Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Smartphones help rise in e-commerce across India


By AN BAIJIE in Beijing

Looking for trustworthy suppliers of agricultural produce in India can be tough job for Fan Chengliang, a Chinese businessman who exports Indian species to China. Fan,40, launched his business in March last year in suburban Hyder abad, a city in southern India with a population of more than 6 million. During the harvest season, he had to travel hundreds of miles every day to purchase peppers from the local dealers. “ For newcomers like me, it’s difficult to appraise whether a supplier is credible or not, ” Fan says. “ It always takes a long period to establish trust worthy relationships with local businessmen. ” However, finding reliable suppliers using online business-to –business services is expected to become easier for businessmen like Fan, after Alibaba Group, China’s largest e-commerce company, recently announced it plans to boost its investment in India.

On Nov 25, Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba, said while visiting India that the nation with the world’s second largest population offered huge potential for e-commerce. “ We will invest more in India, and we will work with Indian entrepreneurs and technology companies, ” 50-year-old Ma said at the India-China (Zhejiang) Business Cooperation Conference. Alibaba currently has a small presence in the Indian e-commerce market.    Ma, whose company is responsible for 80 percent of online retail sales China, made the announcement two months after Alibaba’s records initial public offering in New York raised $25 billion. “ In the next there years, on of the key strategies for Alibaba is to globalize, to ensure that more small business around the world use our services,” he said. According to Ma, Indian business have already become the second largest presence on Alibaba after Chinese companies, and roughly 400,000 Chinese customers buy goods including species, chocolates and tea from Indian sellers through the online platform.

Small business boost
There is huge scope for “ mutual engagement ” in technology between India and China, which could benefit many small business, Ma added. The economic times, a Mumbai based newspaper, said that during the visit, Ma was scheduled to meet with Kunal Bahl, the 31-year-old confounder of Snapdeal.com, which styles it self as the Indian version of Alibaba. Snapdeal, founded in 2010, has become the fastest-growing and largest online market place in India, with more than 25 million registered users and 50,000 business sellers. In October, Japan’s SoftBank, the largest shareholder in Alibaba, pumped $627 million into Snapdeal to become the largest investor in the Indian online company as well. Gu Jianbing, public relations director of Alibaba, did not confirm if a meeting took place between Ma and Bahl. It remain unclear how alibaba willcooperate with its India partners.
The Indian government does not allow foreign direct investment in business-to-consumer e-commerce, but it does so in market places where third-party sellers sell directly to shoppers through e-commerce platforms.     The online sales market in India is still at an early stage compared with China According to Technopak Advisors, a New Delhi-based consulting company, the online trade volume in India was about $2 billion in 2013. The number was $300 billion in China at the same period. However, the large population of young people in India has made the market more promising and attractive for  investors like Alibaba.

 Mobile shopping
The cheap smartphones that are popular in India are also expected to boost the country’s online trade volume. Bahl recently told Tencent, one of China’s biggest Internet firms, that about 65 percent of Snapdeal’s current sales were reached through mobile phones, far more than the 5 percent of only a year ago. In India, smartphones are being sold in rural areas where “ even the safety of purified water could not be guaranteed. ” Bahl told Tence. Competition in the Indian e-commerce market has become fiercer with companies like Amazon, which entered India in 2013, strring up the industry. Wal-Mart India has also taken its cash-and-carry wholesale stores into the virtual space, allowing customers to order online for home delivery.
India’s aggressive homegrown companies such as Flipkart, a leading e-commerce website launched in 2007, have also become powerful competitors. In June, Flipkart raised $1 billion in new capital to support its expansion, especially in mobile technology. Flipkart says it has 22 million registered users and handles 5 milion shipments per month. ” The number of visitors on FLipkart.com greater than the population of the top 10 Indian cities, ” says the introduction on the company’s official website. For Fan, the Chinese businessman, the rapid growth of the Indian e-commerce market means more choice when he selects business parters. “ If can get more information about the suppliers through the Internet, I will not have to travel hundreds of miles every day during the harvest season, enduring the stimulant smell of pepperes,” he says.          

