Moving from Metros to Villages: Why Small E-Commerce Players are Doing Better in the Rural Sector
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With the world moving forward at a fast-digital pace, it is not surprising that even rural India is now joining the bandwagon. While technology plays a large role in determining the success of an E-Commerce business, there are several other factors which govern it too. Availability of popular brands, keeping up with the trends dictating the global retail market and producing quality products which are within the required price range are a few of them. The giants of Retail in the E-Commerce sector are not concentrating specifically on rural India yet, which provides a great opportunity for smaller brands to improve their visibility and create strong, loyal customers.
Hurdles to Overcome
While the introduction of E-Commerce to the rural sector promises great business, there are multiple problems which need a solution first. Primarily the consumer’s lack of faith in the product being displayed. They have doubts regarding the credibility of the brand and the product. Hence, it is urgent to build unshakeable faith through appropriate marketing and advertising activities. Secondly, when consumers are buying products online, they are not usually convinced just by looking at an image of it. They typically prefer touching a product and seeing it physically before making a purchase. Unless there is strong reliability created, they will not make an online transaction. Rural consumers need to be valued by E-Commerce companies so that the trust is generated over time and they are willing to make online transactions. Thirdly, the consumers are unaware of an online purchasing process as they are new to it and due to lack of exposure, there is a fear of overpaying or incorrect ordering created in their minds. Fourthly, with no person available for consumers to connect with, there is always a question raised on after-purchase concerns. Since the return policies differ across various products and platforms, it leads to further confusion.
As of now, rural India is completely deprived of organized retail, hence the success of E-Commerce in rural areas is imminent. None the less, there are several challenges which need to be overcome first, namely, issues in the supply chain and customer acquisition. In-Depth knowledge of the market is imperative for any E-Commerce company to make a long-lasting mark. In order to introduce organized retail to an un-organized market, companies need to manage their processes in an organized manner.
Rapid Internet Penetration
With the number of internet users in rural India increasing rapidly, it begs the question, why this sudden increase? The decreased prices of smartphones and data plans have made it possible for individuals residing in rural areas to access E-Commerce brands. While this may be true, the giants of E-Commerce are yet to capitalize on this market, thus clearing the grounds for small to mid-level E-Commerce companies. The rapid growth of the retail industry will definitely result in greater penetration into rural India and it is only a matter of time before the market gets crowded. Those who have a heads-start are thus likely to do better in the long run.
Technology & Digitization
Along with internet penetration, the introduction of new age technology which helps map out the clients for businesses is also something which is now allowing them to venture into the rural market. Those who deploy technology in advance as per rural market needs will be winners. There are several companies which already employ the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in order to manage data. When it comes to data storage and analysis, most companies have already started relying on Big Data as software.
Lack of Brand Awareness
Another major problem faced by new consumers on E-Commerce portals is the lack of brand awareness. Without being knowledgeable about the different brands which offer products, individuals are confused regarding which choice to make. Once again, consumers need to be educated in order to be able to make the right choice when purchasing a product.
In conclusion, we can say that with rural India providing such a booming market for the retail industry, E-Commerce companies need to plan ahead and target their operations at them. With proper education and the right marketing strategies, rural consumers can provide a significant market for E-Commerce brands in the coming years.