask for profiles of the team members who would be working on your account. 

  • Do metrics and KPIs drive them? 

As you’re trying to set up your brand’s eCommerce business – make sure that the e-commerce consulting firm that you hire is driven by metrics and clear KPIs so that they can help you create an organization in which you can hold multiple members (whether in the house / outsourced) accountable. This needs metrics and KPIs to be defined and tracked. 

  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of your e-commerce agency

All agencies / consulting firms have their strengths and weaknesses. Best way to find out your agency’s strengths and weaknesses? Ask them. 

The bigger the dream – the more important the team. So make sure you know you’re well enough. 

  • What’s their roadmap for you?

E-commerce offers exciting opportunities for your business. A consultant’s strong understanding of the marketplace and its policies help formulate your business plan for e-commerce. They offer tried and tested solutions and abundant resources to create a roadmap suited to where you are in your ecommerce journey. A strategic roadmap will provide you with the liberty to track your goals, quantitatively and qualitatively for both short term and long term basis. 

Why Does Your Business Need an e-Commerce Technology Partner ?

The e-commerce industry has been expanding significantly over the last 20 years – especially ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, higher consumer demand, digital receptiveness, – are the reason behind the  recent e-commerce growth. When it comes to Direct to Consumer channels – a brand’s own technology can be the competitive advantage in the – and that’s why brands need to understand and invest in it. Technology has given the consumers scope to access various tools to estimate prices, obtain coupons, and find alternatives, which resulted in the growth of online shopping.

How working with a technology partner benefits your e-commerce business? 

An e-commerce technology partner can help your e-commerce business grow in many ways. Here are some of the reasons how a technology partner can help your e-commerce business:

  • They bring products to market faster 

When you start working with a technology partner, you get instant access to experts’ knowledge about different platforms, emerging technologies, and integrations. 

  • Provide access to advanced technologies

Partnership with an outsourcing company signifies that your e-commerce business will be utilizing the latest technology and tools. 

  • Focus on core activities

A technology partner handles the rest of the processes and components to complete the omnichannel shopping experience. 

  • Less capital investment

A technology partner loses up your budget for improving other business functions. You also get the resilience to scale up or down these resources within less time.

Factors to remember while looking for a perfect technology partner

There are a lot of e-commerce solution providers out there. So, you should be careful and keep the following factors in mind before choosing one:

  • Area of expertise: While selecting a technology partner, try to go with a firm that has the experience in the particular domain and provides quality service. Because it not only helps you to analyze the market trend but also assists you through building a scalable product.
  • Support: A right tech partner makes sure that your work gets completed within the scheduled time. If you have any additional requirements, they must have a dedicated team assigned to provide the assistance immediately. 
  • Reliability: A partner should always be reliable irrespective of the domain and the field. So, carefully choose a technology partner who has been in the field for a long time now, and can be trusted to work with. 
  • Omnichannel: The modern-day customers do have a thing when it comes to where, when, and how they want to shop. So, select a technology partner who understands omnichannel inside out and can provide frictionless and seamless customer experience. 
  • Previous work: A company’s previous work and accomplishments says all about it. So, find a technology partner who has already worked on projects that are similar to your requirements and expectations. Also, find out if any of their previous work has won any appreciation in the form of awards. 

Therefore a technology partner helps your e-commerce business grow in many ways and ensures your future e-commerce trends are consistent. Here at Tenovia, our team of highly experienced and certified developers is ready to bring your vision to life. 

Call us today to explore our services!

The Consumer Protection (eCommerce) Rule

The Consumer Protection Act: 

This act came to effect on August 9, 2019. However, the act only came into force on July 20, 2020. This act protects consumers, from unfair trade practices in eCommerce and to facilitate consumer welfare.

The rules impact: 

(a) all goods and services available on either digital or electronic networks, it also includes digital products

(b) all models of eCommerce, such as marketplace eCommerce and inventory eCommerce entity 

(c) all eCommerce multi-channels including single-brand retailers and single-brand retailers in single or multiple forms 

(d) all forms of unfair trade practices across all models of eCommerce.

