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Except tickets, Indians aren’t shopping online

By Nivedita Sharma, IANS,

New Delhi : Looks like Indian consumers aren’t comfortable buying personal things like clothes, shoes or jewellery online.

According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), barring a few services such as online ticketing and hotel bookings, consumers aren’t buying online. A large number of surfers use the internet to simply look for information about the product or service they want.

E-tailing, which includes the purchase of durable products such as electronic items, home and kitchen appliances, as well as personal items like apparel and jewellery, constitutes only eight percent of the market.

The questions which arise while shopping online are – what will the quality of the garment be? How will the delivery happen? Will the result be satisfactory? Is online payment safe?

“Never go for these online sites in the temptation of getting international brands at almost half the price as they sell atrocious stuff. They sell products with defects like holes and sometimes deliver something you never asked for,” warns Meenakshi Rana, who ordered an off-shoulder gown from a well-known online retailing company – only to be disappointed.

Designer Shantanu Mehra suggests one should clear doubts before placing orders online.

“Every website has some terms and conditions mentioned. Platforms like net-o-porter (international e-commerce site) have the guidelines completely, stating that this is how we work, this is how we sell our goods, this is how we are priced. One just needs to be aware of things before picking up a product from these sites,” Mehra told IANS.

One should also check the payment mode and opt for websites which offer cash on delivery procedure, says Mukesh Bansal of online retailing house myntra.com.

“24 X 7 customer care, favourable return policies and free shipping throughout the country are some offerings which help in avoiding complaints. If we talk about payments, there are multiple levels of real time check points that ensure a safe online transaction. There is also an option of cash on delivery for customers who are not comfortable using their credit/debit cards online,” said Bansal.

Designer Manish Arora suggests that consumers need to be completely sure of the garment as there is no way to try it on.

“To make an online store concept a success, the website should be easy to navigate through, with crisp and clear details given about the garment,” he added.

RBI guidelines like second factor authentication and one time password (OTP) are examples of strong measures to counter fraud during payment, says Mehul Gupta, associate vice president, IAMAI.

Gupta, however, says the e-commerce sector is growing and e-tailing could experience a high growth.

“Net commerce in India has evolved over the past decade in terms of magnitude. The total net commerce market of India is expected to grow to Rs.46,520 crore by December 2011. It has come a long way since 2007 when the market size was just Rs.8,146 crore,” said Gupta.

Despite a not-so-encouraging response, the e-space is however being flooded with sites like fashionandyou.com, exclusively.in, myntra.com and 99labels.com catering to the Indian and international market with the best-ever deals in designer clothing.

(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])