Top 5 Online Marketplaces in India compared

If you’re looking to get into online retail, subscribing to an online marketplace is arguably the quickest way to do so. The market for online retail in India has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. In fact, this Nasscom report says that the Indian e-commerce industry will touch the $100 billion figure by 2020. It is no wonder that there are innumerable online marketplaces for a retailer to choose from. There are online megamalls that let you sell virtually anything under the sun, and there are niche marketplaces like this one that lets you sell only socks. Each marketplace has its own pros and cons, and in this post we are going to compare the top 5 largest marketplaces in India.

Every retailer has a basic set of queries before subscribing to a marketplace. In fact, we have written about the things you need to consider before subscribing to a marketplace right here. There’s subscription fees, packaging and logistics support, payout periods, popular product categories, size of the marketplace, competition, etc. Here, we’ve done a hands on comparison between Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, Snapdeal and ShopClues. These five online sales channels eat up a lion’s share of the Indian online retail market. So let’s see how they match up against each other.

Indian Online Marketplaces: A Head-to-Head Comparison

  • Basic Comparison

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Although eBay is the oldest player in the Indian market among the ones that we are looking at, it is Flipkart and Amazon that are the most popular marketplaces in terms of the number of sellers. A common trend can be seen while analyzing the most popular product categories – apparel, footwear, mobile and consumer electronics seem to be the most sought after products in the Indian marketplace.

  • Pricing

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Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues do not ask for subscription, listing or payment gateway fees. While eBay looks expensive as compared to its competitors, it makes up for this by offering really low commission rates on sales.

  • Logistics

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All the marketplaces that we are considering offer shipping assistance, although only Amazon and eBay allow self-shipping. While Flipkart does not offer packaging assistance, its shipping charges are slightly lower than the rest of the competition.

  • Miscellaneous

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Flipkart seems to be running the game when it comes to social media presence an m-commerce. With m-commerce slated to be the future of online retail in India, these numbers become extremely important.

To know more about these online sales channels or in case of any other query, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!

Flipkart’s Big Billion Day – How Much Did Other Marketplaces Gain?

The Big Billion Day – Flipkart’s much-hyped and much-awaited-by-all sale that happened on October 6th is being scrutinized and ripped apart by everyone, consumers and sellers alike. Meant to benefit both consumers and sellers, Browntape‘s team dug into who actually benefitted with the few hours of sale on October 6th?

The Big Billion Day – For whom?

According to Flipkart’s email to sellers, Flipkart had added 10,000 odd people to its existing army of logistics personnel ready to process and dispatch orders the same day. Thrown open to more than 8 million customers, sellers were also requested to be on their toes to ensure orders were processed and delivered in time.

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Agreed the orders from 8 million odd customers would probably be split between the multiple sellers on the Flipkart platform. But did everyone get a fair chance? Or did only WS Retail reap the most benefits? Let’s see.

How did pricing work on Flipkart on October 6th?

(Source: Quora)
Actual Price: X
BigBillionDay’s Price: 1.5X to 3X(Assume 1.5X)
Discount:60%
Today’s Price After Discount:0.9 X=X
Now Famous Author/Entrepreneur VarunAgarwal blogs(Book Name:How I braved Anu Aunty and Co Founded a Million Dollar Company) the same:

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A post on Missionsharingknowledge.com spells out comparisons of the prices offered on Flipkart and other marketplaces on the same day indicating a big disparity in prices. A saree from the brand Soch was priced at INR 6,898 on Flipkart, while the same saree cost only INR 2,803 on the Soch website.

Orders on other marketplaces on the Big Billion Day

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Based on orders received by Browntape’s sellers on October 6th (indicated by the chart above), looks like the inflated prices and stock-out positions of most products on Flipkart actually benefitted other marketplaces.

On Flipkart, it seems that most of the Big Billion marketing was enjoyed by WS Retail, the seller name under which Flipkart sells its products. Where as the sellers did not see much benefits of the sale.

Curiously, the sales on Flipkart prior to the Big Billion Day were not as much as the usual sales volumes for the sellers on Flipkart. They were down as compared to other marketplaces as well.This was possibly due to the ‘big wait’ for the offers on October 6th.

The number of orders on other marketplaces almost doubled on October 6th, compared to the previous week, except Flipkart; another indication that what was meant to be Flipkart’s Big Billion Day actually drove customers to other portals looking for better deals and options.

Alarmingly, eBay was the only marketplace where the increased number of orders led to an increase in the Rupee value sales. For all others, since they offered deep discounts, the Rupee value of orders actually fell even after the increase in the number of orders. Looks like eBay is the only marketplace actually trying to focus on profitability.

Are you wondering who gained?

By the looks of it, Flipkart’s WS Retail seems to have gained as opposed to the sellers on its portal. By 2 pm, orders stopped being processed, apparently the order-processing limit (of 3,00,000 orders) had been reached and further orders had to be stopped to avoid late deliveries.

A lot of sellers received the following message:

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We are left wondering if Flipkart really needed this sort of a publicity gimmick, which could potentially tarnish its image built over the past seven years for ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. For now, Flipkart seems to have driven customers towards its competitors, definitely not what they intended we are guessing!