(e) all eCommerce entities that are not in India but systematically offer goods and services to consumers in India

Duties

eCommerce entities: 

  • Corporate Entity: The rules set out that an eCommerce entity shall be a corporate entity under the Companies Act 2013 (regardless of the origin) or an office, branch or agency outside India owned or controlled by a person resident in India.
  • Nodal Officer: This requires an eCommerce entity to appoint a nodal person or an alternate senior is a resident in India, to ensure compliance with the Act or the Rules.
  • Disclosure of Information: An eCommerce entity requires one to provide the following information on its platform: 

(i) its legal name

(ii) the principal address of its headquarters and all branches

(iii) name and details of its website

(iv) contact details of customer care as well as of grievance officer

(v) details of the importer or seller of imported goods and services. 

This will hence ensure that the customer has all the information required for the eCommerce entity which will reduce the cases of fraud.

Changes in India's Consumer Protection Act 2019
  • Grievance Redressal: An eCommerce entity required to establish a grievance redressal mechanism and appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal.
  • Unfair Trade Practice: An eCommerce company should not adopt any unfair trade practice. Manipulation of the prices of the goods or services on its platform such that it can gain an unreasonable profit, should additionally not be done.
  • Cancellation Charges and Consent: eCommerce entities must not impose cancellation charges on consumers. Additionally, the rules also bar eCommerce entities from automatically recording consent of a consumer for purchase including in the form of pre-ticked checkboxes.

Marketplace eCommerce Entities

The rules suggest that the marketplace eCommerce entities need to ensure that sellers on their platform provide the description pertaining to the goods or services on their platform is accurate and corresponds directly with the actual features of the goods or services. They additionally need to disclose and display information about the sellers offering goods and services on its platform including information about the return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, and grievance redressal mechanism, etc. Furthermore, inter alia, terms and condition need to be displayed too. 

Sellers on Marketplace eCommerce Entities

The rules also prohibit sellers from adopting any unfair trade practice, including posing as consumers to post product reviews, misrepresenting the quality or features of any goods or services. The sellers additionally, cannot refuse to take back goods or discontinue the services. The rules also impose that the sellers need to appoint a grievance officer for consumer grievance redressal, the advertisements for the goods and services they offer need to be accurate and disclose information the necessary information, the country of origin needs to on the pack, additionally, guarantees of authenticity or genuineness of imported goods, and other guarantees or warranties need to be applicable and valid

Inventory eCommerce Entities

The duties and obligations of the inventory eCommerce entities are similar to that of the sellers. They too need to disclose information, like the country of origin of the goods and services, etc. They further need to deliver the goods on time and have to guarantee the authenticity of the goods. 

E-commerce under Consumer Protection Act soon

The grey area of the Act: 

Price: 

Furthermore, eCommerce as said earlier cannot manipulate the price of the goods or services offered on its platform. However, there is no guidance on what is considered as ‘unreasonable profit’. For example, a luxury designer could sell a serum 3 times the price of a regular face mask, but would this be considered as an unreasonable profit? 

Contractual information: 

Any seller in the eCommerce marketplace must disclose all contractual information which must then be displayed on its platform. Similarly, every inventory eCommerce entity is also required to display contractual information required to be disclosed by law. However, it again becomes unclear about which contract information needs to be displayed? Is it the information between the seller and the marketplace eCommerce entity? 

Timeline for compliance: 

The eCommerce Rules have come to effect from July 23, 2020, and no grace period had been given for compliance especially to the offshore eCommerce companies that systematically offer goods or services to consumers in India. Generally, a grace period for compliance allowed in order for businesses to manage their affairs to become compliant. However, this is not the case under the eCommerce Rules. This thus can affect the functionality of the said entities

These rules aim to bring transparency and accountability in the provision of information disclosed to the consumers. It also reduces the possibilities of unfair trade practices by large sellers. With the increase in eCommerce activity especially in present times, these rules will address consumer grievances and prescribe practices that benefit consumers. Hence, for entities to comply with the rules, they will have to fundamentally overhaul their websites and will have to invest significantly in legal compliance. 

Is your online store festive ready?

