The concept of e-shopping has indeed matured since the fire and ice years of 1998-2000. It now is no longer a euphoric technology; it forms the bedrock of most businesses. Banking, travel, entertainment, shopping and e-mailing now all form part of a new mode in which the society interacts.
Internet retailing had been a hot topic for many years since the emergence of Internet, but the dotcom bust of year 2000 raised questions about whether this was a sustainable business. Experts were quick to write-off the virtual business model and claimed that the use of Internet would be limited to information exchange.
The truth in 2004 is far from those predictions made four years back. Markets in western countries of America and Europe have warmed up to online shopping in a big way and now online transactions form a significant part of the total trade in these countries. Several factors have contributed to this phenomenon. Greater Internet penetration, fall in prices of hardware, fall in the price of Internet communication, development of better and more reliable technologies, and increased awareness among user are few of the prominent factors leading the change.
During the last year, the number of people and hosts connected to the Net increased. In India too, Internet penetration became more widespread with bandwidth becoming readily available, Internet tariffs coming down and computer hardware becoming cheaper. The Indian Internet and E-commerce market however is nowhere close to its expected potential. E-mail applications still constitute the bulk of Net traffic in the country. Some of the various ways in which online marketing is done in India are company websites, shopping portals, online auction sites, e-choupal, etc. The acid test for Internet marketing in India lies in its effective exploitation of rural markets of India.
The new businesses provide all kinds of goods and service at the doorstep of the e-customer at the click of a mouse button. The business model built for excellent service quality is based on five fundamentals: low price, big range of choices, availability, convenience, and comprehensive information about products.
The most commonly found ingredient in commercially successful websites, apart from original ideas, is careful analysis of how people use the site. Hence, for the success of such a business model, it is critical for an organization to understand its customers preferences and behavior.
This paper attempts to track the preferences of the new age, Internet savvy, Indian consumer and to determine the trends in on-line shopping in India.
An empirical study was undertaken to capture a snap shot of on-line shopping habits among Indian consumers. The paper provides details of the research methodology including questionnaire design, pre-testing of the same, target sample, data collection and data analysis. More than 5000 netizens were requested to take part in an on-line survey during June 2004 and the findings from this would of great interest to marketers of consumer products.