Meenakshi Saxena finds time to do all she wants these days. Till recently, the 35-year-old IT professional who used to work odd hours has managed to secure a day job and lots of time in the evenings. The unearthly hours of work had deprived her of much sleep and quality time as she had spent most of her time in the office or at shopping malls picking whatever would suit her.
And then, the career shift dawned. A day-job came calling and she went for it, never to regret her decision. Of late, her evenings are either spent on social gatherings or in front of her personal computer. And it is there she was introduced into the world of online shopping.
Most of the well-off Indians are currently heading online, instead of the sprawling malls and retail showrooms, to pick their ware. Armed with an internet banking account or a credit card, they are happy purchasing all they want via the online retail stores that have mushroomed all over the web.
A recent phenomenon in the Indian scenario, online shopping has caught up with the population in a jiffy. Meenakshi Saxena is just one of those customers who enjoy shopping in the comfort of their homes, without even having to go out and pick their chosen fabric or gadget.
Tech enabled shopping has come of age in India. The popularity becomes obvious when you get to see youngsters looking forward to order stuff online whenever manufacturers roll them out on to web retail shelves. The success rate that online retailers have been enjoying over the past couple of years speaks volumes on how the industry has evolved.
Every other person you meet on a day to day basis has bought books, clothes or gadgets online. The scenario is pretty interesting. Notwithstanding the fact that malls come up in every nook and corner of the country these days, the online shopping phenomenon has also been catching up at a similar pace. That doesn’t mean that malls receive fewer footfalls. When malls and all the paraphernalia that come along with them are favorite hangouts for the young and old alike on the weekends, the habitual shopper tend to find time to browse through new arrivals at all the online retail windows that offer them trustworthy service and prompt delivery at their door step.
Talk to book worms that have made it a habit to read every time some quality free time sets in and you will know how they have been depending on retail counters of the likes of Flipkart and many such to grab the latest releases.
So is the case with clothes shoppers. Retailers such as Jabong, Myntra and the like have been seeing clicks that grow on an exponential basis. And, by the end of the day, the companies are happy and so are the customers who are assured of delivery of the items they choose on the internet.
Gadget shopping has also seen a big rise, thanks to the many phones and tablets that arrive for sale, and that too price comparisons so that the customer knows what is best for him and his wallet.
What exactly has spurred the increased activity in the online shopping arena is of course the widespread availability of internet services. Further, customers today, no matter his/her spending capabilities, are armed with smart devices that offer internet services at the tip of their fingers.
Spending via credit cards or internet banking services has now become so easy and affordable so that anyone out there willing to spend can do that with much ease. The significant aspect about this phenomenon is that the customers are now offered with quality products and amazingly prompt shipping so that the comfort of shopping on their PCs and handheld devices has taken off considerably.
The welcome fact when the surge in online shopping behavior is considered is that technology has proved itself to be the catalyst. With the advent of new age technology, picking and choosing the most apt product has become easier. Even easier is the manner in which the outlets provide the opportunity to test and compare prices. And, the product is home without much delay once the payment is made.
The process saves money, time and the effort to move across physical retail counters looking for the best product one wants to own. Ask Nilanjana, an IT professional from Bhubaneswar, who has been working in Kerala for the past six years, and she will tell you how she gets hold of the latest smart phone once the product is launched in India. “I have all the online retailers that sell gadgets in India on my tablet. Once I need a new device, I browse through all of my favorite online retailers and pick the one that offers me the best price and fast shipping.”
Chennai-based Ramesh Nair, an avid reader and university employee, echoes almost similar views. “Every time a book is unveiled in Delhi or Mumbai, I believe I get to read it first in Chennai because my online retailer alerts me on what new. I just go for it from a smart phone app, that makes picking and paying so easy,” he says.
The smart phones, tablets and the apps rolled out by developers every passing day make it amazingly easy for the customers who are constantly looking to lay their hands on the latest. With technology and the internet that powers it unflinchingly supportive; internet retail hopping has become the norm.
Going by a recent study by Mckinsey, consumers are increasingly opting to go digital in their purchasing habits. A survey the research company conducted has brought to light that scope for research before buying products has also increased. According to the survey, increased online and mobile device-based research, as well as social network usage, has made it easier to access the latest product information.
