When Junglee.com was launched last Thursday, it was a quiet but decisive moment for India’s unfurling e-commerce. While the prime reason was the company, Amazon.com – the global leader in online retailing (making about $48 Billion in revenues, 2011) which was the force behind Junglee.com, there are other reasons for which this will go down as a red letter day in the annals of Indian online commerce.
- For one, Amazon decided that it will not wait till the Indian government makes up its mind on allowing multi-brand retail in the country.
- Two, Junglee.com is a great way for the online retail major to understand user patterns in online purchases, community based buying behaviors, etc.
- Three, Junglee.com has already squashed the market of aggregators and comparison sites
Given the way the Indian e-commerce was heating up in the last one year and the government dilly-dallying on multi-brand retail entry for foreign players, Amazon was getting edgy on not being able to get a finger in the $10 billion e-commerce pie that India offers. The big splash with Junglee was inevitable.
On the second point, A skim through Junglee.com shows you why it is a win-win proposition for Amazon.
The above screenshot is from the Junglee website projecting a popular Nikon camera model. The blue circle shows the 5 domestic players offering the product along with shipping prices. At the bottom circled in red is the Amazon.com offer. It has the lowest price incidentally. Consider this. Amazon knows which vendor you or hundreds of other users clicked and went through with. They do a 1-1 comparison of why users are repeatedly clicking a particular vendor as against their own offer from Amazon.com. They tune their offering to make it more lucrative. So over a period of time they have the power to tear apart competition using the power of information.
So does this mean other websites should not allow their sites to be scrapped by Amazon. A tough call. Given the kind of brand attention and recall Junglee.com has, it makes sense for any mom and shop online retailer to register their presence on this site and hope for traffic to be redirected. The alternate is to pour millions of dollars in building a brand against the likes of Amazon. No points for guessing the simpler (saner?) strategy. Only the Flipkarts or the Infibeams of Indian online retail can even venture to offer a fight. (No wonder, Amazon does not have listings from these two vendors made a part of their comparison)
Coming to the third point, nobody in the street remembers any comparison site other than Junglee.com today in India. Even if someone were to launch a comparison site and market it aggressively, how does the monetization happen? Do you expect other online retailers to give you a cut of a sale? Not when Junglee provides a listing free of cost !!! For a lot of online shoppers, doing a search on Junglee.com is how the search begins for a prospective product. For the others, not doing a search on Junglee.com before you conclude a purchase is tantamount to needless harakiri. Such are the effects of a brand!
Specific Salient features of Junglee.com
- You can use your Amazon.com credentials to login into Junglee.com
- Junglee.com shows reviews and ratings from both Amazon.com and the ones left behind specifically at Junglee.com
- There is also a Facebook kinda “Like” button to allow the recommendation engine to base interests not only on browsing patterns but also provide the user a chance to assist it learning.
- Junglee lists even physical stores on their website. You can get the store location, call them up and place an order with the listed store.
- Sellers can place their ads for free on Junglee.com.
Overall, I would say this is a welcome move by the Goliath in the business and it would be all the more interesting to see how the Davids would respond. For the customer…..it is manna from heaven….Enjoy the show