Will Virtual Shift Bring More Authenticity to Online Shopping?

Consumers love the idea of shopping in real-time through videos because they can see the product and visit any store virtually anywhere.
Will Virtual Shift Bring More Authenticity to Online Shopping?

Online shopping witnessed a massive jump in sales due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. Indian shoppers bought essential goods such as groceries, medicines, and food online. Yet, there have been some doubts regarding the authenticity of online retailers. The Indian consumer does not trust easily, which plays well for e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart. Together the two e-commerce giants captured more than 80 percent of the online market share. 

54 million shoppers did not shop online after their first purchase! 

The top reason for Indian shoppers to not shop online is distrust. Most first-time online shoppers said they were disappointed with the quality of their online purchases. They want to ‘touch and see’ the product before they spend any money. Quality retailers may not gain online visibility due to the tough competition and expensive advertising campaigns that Amazon can take on. Video shopping can bridge the gap between reluctant Indian shoppers and genuine online retailers. 

Video shopping or v-commerce is the usage of video calls or video chats to shop in real-time. We know that video works thanks to the popularity of Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, YouTube videos, live-streaming chats, and zoom chats. Consumers love the idea of shopping in real-time through videos because they can see the product and visit any store virtually anywhere. 

Why do Indian Shoppers Love V-commerce?

- Real-time shopping with the in-store experience via video calls
- The hyper-local market enables shoppers to visit their favorite stores
- Consumers can get a live look at the product via video call
- Secure shopping experience

90 percent of online retailers fail to sustain their business past the first year. The limitations of the e-commerce platforms have plagued the average Indian retailer for years. The shift from an e-commerce platform to a v-commerce platform will revolutionize the Indian retail industry and help local retailers to crack the online marketplace. Here are a few e-commerce limitations that the Indian retail industry has not been able to overcome:

- Almost monopolistic competition from e-commerce giants
- Website building and maintenance can go up to lakhs making e-commerce a very costly enterprise for a new business
- The reluctance of consumers to shop online/ unwillingness to share card information/ COD enables a high rate of cancellations and returns
- Lack of technical knowledge
- Internet connectivity issues 
- Expensive photo-shoots to build catalogs 
- Complicated algorithms of e-commerce platforms 
- Low online visibility

Adopting a v-commerce model can do wonders for Indian retailers who remain primarily unorganized. With Government incentives for digitization, easy online payments, better internet connectivity, it is the right time for the average business owner to start their online business on a v-commerce platform. 

Personalized selling is one of the main features of a v-commerce platform and its best attractions. Indian shoppers are slow to trust a new business online, especially if they do not have a high-quality website or immense social media popularity. With integrated video calling, shoppers can connect with the store in real-time. The retailer also has the opportunity to employ his selling skills the old-fashioned way instead of worrying about Instagram likes or Facebook shares! 

Personalized selling also increases customer loyalty as many shoppers trust a video representation than a picture catalog. Through video chat, a shopper can see the store and the product and be reassured of the authenticity and quality of the product they want to purchase. V-commerce allows retailers to create a virtual store that does not require an expensive website or spend thousands on a photoshoot to build catalogs that need to be updated all the time. Shoppers do not return to brands with low-quality images, difficult to navigate websites, and they hate the not in stock option that only pops up after spending considerable time going through the catalog. 

COVID-19 restrictions meant that over one billion Indian shoppers were stuck at home and were unable to visit their favorite local stores. 50 percent of Indian shoppers will prefer to shop online by the year 2026. We have already witnessed a mega change in the way people shop, and the virtual shift from an e-commerce platform to a v-commerce platform will ensure a more authentic shopping experience for all. A few v-commerce apps are already available, allowing Indian retailers to transition to a virtual store. The success of such apps will further revolutionize the way people shop in the digital age!

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