Top Performing E-commerce Websites in India


There is no doubt about the fact that the Indian e-commerce space has gone through numerous transitions to acquire the present state that it is in. I have seen these changes first-hand as an e-commerce expert in developing, promoting and executing ecommerce businesses in different segments for a decade. The segments include Grocery, Food, Apparels, handicrafts and plant and Agri products. Now actively involved in the development & digital promotion for corporate brands and ecommerce projects. 

I have witnessed entrepreneurs tasting success in their first attempt and others winding-up their business in a matter of months. Being an active observer of this space, I would like to share my views on the current lot of websites that are performing well and have managed to acquire consistent traffic and regular audiences to their web-portals.

Scope Of e-commerce In India

We all know India has a population of 1.37 billion just behind China, and 51% of its population has access to the internet. This presents one of the largest customer bases for e-commerce anywhere in the world. Such a scenario unravels a space for multiple players in the market, each with its unique strengths and style of doing business. 

Here I would like to share insights into the working of the topmost e-commerce sites and how they started and evolved to what they are today. I am here as a non-judgemental observer who enjoys narrating business journeys without favouring a specific brand or portal. Let’s look at each one of them:

I Amazon India

CEO: Amit Agrawal

Traffic: 242.46 Million

About the Brand:

I have reasons to believe that when sales and growth reached saturation in the US, Amazon started looking at new markets to grow. China happened to be a viable option, but fierce competition from sites like Alibaba made it look to elsewhere. India is where it saw the potential for growth. Amazon started its operations in 2013 and on the first day of service Amazon received more than 10,000 in orders.

Currently, it works with 500,000 Indian sellers with 40 fulfilment centres across India and ships to almost all serviceable pin codes in India. The website currently offers 170 million products to choose from and holds the distinction of being the largest online store in India.

Business Strategy:

As I understand Amazon, it regards itself as a customer-centric company that delivers on customer expectations and convenience with fast delivery. It has an amazing plus wide selection of products and commendable customer service (pre & post-sale). The three pillars that drive Amazon’s strategy are selection, value and convenience. 

I truly believe that the long-term strategy is focused on the customer without giving too much thought to the competitors around. The emphasis for India strategy is to think globally and act locally, the “glocal” strategy is enabling Amazon to leverage its massive scale and logistics capabilities while providing customized offerings built from the ground up for the Indian market.

 I have seen the evolution of the Amazon brand, and I have found that they believe in thinking ‘backwards’ from the consumer standpoint. And, this strategy does pay rich dividends in the long-run when critical investments of time and resources are made with a customer-centric viewpoint.

Digital Strategy        

Since Amazon had a head-start among e-commerce companies, it made it comparatively stronger than others on all social media platforms. The online platform has been successful in leveraging the popularity of all major social channels. Amazon India heavily relies on paid advertising campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.    

Amazon makes it point to reply to all relevant comments that get posted on its Facebook page. It also uses the channel for promotions for festivals and special occasions. On Twitter, it is known to promote Amazon products and its regularly updated blog. Pinterest is another platform that helps customers with product ideas, one click on a Pin takes the visitor directly to an Amazon product page. Besides this, Amazon boasts of a strong Affiliate network that serves to promote the brand on Partner sites. 

II Flipkart

CEO: Kalyan Krishnamurthy

Traffic: 206.72 Million

About the Brand:

Flipkart, as we all know, started small, as an online book store from a small house in Koramangala, Bangalore with Rs. 400,000 as of the initial capital. Both the founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (no relation) were IIT Delhi alumni with computer science degrees, who happened to work at the technology development centre of Amazon in Bangalore. After quitting their jobs they started Flipkart.

The initial years were tough but somehow they were able to create a world-class company with a billion-dollar valuation. Flipkart was able to provide magnificent service, continually added product categories, cut prices and expanded delivery reach. The proverbial turning point came in 2018 when 77% of the company got acquired by retail giant Walmart for a princely sum of $16 billion, making its valuation touch $21 billion – the highest amount paid for a company in the Indian start-up ecosystem.  

Business Strategy:

Flipkart began as a service for selling books and later expanded into electronic items and appliances. In all these stages, it was quite certain about developing a service that was aligned with the Indian mindset.

  •  Low Prices: One of the primary ways in which Flipkart was able to acquire customers was by keeping the prices low for its products compared to local markets. The strategy paid off in attracting customers, who were treated to good reliable service from the website. These customers recommended the platform to others through word-of-mouth.

