In what could be the first signs of a revival in online B2C (business to consumer) activities, global software giant Microsoft Corporation has jumped onto the online shopping bandwagon in India, encouraged by the e-tailing activities of Internet users.
Microsoft’s MSN business group in India has entered into a strategic partnership with Bangalore-based Fabmall India to offer online shopping facilities to its MSN services users on a revenue-sharing basis. The tie-up is set to offer serious competition to existing Internet portals offering online shopping.
“Though it is difficult to predict the right time for e-tailing business, one could get an idea with the few indicators. The physical retailing business seems to be looking up with increased interest and spending from the consumer in the last few months. Moreover, the Indian consumer has now become more comfortable with new modes of transactions such as withdrawing money from ATMs (automated teller machines) and maintaining bank accounts on the Internet,” MSN business group director for South Asia Shriram Adukoorie told eFE, adding that the company had been keeping a tab on Internet trends on a regular basis with the help of third-party research firms.
Talking about the tie-up, Mr Adukoorie said MSN’s strength was in generating Internet traffic and the company could find the right partner in Fabmall to offer a reliable and and quality e-tailing option to customers. MSN India claims to have around 10 million unique users per month. (This would mean that around 10 million users log on to use MSN services every month. When a user logs in repeatedly, he is counted as one unique user).
According to Fabmall India vice-president (marketing) K Vaitheeswaran, Fabmall will be expanding its online business operations to handle the increased traffic as a result of its tie-up with MSN India. “The traffic at MSN is huge as compared to the traffic at Fabmall currently. We see a lot of investments in the areas of merchandise (adding more products and categories), fresh tie-up with vendors and enhanced customer service in coming months,” he said.
MSN services include Hotmail, MSN Messenger, MSN Chat and MSN Portal. Fabmall is in the business of online as well as brick and mortar sales and distribution of all kind of items including household goods, gifts and groceries. Fabmall will be making a substantial investment in re-aligning its business model to suit MSN users’ profile and demand patterns.