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Shopping is no longer a weekend experience! We no longer go to fixed shopping destinations. Nobody wants to shop at malls. Online shopping experience is making a shift day by day. Earlier people used to  shop from a single store, but the times has changed. We have more varieties and more brands available. We can shop according to our convenience. Think of a situation, where you can shop your favorite party wear without missing the TV soaps or cricket match. Have you ever thought of buying diamond online? Caratlane.com helps you to design your favorite solitaire without even visiting the store!

With the rise of internet connections and mobile usage, eCommerce in India is rising. PWC’s annual global survey of online shoppers reveals the need for a unified, always-on consumer experience. Earlier it was the retailer who was defining what experience he or she could provide but now it is the customer who is defining what experience they wants.

Xmas time

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PWC survey in India showed us that the changing behaviour of shoppers has a deep connection  with emerging business models which will change the way ‘total retailers’ do business. In India, customers are still making up their mind on their preferred retailer, the categories to buy online vis-à-vis in-store, etc. It is not online vs in-store but online and in-store. This provides a unique opportunity for the retailers to up their act to take advantage of the first mover.

The technology has played a major role in this shift. The eCommerce companies are coming up with mobile apps and the analysts are playing round with their analytics to know the exact customer preferences.

Why do you shop at your top three favourite retailers or brands?

When asked why do they shop at their top three favourite retailers or brands? , the Indian consumers gave the following priority:

  1. They ‘trust’ the brand
  2. Best Prices – The online brands provide them the best offers
  3. Better Product Line – They sell things which I cannot find anywhere else
  4. Store location, its staff and the entire in store experience
  5. Better loyalty programs
  6. Provide advice
  7. Fast and reliable delivery

The Indian consumers are tricky and unique always. If their favorite store is closed down, they will move to the next physical store of the same brand. Almost 70% of the respondents said that they will find the next store of the same brand. Unlike in US, where they either move to online or the next available brand.

Respondents who use multiple digital platforms

Almost 29% have shopped only from a single retailer. 41% has used at least two to five retailers online. 19% has used more than six retailers online.  It’s true that we don’t try different retailer even if they provide good service.

Recently we have noticed that almost all the best brands has their website making shift to an eCommerce website or at least they provide all available products and their prices. This is in response to the shift that we are talking about. The customers want to research about the product they are going to buy. The best source for this is internet, Google and social media. If the customer can’t find you online, you are missing out an opportunity here. Indian consumers has moved from purchasing a simple book to buy diamonds online.

According to the survey, the top five retailers online are:

  1. Flipkart
  2. eBay
  3. Snapdeal
  4. Jabong
  5. Myntra

Today, shoppers want online retailers to invest in making the online shopping experience simple and seamless, following the principles of ease of use, ease of product search, more images with better quality, increased product range, easy purchase process, less clicks, etc.

Buying pattern: Leveraging the best of both worlds

Consumers research and buy products from different mediums, depending on the categories. For hardline categories such as consumer electronics, home appliances, furniture and homeware buyers go through various websites in order to research the product features as well as pricing, and then visit their preferred retailers to purchase the product in-store. On the other hand, for softline categories such as clothing, footwear, books, music, movies and video games, consumers prefer to research as well as purchase the products online.

Preferred Purchase Journey

Indian consumers purchase online because they can shop at any time at their convenience. The top five responses were:

  1. Can shop from home
  2. Can shop 24×7 online
  3. Lower prices or better deals
  4. Easier to compare and research products
  5. Wider variety of products than in store

The top responses for not buying online are the following:

  1. Prefer to touch or try the product
  2. Just prefer to shop in store
  3. Don’t trust
  4. Security of personal data
  5. Don’t trust online payment methods
  6. Don’t have credit/debit cards
  7. Don’t have broadband connection

With the advent of mobile technology, the apps are becoming the lifeline of any mobile user. Even the blogs will be available as an app in the future. I might have my own app for writing and reading my blogs. We need an integrated shopping experience. Shopping is not just visiting malls or the physical store any more. Its much more than that. We might need to integrate the technology, supply chain, analytics, social media to provide the better customer experience.

You can read the full report of PWC India here