This year’s festive season is unlike any other, with Covid-19 and various restrictions taking ground people can now only assume the results. Experts predict the shopping trends adopted in  2020 are here to stay. Unicommerce further reported that India’s e-commerce industry has witnessed an order volume growth of 31% for Q3 2020 ended in September, compared to that of last year. All these factors have taken form and resulted in dynamic growth and demand for various online stores. 

The festive season has always contributed to a heavy portion of sales for companies, and with the onslaught of the pandemic eCommerce companies can expect a boost of sales too. This year’s festive sales is likely to account to $4million dollars, additionally, a lot of firsts are to occur this festive season. Companies need to offer a seamless experience to their customers while not running dry of resources. 

Here are some tips for your online store this festive season:

Website load time optimization

Ensure that your online store is ready for the festive season’s high demand. Your store needs to offer optimum user experience, ensure that your store loads quickly, and offers convenience.  The ideal time for page load speed is three seconds – after that, the visitor might lose interest and leave your store. Additionally, page load speed is a vital Google ranking factor too.

User Experience

Your online store needs to offer the best user experience. Analyse your customers and find out what they prefer. Your eCommerce store must have a solid infrastructure that has a regular updating policy. In order to offer your user with the best user experience, you need to 

  •  Evaluate your overall online store experience
  • Update your strategies 
  • And optimize your checkout page

Secure your online store

Security is an essential factor when a consumer is making an online purchase. Hence, one needs to ensure that the online store has the right certification and security to boost customer confidence. Trust badges/seals are known to boost customer confidence in site security.

Selling, Delivery and other Fulfillments

Consumer experience is vital, a clear path must be laid down right from selling your product, right to shipment, delivery and overall offer fulfilment. You can ensure the same by 

  •  Expanding sales channels.
  • Setting out a clear path for shipment and delivery 
  • Enhancing packaging and unboxing experience
  • Ensuring a clear return policy is in place

Mobile optimization

Mobile selling is growing tremendously, with that one needs to ensure that your online store is able to function efficiently on mobile phones. Optimisation of online stores on mobiles are a must, this reduces the loss of visitors and ensures ease and convenience for the users.  

Customer Support

Enhance customer support and ensure all the customer queries are answered. Strong customer support will result in maximise conversions through consumer engagement. Achieve this through chatbots on the online stores, and 24×7 customer support system. 

Festive Marketing and Promotions

Consumers need to adopt efficient strategies to sell their product in the best way possible. Marketing and promotion of any product are vital this holiday season, companies need to prompt their festive season sales as creatively and strategically as possible. Here are a few pointers to ensure the same: 

  • Promotional strategies to engage customers
  • By integrating marketing efforts.

Post-festive season

Once, all of these tips are in place you need to then analyse the rate of success of your strategies, hence post-festive season one should

  • Measure the Success of the festive season campaigns: 

Set goals and measure the KPIs, this will help the overall store performance. 

  • Evaluate data and take necessary actions

Once the necessary data has been evaluated, necessary actions need to be taken to better the same. Wherever inputs need to be increased or decreased needs to be managed and done. 

  • Use data for future strategies

The data from the festive season sales should undergo analysis this will eventually enable better growth and strategies. 

With online orders increasing and online stores need to ensure user experience to be smooth from start to finish. By following these tips one can ace this year’s festive season sales. 

BOPIS: Buy Online, pick up in-store

It’s now becoming imperative for brands to turn towards eCommerce solutions for their success. New technologies and models are being used to optimize eCommerce functions, one of those models include BOPIS. 

BOPIS or otherwise known as the Buy Online, Pick Up in Store- is slowly becoming a way for retailers to drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences. This experience offers shoppers who have become too busy to browse items in-store and are more comfortable buying online. The model allows its retailers to blend the online and in-store experience with customers to offer a more convenient way to shop.

Furthermore, a study shows that 92% of retailers currently use a BOPIS model to increase purchases. Additionally, 98% of retailers have seen additional in-store purchases from BOPIS customers. 

So, how does BOPIS Work?

