With govt relaxing investments for growth, the rush for on-line shops is going viral and some are getting ready to play with public funds via IPO route, survival of the smartest jugaadu will prevail very soon. Ecommerce Brand Building will remain in full swing for some time to come – with aggressive Consumer Baiting, Media Takeovers, Suppliers Conformity, Privacy Trade, Funds Flowing from white Knights of Good Times for the right kind of promoters. The threat to locals, producers and consumer interests are long sidelined with the power of branding and development lobbying, brands are been progressively encouraged for making to crush outdated competition and liberalized to do just retailing trade in a techie MLM way.
Though the gujju development model “multi-brand retail trading” prevailing since primitive times of lala / bania is yet to be accepted officially, but as usual the big mota brands have enough jugaad (donate via secret election campaign bonds) to do it anyway under good overall campaign hideouts, covert paid support of legal bhakts, political company and security heavy-weights.
From Adam Smith to Marx, all capital predictions remains intact. The new Cash & Carry business (i.e. B2B) portals are mostly owned by desi jugaadu pumping funds from various sources, FDI or not, you will never know as long they are getting popular and ride wave of India growth story. Instead of each manufacturer or supplier building, developing and promoting its own independent e-Commerce platform thereby creating much more scopes for sustainable jobs, the new hype is basic vendor source consolidation for benefit of few brands and erecting walls for smaller players, both existing and startups. The only benefit is formation of armies of cyber coolies working 24/7 behind those bigger brands promoted by connected cronies, while threating real makers, sidelining technology services sector and creating monopolies.
As far consumer needs and quality of services, they are yet to come at that while just busy boosting brand and crushing small competitors as per dream of the new capitalist rulers – all is fair for cronies and investors to gather electoral promo tag-lines. The tech oligarchy FAANG and India’s e-commerce biggies FallMart, Slipkart, Mytra, Omychannel, Snapseal, cBay, Ole, InfoSeams, HomeShows, Aliaba, Amazonia, Telebrands, AllDeals, NiceDeals, etc.. also think it is too early for them to differentiate themselves when their primary challenge is to grow the market and intrude as many mobile gadgets possible. Overall retail market in India is expected to almost double in size to $1 trillion in 2020 from $600 billion driven by the manifold growth in smartphone users to more than 500 million.
Of this, modern trade is expected to grow three times from $60 billion to $180 billion. And the e-commerce market is expected to quadruple from $15-18 billion now to $60-70 billion. The main drivers of this growth are govt backed promos, assortments, discounts and convenience – at the expense of old retailers, farmers and real producers. No matter how creative their ads are, they are essentially tactical and success here is sadly just a function of 3 variables: jugaad, funding and invasion. White wash a few million from fat black boxes, pay to Google, Twitter, Facebook, Sam the Watchdog and get as many likes with positive amnesia rolling, you’re on for a multi-brand retail monster going viral from back-door, history created, rules smartly overridden, small retailers buried with style via hypnotizing consumers. It is not just another middle men catalog shop, it’s royal voyage thanks to generosity of star kids snatching technology for commerce.
Missing in this rosy picture is discussion about whether any e-commerce brand in India has built, or is in the process of building, real ethical business models that can generate profits for all stakeholders? The jury is out on that, judging by the way bosses of companies change colors and the continued lack of restraint in spending on acquiring customers by hook or crook through hunky advertising and malicious discounts.
Adoption of unit economics, the e-commerce jargon for making money from every user or on every order, in simple terms it means trading (overjoyed for tech showoff + ill-informed) customers privacy for more bucks. If funding dries up or consumers fed-up, it may be too late for fancy companies, but for some biggies there are always cabinets like Mallaya-Modi way of spin-offs! The bottom-line: How centralized Internet retail trading is related to development (except creating few MLM call centers / enriching the 1%), only right-wing proponents of economies of scale invaders can explain for a fee.