How to Lose Your Customer’s Trust in 5 Simple Steps

Everyone always talks about how important it is to gain customers’ trust, how it is directly proportionate to an increase in your business and how profitable it is to do so. But we rarely do talk about how easy it is to lose that hard earned trust. This is important because you might have done many things right in building a trustworthy relationship with your customer, but one overlook on your part might end up spoiling it all completely. The key here is sustenance, and sustenance comes only with a greater understanding of pitfalls that you might encounter along the way and planning ahead to avoid them. Here we tell you 5 sure shot ways to lose a customer’s trust. Try to avoid these and you will go farther than ever on your customers’ trust meters.

How to Lose Trust and Alienate Your Customers

1. Poor Communication

As your brand grows, there is no doubt that it is going to be harder and harder to keep track of all communication with your customers. But do not forget that your accessibility was the cornerstone on which you built your business. Just as always being there for your customers propelled you faster in terms of business growth, not being able to do that consistently will have the opposite effect. An automated email system that notifies your customers on the status of their purchase is a great way to manage this responsibility.

2. Unprofessional Online Image

Everyone is always watching you online. With your social media profiles out in the open for everyone to see, one mistake can be a potential publicity nightmare. We have often heard stories of online altercations between customers and service providers that go viral on the internet. Do not become one of those.

3. Asking for Too Much or Wrong Information

A sure shot thing that annoys customers is the amount of information that you require from them. As it is, one of the scariest things a customer has to go through is providing private details like credit cards and phone numbers to online retailers. If on top of that, one is expected to feed in things that are either excessive or downright irrelevant to a stranger, it is natural for them to be on guard.

4. Complex Terminology

This is a common occurrence when retailers speak to their customers. Often, in case of grievances, one is expected to provide myriad amounts of information like the product code, the invoice number, etc. and all the customer wants to do is return a product. Terminology like the SKU codes and shipping manifest details are internal logistics that should be covered by the retailer. When in conversation with a customer, it is advisable to keep your questions simple, precise and respectful.

5. Over-promising

Over-promising is another very visible phenomenon in the retail world. It is not uncommon for retailers to make promises they can’t keep in terms of pricing, discounts, offers etc. The recent Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale was a great example of this. As Flipkart later admitted, they were not equipped enough to serve all their customers appropriately, while already having promised them certain perks. As a result, not only did Flipkart receive a lot of bad publicity, it also lost many valuable customers.

These are a few sure shot ways to lose your customers’ trust. To know more about how to avoid them and turn things around, get in touch with us at Browntape.

5 Entrepreneurs You Can Draw Inspiration From

The decision to deviate from the well-beaten path and start one’s own enterprise is a tough one. It involves a lot of courage, patience and dedication to just start a business, let alone be successful at it. During tough times – and tough times there will be – it helps to know that there are others who went through situations similar to ones you might be facing right now. It helps to know that someone else beat the odds and became successful in their venture, because it means that it is possible to do so. Browntape brings you a custom dose of inspiration that will help you during those tough times of self-doubt. These stories of famous entrepreneurs have been hand-picked to make you realise that with perseverance and smart work, you can be successful at anything you do, be it starting your own ecommerce company or excelling in the online marketplace.

Let these guys inspire you

1. Verghese Kurien

The ‘Father of the White Revolution’ is the first on our list. Dr. Verghese Kurien was the man with the plan which, in one stroke, created one of the most loved and trusted brands of India, while providing income and support to tens of thousands of families. He also elevated India’s status as a milk deficient country to the largest milk producer in the world, surpassing the US in 1998. Amul was founded in 1946, as a cooperative body, which today is jointly owned by around three million milk producers in Gujarat. Dr. Kurien came to the now famous village of Anand in 1949, where he was assigned as a government employee, with the intention of going back to Mumbai as soon as possible. Within days, his plans changed. Realising the immense potential for production and distribution of milk and milk products that this place provided, Dr. Kurien literally spent the rest of his life creating and honing a nationwide movement that brought social and economic development for milk producers all over the country.

Things to learn: Always be on the lookout for opportunities. They find you in places you least expect.

2. Samuel Walton

The founder of the iconic retail chain, WalMart, grew up during the Great Depression in America. Doing odd chores to support himself and his family in his youth, including delivering milk and newspapers, waiting tables and selling magazine subscriptions, Samuel Walton knew the meaning of a hard life. After all that, he fought in the WWII, came back and started operating a tiny grocery store. He was 26 at that time. Using innovative ideas to market and sell his products, he soon took a loan and opened another store. The first WalMart opened in 1962, and today it is the largest retail chain around the world. It has over 11,000 stores in 55 countries, is the world’s largest company by revenue, and the world’s biggest private employer.

Things to learn: Horizontal development. Consistency. Marketing strategies.