With the shift in shopper behaviour, and shoppers preferring more choice and flexibility in orders, BOPIS model has come to be more efficient. Consumers with BOPIS are able to complete their purchases or make returns quickly and conveniently. This model acts as a key in delivering orders by enabling customers to conveniently select which items they want to purchase immediately, and picking it up at the store. Here’s how the process works:

1. Customers buy online, through the website or mobile app: 

Customers complete their purchases either online or in-app, simultaneously they select the time and store location to pick-up the purchased products. With real-time inventory visible at hand, the consumer can choose when and where to pick up their products.

2. The store fulfils the online order:

There are two procedure that can be followed in this step

  • When and if the item is in stock at the chosen local store, the store associate uses an app to locate, pick and pack the order. They then hold it for the customer while an email is sent out letting them know it’s ready for pickup.
  • Now, if the store does not have the item in stock, the associate orders it from a store or warehouse facility. Once it arrives, the customer is notified and can pick up the item at his or her convenience.
3. The customer picks up the order:

Customers then go to a designated online pick up area where a store associate hands over the items. Some stores even offer a curb-side pick-up – where a customer can drive up to the store location and receive their order without leaving the car.

Now, Why are Customers choosing BOPIS?

There is a shift in the shopping experience, customers are now looking for a more convenient shopping experience where they not only save time but money too. Here are the factors that contribute to the shift:

1. No shipping fees:

Unless a retailer offers free shipping, a customer pays a significant amount on getting their items shipped. But with BOPIS, customers can save both money and time by picking up their order in-store rather than paying to ship a single item.

2. Quicker service:

Getting items in the hands of the customer fast is essential, and BOPIS can offer exactly that. Customers can order an in-stock item online and have it ready for pick up in an hour than it is to wait two days or longer for delivery. 

3. In-stock Insurance:

BOPIS serves as a kind of insurance that the item customers want is 100% at the store of their choice when it’s ready for pickup

Benefits of BOPIS:

1. Extra purchases from customers:

Customers when they go in-store to pick up their order, they may have a look around and browse for more products. This creates a perfect opportunity for increased upsells at the given location.

2. Lower shipping costs:

Shipping orders can be expensive for the retailer, with labour and packaging costs quickly adding up. Retailers can save on last-mile shipping if customers pick up items from the store, while still offering a fast, free shipping option.

3. Better inventory management.

With BOPIS, businesses no longer need a separate online and in-store inventory system. Orders can be fulfilled both from the distribution centre or store shelves, this, gives retailers access to a larger inventory. By combining and optimizing the two systems.

4.  Fewer returns:

Customers who place their orders and pick them up from a store, though, have the ability to inspect their product before ever leaving the premises. This decreases the return rate and can save retailers a substantial amount of money.

Various retails giants and brand both in India and international have introduced this BOPIS model, they include in the Indian retail giant 

Shopper Stop: that offers an Express Store Pick Up. Which theoretically is based on the BIOPIS model of self-pickup. A customer can shop online and collect their order from the preferred Shoppers Stop store at their convenience.

Walmart: International retailer offers a curbside and in-store pickup for customers on the go. Walmart’s grocery pickup combines the convenience of online shopping with the ease of never leaving the car, all at no additional cost.

Shoppers continuously crave convenience, which is why retailers should adopt the buy online, pick up in-store model (BOPIS) to compete against giants like Amazon, Flipkart, etc, that are now ruling the market. With efficient utilization of a website or app for ordering, at least one brick and mortar location, and real-time inventory capabilities. This BOPIS model can certainly be nailed.

How to reduce returns on eCommerce this festive season

With the ongoing festive season and the onslaught of the pandemic, eCommerce is one industry that is experiencing growth. It has flourished with a 20% year on year growth, and this growth has only accelerated with COVID-19. But, as online spending is increasing, so are the returns. 

A new survey conducted by Yopto, gives insight into returns and how return cost could hit up to $550 billion in 2020. Further, this study also reveals that the best way to reduce product returns. 

First, we need to understand:

How does the return policy of a company impact the consumer’s purchase decision? 

A store’s return policy almost directly influences a consumer’s purchase decision. Hence, disregarding return policy is simply not viable. The survey further found that about 70% of the survey participants said return policy is important in making their purchase decision. 

Furthermore, the study shows that 59% said they wouldn’t order from a store that charges a returning fee. And about half of the participants say they have abandoned an online order because of the return policy.

