After the Monday Mayhem experienced by both Flipkart and its disappointed online shoppers unable to absorb festival discounts, and the concerns raised by physical store owners and traders about out-of-proportion discounts offered by the portal, questions are being raised about the sustainability and suitability of online retailing models for Indian market.
However, the Ahmedabad-based online shopping portal, Infibeam.com, has showcased through its model of ‘live online stores’, that it is not the price war or the multiplicity of product categories that count for long-term success in e-retailing.
The company’s horizontally-spread and democratic platform founded in 2011, buildabazaar.com, has so far gathered over 30,000 live stores enabling merchants or brand-owners set up their own e-retailing portals and offer discounts as they deem fit for their business.
“Indian e-retailing culture is not predatory and is culturally different from the West. Therefore it is required to provide suitable platform to merchants and customers simultaneously. We believe that this concept will stand the test of time as it makes merchants decide their discounts and gives customers the liberty to access multiple brands on the same platform,” Vishal Mehta, founder of Infibeam.com told BusinessLine here on Wednesday.
This is also seen as a solution to the concerns raised by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) about the business model and trade practices of e-commerce companies and their huge discounts during the festive seasons.
Mehta pointed out that about 95 per cent of the merchants registered on Buildabazar.com platform are SME players. “Such a platform, instead of taking away their businesses, provides them an additional opportunity to maintain their brand identity and retain their customers. They don’t lose money on this,” he added.
While among the SMEs furniture players, fashion products sellers are listed, some of the multinational brands like Airtel and Axiom Telecom, luggage player VIP, cookware maker Nirlep have already set up their live online stores on Buildabazaar.com with each one of them offering different discounts ranging from 10-15 per cent to up to 60 per cent and more on different products.
Looking at the buoyancy in the e-retailing market and adverse implications of price war among multi-product portals, Infibeam is looking to achieve 500,000 merchants on buildabazaar.com by 2016, he added.