cloudBuy first entered the Indian market almost four years ago in 2012. At this time, we found that the appetite of Indian SMEs for business to business (B2B) e-commerce was lower than in Europe and the USA. Today, it is a different story as around 18 months ago, India began a B2B e-commerce revolution.
e-commerce is now a massive growth area for Indian businesses and cloudBuy is seeing an increase in appetite for its solutions in the country, such as simple self-service e-commerce websites for SMEs through to sales and distribution websites for larger companies, and online marketplaces which bring B2B buyers and sellers together to trade.
Many SME businesses in the country are ready to make the move from paper to electronic transactions and cloudBuy is working with major Indian banks to integrate to their systems to take online payments. Indian SMEs can now get up running with card payments via their cloudBuy website in a matter of hours.
On 29th March 2016, the Indian government issued new legislation that makes clear its stance on e-marketplaces. Prior to this were months of uncertainty with the related issues around stock holding, discounting and tax. The heart of the matter is who the end customer is dealing with when they buy from a marketplace – the marketplace owner or the end seller and up to now, it has been very confusing.
However, the new legislation has made things clear. The Indian government says that marketplaces are technology providers, not online department stores and so need to behave in this manner, rather than acting like massive discount houses who can control pricing, supply chain and ultimately entire markets.
cloudBuy has recently built and launched an online marketplace with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), www.CIITrade.in, and this marketplace is exactly what the government is describing in the new legislation. cloudBuy is a pure play technology provider that connects buyers and sellers, but does not in any way seek to influence the transaction.
Marketplaces such as www.CIITrade.in have the potential to really drive the adoption of B2B e-commerce in India by allowing businesses to sell products and services online with a secure shopping basket and checkout process and easily process inquiries, orders, invoices and payments.
B2B e-commerce marketplaces can put businesses in front of new buyers that may otherwise be unaware of their products and services. More and more Indian firms are now looking for solutions such as this to be able to quickly and easily take advantage of all the benefits B2B e-commerce offers.
Campaigns such as Digital India are also driving the rise of e-commerce in the country. This flagship programme of the Indian government aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. cloudBuy has been attending workshops and seminars across rural India with CII to explore how such technology could immediately benefit businesses in these communities.
The biggest challenge surrounding the uptake of e-commerce technology in India is around broadband connectivity. Such challenges can be overcome with technology that is device responsive, so those with access to smartphone devices can build their business online just as effectively as those with access to computers. At cloudBuy we are developing a wizard app that will allow SMEs to build a website quickly and efficiently from their phone – from setting up the site, to taking a photograph of their product, through to fulfilling the order.
cloudBuy will continue to support the growth of e-commerce in India. Our Country Head for India, Nilesh Gopali, was recently appointed as Mentor for the Mayor of London’s new International Business Programme. This initiative aims to help London businesses break into new international markets and grow their operations overseas, as cloudBuy is already doing in India.
To register your business to trade on the CII marketplace and to buy from a wide range of Indian suppliers, visit www.CIITrade.in
(A version of this blog appeared as an article in the India Investment Journal)