  •  Customer Focus: Since the beginning, Flipkart was much focussed on its customers and showered them with the best deals and provided them accessibility through reliable customer service by phone, chat and email. They were quite confident of the strategy paying off in the long run.

  • Festivals & Peak Seasons: The website was instrumental in leveraging peak seasons and festivals to their advantage with promotional offers and discounts that were able to entice customers to buy from the website. They were able to succeed in this practice consistently through an effective pricing strategy that helped in the growth of the brand.

 

Digital Strategy

Flipkart was able to correctly gauge the power of different online channels to promote its brand. They are quite active on all the online channels mainly Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. They produce enough content to get the attention of the audience and engage with them as a credible brand to cement long-lasting trust. The social channels are being used to promote the company blog, news and promotional material.

This apart, Flipkart has created a strong affiliate network that created awareness about the brand beyond the regular online channels. Flipkart is quite active on Facebook with paid ad campaigns. Ultimately, there are the ‘Big-Billion Days” by Flipkart, its flagship festival sale, where it announces big discounts on products in all categories. This event is promoted aggressively across social media channels organically and through paid means.

III IndiaMart

CEO: Dinesh Agrawal 

Traffic: 66.11 Million

About the Brand:

 IndiaMart was established in 1996 by the cousin duo of Dinesh Agrawal and Brijesh Agrawal with a seed capital of Rs.40,000. It is a B2B marketplace for business products and services connecting buyers with suppliers. The platform fulfils the requirements of SMEs, large enterprises and individuals.

The founder Dinesh Agrawal is an engineer and worked with HCL technologies in the US, but once he realised the power of the internet during his working stint, he was stung by the entrepreneurial bug. He returned from the US and finalized on providing information on Indian exporters and sellers online. This was the basic idea of launching IndiaMart as a “Global gateway to the Indian marketplace.”

The initial days were daunting with the barrage of government permissions that was required to get the business off the ground. But, today it is a publicly listed company that has raised 475 crores from its initial IPO offering.     

Business Strategy:

Currently, IndiaMart is the third-largest B2B marketplace in the world and offers more than 3.3 crore products from 22 lakh suppliers. The platform offers free service and paid membership to the users, with users having the choice to upgrade their services to a paid service for high-end results. The company designs and creates web catalogues for SMEs and provides them with a premium listing.

IndiaMart works with a pay per lead (PPL) model, not like pay per click(PPC) as in Google Ads, where the user buys leads from the seller on the platform after evaluating its relevance for their business. Once the user gets a reasonable result from the PPL, they can buy the membership to the website at a certain amount. It was a result of superior leads and suppliers IndiaMart was able to grow in a very short time. Today, it has a presence in more than 100+ cities with 70,000 registered users and 5 million global buyers across various verticals.

Digital Strategy:  

IndiaMart was one of the first internet companies in India that invested its resources in building its brand through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) without paying any money for advertising. The company today has diversified into other social media platforms with special emphasis on video marketing. Let’s look at each one of them in brief:

  •  Video Marketing: IndiaMart has understood the growing relevance of video and promotes its brand through videos on Facebook and YouTube. The platform is heavily into video campaigns and self-help videos on both the social platforms to grow the IndiaMart brand.

  •  Facebook Page: The company is constantly experimenting with content on the social platform with posts for special days and occasions. It also creates topical memes and relevant content to keep its audience engaged.

  • Brand Advocacy: IndiaMart believes the employees of a company can play a vital role in promoting the company. This thought has culminated in creating social media campaigns featuring employees for special days such as Mother’s Day, Women’s Day or Teacher’s Day.

  • Twitter: The company utilizes the micro-blogging site for quick complaint resolution from dissatisfied customers and providing them with the attention and the essential redressal of their complaint or query.  

IV Myntra

CEO: Amar Nagaram

Traffic: 20.39 Million

About the Brand:

Myntra was founded in 2007 by three IIT Kanpur alumni – Vineet Saxena, Ashutosh Lawania, and Mukesh Bansal as a B2B platform for personalized gifts. Things changed in 2011 when e-commerce found more acceptability from the Indian audience, it pivoted to an online retail marketplace.

Myntra was not taken as a serious contender in the online space when Jabong was the market leader in the fashion segment. However, after the acquisition by Flipkart in 2014 at $300 million valuation, things started looking up for the brand.

Incidentally, Jabong was acquired by Myntra in 2016 for a mere $70 million from a valuation of $500 million in its early years. Presently, Myntra serves its target audience interested in premium fashion. While Jabong has appeal among youngsters and students, together both these brands hold a 70% market share of India’s online fashion segment.     

