Among the retail sector stories that are being keenly followed in India right now are stories of the successes of the handful of online retailers – Flipkart, Letsbuy, Infibeam and others of their ilk. The story of Flipkart’s founders – two software engineers at Amazon who shared the same last name while being unrelated to each other – reveals how persistence made them the largest online bookseller in India in less than four years.
There, however, is talk of how the ecommerce landscape here could potentially change with the impending entry of Amazon – the big daddy of the online market.
For one, the entry of Amazon will not catch the current homegrown boys napping – they have been aware of the possibility and have diligently been ramping up to meet the giant. The fact remains that the market in India is large enough to accommodate the current players and Amazon too and yet ensure sufficient growth opportunities to keep everyone happy.
The Indian players have, in a few ways, made life easier for Amazon. It was the travel portals of India that first established the internet as a legitimate channel in the mind of the Indian consumer. Later, in 2007, Flipkart came along and offered the ability to order books online with the choice of being able to pay cash upon delivery. That reassured the Indian customer who still preferred to use cash for most retail transactions and paying online was largely an avoidable proposition.