How have online shopping sites evolved?

Online retail has had a long and storied history in India and the world beyond, right from the humble beginnings of Ebay to the juggernauts like Alibaba and Flipkart prompting the Indian government to contemplate legislation for regulating e-commerce in India.

But with quick-paced consumer spaces, e-commerce sites cannot remain static. And true to this, there have been several signs which are symbolic of how online shopping websites are evolving around the world.

Predictive analytics

Today sites have gone on from offering purely monetary discounts to using a unique form of statistical research. Predictive analytics combines examining realms of data about customer demographics with company goals. As a result, the e-commerce giants of today are not just able to identify products most likely to be bought, but can also target promotions and optimize pricing better to ensure higher profits and greater returns on investment. For shopping sites in India like Shopclues, Amazon, and Flipkart, this is a crucial element of their R&D strategy.

Marketing across the board

With the realization that you are only as visible as your last pitch, the best online shopping websites are those that not only garner commanding visibility across print, digital and film but also integrate their brand with entities outside their space. For instance, Snapdeal’s sponsorship tie-up with comedy group AIB is a pioneer for other Indian online shopping websites to carve out clever, hand-picked presence that helps them reach out to audiences who don’t visit their page itself.

Brand-based exclusivity

The emergence of e-commerce as a legitimate industry today has prompted many retailers and start-ups to rely on the clout that online sites wield. For instance, the ‘Flagship Killer’ phone, the One-Plus One, was known to rely on an invite-only system available only through Amazon, giving it plenty of exclusivity. The same goes for niche-based sites which focus on sale of one particular good, be it glasses, mobile phone covers or even baby clothing.

So while the times may have changed, so have the titans of e-commerce!