An e-commerce business is as good as the technology it uses given that the entire gamut of operations, from acquiring customers to managing sellers and payments, need to be seamlessly executed. Thus come into play Big Data, analytics, cross-platform databases and open-source storage networks
Even as the big boys of Indian e-commerce splurge on “reaching out to consumers”, spending crores on marketing and advertising, the e-tailers unanimously agree on technology being the backbone of their business. Be it hiring professionals at a premium or driving innovation through in-house technologies, the virtual platforms can not do without constant improvisation in technology.
E-tailers have successfully deployed non-relational databases like MongoDB, open-source storage software framework like Hadoop, Big Data and analytics to acquire and retain customers, manage logistics and payments, making technology a key component of their scale up plan.
“For any scalable business, which wants to become efficient and bring value to customers, technology is the most important lever. Otherwise, one will not be able to compete in the market,” said Sanjay Sethi, co-founder and CEO of Delhi-based online marketplace Shopclues.com.
According to Sethi, the technology boom in the past decade has been a boon to e-commerce businesses, having opened up avenues to gain scale. Be it managing the army of over 60,000 sellers on Shopclues marketplace, monitoring the movement of over 9,000 SKUs (stock keeping units), collaborating with courier partners or predictive planning, Sethi owes it all to technology.
“Everybody is using technology, especially big data analytics. Just that some are doing it better than others. Businesses should be built with technology in mind. If something can be done with technology, it’s better not to do it any other way. It might take a little longer, but in the long run, it is worth it,” Sethi added.
Essentially, technology plays an instrumental role in e-commerce when it comes to search, personalisation and customisation, which entails in-depth analysis of a consumer’s buying and surfing habits, apart from streamlining payment processes and order management. Technology also plays a key role in overall administration, including merchant management, price determination and dispute resolution. With the large volumes of data generated in the process, an efficient data analytics mechanism is also of paramount importance.
Consequently, e-commerce companies end up spending a considerable chunk of their revenues on shoring up their technological capabilities, both in terms of research and development and investing in manpower. The investment is more for players like Flipkart and Snapdeal