Getting e-commerce ON-LINE with the rest
By Raghuraman, P
30th March, 2016
Many of us would have read the news today with amusement (sic!) about GOI’s announcement regarding the next steps for e-commerce play in India. I can already hear some of my friends muttering about the trading community being BJP supporters and how they were behind the GOI to bring the truant etail boys on-line (well literally speaking) with the off-line”.
I am happy and sad at the same time. Happy because, I am convinced that regulating e-commerce is good in the long run for a country like India where our priorities are about creating jobs and creating wealth for many and not just a few! I am sad because, I will not be able to enjoy the subsidy being given by greedy VCs to buy my favorite brands at lower prices! Well I don’t care if Morgan Stanley wrote down their investment in Flipkart. I also don’t care if Alibaba and another 40 thieves come to India and subsidize our purchases!
Lets look at why it is good to regulate the e-commerce industry:
1. I want e-commerce to add value to economy, not erode. It is no “Heropanti” to sell a Rs. 50000, HP Laptop (that a hard working retailer sells from his store) at Rs. 45000 on-line, because a greedy billion dollar fund underwrites your discount! My definition of Heropanti is a Hero who has to remove his pants to prove his manhood! Similarly these etailers (who have been made Hero by the media) can only sell by discounting.
2. It will force e-commerce companies to innovate, like the way Flipkart has done with Motorola, Xiomi and LeEco! Get exclusive brands and reach it to consumer at reduced costs rather than under-cutting the same brand being sold through a different pipe. Well done Flipkart!
3. Real jobs are created through manufacturing products in India and selling them through proper retail shops. Design Jobs, Manufacturing jobs, Sales and Distribution Jobs, Merchandising jobs etc.
4. In current avatar, Ecommerce only creates logistics jobs, making more Indians “motorcycle coolies” carrying a huge delivery bag instead of using their communication skills and brains to sell!
5. We need to get E-Commerce to focus on bringing out millions of small brands and help cottage industry reach their product out to nook and corner of the world rather than “selling what sells/selling what the off-line retailer is already selling”
We need real businesses that manage their own costs and make profits. Only then, a virtuous cycle is created in the society. Everybody makes money, has money to spend, will not mind spending more and so on. t is time to get out of the vicious cycle the industry has got into.
It is time for e-tailers to start doing some real world business. Otherwise soon each of you will shut down one by one, with (e)tail between your legs.