19 February, 2016

E-commerce market may reach $45-50 billion by 2020: Study

E-commerce market size for goods is expected to jump about five times to $40-50 billion by 2020 from about $8-12 billion presently, says a report.

While travel is expected to account for 60 per cent of e-commerce sales by 2020, electronics would account for about 30 per cent, said the joint report by Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India.

The growth of digital retail is dependent on the shift in the profile of Internet users and the total users likely to jump to 650 million by 2020 from 260 million.

"Urban users would nearly double from about 80 million to about 120 million," the report said.

The share of women users is also expected to grow from 29 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

The report also said that more than 400 million customers could potentially be digitally influenced by 2020, accounting for about 25 per cent of the retail spend. Digitally influenced spenders research products and pricing online while purchasing either offline or online, it said.

"About $250 billion of retail spends would be digitally influenced, accounting for about 25 per cent of the overall spend," the report noted.

17 February, 2016

Google to offer ‘Flood Alerts’ as part of Google Public Alerts

After introducing 'Cyclone Alerts' last year, Google Maps & Now Cards will now also display 'Flood Alerts' for India.

This is an extension of Google's effort to make critical information more accessible around natural disasters.

Users will now get information with details about the hazard, including a map and expected timeline, as well as tips on how to stay safe.

"Google will be providing 'River level' information for over 170 regions across India in which the Central Water Commission (CWC) has active observation stations. Users can now find 'flood alerts' along with 'river level' information and get public emergency alerts in case of floods," said the company release.

These alerts are now available on Google web search, Google Now cards in the Google app, Google Maps, and on the Google Public Alerts homepage, and can be accessed on desktop and mobile devices.

These alerts will be created and shared using data provided by the CWC.

Among all the natural disasters that occur in India, floods are the most common. Chronic floods during the monsoon season on an average affect more than 30 million Indians annually.

According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), on an average 7.21 million hectares (roughly 72,000 sq km) go under floodwater annually. This water typically ravages 3.78 million hectares of agricultural land, damaging crops worth Rs.1,118 crore annually.

Heavy rains and floods also account for nearly 1,700 lives lost annually.Apart from this, 1.25 lakh houses are annually damaged by torrential rains that also wipe out nearly 96,000 livestock.

Ironically, 60% of India's farmland, 66% of its livestock and its entire forest area depend on rains for survival.

Users can browse all active alerts at google.org/public alerts, and relevant alerts will also appear on normal Google Maps searches depending on the query.

Clicking through an alert on the map displays more info from the organization sending the alert.

15 February, 2016

Amazon ends 'refund policy' for mobile phones

Next time you buy a smartphone from Amazon, remember mobiles purchased from the website are no longer eligible for refunds. The e-commerce giant has notified customers about its new return policy which is applicable on all purchases made post on or after February 7.
The new policy is applicable to all mobile phones that are fulfilled by Amazon. As per the new policy, buyers will be eligible for a replacement only if the product is defective or has got damaged during transit.

The replacement too will be valid only for a duration of 10-days from the date of delivery of the mobile phone.

"All mobile phones that are fulfilled by Amazon, purchased on or after 7th February 2016, will have a replacement only policy. Mobile phone items that are fulfilled by Amazon will no longer be eligible for refunds. In case you have received a defective or a damaged mobile phone, you will be eligible for a free replacement," says the company on its returns policy page.

"The page also states, "Items that you no longer need must be returned in new and unopened condition with all the original packing, tags, inbox literature, warranty/ guarantee card, freebies and accessories including keys, straps and locks intact."

Most analysts agree that many many buyers were abusing the company's refund policy. With many buying latest smartphones, and returning them after a week after trying them.

Rival Flipkart has a 30-day replacement guarantee for mobile phones sold by sellers with Flipkart Advantage and 10-days for other sellers.

"Replacement guarantee for sellers with Flipkart Advantage, 30-day replacement guarantee for all other sellers for fashion and books categories, and 10-day replacement guarantee for all other sellers," reads the replacement policy on the company's website.

As for the other e-commerce giant Snapdeal, its policy appears most strict. "We require a document from the brand/OEM's service centre confirming that the delivered item was defective. We will carry out a quality check to validate the complaint before processing any request for refund/replacement. Returns/replacements will be accepted for only those items which are found to be faulty/defective," reads Snapdeal's policy.