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Indian e-commerce firms ready sail-through plans

June 21, 2013 12:36 IST

Indian e-commerce firms ready sail-through plans

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E-commerce companies in India have rushed to make announcements on new offerings or are strategising fast on their next move, in the wake of Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company, entering India on June 5. Seattle-based Amazon’s US rival, the San Jose-headquartered eBay, has made two back-to-back announcements in India.

Earlier this week, it announced the launch of eBay Feed that allows users to customise the homepage according to their needs. Today, it rolled out eBay Daily, a platform for international food items including beverages, canned and bottled foods, sauces, and dessert.

“Any move that exposes more Indians to the delights of online shopping will ultimately benefit the industry as a whole, given this exciting growth period,” said Deepa Thomas, e-commerce evangelist, eBay India, on how eBay looks at the competition after Amazon’s entry.

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Image: Amazon.co.uk warehouse in Milton Keynes, north of London.
Photographs: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

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Domestic e-commerce player HomeShop18 announced its food or grocery entry. “After successfully launching apparels, home and kitchen items, mobile phones and many more categories, it’s time for HomeShop18 to satisfy your taste buds,” the company said.

Referring to Amazon’s launch, Narsimha Jaykumar, chief operating officer of Homeshop18, told Business Standard, “This competition will increase the credibility of e-commerce. With increased competition, there is a greater scope for expansion into the vast Indian market.”

Snapdeal.com, which calls itself India’s largest online marketplace, made a dramatic announcement soon after Amazon’s entry. Snapdeal has partnered Hero Electric to sell a new range of electric bikes on its site.

“There is definitely room for more than one player and the advent of global giants has reinforced our belief into the potential of online retail” said Sandeep Komaravelly, vice-president, marketing, Snapdeal.

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Image: Results of a Google image search on ebay are shown on a monitor in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California.
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

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Flipkart, too, is gearing up to launch new wares. A company spokesperson declined to give out any trend just yet on how Amazon had impacted its sales. “While it is still early days, the category continues to perform very well and beyond expectations,” she said.

The spokesperson pointed out, “Things have been going pretty well in the books category. We just completed sales of one lakh books a day about a week to 10 days back,” adding “quite a few plans are coming up in the category over the next couple of months.”

Flipkart will focus on categories such as academic books, children’s books and eBooks.

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Image: A man looks at books in Goethe Institute's library in Barcelona, Spain.
Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters

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On competition from Amazon, Mukesh Bansal, chief executive officer and co-Founder, Myntra, argued the Indian e-commerce industry was still in its infancy and had a long way to go when compared with mature markets such as China.

“Experienced players such as Amazon will compete (with Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc) for leadership in the horizontal category and will help grow the overall market base of Indian e-commerce,” Bansal said.

Amazon declined to talk about the number of shoppers on its site or the early trends.

“At this point of time, all I can say is, we are very encouraged by the response. We have just started and our focus is to deliver a vast selection, low prices and fast and reliable delivery to our customers,” said the Amazon spokesperson.

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Image: Employees of Snapdeal.com, an Indian online discount shopping website, work inside their company office in New Delhi.
Photographs: Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

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According to research by the Internet & Mobile Association of India, the e-commerce market in India is projected to grow from about $1.2 billion in 2012 to $1.8 billion this year.

E-retail rush

i) eBay has launched eBay Feed that allows shoppers to customise the homepage according to their needs. On Wednesday, it rolled out eBay Daily for international food items such as beverages, canned and bottled foods, and noodles

ii) HomeShop18 has announced its grocery category on Tuesday

iii) Snapdeal has partnered Hero Electric to sell a new range of electric bikes on its site

iv) Flipkart is gearing up to launch new wares and has said it will focus on academic and children's books, and eBooks


Image: Crates of Coca-Cola are stacked outside a counter of a coffee shop in Singapore.
Photographs: Edgar Su/Reuters

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