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Mobile Presence In India

Many might not be aware of this fact that India has world's 2nd largest mobile network in the world, in terms of number of subscribers and handsets both for mobiles as well as fixed lines.
India has world's 3rd largest user base with access to internet over mobile, is approximately 150 million.

Let's compare the above with the other facts we are aware of:
  • Facebook penetration in India is approx 65 million - this means that mobile internet users are 2.5 times more than facebook users. This also means that most of the facebook users have internet on their mobile. Hence while running an ad using power editor, the marketers should choose to display ads on mobile and computer both platforms.
  • Gmail penetration in India is more than 100 million. This again shows us a high potential email marketing targeting mobile users
In next few years time India will be at 1st position across globe in number of mobile handsets, subscribers and mobile internet users.

A strong mobile presence is very much required for every large scale business at national level. Though we cant expect a great ROI in terms of revenue and the buyers from a mobile would be quite few, atleast till the end of 2014. 
Let's see how others have progressed in the mobile arena:
  • ZipDial - A new and innovative concept which was seen gaining users few years back. Today its an established concept. Surveys, Votings, Demographics are the key deliverables - all it takes is a missed call. Many organizations are using this concept including reality shows seen on Indian Television.
  • Facebook is allowing free access to its portal over Airtel
  • From 1st July onwards, Indian Railway would be giving an option to book railway tickets through SMS
  • Google is about to release a new algorithm which could bring down the ranking of your desktop site if your mobile site does not have a proper SEO done
Businessess need to look at mobile as an integrated platform. Limiting ourselves to only mobile internet users would mean opening up to only 10% of the crowd.

Facebook getting rid of few features

Facebook recently launched the #hashtag with a hashtag feed URL With the advent of this new feature. Facebook also announced that out of the 27 types of ads currently running on Facebook, more than 50% of the ad types will be removed.

The above 2 announcements are really a boon for the marketers and the brands making their job easier. What sad is that Facebook would soon be getting rid of features like 'Questions' and 'Offers'. Now this is a bad news. Let's analyse the situation:

Facebook Questions is definitely a great feature and it saw extensive use post its launch. But then, slowly it started dying. Number of people using this feature kept going down with time and finally Facebook thought that there are hardly people using this feature hence lets get rid of it. This is where Facebook went wrong (atleast I think so). Instead of trying to find out what's causing its death, instead of finding out how they could revive such a powerful tool - they chose the easier path; to get rid of it.
What I would have done - If I were Facebook, I wouldn't have thought of killing this feature, infact would have tried to make it stronger. For Example - 
  • When you create a question, you don't get a URL. Having a URL for each question could have helped a lot in sharing the question apart from just using the Facebook Share option.
  • Each Facebook Question should also generate an html code which can be embedded on a blog/website. This tool then could turn to be the most extensive free 'Poll Tool' available in the market.
  • Facebook users aren't allowed to ask questions anymore, its only the pages which can do so.
  • We have an option to 'boost' a question but can't schedule it
Facebook says that marketers can still ask questions on posts, but then, will that give a report to the marketers as to how many votes were cast for each answers, is Facebook expecting us to keep counting all the answers ?

Facebook Offers is another excellent feature and an answer to Google Offer (at one point of time Google allowed businesses to create offers through local search listing). Why 'Offers' couldn't click :
  • You can't upload an image, it by default takes your cover pic.
  • Offer is a paid feature, you can't create an offer without proceeding to the payments. (Every business does not have a credit card attached to their account, and even if they have they wouldn't want to use it for every post/offer. If Facebook makes this as a free feature and gives an option to the marketers to go with a sponsored post or free offer then the number of people using this feature would grow exponentially
Integrated marketers/agencies who have been using this feature to promote offline stores, and more importantly track the number of offers saved, claimed and walk-ins. With this feature gone, though we still have lots of options to track online claims but this is the only social tool in the market to track offline claims. With no competition at all, still Facebook decides to bury this feature - Strange.

Amazon Enters India

Amazon entered India almost a year back with the marketplace
With the FDI discussions being the hottest topic of discussion in retail industry, people were anticipating that Amazon would sooner or later surely enter India market with its original brand Amazon itself.

Though not complete, but closely, Amazon launches
But its not direct selling, its yet again a marketplace like Junglee with only Amazon name.
As of now, Amazon India has been launched with only 2 categories - Books & Media (Movies & Music), with over 7 million titles in books and close to 15k Media titles.
Not just this, very soon they would everything what we seen on , hopefully Amazon Stores as well.

Strategy & Impact - 

Why did Amazon launch another marketplace in India when they already had one ?

This is definitely one of the most pertinent question making rounds amongst the e-commerce professionals in India.
Its very clear that FDI norm is still withholding Amazon from selling directly but the day is not far when Amazon will penetrate Indian market with a bang. While Amazon continues to sell products through Junglee &, its giving an earning opportunity to many re-sellers like uRead, BookAdda, etc But what will happen to these re-sellers once Amazon starts selling directly, there revenue will definitely see a huge dip.

The launch of is basically to create a shroud of confusion amongst Indian buyers. MANY Indian buyers think that Amazon has entered India market and is selling directly. The magnitude of this effect is big.
Many Indians are expected to ' Experience Amazon' and with no cap on free shipping for a limited time, we are definitely going to see a spike. Its alexa rank in India is already 651 which is much better than Tradus and few other key players. What more, almost all e-commerce player in India has seen a downward trend in traffic this week.

Does this mean bringing down Junglee ?
Well No.
Amazon would continue with Junglee letting people know that their marketplace is still there, while with it would continue making people believe (or leave people thinking) that Amazon is selling directly and has entered Indian market. Atleast, until Amazon is legally allowed to sell directly in India, it would continue this way.

Impact - Positive & Negative 
With a downward trend seen in web traffic of Indian e-commerce sites, the founders of key players have already started sharing their thoughts around.
What's best is that you can sense an uncertainty, confusion and fear in them, which they are trying to hide.

Sandeep Agarwal, founder & CEO of Shopclues (one of the leading ecommerce portal in India) in a talk says, " I personally feel that Government of India should have given two more years to start-ups before opening the doors for Amazon. This can back fire in terms of opening retail market to such a large E-Commerce company this early "
When such a big name is worried, what would be the plight of those thousands of new and aspiring founders who have or are planning to launch their portal. Would the VCs and Angel Investors be willing to invest in India (into ecommerce) at this point of time ?
This eCommerce boom in India gave birth to many start-ups who are either into selling or supporting an e-commerce portal - delivery, support, marketing, platforms, etc. If these start-ups would face a problem then wouldn't the agencies also face a downfall ?

Yes, mostly the impact would be negative except for the marketing segment. It is expected to be a boon for them. The current players will have to invest more into online and/or offline marketing to sustain their market share and place.

Truth & Facts
India being the 3rd largest internet population in the world and with population close to 1.3 billion people, India is expected to overtake China within couple of decades. This would mean that in few years time the number of internet users in India would be higher than that of United States(though the internet penetration is US is much higher than India).
This makes India one of the biggest online market in the world, hence Amazon & Walmart would definitely want to stay here. Having said this, they will definitely build expertise and 'localize' in India. A simple statement to help you understand this better would be the advent of Dell & HP brands. Can you name 5 Indian PC making brands ? :) In case if you are given an option to buy a laptop, majority would want to choose either an HP, Dell or Lenovo

With a permit to Amazon & Walmart, its for sure that Many people would definitely be effected. But who would benefit from it the most ? Its You - The Consumer :)
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