You are on an online shopping site checking out dresses. You go through a number of brands, styles, prices. Compare sizes, colours, availabilities and decide to buy one. Just then the idea to check out another side comes to you. What if they have better dresses? Better prices for better brands? You can’t just leave your options out. So you put this dress on a wish list and go to the other site. And from there to another and another; all the while putting products in varied wishlists and favourites. You have essentially been window shopping online and now have no clue what you liked where. You give up the entire process and end up shopping at your favourite mall instead.
Consumer trusts the online medium
The latest IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India) report shows that there is a giant increase in consumer traffic to e-retail websites. This would mean that consumers are no longer shy of the online medium. “One can browse through any and every trend, brand and style, without the hassle of visiting stores. Growing number of designers are becoming available online, which is helping them reach out to a large number of audiences. Needless to mention that online shopping allows more people to simply check out the high fashion without the intimidation of entering a high-end store or mall”, says Manmohan Agarwal, CEO, Yebhi.com “With more people transacting online and discovering the benefits of online shopping, positive word of mouth, and easy payments options have all contributed towards building the trust factor”, says Ashutosh Lawania, Co-founder, Myntra. E-retail sites like Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, Yebhi, etc., offer services such as cash-on-delivery and trial-before-purchase, which have boosted consumer’s confidence to buy online. Salil Kumar, CEO, BagItToday.com says, “Their confidence levels have grown, from being experimental buyers (hence smaller ticket size) to experienced buyers with more confidence (and bigger ticket size).” Ankur Warikoo, CEO, Groupon India, says that the increased confidence is because sites are hosting trustable brands. “We have seen an increase in trust over the last one year and it is also reflected in our redemption rate (94%).”
The window shopping websites
To make the online shopping process easier, a number of websites have come up especially to help you window shop online. Some of them include Sweetcouch, Scrapehere and Clipr. These websites showcase the catalogues of different online shopping stores and the user can see, compare products from different e-retail sites at the same place. They operate on a non-commission basis which separates them from a market place like ebay or amazon. They not only let the consumer have a look at what’s out there but also give a level playing field to smaller online stores that do not have the funds available to advertise. Customers can save products they like from different stores at the same place and share them on social networking sites too. On clicking the buy button, the website takes you to the e-store you were checking and payment and delivery are handled by the store itself. Sweetcouch.com allows users to add the “shop picker” tool to their browsers which lets them add online stores they might stumble upon to the existing Sweetcouch list. The website therefore diverts traffic towards these stores.
Is increased traffic equal to sales?
Aggressive marketing by bigger websites have drawn huge traffic to e-retail but the increased traffic on websites do not necessarily mean that customers are buying more. Rajesh Chokhani, Founder, Sweetcouch says that almost 40-45% of the people who come to the Sweetcouch website end up clicking the “Buy now” button and at least seven out of a 100 customers who visit the site would buy from a store. Traffic and sales are growing for almost all websites. Myntra.com has been doubling in revenues every six months for the past 12 - 15 months with increased demand from across categories led by apparel and closely followed by footwear and accessories. Even for niche websites, the growth has been apparent. Prashant Kumar, Founder and MD, Healthkart.com says, “HealthKart sales have been consistently growing by 15-20% month on month across all product categories. Categories like health nutrition, diabetes and fitness have seen great consistent growth and strong customer loyalty.” Whether you go online to window shop, or to buy a particular product, as Chokhani puts it, “Everyone wants to buy something good and in the long run only good, unique products win.”