Physical store owners are expressing their dissent towards online sellers in different ways. In a recent retail gathering, leading offline retail heads have said that the online stores will be closing shop soon.
Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO of the Future group (which owns retail stores like Big Bazaar and brands like Scullers and Indigo Nation) has said that several online stores will be closing down in the next six months. Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, while endorsing Biyani’s views, said that it would not be possible to continue to run an enterprise that was making heavy losses.
Jhunjhunwala also jokingly claimed “I will consider buying Flipkart’s stake if it is valued at $100 million.” Incedently Flipkart was valued to be worth $15.2 Billion last year, which dwarfs the valuation of retailers.
Ecommerce is here to stay
In spite of what the physical store owners are saying, experts are of the opinion that the online commercial model is one that is growing. Thanks to lifestyle changes, customers are looking at convenience more than anything else.
“Lifestyles are changing and so are the customer’s needs. With busy schedules, customers do not have the time to go from shop to shop in the maddening city traffic,” says Rajiv Srivastava, COO of Urban Ladder.
The money is going to continue to flow in for online commerce, says Arvind Singhal, founder of Technopak, a retail consultancy firm.
“There can be no doubt that e-commerce will remain and become stronger,” Singhal affirms.
Hybrid model to marry offline and online
Analysts are saying that the hybrid model (a combination of online and offline) will take over the current war. Danish Ahmed, CEO of Shopsity, says that the hybrid model, which enables users to search online but buy offline, is set to be the next major disruptor.
Online companies are witnessing a steady growth in their business, and companies like Paytm and Jabong also eyeing a quick break-even. Flipkart is optimistic that it will be able to become profitable.
Online sellers need not worry on account of statements that physical retailers are making. The online saga is only at its early stages, and the future is bright.