Future Bazaar CEO Sankarson Banerjee tells Business Standard that the company is expecting turnover to treble from Rs. 62 crores to Rs. 182 crores – they’ll redesign, add regional brands and new products, and go offline. Going offline shouldn’t be an issue for the KPCB and Sherpalo backed company, which is owned by Kishore Biyani’s Future Group.
If you take a close look at the site, it mentions the statistics we’ve put up on the right – Page Views, (average) Savings per item, and average shipout time. So from the time an order is placed, it takes Future Bazaar 4.8 days to ship-out an item, i.e. to leave their warehouse and not the time it takes to deliver. Which means that if you ordered tomatoes*, the only thing you can use them for, is to take aim at the delivery guy.
While I’m not saying that 4-10 days is bad, remember that in urban India, you’re competing with retail stores that aren’t too far away from home/work, and some even deliver. Also, I have to question this notion of “savings”. Maybe this is a one-off example, but I bought a 500GB Seagate External HDD a month ago for around Rs. 5200 (with bill and warranty). Future Bazaar has a 160 GB Seagate HDD for Rs. 4999, a 250 GB HDD for Rs. 5750. So not really a saving, though they are comparing with the list price, which is considerably higher, and are offering a 56-58% discount. So I got a discount of around 75%, and can even have the product delivered to me within a few hours. Not much of a competition, eh? Anyway – a more realistic price here, though you can still get it cheaper offline.
Please note that I’m not trying to discredit Future Bazaar – only saying that if the status remains the same, online retail stores will be limited to customers who either don’t know better, or are not in the main cities. Or for some obscure book that the Oxford Bookstore doesn’t stock. Not really for daily purchases, is it?
There is a tendency to underestimate the importance of retail in the online business – the ease of purchasing goods online, the quality of the goods delivered and the time taken for delivery and the ease of dispute resolution will make consumers more comfortable with spending money online. This in turn will help other businesses make money – the online travel business deserves credit for converting viewers into buyers; Retail has its own part to play.
*- Thankfully for the delivery guy, Future Bazaar doesn’t retail tomatoes and other perishables.