The return policy is one of the best business strategies, and rather than companies focusing on the customer’s ability to return, they should focus on reducing the customer’s need or desire to return.

Why do consumers return products?

Another survey conducted across various brands states the following reasons as to why products are returned:

  • 65% of the surveyed shoppers cited ‘fit’ as a reason for their purchase returns
  • 39% stated that the product description not matching the item 
  • While 33% said that products were as  they looked different in person
  • 35% of shoppers also admitted to over-ordering when buying online, and this indirectly affected returns

They also found that

  • 43% of millennials buy with the intent of returning the products
  • And 46% of Gen Z to buy with the intent of return

This behaviour varies with the industries, and items such as household items, tea, coffee, etc, are placed without the intent of returning. With that being assessed companies can better their technologies and communication in order to reduce returns.

Reduce returns by:

  1. Updating Product Listings

An accurate product description can reduce returns tremendously. As stated earlier with 39% of shoppers citing a difference in purchase and description return product, updating of product listing will reduce this number. 

  1. Customer Reviews

Helpful information from customers motivates further purchases. Unfiltered comments, photos, and videos from other shoppers act as powerful pieces of content to gain shoppers trust. These reviews not only provide information but also boosts shopper confidence in their buying decision.

  1. Filter the Reviews according to topics

Filtering reviews according to topics helps the shoppers to make decision-based on criteria like fit, fabric, quality, etc, more efficiently. With accessibility to relevant and useful information, they will be allowed to make the best purchase decisions and thus reduce returns.

  1. Answering customer  questions

By offering a Q&A section for products, consumers will get quick and reliable answers from both other buyers and the company itself. This will thus help to bridge the gap between how the product is described online versus how it looks when the buyer receives it. 

  1. On-site galleries

Galleries of real customer photos and videos will also reduce the gap between how the product looks online and in person. This will help in bridging the online-offline gap for potential buyers and instil trust.

Opportunity in returns:

Furthermore returning of products can act as an opportunity to enhance the customer experience. By making the product return a positive experience it will create a good impression for the company and enhance loyalty.

It was seen that 92% of shoppers are likely to order from the store again if the returns were easy.

Additionally, a follow-up on the return via SMS, email, or call to will help in personal communication. One can offer a coupon code, discount or membership program to re-engage the shoppers. 

By using the following steps and realigning activities one can reduce returns and increase their profit margins. 

Rise of ePharmacy in India

The onslaught on the pandemic saw the rise of various industries including E-Pharmacy, which offers users the convenience to purchase medicines with just a push of a button.

E-Pharmacy is an online medical shop where one can purchase pharmacy products from the comfort of your home. Just upload a prescription on the app and place an order for the pharmacy products you need.

This sector according to Frost & Sullivan is creating a paradigm shift in the Indian medicine market. It’s likely to reach over $3.6 billion by 2022 & presently contributes close to 2–3%. By the end of the year, it will capture 10% of the total market. 

ePharmacy is changing the landscape:

With discounts on medicines and giving users the convenience to purchase medicines and get the delivery right at your doorstep. Noting the rise of ePharmacy, investments have been on an influx. Various acquisitions are taking place, including Karexpert, C-Square and Netmeds. 

Reliance struck a deal with Netmeds’ parent firm Vitalic for about $83.2 million for 60% stake in the pharma marketplace. This deal grants Reliance a 100% ownership of Vitalic’s subsidiaries which are valued at about $134 million. RIL has said by April 2024 it wants to expand its ownership to 80% in Vitalic.

Reliance previously invested ₹10 crores in health-tech app Karexpert and integrated the services with Jio Health Hub. C-Square sold 82% stake to RIL, the company is entering a new rising vertical and is likely to dominate it.

ePharmacy is seeing exponential growth with many people opting for online purchase of medicine and consultation, this is resulting to be beneficial for the ePharm companies.

Netmeds delivers medicines, personal and baby care items, along with booking doctors and diagnostics on its website and app. This company had been looking for a buyer, and the pandemic provided that, through the deal with Reliance.

“Netmeds enhances Reliance Retail’s ability to provide good quality and affordable healthcare products and services. It also broadens its digital  commerce proposition to include most daily essential needs of consumers.”

