It’s not every day that a nation representing nearly 20 percent of the world’s population becomes a viable field for eCommerce within the span of a year. But that’s happening in India, where a sustained economic boom and recent political windfalls are converging to open up the populous, increasingly affluent country to foreign and homegrown eCommerce investors and establishments alike.
Some companies have already begun allocating resources to what looks like the new frontier for big eCommerce. Others would do well to strike while the iron is hot and start building content and data infrastructures that can meet the demands of a nation projected to be the most populous in the world by 2025. They’ll need an ally who not only has an understanding of the local market and culture but also possesses technology vetted by the competitive Western market. They’ll need content and data infrastructure solutions that are both comprehensive and fluid enough to adapt to this new frontier.
For some, this will mean a fully managed solution complete with a pre-curated crowd or writers, editors and data verification specialists. For others, it will mean access to a SaaS work platform that lets them use their own internal staff and hired freelancers to scale with the prodigious growth of the Indian market. eZdia is the one partner in the big content and data sphere that can provide both.
All Eyes on India’s eCommerce Market
The Indian government has historically throttled or disallowed meaningful investment by foreign eCommerce entities, effectively barring the market to the likes of Amazon, Walmart.com, and so on. While eBay has managed some headway in India with its affiliate, Snapdeal, it has in no way leveraged all the potential in the booming country.
However, according to recent reports, the Indian government is showing signs of relinquishing its embargo on foreign investments. Allowed investments in eCommerce marketplaces in India more than quadrupled in 2014 to about $5 billion, with the trend expected to intensify throughout 2015. Amazingly, the Indian eCommerce market is expected to increase sevenfold to $22 billion in just the next five years. These conditions have both Western and Indian eCommerce companies on their toes with checkbooks ready. Some have already begun making moves.
In 2014, eBay doubled its investment in Snapdeal. But that number will be just a drop in the bucket of money pouring into online shopping in India, especially with Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, allegedly scrapping its plans to establish a brick and mortar presence in India in favor of going full e-retail. Of course, Amazon, which has been patiently working with the Indian government to allow foreign investments for years, has gargantuan potential in India if allowed to go all in.
And those are just the foreign players. Local heavy hitters like Flipkart, Reliance Industries, Tata Group, Jabong and Aditya Birla Group aren’t going to just roll over and let Western companies take the market by storm. Flipkart and Jabong have recently arranged deals with a number of Indian brick-and-mortar favorites, including Spencer’s Retail and Shoppers Stop, to help the local marketplaces secure brand loyalists in India.
E-Retailers Will Need Massive Scale with a Local Touch
When eCommerce really gets rolling in India, some players will be able to hit the ground running with predefined strategies and workforces, while others may need to catch up fast. Either way, the demand that will ramp up in 2015 and during the following four years will likely outstrip even the best laid plans. It’s a rare occasion when such a vast existing market is projected to balloon so quickly. And frankly, most content production and product data arms of eCommerce companies will not be able to keep pace.
In a nutshell, eCommerce companies that plan to be successful in India will need fully scalable options in the following specializations:
- marketing copy production
- content management, such as workflows and quality assurance processes
- content publishing and updating systems
- translation services
- crowd (writers, editors and data specialists) recruitment programs
- product attribute collection and verification
- product categorization and classification
- fully functional crowdsourced product information management system (PIM)
- customizable CMS for your individual or team needs (each user or team can customize it as they see fit)
That’s a lot to chew on, especially since anything meeting the needs eCommerce companies have now will need to expand at least sevenfold within five years. Not to mention that an Indian workforce should do a lot of the work in these specializations. That said, they’d need to be managed by US-based experts, project managers and content veterans to keep quality high. That way, geo-specific marketing and editorial preferences, familiarity with local products and—perhaps most importantly—cost savings are captured.
It’s no secret that hiring Indian writers, editors and data specialists costs much less than hiring their Western counterparts. And while issues arise with hiring Indian workers for Western audiences, the same won’t be true in this case, as long as care is taken during the recruitment process and project and quality assurance management are handled by highly skilled US-based experts until local PMs can be trained to take over (eZdia’s processes/PMs usually achieves this within 3-4 months of a new large scale project launch).
SaaS to Full Managed Solutions, eZdia has it Covered
Some eCommerce companies already have an existing Indian crowd for their present and future initiatives, while others neglected to curate one as they focused primarily on Western initiatives. Either way, eZdia can ensure not only that a partner looking to make it big in India has the right crowd for the job, but that it also has the right technology to make all its content initiatives successful. eZdia has spent years and countless resources developing a SaaS platform that’s as outstanding for fully managed content and data solutions as it is for customer-driven processes.
eZdia’s turnkey content and data infrastructure platform allows customers to bring their own internal copywriters, editors and data workers to the party and manage them as they see fit. But when an outsourced workforce is needed, eZdia also provides a curated crowd of freelancers (the eZ Workforce) that can either serve in place of a customer’s crowd or augment what they have. In either scenario, customers can leverage eZdia’s work collaboration and sourcing technology along with its team of experts (when needed) to scale with the ever-increasing demand for inbound marketing and premium SEM content, SEO optimization, content for conversion strategies and social media and other channel campaigns. Specifically, they’ll enjoy the following features:
- The ability to use eZdia’s platform complete with built-in quality assurance, throughput monitoring, content tracking and writer, editor, image and data management solutions with their own group of freelancers or with the eZ Workforce (whenever that extra help is necessary). eZdia can also help customers grow their own “crowd” as needed.
- Advanced user interfaces and production workflows that make getting content and data verification tasks from start to finish simple and quick.
- Tools and technology easily configured for the specifics of YOUR business and project requirements, your processes, your team, your systems.
- As needed or from the start, eZdia’s staff of certified project managers and content strategists, called eZ PMs, can drive the success of a customer’s content and data initiatives. This includes monitoring and driving throughput to meet deadlines and ensuring that every deliverable meets quality expectations.
- Executive-level expertise in data management and enrichment, SEM, SEO and content strategy best practices, plus deep knowledge about emerging techniques in mobile content strategy, an area that will be especially important in the mobile-heavy Indian market.
Customers will also benefit from eZdia’s knowledge of Indian needs and culture, aspects that provide a cornerstone for any successful endeavor there. After all, India is where eZdia got its start and continues to thrive, where its founders grew up and were educated before they came to the US to advance their expertise. eZdia works with some of the largest Indian eCommerce players via an office in Noida and several satellite offices. Its Indian offices come complete with sales, marketing, business operations and development departments, and eZdia’s executives are there frequently to lend their leadership. To put it simply, eZdia gets India. But it’s also spent many years vetting its technological solutions in Western markets, and it has worked successfully with 70 percent of the top 10 U.S.-based eCommerce companies and is now approaching a similar level with India’s hottest contenders. eZdia simply offers the best of both worlds.
As the demand for ecommerce content and data improvements continues to skyrocket in India, eZdia is perfectly positioned to be the content infrastructure partner for any retailer with an eye for advantage in the exciting Indian market.