The entire world is embracing a digital lifestyle today and e-commerce is at the forefront of this revolution. India has taken to e-commerce like a fish to water, as the numbers have only been rising from the first moments of the country stepping into e-commerce a decade ago. Slowly but surely, our lifestyles have changed with the increased e-commerce consumption. Earlier it would be a weekly family ritual to go to the markets and shop for groceries and food. Now the very same families are ordering all of them online. From purchasing goods to conducting industrial trades, e-commerce has a solution for any requirement. Which is why it should not come as a surprise to know that while retailers are noticing a drop in sales, e-commerce companies are rising upwards. Here, we show you 4 ways in which e-commerce companies are hurting small retailers.
1) Unprecedented Convenience
The root of all the success which e-commerce has seen is the result of a single factor which separates it from small retailers: convenience. The sheer convenience of simply ordering from your home in a few clicks cannot be provided by small retailers. You could be travelling, in the middle of work or enjoying a holiday at home: there are no location and timing restrictions for you to place an order and receive a product. In our ever increasing hectic lives, e-commerce reduces the tension of making purchases for any needs that you might have because you do not have to undertake extra effort. Such convenience offered by e-commerce companies has really hurt smaller retailers.
2) Constant Discounts
Another major reason for the success of e-commerce is the presence of discounts. Not just in India, flash sales and time bound discounts are always effective and lead to a lot of sales. Discounts have been a part of the e-commerce experience in India from the very beginning due to the price conscious nature of the citizens across the country. This nature is the very reason why e-commerce companies keep on having round the year discount offers and payment incentives like cashbacks. Unfortunately for small retailers, discounts can only be a marketing tactic and not a constant presence. They can neither match the funding of e-commerce companies nor wait for future profit. Small retailers need immediate and daily profit, which is why they cannot offer constant discounts. E-Commerce companies do not have such limitations and can provide lucrative offers to customers.
3) Customer Information
Any e-commerce company is a digital entity which receives data. This includes how many people visit the site, how frequently do they use it, how quickly do they leave it, which pages are used most by them. You can also place cookies, which are a tracking mechanism that view the user’s activities. You can then analyze this entire data to understand which elements of your page are working and which are not. In other words, you can modify the pages which are drawing a negative reaction or not drawing any attraction at all and continue to focus on the pages/sections which users spend time at. Users will only make any transactions from your website if they see what they are looking for, and you can modify your website according to the user’s needs by analyzing data. A small retail outlet cannot make such a detailed analysis and will consequently stand the risk of not serving the customer their needs. Hence, they stand to be put down by the presence of e-commerce.
4) Flexible Delivery:
Logistics is a crucial part of the functioning of an e-commerce website. Yes, there is a lot of pressure involved in its execution (which can be equally easily resolved with appropriate planning and tools) but at the end of the day, e-commerce companies can give their customers the product that is properly packaged, and at the location and time of their choice. E-Commerce is not simply about convenience of choosing the product, it also gives a customer the convenience to receive it where and when they want to. The rising consumption of “Express” or super-fast deliveries show that customers are willing to pay extra for receiving a product earlier than expected ie pay for more convenience and receive their needs faster. This instant approach allows e-commerce to provide more options for delivery with the underlying fact being the product has to be delivered in the mentioned time. Unfortunately, small retailers cannot provide these benefits. As a result they have lost out to e-commerce companies in providing the customer with a great experience and satisfaction.
As you can see, e-commerce is much more convenient for the customer due to the ease at which you can use it to make purchases. A report in the Hindu Business Line earlier this year, noted that major electronic retailers witnessed at least a 20% drop in sales as a result of e-commerce eating into their business. With the benefits mentioned above, this gap will surely widen in the coming years and prove that e-commerce will be the primary source of transactions very soon.