Isha Ambani,  the director of Reliance Retail Ventures

The news of the RIL and Netmeds deal comes a week after Amazon announced the launch of its e-pharmacy service in Bengaluru, which it plans to expand in the rest of the country soon.

Amazon struck a deal with Netmeds, 1mg, PharmEasy and Medlife, as an attempt to expand in the ePharmacy market. 

Factors contributing to the growth of online pharmacies in India

  • ePharmacy companies are compliant with the IT Act & the Drugs and Cosmetics Act – legalities enable the industry to grow constantly. 
  • A significant amount of external funding is occurring in this market, with fundraising visions crossing the 150 million mark. 
  • This industry has also experienced government compliance with the draft of the pharmaceutical policy in 2015. The Niti Aayog’s three-year roadmap on the development of e-pharmacies too eased the growth.
  • ePharmacy offers pocket-friendly checkup packages to the customers, discounts, free consultations, etc, initiatives like this have helped the industries growth.

The future of ePharmacy

  • Consumer awareness: aligning activities to educate the common consumers with the policies, legality, etc will help the industry grow stably.
  • Quality assurance: purchase assurance & safety policies should happen by dealers before selling and buying the medicines online.

With the demand for increased convenience and instant solutions, ePharmacy has the potential of becoming a hit. Rural areas too show tremendous growth, which will allow the online medicine market to expand throughout India. 

Firsts to watch out for this Festive Season

The festive season is right around the corner and it’s experiencing a 75% jump, against the nearly $4 billion gross sales last year. This jump will record a two year high, with the gross sales amount predicted to reach $7 billion. 

A report by Redseer found that last year online retail recorded was 3% with as much as 135 million online users purchasing online. But with the onslaught of the pandemic, social distancing, and financial crunches, consumers now prefer online shopping with its convenience and festive sales. To adapt to this surge of sales eCommerce companies have adopted new strategies to meet the demands. 

eCommerce Preparation: 

Flipkart has announced that it will be creating jobs for 70000 people which will include posts in its supply chain management.

The Walmart owned e-commerce giant has cited the upcoming festive season and the Big Billion Days sale for this mass recruitment drive. Additionally, Flipkart has partnered with Max Fashion, Max has a strong presence in the fashion vertical and with this tie-up, both the brands will experience higher reach and profitability. 

Amazon India, keeping up with its competitors has introduced 4 new languages, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, in order to woo the consumers and offer a more personalised shopping experience. Furthermore, with plans to make 10 new warehouses operational, this expansion will create thousands of jobs this festive season. The consumers can expect steep discounts & cashback across all classifications, and with Amazon’s, Alexa and voice-enabled shopping experiences consumers can shop easy.

Entering the market, the new competitor JioMart will pose a challenge to the other two giants, by combining both online and offline retail. However, being new to the eCommerce industry Jio will likely pose a limited threat

This festive season, consumers interestingly have shown interest, not in conventional electronics items but essentials, including groceries and work-from-home products such as laptops, single-item furniture, kitchenware and comfortable fashion. And according to reports 50Cr. Studies suggest Indians will buy 50,000 Lakh items this festive season. 

Demographics:

Covid-19 has caused a surge in first-time users of tier II & III cities. Reports done by Redseer and Unicommerce suggests that shoppers from these regions will be the top contributors to online sales during this year’s festive sales with more than 50% of purchases coming from Tier-II and beyond locations. While people from metro cities and tier-1 cities will be contributing to 35% and 25% of the sales respectively. 

Logistics & Supply-chain: 

The logistics and supply chain will determine the success of the festive season and the performance of the companies, hence Industry executives are working with sellers and brands to overcome supply-chain and investment issues and meet the surge in demand. A higher number of shipments are likely to occur with its peak being 7.5-8 million shipments a day during the festive season. Hence, efforts are taken to create a seamless supply chain with a glocal outlook.

