In susegado Goa, online shopping is yet to click
E-commerce in Goa is still at the stage where its use is dominated either by the privileged or the technology-savvy.
In recent years, while many enterprising individuals have set up online shopping portals for various services, very few are doing well, with some tragically fizzling out. Entrepreneurs cite various reasons for such a scenario in Goa.
“The whole idea of shopping on the internet is still new to Goa,” said Ansley Dias, CEO of online confectionery store, ItsAllHere.in, adding that there is still a long way to go for Goans to actually warm up to online shopping avenues.
“Also, startups like ours can’t affored the type of discounts that biggies like Flipkart and Amazon offer,” he added.
HR executive, Goa Online Gifts, Shiwani Yadav, lamented, “Vendors usually don’t provide the products on time, due to which orders sometimes get delayed leading to discontented customers.” She attributed this to the poor transport facilities and traffic system in Goa.
Vibhav Shirodkar, who started Goa Habitat, an online handicraft and azulejo store with an investment of 12,000, has had an annual turnover of approximately 40,000 within the first year of launching the portal.
Yet, reaching out to a wider market poses a new challenge each day. “Goa tourism highlights only its beaches and joy-rides but the art and unique items made from coconuts, sea shells, terracotta and crochet are not promoted. Thus, when people look out for an ideal souvenir, not all are aware of the options available,” he said.
He further pointed out that providing online payment options is a big problem. “Banks in Goa quote weighty fees to set up the facility for us. I had to convince them that this is not just a business venture but also an attempt to promote Goan art, which is when they relented and eased my burden a bit.”
Though many local shoppers are still apprehensive about purchasing items online and prefer their nearby posro, director of the online supermarket, UrbanRation.com, Tejpal Singh, feels that the Goan market is very dynamic and its future lies in online shopping.
“The world is moving online and the landscape of the market place is shifting,” he said, “Traditional marketing needs advertising on newspapers, radio, billboards etc, but we use only social media marketing since our business is online. It’s therefore instant, cost-effective and focussed on our target customer,” he said.
When asked how the government could contribute to enhance this industry, Singh suggested, “Create an atmosphere where they can make incubators for startups where they subsidize logistics for entrepreneurs and provide high-speed internet to consumers.”
Director of IT, Shilpa Shinde said, “Goa is a small state and people prefer traditional shopping where they go out and purchase items of their choice. Problems regarding online shopping have come to our notice only now, so we will surely take them up.”
Jose Manuel Noronha, CEO, CIBA Goa, said that online businesses take time to establish and turn into profitable ventures. Therefore, patience is required and, sadly, this attribute is missing in many individuals who venture into such businesses.
“Entrepreneurs who sell some tourism related product in Goa are at an advantage. I would think that a proper market survey coupled with a very well designed web site and the ability of the entrepreneur to allow the business to stabilize are some factors that will be helpful,” he said.