Online Shoe Shopping – An Industry Analysis Attempt

Alootechie’s write up prompted me into penning down a few thoughts on this model, something which i had been planning to do for a while.Lets take a look at the industry first before getting into the hurdles, advantages and taking up bigshoebazaar.com to review as well.

Figures for India are not easy to find but one can choose to draw safe inferences from what is happening in other parts of the world , and what appears to be happening is a usage rise.

In 2002 , online footwear sales were pegged at 958 million USD, while the total apparel sales stood at 4.4 Billion USD. Last year it was at 2 .5 billion and the apparel overall was at 9 billion. The increase for 2007 , for footwear, is predicted to be in the region of 20%. which would then translate into a very cool 3 Billion USD or so. If we were to use percentages derived from the US market then we would get :-

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In case its not clear, all i have done is deduced the % of apparel and further to footwear in the US markets from the total eCOM business and applied them in the Indian scenario. IAMAI pegs the total eCOM for India at 2300 crores.

This would put the Online footwear market at 50 crores, which is not bad, especially when one considers that

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Online Grocery Shopping – Storrz.com

This is a bit late in the day i.e the site has been around for a while but i have been putting this off hoping that the site would see some more development.

Everything seems to be going onto the net , and i guess thats good in a way , but not everything can work on the net , and this is something which i dont think too many people have managed to grasp. Its difficult to really stand out in this space and i understand the need for something unique, risky, radical, controversial,  to be used as drivers but some things are just not meant for the net.

storrz.com offers online grocery shopping. In reality what it offers is convenience.  Not having to take out time to shop, not having to get out office or home and so on. The service is currently restricted to Bangalore only, and i am glad that they are using Bangalore as a testing ground for this instead of having gone all out because i quite frankly do not see this working out at all. There are just one too many factors going against it.

The way i see it, the primary TG for a service like this would be DINK’s (Double income no kids) families. People who simply do not have the time. I belog to such a setup as well…but i have not felt the need or the attraction for such a site..and i am sure there are many like me who would fall under some of the reasons below.

1. Prices – The ability to haggle , a way of life with Indians, with your local retailer esp for vegetables and fruits is absent.  The prices are, obviously, fixed and there will always be a doubt whether it would be cheaper in the market place.

2. Quality – You wont know what you are getting till you have got it..

3. Physical Contact – This i think will be a prime factor and is an extension of point 2. There has always been a high degree of physical interaction in this kind of purchase. Wanting to do it yourself to ensure you dont get the worst apples, to take them from the bottom rather than the top of the basket, feel, squeeze, examine to ensure they are ripe and acceptable, no rat bites, bugs etc. All this is not possible on the net, and even if someone who has gone for this has one incident where the quality has not lived upto expectations …it will be bye bye!

Home delivery – One of the “conveniences” offered but to be honest , more often than not, this is more of an inconvenience than otherwise. My wife and i are the only ones at home, with a maid who comes in 3-4 times a week , 2 -3 hours to cleanup. Now what control do i have over the delivery from Storrz.com? None , if it happens to come at a time when no one is in the house then what? With my local colony retailer i can simply call him when i am at home or better yet tell him what time to come.

Credit – Agreed, this might be a small reason. I mean one must really be weird to not have the money to pick up day to day groceries but once in a while you might not. Blame it on work..you forget to go to the ATM …and the delivery guy’s standing right there, you can hardly tell him to go away and that you will stop at the shop later on and pay… but thats possible with your local retailer, in fact depending on the rapport one can establish , you could open a monthly account. No more day to day transactions, having to remember to carry money, carry change.

Final verdict – yep the concept is unique, dont think anyone in India has tried it… but that might not be because no one has thought of it…but more because they have thought of the reasons above.