Online and mobile device based research need to be seen as akin to testing and trying out products at a physical store. Once satisfied, customers just click to pay and own the products. Technology driven shopping experience has come a long way in so short a period, we need to agree.
Social networking has provided much fodder for research and shopping of products online, it needs to be asserted. Customers tend to try out products that peers own these days, and they go for the items on the online retail racks even before many others tend to do the same. It is no wonder that online retailers are these days laughing all the way to their banks.
Talking of social media technology’s role in online shopping behavior, increased presence on Facebook and Twitter has given rise to something that could be compared with the mob psychology we see out there – though in a very positive manner. When a bunch of travelers nod in agreement on the facilities offered by a travel site on its online deals, another bigger group tend to get inspired and would love to try them out themselves.
Sripad Narayan, a busy executive, makes it appoint to his family out on a vacation and leisure tour every year during the summer holidays. According to him, “these days, I tend to go by the word of mouth publicity on deals that would never strain my hard earned money. For instance, this year, after reading and listening to like-minded people on the social network, I decided to buy a MakeMyTrip package tour offer for my family to Manali. Compared with last year, I ended up saving money, and also came back home after all the fun with some decent memories.” Narayan vows to buy his tours online from now on.
The coming of age of technology has caused widespread effects on the whole manner in which people have been thinking of spending quality time, hard earned money and thus end up living life to the fullest. From the cool comforts of a room with a personal computer, or just by the tap of fingers on their smart devices even while on the go, buying stuff, be it books gadgets, clothes, books or even holiday packages have become so easy.
The Indian customer has always been inclined to pick only stuff that offers more value for money. They are also keen on grabbing discounts with every purchase. Online retail companies know this much well. Technology driven shopping has proved to be profitable for the habitual customers, as retailers offer them more than what they seek.
No wonder shopaholics like Meenakshi and Ramesh are a happy lot. The weekends are saved for more activity of fun and socializing, while the shopping gets done by the smart phones and the apps that help in payment. And, what’s more, they get to rave about their latest purchases on social media, which in turn creates the urge in many others to go for the stuff that people like these buy.
Technology has also helped customers keep track of the products while they are shipped and on transit. A day’s delay causes much a ripple and the retailer wouldn’t want to afford anything of that sort. The shipping pattern is turning out to be error free, as retailers have deployed tech tools to make them perfect.
Online shopping, as the Mckinsey survey reiterates, “The online channel for shopping is expanding in all product categories, particularly for consumer electronics and digital and mobile products”. The online buyer is king and it has become a must for web retailers to constantly experiment and perfect their sales strategies.
Adoption of technology has started growing as even brick and mortar retailers are experimenting with tech driven offerings so that customers queue up at their online stores to pick what appears first at their retail racks. People of the likes of Narayan would anyways opt for convenience, and value for money. When technology can give them what they want, physical stores going the online way could be a norm.
More online avenues for shopping and comfortable processes in payment and delivery are in. The scenario is sure to expand, and bring in more technologies that would make things easier for both customer and retailer alike. People have already started speaking volumes about the many online stores they visited before bed and placed their orders. The option of wearing the latest fabric or boasting of the latest book in town comes with a smattering of pride. Showing off has never been so easy and fast.
When online retailers grow in leaps and bound, it is the customer who rejoices every minute. The thought of owning the latest gadget or grabbing the limited offer holiday on offer comes with a smile. And when they can own anything with the tap on the touch screen smart handset they bought last week, bliss ensues.
Technology has indeed rewritten the shopping script in many ways than one. And the hero of the piece is none other than the shopaholic and also the wannabe shopper who would find pride in owning the latest stuff over the internet in a jiffy. It looks like the online shopping technology would adopt many new facets in the days to come, as the behavior and pattern in which online shoppers hit the web has been amazing. Hard earned money after all is to be spent on living life. And they do it with élan by just visiting online shopping outlets and making their smart devices do the rest.
We may not have to wait too much to see technology powering a whole generation’s dreams when it comes to spending money on things they love. After all, who would want to waste time walking up and down physical stores to get the much hoped for product, when online stores serve them to your door step enticingly packed?
With online stores and shopping behavior now merging into a warm embrace, the days of tech driven shopping looks set to climb on to a much-more awesomely-laid out terrain.