3. Laxmanrao Kirloskar

Here is a story of one of modern India’s first entrepreneurs. Laxmanrao Kirloskar was born on 20th June 1869 in a small village in the Belgaum district. As a youngster, he had two passions – painting and mechanical objects. Against his father’s wishes, he joined the Sir J J School of the Arts, only to discover that he was partially color-blind. He did not give up after this severe blow to his dreams, and started studying mechanical drawing instead. Laxmanrao started his entrepreneurial career with a small bicycle dealership. He strongly believed in industrialization of agriculture, and using his prowess as a mechanical engineer and a businessman, he started manufacturing iron ploughs, the first Kirloskar products. Establishing a small manufacturing unit in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, he started the Kirloskar Group. During those days, he faced severe opposition from superstitious farmers who believed that iron was poison for the soil. Laxmanrao patiently and deliberately managed to change the hearts and minds of people. Today, the Kirloskar Group has sales exceeding $3.5 billion, with exports to more than 70 countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa. Not only was Laxmanrao a great industrialist, but also a social reformer. He worked hard to abolish customs such as untouchability and superstition. His dream was to build a self-sustainable community for his employees, and he realised it with the formation of Kirloskarwadi, a place where he started the Kirloskar Brothers Limited in 1910.

Things to learn: Humility. Not giving up against all odds.

4. Steve Jobs

Arguably, no list of famous entrepreneurs is complete without a mention of this guy! Steve Jobs has become an icon in his own right, due to his incredibly charismatic and design driven innovations that have made Apple what it is today. Everyone has heard stories of how Apple started in Jobs’ garage, with one computer prototype. What began there, soon became not just a company, but a philosophy. Every product that Apple rolls down has this design philosophy ingrained within it. We all know of the Apple-Samsung marketing wars. But that does not define either of these enterprises. What Apple created, developed and sustained had the power to change the world, and it did. From desktop computing to mobile computing, Apple changed the world. Steve Jobs, a college dropout who crashed in his friends’ dorms and attended lectures of courses out of pure interest, ended up becoming a model entrepreneur. Also, his autobiography is arguably every entrepreneur’s bible. Oh also, this man survived being fired from his own company, near bankruptcy and cancer.

Things to learn: Product comes first. Everything else later. If you make a great product that is truly designed to serve a customer, it will be successful.

5. Sachin and Binny Bansal

The Bansal duo, the men behind India’s most popular online marketplace, have an amazing success story. Driven by the desire to create a completely indigenous online marketplace for India that could compete with giants like Amazon and eBay, these two IIT Delhi batchmates ended up creating an online retail revolution in India. Today Flipkart is one of the top ten most visited websites in India. They sell nearly 10 products per minute, and are well set to achieve their target of annual sales worth Rs.1 billion.

Things to learn: Recognize potential markets. Do not be afraid to be David to a Goliath.

These are five entrepreneurs from diverse fields and eras that we think will prove to be an inspiration to you. For more information and queries about e-commerce in India, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading multi-channel inventory management system providers, and we are always happy to help.

How to Manage Your Online Retail After the Sales Boom is Over

The sale season is upon us. Flipkart officially opened the doors for the festive season through its Big Billion Day Sale. Other online marketplaces are offering promotional discounts as well. We are all at the brink of the annual diwali price-cuts and bashes. We already posted this handy guide to manage your online retail business during the festive season. This article though, is about the next step in an e-commerce entrepreneur’s year. After the boom comes a lull. Within a month, the festive season will take a break till Christmas, and the market will comparatively slow down. Here we talk about how to manage your online retail business after the sales boom is over. There are a few essential steps you will have to take to ensure that your business remains profitable. Here are 5 things you can do to make sure of it.

Things You Can do During a Sales Lull

1. Reassess inventory

First thing to do after a major sales wave is to reassess your inventory. Go through the list of items sold and items still on the shelves. By using an inventory management system like Browntape, you will have access to all your sales data from different sales channels in one handy portal. After a heavy sale season, the inventory tends to be lighter. The end of a sale season does not mean that all transactions would be over. It is time to refurbish the shelves and to continue the flow of operations through the momentum gathered during the season.

2. Catch the latecomers

There will always be latecomers in the market, customers who have missed out on making the most out of the sale season, scouring for good deals. Look at your sales charts and pinpoint the most popular sold items. It won’t hurt to keep a couple of schemes on these items going.

3. Analyze your sales

Sale season provides you with tons of analyzable data that you wouldn’t generally get your hands on. Now is the time to analyze this data to find out how your strategies have fared on the market. Here is how you will know about your most and least popular products, geographic and demographic distribution of your customers and your profits and losses. Browntape provides you with an analysis dashboard to help you with this process.

4. Get customer feedback and address grievances

This is a very important step for an online retailer. Customer feedback is the best way of knowing how well you fared during the sale season. The more satisfied customers you have, the better chances of you becoming successful in your online retail business. Give them the courtesy to asses you and the chance to voice their grievances. A good example is Flipkart’s apology letter to its customers after the negative response to the Big Billion Day Sale Browntape’s automated email system is a handy tool for this purpose.

5. Prepare for the next boom

Of course, you deserve a holiday for the immense work you have put in to make this sale season successful, but there is more work to do after that. By mid november, the Christmas shopping frenzy will begin, and you will have to be ready for it. After all, you snooze, you lose.

This was our short guide on handling your e-commerce business after the sales boom is over. For more information or queries, get in touch with us at Browntape!