E-Retailing Making An Evolutionary Leap

by Archana Shah - Founder, Bandhej

Founded in 1985 Bandhej is a retail clothing 'designer' label in India. The company today has a chain of 8 shops, two in Ahmedabad, one each in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Pune and Panjim (Goa).

Companies in retail sector sell a wide range of products to consumers and businesses, from food and apparel to hardware, household goods, and office supplies. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient supply chain management and effective merchandising and marketing. In such a scenario, e-commerce has changed the whole retail environment which is altering the way people shop. Companies created the online retail industry (e-retailing) by putting the entire customer experience - from browsing products to placing orders to paying for purchases - on the internet.

Lower start-up and marketing campaign cost is an added perk with achieving enlarged footprint by incredible bounds that allows retailers to reach areas of the country or even the world where they haven’t been able to reach before.

Technology Enabling Retailers

E-retailing saves time, fuel and energy for shoppers. Apart from having - 24/7 hours throughout the year availability, it provides facility of comparing prices with other online stores and getting best affordable prices. With just a couple of clicks of the mouse, shoppers can have wide range of options for specific merchandise by choosing varied  model number, style, size, color and also sometimes viewing those combinations in virtual dressing room.

On the other hand, brick-and-mortar retailing locations do not have quite the reach of e-commerce, but still play a vital role in overall company sales. Implementing technology improvement in distinct ways, they can also give shoppers a unique experience. Brick and mortar retailing stores are using services from mobile devices that can help shoppers to find out specific stores carrying a certain product in malls. They are using smart-phones to send consumers special price offers after they’ve been in the store for a certain length of time, or when they are scanning product barcodes with their smart-phones for some information.

Mobile devices such as iPads used by shoppers can allow them to “shop autonomously” i.e. in the absence of a sales person, they can check the iPad to see availability of certain products and alternatively can order the product from retailer’s online shop. On the other hand sales staff can also use tablets as “sales assistants” to demonstrate products that are not currently in stock.

The changing retail business climate is a strong feature for future trend. Although the Internet has skyrocketed business sales for the average e-retailers, there are many advantages that consumers are missing out that brick and mortar stores can provide. There would be sure scope in retail where in-shop experience will be preferred. These firms are making an evolutionary leap by using electronic medium in attempt to survive. This adds new capabilities that are conductive to the internet.