ChinaDaily - February8,2015                                                                                                                                                                                         

Sunday, 22 February 2015

What is e–commerce ???

Electronic commerce or ecommerce is a term for any type of business, or commercial transaction, that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. It covers a range of different types of businesses, from consumer based retail sites, through auction or music sites, to business exchanges trading goods and services between corporations. It is currently one of the most important aspects of the Internet to emerge.

E-commerce allows consumers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of time or distance. Electronic commerce has expanded rapidly over the past five years and is predicted to continue at this rate, or even accelerate. In the near future the boundaries between "conventional" and "electronic" commerce will become increasingly blurred as more and more businesses move sections of their operations onto the Internet.

Business to Business or B2B refers to electronic commerce between businesses rather than between a business and a consumer. B2B businesses often deal with hundreds or even thousands of other businesses, either as customers or suppliers. Carrying out these transactions electronically provides vast competitive advantages over traditional methods. When implemented properly, e-commerce is often faster, cheaper and more convenient than the traditional methods of bartering goods and services.

Electronic transactions have been around for quite some time in the form of Electronic Data Interchange or EDI. EDI requires each supplier and customer to set up a dedicated data link (between them), where e-commerce provides a cost-effective method for companies to set up multiple, ad-hoc links.      Electronic commerce has also led to the development of electronic market places where suppliers and potential customers are brought together to conduct mutually beneficial trade.

The road to creating a successful online store can be a difficult if unaware of e-commerce principles and what e-commerce is supposed to do for your online business. Researching and understanding the guidelines required to properly implement an e-business plan is a crucial part to becoming successful with online store building.

What do you need to have an online store and what exactly is a shopping cart?

Shopping cart software is an operating system used to allow consumers to purchase goods and or services, track customers, and tie together all aspects of e-commerce into one cohesive whole.
While there are many types of software that you can use, customizable, turnkey solutions are proven to be a cost effective method to build, edit and maintain an online store. How do online shopping carts differ from those found in a grocery store? The image is one of an invisible shopping cart. You enter an online store, see a product that fulfills your demand and you place it into your virtual shopping basket. When you are through browsing, you click checkout and complete the transaction by providing payment information.

To start an online business it is best to find a niche product that consumers have difficulty finding in malls or department stores. Also take shipping into consideration. Pets.com found out the hard way: dog food is expensive to ship FedEx! Then you need an e-commerce enabled website. This can either be a new site developed from scratch, or an existing site to which you can add e-commerce shopping cart capabilities.

The next step, you need a means of accepting online payments. This usually entails obtaining a merchant account and accepting credit cards through an online payment gateway (some smaller sites stick with simpler methods of accepting payments such as PayPal). Lastly, you need a marketing strategy for driving targeted traffic to your site and a means of enticing repeat customers. If you are new to e-commerce keep things simple know your limitations.

E-commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight. It is important to do a lot of research, ask questions, work hard and make on business decisions on facts learned from researching e-commerce. Don't rely on "gut" feelings. We hope our online ecommerce tutorial has helped your business make a better decision in choosing an online shopping cart for your e-commerce store.

Web.comcompany – February 23, 2015

This Lithuanian online shop-builder wants to storm the gates of Indonesian e-commerce

People aren’t used to getting things for free; much less when the thing they’re getting is a means to generate income. Most online shop builders in Indonesia offer free trial periods for users to test out the product, but local consumers and aspiring ecommerce players would be hard-pressed to find one that offers it self for free, forever. However, MobiFOR, a new online shop builder in Jakarta hailing from Lithuania, aims to be exactly that.
MobiFOR is a site that lets users create an online store quickly and easily without the need for programming skills, according to the startup’s co-founder Nerijus Abrutis. “ The startup ecosystem is growing rapidly in Lithuania and MobiFOR has already received quite a lot of attention, ” explains Abrutis. “ After a great start in Lithuania, we adapted MobiFOR for the Indonesian market and are now trying to enter it. ”

According to Abrutis, the main goal of his project is to encourage enterprising people to start their own business and give ecommerce a shot. According to him and his fellow co-founder Andrius Stepaitis, it has the advantage over local sites like Shop Shopify, as it can offer its users a free, fully functional estore, and does not take any percentage of the user’s sales transactions. Abrutis says his site also offers free hosting, a mobile responsive design, search engine optimization, and no limit on the number of products that users can upload and sell.

