The early signs of the demise of these companies are also visible. With diminishing valuations and increasing retrenchments, e-commerce companies are in news for all bad reasons. Yet these companies, in my view, won’t just survive; they are also going to become even more crucial with time.
How? Because these companies are all about the new way of doing business. I remember the times when I had to go to multiple stores to find the book I wanted. Let alone having the book, most shopkeepers had no idea of it. Then I came across Flipkart, which had started off lately and sold books. I also came across Infibeam, Rediff books and Bookadda. Soon, getting a book wasn’t so painful. E-commerce solved my problem. Now if it led to the closure of bookstores, I don’t find anything bad in it because bookstores weren’t fulfilling consumer needs. They had become complacent and stopped evolving. They eventually met their destiny.
It’s not about just books. E-commerce has changed our lives meaningfully, and many of us can’t imagine a life without it. That’s the true power of any business idea—how deeply ingrained it can get in consumers’ lives. Look at what Ola and Uber are doing to transport. I have recently figured out that travelling by Ola could actually be cheaper than public transport—and more comfortable also. So why not? The lesson for the entrepreneur is not to underestimate e-commerce. By all means, every entrepreneur should embrace it.
It’s true that the e-commerce industry is going through certain hiccups. But that’s normal. Any new idea limps before it takes off. With time, as e-commerce matures, it will make everyone’s lives much better, easier, more comfortable and convenient, including the lives of those who are currently writing its obituary.