Identifying the growing potential of e-commerce in India, Digitas India has introduced an integrated e-commerce solution for brands seeking to launch and maintain a professional and effective retail presence on the internet.
According to the company, the solution, backed by technology capabilities, can be used to build every conceivable store - from small boutiques to an entire online mall and ensure greater ROI and increased traffic.
The tool will help build e-commerce sites as well as customise and integrate existing ones with real time inventory updates from multiple warehouses, contract centre system, multi dimension coupon system, and multi-mode payment gateway with cash on delivery/EMI options, among other capabilities.
On the development, Kanika Mathur, president, Digitas India tells afaqs! that the initiative is significant because the company looks at e-commerce and social media as the two key drivers for the brands' digital growth in India.
"It is an excellent technology platform, of course. Apart from that, it is about how an e-store can be managed well. Most times, clients tend to spend all their money on technology, not do anything after that and hence, get burnt. What we are trying to do here is to ensure that there is a complete 360-degree solution to managing e-stores, right from building it to the operation mode, the right inward traffic and then to make sure customers come back again," Mathur says.
The engine has been built using the expertise of the APAC, China and the US markets.
While announcing the launch, afaqs! also caught up with Vincent Digonnet, president, Asia Pacific, Digitas as he shared his views on e-commerce, social media and digital communication.
According to Digonnet, the whole process of digital development in India is at a very early stage. While he thinks the country is at a tipping point, one of the biggest problems he sees is lack of infrastructure.
"India is already known for technical capabilities and developers working for overseas markets. However, for domestic markets, they are not there because the infrastructure is extremely limited. This is changing, though," he says.
Furthermore, he hints that e-commerce need not necessarily compete with physical stores and both need to be seen as very different experiences for the consumer.
"The more secure and better the user experience is for the consumer, the more they will be willing to spend online and be comfortable. Spending online needs to be a different experience from visiting a store. Too often, it is a surrogate for not having a store, which is a poor way of entering it. It needs to be an added experience," he says.
"One thing you will not have in a store when you are buying online is the access to all the reviews of the product. You can chat within your social network to feel more secure. So you are buying and at the same time, you have the comfort of your network to help you make the right decision," Digonnet adds.
Digonnet has an alternative thought to communication as he says "advertising is dead".
"Advertising is dead to a certain extent because building brands is going to be about bringing services and topical conversations and making the brand a part of the social conversation; as opposed to pushing traditional advertising on social media," he remarks.
"Brands and advertising agencies are still in the mode of pushing their message when nobody wants to hear that message any longer. It is about conversations. It is about generating content that is worthy of conversations. It is a totally different ball game," explains Digonnet.
According to him, the next generation of social media will come from China. Digonnet swears by the high amount of creativity in the country that is led by healthy competition within every category as opposed to a category being dominated by one single player.
"China is a huge market. It is almost the same size as India, except that in terms of infrastructure and development, it is five years ahead," he comments.
He also talks about Razorfish, one of the world's largest interactive agencies that the Publicis Group bought from Microsoft in 2009. Whether Razorfish will come to India is a question he is often asked by the media, he says, and Digonnet replies in the affirmative.
"Razorfish will be in India. The decision to put Razorfish in India was made about a while back. Because Razorfish is technology-based, you cannot start it with just a couple of people. If you want to do it seriously, you need to have at least 150 people. We need to be able to develop it at the level worthy of the brand Razorfish and all the different dimensions of e-commerce, social media, applications and innovations for emerging experiences, which we are doing at the moment in China, USA, Australia and Europe. We need to be ready to make the right offering to do that and we will be," Digonnet explains.
"Let's say in the next six-eight months," he smiles.