Freedom isn’t free

Abrutis says that most potential users who are interested in the product inevitably ask the same question: What’s the catch? The answer is that MobiFOR’s free package is limited to 300 megabytes of storage and doesn’t offer multiple currency options, among others. On the other hand, its premium package, which costs €7 (US$8) per month, offers one gigabyte of storage, multiple currency options, PDF invoices, gift wrapping, and several other key services one would need to run a serious online shop.

“ Users that choose a premium plan get more designs to choose from. They also get additional modules, such as newsletters, blogs, sliders, and even more useful ecommerce features, ” says Abrutis.
US$ 8 is still significantly cheaper than Shopify’s thriftiest package, which starts at US$ 29 per month. However, Shopify’s plan comes with comparable options, including 24-hour support and a zero percent transaction fee. Abrutis acknowledges that MobiFOR must also compete with a variety of local competitors including Sirclo, Jejualan, Pixtem, and Lakubot.

Abrutis says MobiFOR currently has 301 registered merchants, and 100 of them are active on MobiFOR at least once per week. He adds that 90 percent of MobiFOR’s active users are signing up for the premium plan, which he sees as a positive indicator of the company’s future growth. He did not mention whether the majority of the users reside in Lithuania or Indonesia, but he did say that he is optimistic about the local market.

“We have been watching ecommerce growth in Indonesia [and] that’s why we decided to expand here,” says Abrutis. “Looking at the statistics, the number of smartphone users in Indonesia has doubled between 2013 and now.” MobiFOR is a completely bootstrapped, two-man operation, and Abrutis says he’s looking for investors and strategic partners here in Asia. He also hopes that in two to three years, MobiFOR can attract around 60,000 to 100,000 users, 70 percent of whom would ideally be premium plan subscribers.

Leighton Cosseboom  - February 11, 2015

Alibaba’s Global Facing e-commerce site AliExpress Launches Localized Indonesian Service

Alibaba announced today that AliExpress, the company’s global-facing ecommerce site, has localized for better service in Indonesia. While id.aliexpress.com has been active for some time (Tech in Asia spotted it back in October), today marks its official coming out party in the eyes of the company.

Indonesians who browse the localized version of AliExpress will see categories and product listings translated into Indonesian (though curiously, prices appear in US$) and curated for domestic tastes. Shoppers can complete purchases using Doku, an Indonesian payment gateway that processed US$ 520 million in transactions last year, or by making epayments at Alfa Group convenience stores (Alfamart, Alfamidi, and Alfa Express). Consumers can also call a help line where customer service representatives will respond to inquiries

In order to bolster delivery, Alibaba says that China Smart Logistics, a logistics “consortium” it owns a 48 percent stake in, will partner with SingPost and its partner Indo Post to guarantee delivery within two weeks – halving the time Indonesians once had to wait for goods they bought on AliExpress. Last August, Alibaba invested US$ 250 million in SingPost – the reasons for which should now be more than apparent

Alibaba adds that while the majority of the site’s product listings are sourced from China, in the future, it hopes to add more goods from Indonesian merchants into the mix.

Indonesia is expected to generate US$3.56 billion in business-to-consumer ecommerce sales this year, up from an expected US$2.6 billion in 2014, according to data from GoGlobe. That makes it the fourth largest ecommerce market in Asia for business-to-consumer sales. AliExpress’s competitor in Indonesia will likely be Tokopedia, a massively popular consumer-to-consumer listings site. Like Taobao, Alibaba’s flagship Chinese ecommerce site, Tokopedia monetizes through value - added services for merchants.

The site recently raised US$ 100 million from Softbank and Sequioa Capital. Ironically, the former firm is one of Alibaba’s frequent collaborators in venture capital investments, dating back to the Yahoo days.
AliExpress has seen strong traction in emerging markets, particularly Brazil and Russia.

Editing by Leighton Cosseboom, top image by basibanget

Josh Hormitz - February 11, 2015