Three things online retailers can learn from offline retailers in India

Very often online retailing is seen as a sharp alternative of the offline retailers from the future perspective. It is also seen as a very advanced version of shopping as well in the developed countries. Because of the deep internet penetration online consumers globally has been increasingly using the online mode for shopping. In India offline retailers seem to be anxious about the impact of the ever-growing online retailing trend across India.   But that’s not all, even online buyers are not very happy with the services they are getting in India. The situation, with only 42 million online shoppers (for products) out of the 500 million internet users in India, speaks for itself about the nascent stage of online retailing in India. So we need to need to really understand what these online retailers can learn from the offline retailers. There are three things which online retailers must adopt from the offline retailers.

1. Selling things which demonstrates–“ Only for you”

Selling the standard and me too products to all, has become a weakness of present online retailers. Companies like Amazon have solved this problem, learning from Indian retailers. Amazon repositioned there selling by saying its APNI DUKAN. Where amazon is demonstrating selling tools highly customized for their consumers. Remember many times our nearby stores do it many times for us by doing special things for us and making us feel as if they have done it especially for us.

2. Managing Consumer Relations which demonstrates- “ I know you very well”

Offline retailers have high volume of loyal and regular customers. After some time the regular sales person at the store many times know our needs. This seldom happens in even branded apparel stores like Raymond, where they know the color choice of the customer or in a Saari shop where they very well know the pattern of liking of the lady customer. Online retailers should promote more and more customized versions of selling and managing relations which will make consumers as if they are being understood deeply. Web morphing is one such technique which always enables analysis of customer needs.

3. Empathizing with consumer which demonstrates- “ For any problem, I’m there”

Many times online shoppers do not get the product or services for which they pay. This mismatch is very handled by the offline customers. For regular customer the shop keeper always say- “For any problem, I’m there”. This enhances the trust level between them. This is a very important thing which can be learnt by the online retailers in India. Recently FlipKart has launched an ad campaign which talks about the same thing i.e. getting right product on FlipKart is BILKUL PAKKA.


Dipanjay Bhalerao
Assistant Professor, Marketing

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