Ecommerce: Ecommerce didn’t kill brick-and-mortar stores, it struck a balance with omnichannel: ShopClues’ Ghai

A question that was on everyone’s lips when the Ecommerce Madness swept across the country during the pandemic – does this mean the end of offline stores as we know them? Interestingly, that never happened. And that’s unlikely to happen, said Radhika Ghai, co-founder of ShopClues and Founding CEO of

Just when everyone was thinking about horizontal ecommerce platforms Amazon would take over offline retail entirely, omnichannel emerged and created a new balance, she said while speaking at the TiEcon Delhi-NCR Unstoppable India virtual event, held March 24-25.

Drawing on her experience at ShopClues, which was founded in 2011 and became one of the earliest unicorns in India, Ghai said that back then, e-commerce penetration was practically negligible at 1-2%. Organized retail in India was also less than 20% and it was a very fragmented market. For Ghai and her co-founders, the train of thought was that there is no such thing as a platform that matches supply and demand. That’s what they went for, targeting tier 2, 3 cities.

A whole new generation of consumers has sprung up over the years, as have other e-commerce players. “Now there is always a five-year generation gap. Back then, everyone said Amazon would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for everyone. Back then, pretty much all vertical platforms were written off before they even started. But companies like first scream and Nykaa survived because they recognized customers’ specific needs and played their omnichannel presence beautifully,” she said.

She explained that in Nykaa’s strategy, the consumer could go and feel a product and then go back and buy it online or in a store. “We kept talking about how e-commerce is the future, until vertical stores FirstCry and Nykaa walked in and said omnichannel was the way to go. We are now in the next generation where brands like Mom & Co are coming out. We have moved from fragmented retail to horizontal space to vertical space and now to brands and heavily curated platforms. This has been a phenomenal retail transition in India,” she added. Ecommerce: Ecommerce didn’t kill brick-and-mortar stores, it struck a balance with omnichannel: ShopClues’ Ghai

Dais Johnston

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