The retail industry, which is a major component of the economy, is witnessing a paradigm shift in tune with the times. The sector is getting organised and consumers are seeking a one-stop shopping destination with convenience and entertainment. They are looking to shop from the cosy confines of homes to shopping on the go, armed with mobile applications.
To keep pace with this change, India is stepping into a new era of retail chains and e-stores, from the traditional neighborhood stores of the past.
With the march of liberalisation, privatisation, globalisation and modernisation, a modern competitive business has come to take shape, based on the understanding of the mind of consumers and providing the consumer with the products and services that she wants. In this scenario, the retailer that is able to match the customer’s expectations gets to improve his business.
Online retailers have been able to tap the consumer trends by playing to their strengths. In a way, the winds of fortune are also blowing in their favour. Many new factors are encouraging online shopping in India. The growth of Internet users and mobile internet users is continuously increasing. Consumers prefer online shopping because it helps to mitigate the stress of busy lifestyles and the hassles of commuting down to a shop.
Another big convenience is that with a click, a consumer can find almost every product online. Sometimes, products can be purchased at a lesser price than from the offline markets and that too without having to sacrifice on the quality. Keeping in mind that in this age cyber security is of utmost importance, online shopping websites are giving protected online banking services so that consumers are less afraid to make payments online.
Conveniences like cash on delivery (COD) feature are launched by online shopping websites for those consumers who are afraid to make online payments or for those who have no knowledge of how to pay online.
Some websites are also giving coupons of diff erent websites to the consumers. Consumers are able to get great discounts after redeeming such coupons. New studies indicate that online shoppers purchase clothes and accessories more than electronics products.
The purchase frequencies are higher for clothes & accessories, beauty & personal care products, books, and for hotel reservations.
Electronics are searched most on the internet but cloths & accessories are purchased the most by online shoppers. Because of the high investment and risk involved in the purchase of electronics, consumers are searching online for information about electronics but for purchasing these items they are mainly relying on retail stores.
As such, online retailers should pay attention to different factors like price, attractive website design, user friendly website, secure payment gateway options, refund, cash on delivery options, lucrative coupons & offers.
While changes in the consumer behaviour have happened many times in the past, what is different this time is the way in which it is changing. The ease of shopping has given a totally new direction to the shopping experience. In these conditions, retailers must meet the expectations of consumers accustomed to buying goods online at competitive prices and having them delivered quickly.
And they must do so while creating offerings that are distinct enough to address individual preferences while still meeting the expected standards of social and environmental responsibility.
For many retailers, juggling these demands may seem like trying to square the circle and business leaders might feel baffled by the challenge.
The answer lies in responding to the change with an analytical and adaptive mindset and by building an agile organisation. By successfully amalgamating the scale advantages of a large business with the tailored approach of the small, the traditional benefits of the old and the new can be synergised.