The e-commerce market is growing fast in India. From communication to buying products and from booking a cab to ordering dinner, everything happens through smartphones and tablets these days.
ASSOCHAM-Forrester study has revealed that India’s e-commerce revenue will jump from $26 billion in 2016 to $103 billion in 2020 and the country is expected to generate $100 billion online retail revenue out of which $35 billion will be through fashion e-commerce. Online apparel sales are set to grow four times in coming years.
Leading e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong, and Myntra are trying their best to get a share of this growing market. Many are coming up with similar image-based search platforms to assist clients shop online with greater ease.
Revolutionizing the fashion segment with pictorial ad-campaigns and out of the box recommendations is Delhi-based Staqu Technology. With over two lakh images of designer apparel in its database, Staqu has already supplied to over 2,000 image queries from customers on its platform. In an exclusive interview with the Entrepreneur India, Co- founder Atul Rai addressed some of the key issues faced by new age entrepreneurs.
Identify And Address Real-world Problems
“To be realistic, in its early stages, there is very little room for any new business to create and sell something very revolutionary in the market. You have to be the part of the system to change it. One of the simplest ways to be relevant and survive in a market is to first target those real-world problems that primarily affect your target audience directly. It can be either B2B or B2C. Once you start solving such real-world problems for your target domain, you will start becoming relevant and once you become relevant, there will be an opportunity to grow and innovate and further re-innovate,” opined Rai.
Artificial Intelligence Disrupting E-commerce Through Automation
Rai highlighted that e-commerce had various components, but if we divided the task for any e-commerce platform into two broad segments it would be logistics and cataloguing. “Cataloguing can be sub-divided into seller on boarding, product description generation, indexing and search, setting the relevancy of the products, recommendations etc. These cataloguing tasks are easy to automate through various Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and, in fact, many organizations already have started adopting these AI technologies to automate various such tasks like image search, meta-tag generation, trend analysis, recommendation and analytics,” he added.
“The next stage where e-commerce will see its biggest disruption will be its integration and collaboration with connected eco-system where users’ purchasing behaviour as well recommendations for the same will be influenced by the various hardware components they interact with and these interactions will be empowered by various set of AI algorithms,” pointed out Rai, a Masters from University of Manchester in Artificial Intelligence.
Create And Innovate And Become Relevant In The Domain You Are Working
“Fortunately or unfortunately we started in post 2015 funding era, we bootstrapped for a year before we got our seed round. In my experience (with both good and bad), as an entrepreneur, one should focus towards being relevant in the domain one is working. Investors have their own set of market speculations and based on which they decide the funding. We as an entrepreneur do not have control on these funding-related environmental factors and survival should be our first strategy. One should look for the avenues to generate the revenue from the services which we are providing,” straight-talked Rai.
“Having said so, I believe as an entrepreneur we should never miss a chance to create and innovate. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating and inventing. In our job as an entrepreneur, there is nothing that comes close to being as crucial as creating a society for better future. When it’s time to work, clear away everything else and create and innovate and become relevant in the domain you are working, rest will follow,” he advocated.
Explore, Execute And Innovate
“If you look at the Indian GDP, we stand at third position by PPP (purchasing power parity), which in turn suggests that we are one of the highest consumer-centric economies in the world. Indian consumers have their own set of requirements and we should focus on solving some fundamental problems and requirements of consumers. Patanjali is one such example which is not just bootstrapped but also replaced some of the top FMCGs, which are heavily funded. There is always an opportunity and as an entrepreneur we have to explore those opportunities which are invisible to many. Explore, execute and innovate,” added Rai.