There is harakiri going on in ecommerce business.
Just in the last 4 weeks, we have seen few mergers, shutdowns and well, a lot of ‘I-said-(s)he-said‘ stuff.
But here is the positive part about it – Ecommerce is the next gold rush in India and consumer spend isn’t going down. The harakiri we are seeing is more because of investors’ trying to bring 9 women and deliver a cute baby in 1 month, but that discussion is for another day.
Coming back to the article title, I am often asked what’s the ‘NextBigWhat’ of startups in India and what kind of ideas will I invest in (assuming I do*). Leaving the details of the hard – investment – part, here are two ideas that are ripe for entrepreneurial uptake in the current ecommerce ecosystem:
1. Rapportive for Ecommerce
First, not all customers are the same. Some are more vocal than others. Some are (a lot) more demanding than others.
So Flipkart recently had a serious issue –they shipped stones instead of an iPod and while a few ‘nice’ customers would have just shouted them via support email id, this one chose to tweet about it. And it’s not just about one issue, but given that shipping & delivery is a lot about meeting the 99 percentile statistics curve, errors are bound to happen.
What should companies do when such errors happen? Simple – solve them.
What if there are 1000 instances of such errors? Well, prioritize.
That is, attend to customers who matter the most. But given that ecommerce companies in India have yet to implement a rock solid (social) CRM system, the next best alternative is to ‘attend to customers to who can shout the most’.
In comes Rapportive for Ecommerce – a tool that can potentially understand a frustrated customer’s (social) reach and helps the company prioritize support reaction.
You might want to ask – but hey! are companies so dumb that they don’t have such intelligence inbuilt? The answer lies in the fact that most of the ecommerce companies’ are too busy handling support requests and while the support desk (email based) follows its own (ticketing) process, they have no control over social media and even a minor issue can result in PR disaster.
Bundling products primarily means bundling of 2 different products and sell them at an attractive price.
We aren’t talking about packing a phone cover when you buy a phone, but bundling a PowerPack charger with your smartphone buy (after all, you might need one).
So if you are paying INR >25,000 for a smartphone, an attractive deal of INR 26,000 with the charger will make for an easy buy (the 6000 mAH charger typically costs INR 1,500-2,000).
Why most Ecommerce companies won’t do this on their own?
Apart from the fact that they are way too busy finding a profitability path (Flipkart increased minimum order for free delivery to RS. 500), ecommerce companies will find it difficult to justify building the entire technology stack from the scratch, owing to investor’s pressure to improve profitability.
These services should come as a plug and play and ideally, a platform approach will work. That is, plug into a *Kart system and let their support teams tweak the platform according to their requirement.
What are your thoughts? If you are a startup who is willing to bet on these ideas, let’s talk!! And mind you, in the gold rush, the tool makers made the most money!!
*: I am not an angel investor, but am surely excited about products that take a platform approach to solving interesting problem statements. In short, these are problems worth solving and recommend geeks/hackers to think more platformish concepts than launching another *kart]