B&E | Technological Reforms in Indian E-Retailing Operations
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B&E | Technological Reforms in Indian E-Retailing Operations

By Achit Agarwal and Vinod Kumar Yadav
Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur, India

B&E | Technological Reforms in Indian E-Retailing Operations

From getting product information with the detail process map link to the final minute courier / postal alert has been enriching experience to Indian consumer in recent years. The strengthen belief of consumer on e-operations has been a major breakthrough in Indian retail industry. This has been an outcome of a meticulously designed delivery logistics equipped with technological innovation to provide a new level of consumer experience.

1. Product survey and ordering

When consumer thinks to purchase a particular product, the first step an India consumer follow is to check and compare the detail specifications, price etc from the credible source. The traditional method of credibility testing was to get first hand user information and experience from the consumer. With the advent of newer technologies the online product survey and comparison across the different e portals is very common. The technology has helped the consumer to such an extent that the consumer can very easily compare a couple of products simultaneously on various websites such as junglee.com and through this process the consumer satisfies his cravings to buy the product.

Everything is being duly noted in the information system, for the future references to be used by the manufacturer, the e- retailer and consumer. Once the consumer is through with all the comparing of the product it is directed to the e-retail portal where the consumer finally checks out the product details such as price/ discount structure/ location availability/ delivery option/ mode of payment.

After all the checking the consumer makes up his mind to purchase the product and as the product is ordered, there is a message send automatically to the consumer via information centre that the product order has been placed successfully. The information updating to the consumer is the impact of technology in e- retailing.

Once the product order is placed by the consumer it is directed to the payment option where it gives an option to pay for the product by Debit card / Credit card or opt for COD options. The online payment is compulsorily through secured payment gateway.

2. Order Processing and Product Confirmation

Once the product payment has been made the product order is being processed and the supplier/ retailer of the product is made aware of the same through an automated system, at this point as well the technology makes its presence felt not directly but indirectly.

Another use of technology which is not seen by the consumer but it happens, as the order is confirmed the retailer is being made aware of the sale of product via the e retailer and the arrangements are being made by the retailer for the movement of the product. The well-defined and efficient system of supply chain makes this process almost error free.

3. Product Packaging, Logistic and Delivery

As soon as the product is being made available by the retailer, its being packed as per the company standards and nature of the product i.e. products that are of glass/ bone china are packed more securely. Extra cushion is provided so as the product could withstand the journey it has to make and it does not breaks during the journey or it should not be broken when the consumer opens the packet. Hence the product is being made ready for the transportation.

The role of logistics becomes crucial at this stage to stick with the commitment made by e- retailer. Once the product is packed securely and safely the product is being ready to be shipped/ dispatched to the consumer on the desired address, and as soon as the product is dispatched the consumer receives a message stating the confirmation of dispatch of order, and till the time the product is being delivered the consumer can easily track the order and see the current position of the product.

As per the message the consumer is made aware about the tentative delivery date of the product and the product is being delivered to the consumer on the desired address usually on or before delivery date.

4. The Technology Edge

Right from the product survey till the product delivery, the role of technologically equipped information centre becomes crucial. The consumer’s choice, surveyed products and visited links each information is customized and personalized to remind you in future about your past activity.

The product features, comparison, price analysis, and probable date of delivery have never been so accustomed in past. This update is for a guest visitor to e-portals. Once a product is put in cart, the technology starts chasing you till the order placing.

The best part of e-retailing and technology is to update the consumer about each happening about your order. Each stage is linked to the information centre and consumer can at any time; check the status of product journey. The e-portal also keeps sending SMS and emails to consumer to make him / her part of supply chain.

The technology has played a game changer in retail segment especially e-retailing. The need for technological innovation justify to a great extent the consumer dynamics the e - shopping experience of consumer has become rich as compare to the traditional shopping. Some of the key impacts of e- retailing are listed below:

a) Fast order: Earlier were the days when people used to go into the markets roam from shop to shop bargain for every chip in the pocket, in the hot/cold/humid weather drenched up to the skin, all of this is changing with the intrusion of technology, now the consumer doesn't need to go out to the shops/brands, on the contrary shops/brands come to the consumer who is not on the streets but is on his bed/chair in his cubicle/room far away from the hustle and bustle of the market finalizing the product on various shopping sites with a variety of discount structures which are being provided by the companies to its consumers who shop online or the companies have started E- Retailing. This has helped the consumer to order much faster and save both time and money by the use of technology.

b) Competitive rates: When a consumer moves into market to purchase products, the consumer is being made aware of few products and the prices at which they are available to purchase, but technology helps the consumer to search and compare simultaneously a variety of products available on a scale of various qualities, which cannot be done manually and the best part there is no fight between shopkeeper and consumer if the whole deal does not works up.

c) Easy Tracking: Once a product is being confirmed by the consumer to be purchased, a message is being sent to the mobile and email id of the consumer stating the current status of the product. The technology has evolved so much that the consumer can trace its order at every point i.e. from the confirmation of the order, its payment (in case of internet banking), shipping of product from the warehouse, transit status, reaching to the destination warehouse, delivery at the consumers doorstep, payment (COD), return of the product in case of non-compliance of specifications of the product. The consumer can trace its order from start to finish.

d) Payment gateway: Technology has made money transactions very easy over a period of time, earlier people use to carry money in their wallets, now they carry credit/debit/cash cards and this has helped consumers to pay for the products that they select on various shopping sites through secure payment gateways provided by the banks to these shopping sites. These gateways, sometimes, provide extra discounts to the consumers, who use their services, which adds as an additional benefit to the consumer.

e) Impact on society: It's truly said that an excessive use of anything leads to a negative impact on the surroundings which could be easily seen with the recent activities i.e. fiasco created by FLIPKART. In other words there are so many sites that offer product to the consumers using various advertising techniques, this leads to confusion in the minds of the consumers and very often, many sites misleads the consumers which holds a negative impact on the society.

About The Authors:

Achit Agarwal - Research Assistant, Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur 208002, India
Vinod Kumar Yadav - Assistant Professor, Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur 208002, India

Publication Details:

This article is an excerpt from a technical paper titled - "Impact of Technology in E-Retailing Operations: A Consumer Perspective" presented at  XVIII Annual International Conference of the Society of Operations Management (SOM-14), published  Published by Elsevier Ltd as an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Download The Paper - LINK