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Last updated: 24 May, 2016  

E.Commerce.9.Thmb.jpg The promise of e-commerce

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Bikky Khosla | 24 May, 2016
The retail e-commerce sector in India tripled from $4.4 billion in 2010 to $13.6 billion in 2014, according to recently released official figures. Interestingly, this number was achieved despite a not-so encouraging Internet penetration and comparatively slow broadband speed. According to some recent studies, this market is likely to reach $38 billion (Rs.252,700 crore) in 2016 and $1 trillion (Rs.660,000 crore) by 2020. These estimates seem very reasonable, with the number of Internet and mobile users increasing at a rapid pace, and I think it is important like never before that our small businesses gear up to leverage from that potential e-commerce offers.

In the B2B segment the future prospects seem no less promising. Globally, according to a report, the B2B e-commerce market will be twice as large as the B2C market by 2020, with China emerging as the largest online B2B marketplace. In fact, B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce in the US and although the current trend is not that encouraging in India, experts believe that in India too this segment has potential to emerge as the lead segment in the coming years. It is estimated that B2B e-commerce will reach $700 billion in 2020 and with a growing number of investors showing interest in this segment, I think the future is bright for B2B e-commerce in India.

It is interesting to note that the B2C boom has resulted in higher customer expectations in the B2B segment in recent years. Today, more and more B2B buyers want the simple e-commerce experience that mimics the B2C model. Familiar with the e-retail shopping experience, they now know that shopping online saves time and money; buying through a sales representative is not much preferred. They don't want to wait long for detailed specifications and product descriptions. They demand for the B2C experience – in terms of pricing, shipping, technical support, product reviews available online, and so on. In this changing scenario, it has become imperative for B2B sellers to put in place fresh strategies to win over customer satisfaction.

In addition, mobile commerce is picking up as a valuable revenue stream in e-retail and B2B traders can take a cue from the segment. These days, online retailers are increasingly adopting the omni-channel marketing model to reach prospects and I think the B2B segment should also focus on creating a cohesive experience for buyers by orchestrating different channels, including the mobile phone, with the number of mobile subscribers and mobile Internet users growing rapidly in the country. India has already crossed USA and has become the 2nd largest Internet user base in the world after China and all this growth in last few years has happened due to smart mobile devices. Our B2B players should not let this opportunity go by.

I invite your opinions.
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B2B E-Commerce Plan of Trade India
Amit K Chatterjee | Wed May 25 05:50:35 2016
Hi Bikky, Thanks for yet another informative article on SMEs. B2B e-commerce has great potential and several B2B information service companies have leveraged their existing traction with SMEs to venture into b2b e-commerce - such as Tolexo by IndiaMart and BazarA2Z by InfoBanc. Hope Trade India will also join and help SMEs sell across India. I shall be happy to collaborate in case Trade India plans b2b e-commerce foray. Warm Regards Amit K Chatterjee CEO BazarA2Z,com - India's 1st B2B E-Commerce Marketplace

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