The COVID19 pandemic impacted the Indian retail industry and forced many out of business. With lockdown restrictions in place, it was difficult for Indian retailers to keep their customers engaged. Unavailability of products, delayed delivery, backorders, and complex eCommerce algorithms have resulted in retailers losing even their loyal customers.
After the second wave hit in July 2020, the retail sales across India were down by 50%, according to the Retailers Association of India (RAI). Retailers of sports goods, jewelry, footwear, and other non-essential goods and service providers saw a steep decline in their sales at almost 66% and have struggled to retain their business operations.
At the pandemic’s beginning, many customers were scrambling to purchase essential items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and groceries. Many retailers of essential goods saw a surge in their sales, but will they maintain this momentum? Customers are ready to return to their pre-covid shopping habits and are more likely to shop from brands they already know and love.
Retailers need to be agile when it comes to adopting new methods for connecting with customers. Consumer behavior is constantly changing, and to keep up with what they want, a retailer must know how to bridge the communication gap. The obvious answer to many may seem like ‘eCommerce solutions,’ but do they work for the average Indian retailer?
80% of eCommerce startups fail to make it past the first year of business.
Limitations of eCommerce for Indian retailers:
- A money sucker: for a successful online business, you must have a well-built website, a professionally done catalog, and have an ad spending budget that will help with visibility on an overcrowded marketplace.
- Monopolistic competition: Even though eCommerce platforms are crowded with small, medium, and large businesses, most sales belong to two eCommerce giants who pulled in almost 80% of market shares last year.
- Complex algorithms: Most eCommerce platforms demand sellers to be content creators, SEO experts, and google analytics experts! But most Indian retailers may not crack these complex challenges due to lack of technical expertise and slow internet connectivity.
vCommerce will be the future of retail.
vCommerce is selling through live video calls and video chat. vCommerce offers a simple solution for the average Indian retailer ‘SELL THROUGH VIDEO CALLS.’ Customers can connect to their favorite store via a video calling feature that will give them the in-store experience and a chance to look at the product before buying.
There are so many fake online websites and stores that the frugal Indian customer has become wary of putting in their card details online. When impulse shopping, they opt for the COD option and often return the product, increasing retailers’ shipping costs.
Customers want to connect with stores instantly. When there is a communication gap between shoppers and sellers, brands lose out on potential customers and may even lose existing ones. A quick and easy solution is video calling as it will allow customers to simply call up the store and browse through the products with the help of the store sales person.
A video call with the retailer will provide the customer with the required information to make a satisfying purchase. The retailer can also depend on his inherent selling skills rather than becoming online influencers and worrying about getting likes and views on their social media pages.
Will vCommerce prove to be the better solution?
By leveraging vCommerce Apps’ video-integrated technology, Indian retailers can close the gap between their physical stores and online customer demands. There is no need to go through a complex learning curve to understand video calling. There are about one billion mobile devices in use which means most people know features such as ‘video calling’ in India. Moreover, vCommerce will provide relief from some of the challenges of an eCommerce platform:
- Quick and easy selling through video calls and video chat
- A hyperlocal marketplace will enable the return of your loyal customer base
- vCommerce will bridge the gap between your physical store and online customer
- No need for expensive catalogs and websites
- No need for hardware, most mobile phones have camera features that allow video calling.
- Offer a personalized shopping experience which consumers are craving post-covid
Indian shoppers and vCommerce
Indian shoppers want to ‘Feel and touch’ products before buying because they do not trust online retailers unless they have a substantial online presence, such as Amazon or Flipkart. Video shopping will enable Indian shoppers to look at the product in real-time before making an informed purchase.
vCommerce has the potential to close the gap between consumers and Indian retailers who were unable to crack the eCommerce game. People miss shopping in real-time, and through video calls, they will once again feel like they are visiting their favorite store! The question is will Indian retailers realize the potential of a hyperlocal video shopping marketplace and adopt vCommerce as their new online strategy?
Founder and CEO, BigBox
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