The Challenges of E-Commerce In Tier 2, 3 Cities

Online shopping — a glorious invention that allows people to buy things from the comfort of their homes. No more traveling to multiple stores to find the right product; no more having to deal with over-enthusiastic salespersons; no more standing in long queues at the checkout counter.

India is the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Asia according to a study conducted by Forrester Research in 2012 for ASSOCHAM‘s 2nd National Conference on e-Commerce 2012. In 2013 the Indian e-commerce market grew by a mind-boggling 88% to $16 Billion as per a survey conducted by the industry body ASSOCHAM.

E-commerce companies are seeing a surge in orders from tier-2 and tier-3 towns and the demand is far greater than in metros. Also, the demand from the smaller towns is mostly for non-essential items compared with the big cities, where the demand is somewhat restricted to what is classified as essential goods.

We had a conversation with Shalini Singh, Marketing Head, StoreHi, which is a home-grown platform of Steel City. StoreHi is a start-up, and it provides a platform to all brick & mortar retailers to showcase their products online and open one more avenue for sales. “We are reducing the gap between the mighty online retailers and humble shops in our neighborhood, we are Jamshedpur’s first virtual shopping mall”, said Shalini.

THE REAL CHALLENGES:

1. HIGHER EXPECTED DELIVERY TIME

Whenever you order items like a dress or some grocery items or just anything from an e-commerce giant like Flipkart or Amazon, your expected delivery time is mostly between 2-5 days or even higher during festive seasons. But this is not the situation in metro cities and the reason behind this is inventory centers/hubs which are situated mostly in metro cities.

StoreHi, the homegrown app of Jamshedpur has done a very commendable job here, instead of managing the inventory itself they have onboarded local retail shops on their platform, thus ensuring guaranteed 2 hours delivery across the city. “Whenever you place an order, we make sure that your product will reach you in no time, and this is one basic thing anyone expects from an e-commerce website.”, said Shalini.

2. QUALITY & TRUST ISSUES

Whenever a person, either he lives in a metro city or in tier 2 – 3 city, orders something online, have doubts related to quality and overall product experience. This doubt is even greater when you’re ordering high-value items like smartphones and electronic items. The seniors of the families mostly try to skip the online purchase of goods due to this.

Shalini says, “We at StoreHi brought a very different approach for tackling this issue, as we have all the local retailers selling products on the platform with their shop name, you could easily search for your favorite and trusted shop and place an order from there. Pretty easy and secure. Right?”

3. ADDITIONAL CHARGES

Most of the time it happens that you’ve spotted a great deal on a product and when you’re one click away from purchasing it you noticed an additional shipping charge. This is very common on e-commerce sites, when the order amount isn’t high enough to qualify for free shipping. And even when it is, sometimes these shipping charges are added on each individual product (if you’re buying multiple products from multiple vendors) and not on the collective order.

As per Shalini, at StoreHi they have kept the delivery fee at flat Rs. 20 only on all deliveries across Jamshedpur. Either your order chocolate of Rs.20 or you order your monthly groceries of Rs. 4000 or you order a mobile phone worth Rs. 15000, you have to pay only Rs. 20 per delivery. This is very beneficial for the end consumers. They’re also offering Cash on Delivery service to ensure the peace of mind of their users.

4. DECLINING SALES OF OFFLINE RETAILERS

When our prime minister talks about vocal for local there is a meaning in it, it means you have to support your local vendors. Multi billion e-commerce giants like Amazon which is backed by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos and Flipkart which is backed by the brick and mortar giant Walmart (US), are both burning cash to attract as many users as they can because they have cash pilled up for it but our local retail shop owners are suffering due to this. According to reports in ETTelecom despite the smartphone market is up by 20% during the festive period, offline smartphone retailers have seen 10-20% degrowth in the business during this year’s Diwali sale over last year.

StoreHi has actually brought the solution for this, they combined the business model of food aggregators like Zomato & Swiggy with an e-commerce platform and redesigned the vertical. Similarly, like these platforms you can now install the StoreHi app, turn on your GPS, and purchase groceries, electronics, stationeries, and other items from your nearest store. Thus supporting your local business as well as fulfilling your needs at the convenience of your home.

“We’re also working with the local retailers to bring great offers and deals for our citizens and match the price competency of online e-commerce players,” Shalini said.

This app StoreHi is basically a homegrown app and they have come with a solution for almost every problem a city like ours face during online shopping and this is why it a must-use app by the citizens of Jamshedpur. It ensures trust, quality, shorter delivery time, and more happiness.

THIS IS AN ADVERTORIAL CRAFTED TO EASE THE ONLINE SHOPPING WORRIES OF JAMSHEDPURIANS, POWERED BY STOREHI

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