Abhimanyu Lal, head of category management, eBay India talks about current eCommerce trends and the firm’s business, in an interview with Prudhvi Raju K.
What was eBay Inc’s growth rate in the last fiscal? What is the average growth rate of the company since inception?
eBay Inc has recorded a revenue growth of 27 per cent to $11.7 billion as compared to 2010. The company’s Marketplaces business also delivered strong fourth quarter performance. Marketplaces revenue for the quarter was up 16 per cent year over year.
What are the current challenges faced by the eCommerce industry in the country and also by eBay India in particular?
India has diverse regions; internet and modern retail are still deepening their reach to Tier 2 and 3 cities and rural areas. Some challenges are lack of awareness leading to low trust levels. Owing to the vast geography of India, it is sometimes challenging to reach remote areas faster. Rising Indian consumption demand, increasing broadband penetration, lower device costs, increased awareness and confidence in online shopping continue to be the key drivers of the industry.
What are you doing to overcome these challenges?
We have introduced two pioneering services — PaisaPay and eBay Guarantee. PaisaPay allows consumers to pay conveniently through credit card, debit card, net banking or EMI. The payment is released to the seller only once the buyer confirms receipt of the item. eBay Guarantee offers all buyers a replacement or refund on all transactions in case they are not 100 per cent satisfied with the product. The eBay Guarantee is aimed at instilling consumer confidence in online shopping promising a completely secure and satisfaction-guaranteed experience of getting the product they selected and paid for.
There were reports that women are increasingly buying products from eBay. Can you please expand on this?
Thirty per cent of our consumers are women and shop across all categories available on eBay. The lifestyle category is the most popular for women with:
- A piece of jewellery selling every 4 minutes
- A health or beauty product sells every 4 minutes
- A piece of apparel selling every 5 minutes
- A watch selling every 7 minutes
- A piece of home décor selling every 8 minutes
Our women shoppers are primarily between the age of 18 and 40. They are home-makers, professionals, entrepreneurs and working women. Women tend to be social with their shopping habits whether it be sharing details of a product they are looking for and seeking recommendations or sharing what they bought and making recommendations. Their circle of influence is larger and they shop more frequently.
Where do you want to take eBay India in the next two years?
The Indian eCommerce industry is pegged to grow at over 70 per cent and we are growing at twice this rate. We plan to further accelerate this growth by enhancing our services through constant innovation. We plan to focus not only on our buyers but also our sellers who have been vital partners to our success.
Opportunities and promises
Women are becoming increasingly active in shopping online and this will lead to a change in the product offerings of eCommerce players, which means lifestyle products will take lead.
Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities are now firmly on the eCommerce map and the key driver is access to products not available in their city or town. With further increase in internet penetration, they will become large eCommerce hubs.
As an estimated 100 million Indians spend their time online consuming content, communicating and even indulging in commerce, brands are setting up online storefronts to cater to this demand. From a dedicated storefront on eCommerce websites, to special promotions and standalone eCommerce enabled websites, brands are going to come online in a big way and invest in servicing this distributed but significant customer base.
Another, big impetus to eCommerce in India is mobile commerce. Presently Mobile Assisted Commerce has picked up significantly in India and is expected to grow in the country. Mobile Assisted Commerce enables consumers to check prices online using mobile applications and making purchases after comparing prices.
“The Indian seller is very entrepreneurial and does not just trade with consumers across the country as well as exports a variety of hand crafted goods global buyers across the world. The number of entrepreneurs having the internet as their key driver will grow with growing awareness of the multiple uses of the virtual medium. We definitely see retail exports as a growing trend,”Lal said.