At a time when online retail websites have mushroomed, e-tailers are opting for individual segment-wise retailing instead of multi-category, multi-product stores.
“As e-commerce gets vertical, it is a natural adoption. There are unique opportunities in the market to reach out to the customers. Mobile revolution has been faster in India compared with the west as early adoption of technology is a mass phenomenon. Youths are moving to online shopping. The horizontal players in e-commerce have led to evolution of vertical players which is like e-version of specialisation,” says Vishal Mehta, the founder and CEO of Infibeam.
Vertical e-commerce has leapfrogged in recent years, echoes Rajiv Srivasta, COO and co-founder of UrbanLadder. “Customers are aware of what they want. When they are at product specific e-commerce website like ours, they know we have carried out enough research and hard work to bring to them world-class products. So much that even in touch-and-feel categories like furniture, people are open to buying it online.” UrbanLadder is an online furniture store that has started delivery to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat.
UrbanLadder is also exploring possibilities of sourcing furniture from Gujarat. “Gujarat and Rajasthan region holds a lot of promise. We have just started sourcing furniture from Gujarat and it is an integral part of our sourcing supply chain.” added Srivatsa.
Online vertical store also allows the business owner to reach out to the customers in the remotest part of the country. Arundhati Kane, the owner of Itahdnura Kollection, an online jewellery retail store, says, “Our USP is that we deliver even in the remotest part of the country like Assam, where a lot of online stores do not deliver. What started out as a hobby is now a full-fledged business.” Running the online store for over a year now, Kane is looking at exploring export opportunities for those who are based out of India.
But the online retail stores may not be a complete replacement to physical stores. “What I see is there will be a hybrid of online stores and physical stores. In order not to lose out on the technology revolution, the physical stores will need to get an online store as well, and constantly evolve ways to get customers at their doorstep,” said Mehta, who has diversified Infibeam's technology plantform for B2B (business-to-business) segment via www.buildabazaar.com.