Shweta Thakur is the Founder & CEO of Wildermart. She handles two main aspects of the business – curation and customer experience. Given her marketing and branding career of 10 years, her passion is to make Wildermart a brand that people will love & recognise. Shweta started out her career as a corporate banker at HSBC in Mumbai handling roles ranging from strategy, data analytics to sales and m&a. Post a very successful banking stint, she moved to Bangalore and co-founded a communication agency.
Online shopping is an act which was first unimaginable, later unacceptable and now an inseparable part of people’s life. After the pandemic hit the world, online shopping became the go-to solution for everyone. It did justice by delivering the exact expectations and ensuring the right deliverables.
The trend of online shopping became a habit because of the many benefits it offered.
Shop from your own comfort zone. Online shopping does not demand you to mentally prepare yourself for doing a plethora of task of driving out to a shopping mall or shop and doing the whole circle task of shopping things one by one. Now we can shop from our kitchen, sofa and loo. Don’t have to dress up, don’t have to get up. It’s the perfect thing for a lazy weekend.
Online shopping doesn’t bar you with closing and opening times. All you need is an internet connection smartphone at your access, and you are all set to explore a whole variety of things just by a simple clicks and scrolls. You can do this early morning before the day’s madness hits you or at the end of a day to unwind. You can shop at your leisure and that freedom is incredible.
Saves time: Online shopping save a lot of time as well as effort. The time of travelling to a related store, the time of putting efforts buying things one by one and the time of waiting on the billing counter. All this time when saved can be used in more productive ways. Especially for a working woman today. Online shopping is the ultimate solutions to things on place within time with less efforts.
Cost Effective: With elimination of the middleman system from the market channel. The goods sold in online shopping have become cheaper ultimately. And given the competition, sales are abundant. This happens because the brick & mortar costs and overheads are also eliminated and the benefit of that can be passed on to the customers.
Choice – Every maker and store can go online with minimal or no costs. That means, you can discover and find many brands and products – which you could not access earlier in your neighborhood.
On the other hand, there are few plus points or legacies of offline shopping that are irreplicable.
Touch & Feel – Photos & videos cannot do justice to all the products. Inherently, we want to touch things. We are able to do quality checks and get the satisfaction of knowing we bought the right thing.
Instant Gratification – Sometimes, we just can’t wait for those few hours or days for delivery of our products. We need them now. Though in some categories, online shopping is evolving to reduce the wait time – like grocery. However, the joy of paying for something and carrying it away with you is unmatched.
Experience – Having a physical engagement creates much stronger sensorial experiences. You get more stimulated and tend to spend longer times on things. A quick scroll and an engaged experience like this are very different and the mind processes them very differently.
But we live in a world today, where we can have the luxury of not choosing. That’s where omnichannel stores come in – taking the best of both online & offline worlds, to offer customers with a very customized shopping experience.
Flexibility – Omnichannel offers customers the flexibility to choose how they want to shop basis their time & preferences. When they have the leisure of offline visit, they go for the experience. If they like shopping online, but picking it up offline, can be done! There are so many permutation & combinations of shopping experiences that open up for customers.
Efficiency – We can build store experiences which marry the physical form and technology – to have some inventory offline and most of it online. We can give the customers choice without requiring additional physical spaces.
Convenience – Imagine finding something you love and not having to run to the changing room every time to try! Technology can help customers in offline stores get more convenience. It can take away the boring & tedious parts and keep only the fun parts of the experience.
Marrying the online and offline shopping channels and keeping the best of both worlds would be the future. Technology will help us create myriad experiences and physical form will enhance it in the real world. This will enable omni channel stores to provide the luxury of having every shopping benefit on the platter. Hence it would be a more fulfilling experience and can be easily optimized from a brand’s perspective to be the most cost-efficient model in India.
At present with its capabilities, India is the best place to try this model because Indians have had a past with experiential shopping. On other hand, Indians have also been the fastest adapters to technology. As Indian customers, we are still very close to our older traditions in timelines than other cultures. Therefore, an omni channel will be more appreciated in Indian markets.
Wildermart is very eager to begin on this model. We are planning to go omni channel by the end of this year. With this initiative our entire shopping experience can be very rich and nuanced.