An e-commerce website is something which has absolutely shattered many businesses. The offline markets suffered a great deal when the e-commerce revolution happened in India. The small scale vendors were pretty safe but there were these mid-range vendors which literally went out of business. People started buying things online for a lesser price and India, where people are skeptical about things, started trusting the websites more and more.
There were many markets which were shattered and there were many casualties. The newest policy does a bit of good to the offline retailers but it has not changed drastically. However, there is one market, this e-commerce sharks couldn’t fathom; the vehicle’s market. There were a lot of things the companies tried but it was just not happening. Flipkart and Snapdeal had partnered with various companies in the past.
Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Hero, Kawasaki, and even TVS Motors were ready to sell their four-wheelers and two-wheelers online. At first, it felt like a masterstroke but later it was found out that it was not to be. It was a rash decision and none of the above websites now sell vehicles. The reason was simple, some things are better seen and bought. Apart from this, there were some genuine problems faced, there is a lot of paperwork if one is buying a vehicle. There is insurance, Regional Transport Office registration and even financing or loan options were limited. The paperwork became a problem and it was not possible digitally to get it done.
Slowly and steadily everything fell apart and nothing is sold online. An industry executive talked to ET and told about the challenges faced. He said, “These companies figured that offering an end-to-end experience to customers through the marketplace structure would not be feasible, and hence they moved out of it. Now they only focus on selling accessories for vehicles.”
Founder of Droom also talked about this. He said that most of the e-commerce companies sell anything from INR 50 to INR 5 lakh and talked about the challenges of it. He said that it is possible for Droom to sell vehicles online because it is all they do as opposed to the traditional e-commerce businesses which have been around since its inception.
He said, “Most of the horizontal e-commerce companies sell everything, from INR 50 t-shirt to INR 5 lakh home theatre. For original equipment manufacturers or OEMs, being listed amongst an array of such products doesn’t help them stand out as a category. Selling vehicles are our single focus, as opposed to having thousands of categories and millions of products on offer, and that’s why people come to us.”