Business Strategy:

Myntra as a brand became a success story in 2017 when it was able to clock a revenue of 2,000 crores. The company has experienced exponential growth in the fashion segment mainly on account of its “End of Reason” sale in categories such as activewear and fast-fashion. They have built private labels and through brand associations have been able to augment growth.

One of the important aspects that have made Myntra grow fast is the availability of global brands on the website. These products come with a 30-day return policy and ‘Try and Buy” feature, where a customer can choose up to 3-sizes and return the ones that don’t fit them. Such tactics are helping the fashion brand website to appeal to offline and traditional shoppers. 

The company has invested in the latest technology to create a tech-platform called Rapid, which can estimate demand and plan fashion helping it to cut costs and reduce discounts. Rapid is an AI-powered platform that can recognize colour, patterns, consumer fits to enable Myntra to order garments that have higher demand. Going into the future, the company expects growth to be robust, backed by rising internet penetration and availability of internet on mobiles.    

Digital Strategy:

Myntra as an online apparel store and its digital marketing strategy is centred around running paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. It does content marketing on all the 4 major social platforms:

  • Facebook:  It is one of those rare Facebook Pages that have over a million members and it focuses on 3-4 daily updates, with a fine balance of being promotional and engaging at the same time.

  • Twitter: The handle remains quite busy with customer queries, their Twitter team remains dedicated to solving concerns and redirecting users to a separate forum for complaint redressal. 

  • Pinterest: The website shares all the latest trends in fashion and style and is slowly building a loyal community of users on Pinterest.

  • Instagram: It regularly creates and posts content about promotional offers and the latest product updates on its Instagram account.

  • Company Blog: Their company blog is called StyleMynt and talks about fashion trends, style tips and various other topics in the fashion space. The well-written blog is shared across social platforms for better engagement from the users.    

 

V AJIO 

CEO: Vineeth Nair 

Traffic: 20.12 Million

About the Brand:

AJIO was launched in 2016 during the Lakme Fashion Week and is based out of Bangalore, Karnataka. AJIO is one of the first forays of Reliance as a company into online retailing. The company plans to adopt a dual e-commerce service model like Flipkart which operates an e-commerce marketplace along with fashion portal Myntra. Reliance has selected online fashion due to the high margins offered.

AJIO has tie-ups with various brands from the US, Russia, Turkey, Singapore and Australia. The company plans to leverage Reliance Jio’s digital platform and the 30,000 strong Reliance Retail network for deliveries and returns.  

Business Strategy:

The company positions itself as a destination for handpicked curated fashion with private labels, national and international brands, authentic artisanal products and inspired indie brands. Around 60% of the merchandise on the portal remains exclusive. The target audience for the website is fashion enthusiasts looking for exclusive accessible premium collections.

The USP of the website is to offer premium fashion that offers excellent value. The brand seeks to establish an emotional connect with the audience and aims to provide the best price for discerning customers. AJIO is leveraging Reliance’s superior sourcing, supply chain and retail operation capabilities to differentiate from others.     

Digital Strategy:

AJIO’s digital marketing strategy is primarily driven by paid advertising targeted according to demographics, geography, keywords, day and time, and device type. It also includes native ads on popular sites like Times of India and Yahoo for better ROI. Other digital marketing strategies adopted by AJIO include:

  •  Affiliate Network: The brand collaborates with influencers who enable it to reach the target audience with minimal spend. It reciprocates promotion and conversions by partner sites through monetization.

  • Social Media: On Facebook, it shares relevant trends and recommendations and it runs paid campaigns based on several targeting parameters and also by creating custom audiences.  On Instagram, it advertises to reach the right audience and fulfil its App install goals.   

  • Email Marketing:  Content marketing through email marketing is mainly done by the brand by mailers based on preferences shown by the audience. Regular emails are sent to the audience to inform them about the latest in fashion to position AJIO as the thought-leader in fashion.

  •  Ad Words: The brand bids for high search volume keywords to drive traffic to the website.   

Conclusion

I have reviewed a few leading e-commerce websites in this blog according to the amount of traffic they receive. There are many others such as Nykaa, BookmyShow, SnapDeal, ShopClues who also deserve a mention here. All these have been able to run their business successfully as independent corporate establishments. The e-commerce landscape of the future is not going to be the same and we will possibly see a lot of acquisitions from large outfits to steady their position in the market. Besides, online selling continues to be a business thriving amongst the pandemic crises. We are likely to see more technology-led developments in this space that will enhance user experience and make marketing more personalized.


Share this Post