The firsts this year: 

  • Massive Growth: COVID-19 has enabled massive growth in new consumers, that prefer to shop in a manner that is convenient, safe, and hygienic and the eCommerce space meets these requirements
  • Offline recovery: Physical shopping is still weak as consumers are still apprehensive about visiting touchpoint areas like malls and retail outlets.
  • Demand: Surge of demand will likely occur in eCommerce platforms with its sales and offers for products in the category of work from home/ study from home, this has subsequently will increase the demand for categories like small electronics, home furnishings, and electronic accessories.
  • Jio: Jiomart has entered the retail market with its online and offline retail stores. This will play a moderately strong role in growing sales in smaller cities, especially if strong integration with fashion/electronics commodities.
  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat: A strong push towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

With digital adoption, the shift with traditional offline shoppers moving online, and a change in consumer behaviour. This festive season will offer opportunities for eCommerce companies to grow and learn about the current consumers and their dynamic market. 

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ECOMMERCE

COVID-19 shifted the whole ecosystem of markets and has made an impact that can be deemed long-lasting. Consumer behaviour has seen a change, purchase decisions have seen a shift and the usual flow of businesses is left disrupted. But along with the many disruptions, this pandemic has brought about changes and enhanced technological growth. The eCommerce and marketplace sector have specifically witnessed this growth.

The pandemic has accelerated India’s e-commerce market almost threefold and sped up growth that is pegged to be around $85 billion by 2024, even with other sectors being negatively impacted. 

India has seen a rise in the number of FTUs or first-time-eCommerce-users in India, who had previously been inhibited to shop online. Some eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal have even returned to the level of pre-COVID time. Other eCommerce players like Grofers, BigBasket, Lenskart, etc have also seen a rapid increase in various services. Many new players are entering into this marketplace noting the opportunities available. eCommerce companies can further expect: 

  1. An influx of online shopping: 

As stated with a record number of FTUs in India and brick-and-mortar and kirana stores closed and with lower footfall than usual, there is an increase in sales on eCommerce platforms.  There has been a switch from malls and supermarkets to eCommerce for everyday commodities. Companies can use this to their advantage and provide good deals. Companies like BigBasket had seen such an influx and demand of goods that they had to restrict access to their website to existing customers only, while Grofers – a rival, had faced a similar situation.

A conversation with TN Hari, Head of HR from Big Basket in April 2020 helped gain insight into changing consumer behaviour and adaptations to the new normal. As rightly predicted, the shift from offline to online in all sectors has been perceived as the need for the hour.

  1. More efficient and convenient models:

Online shopping offers the convenience of not having to go out to shop and waste time waiting in lines and scrolling through items, all it takes is just a click on a button to purchase a product that will be delivered right at your doorstep. However, eCommerce platforms should ensure efficiency in logistics and supply chain flow. Myntra’s End of Reason Sale had integrated and collaborated 400 offline stores of more than 60 brands. The items that were purchased shipped directly from the brands’ stores to the consumer’s doorsteps. Allowing for a more seamless supply chain and providing convenience to the consumers. There is also a significant rise in the number of convenient shopping models like BNPL gaining prominence among the Indian consumers.

  1. Increase in essential and corona virus-related products:

Shopping habits and consumer behaviour has seen change during the pandemic. Ecommerce companies are being required to sell essential items as a way to have an edge and meet consumer demands. Products like soaps, sanitizers and health care items have a market of its own now. ePharmacy has seen an increase in India, with numerous investors looking on ways to invest in ePharm companies. Amazon has also noticed the shift in consumer behaviour and adapting to the pandemic is said to have prioritised delivery of essential items garnering appreciation and an increase in its sales from customers. 

  1. Digital transformation: 

Kirana stores have been the crux of Indian System. But, now with the virus outbreak, people are looking out for alternatives. This has offered digitalisation and upskilling of Kirana stores to adapt to changes. Companies like Flipkart in an attempt to streamline this unorganised sector have tied up with these stores for provisions and delivery while still supporting their development. 

This pandemic has gauged a segment of shoppers that previously have not purchased online to now rely on it. Consumer buying habits are constantly changing and companies need to follow efficient ways to get FTUs hooked on while still retaining existing customers. 

With the rising adoption of Omnichannel solutions across sectors and focus on digital transformation eCommerce companies have seen and will continue to see tremendous opportunity and growth amidst COVID.

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