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Will Internet Mobile Pan Out E-com & The Offline-Online Retail Dilemma: Notes From Internet Retail Expo

With world's largest online retailer Amazon also unveiling its first e-commerce property in India, year 2012 has begun with a bang for the Indian e-com market which is already buzzing with activity. So is the mood at the ongoing Internet Retail Expo 2012 in Gurgaon. Techcircle.in brings in some notes from the event.

Organised large format retailers will be swapped away by e-retailing, predicted Jaspreet Bindra, regional director, Microsoft.

According to Bindra, "Everything has been very sequential in India. Earlier we saw fixed-line hogging the limelight, which was ultimately taken over by mobile Internet. Internet mobile will pan out the e-commerce business in the coming years."

Speakers at one of the panels discussing the offline-online retail dilemma came with a view that the challenge for the offline retailer is how to compete with online stores who sell the products at heavy discounts which an offline retailer might not be able to afford on his own portal.

Mahesh Murthy, managing partner of Seedfund was of the view that the physical stores have a great advantage over the online stores because of their brand connection with the customers. "All they have to do is give that unique added bonus to their customers and I'm sure that the buyers will be willing to pay as much as they are paying in the offline stores," he stated. Harish Bahl of Smile Group, which has backed a string of online retail portals, said there wouldn't be a single retailer who wouldn't want to go online and there lies the whole opportunity.

Speaking from the e-commerce merchant point of view, K Vaitheeswaran, founder & CEO of Indiaplaza.com said, "Real e-commerce will only happen when offline retailers go online."

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