There are range of career opportunities in the sector.

Crowd, parking problems, lack of choice and limited time are all possible dampeners of a good shopping experience. Negating these factors and booming multi-fold are online stores. Browse, add to shopping cart and pay — shopping has been simplified by the e-commerce industry.

This has opened the floodgates for a whole host of professionals to find their niche in this industry, from content managers, business analysts, researchers and stylists to social media managers and logistics support executives and many more.

Here are four experts — industry insiders and a professor — giving us their views and insights on the e-commerce industry and its myriad opportunities.

Customer behaviour

Ashutosh Lawania,

co-founder, Myntra.com:

In India, the e-commerce industry is a two-billion-dollar industry, which is a fraction of the global industry size. But it is set to grow 10 times in the next 10 years fuelled by increasing Internet and mobile penetration. At present India’s Internet penetration stands only at 12 per cent as against China’s 30-plus per cent.

Web business is powered by many departments, from digital marketing, logistics and warehousing to call centres. There is also a need for business intelligence and technology support professionals, multimedia specialists, researchers and, especially, online fashion retailers like us also employ stylists, merchandisers and photographers. The main challenge of being in this business is that it is technology-driven. One needs to understand how people behave online — consumer behaviour on the Internet. The industry is still at a nascent stage and we can expect to see lots of innovation, especially in the marketing and supply chain departments.

The travel market

Manu Monga,

VP and Head,

Marketing, Musafir.com:

India’s travel market is projected to grow at 18 per cent in 2013 to reach $23.2 billion. Online travel in India continues to outpace the total travel market, with online gross bookings projected to reach $ 12.5 billion in 2015. Around 40 per cent of the market size of Indian Online Travel Agent (OTA) industry is made up of domestic flight bookings made through OTAs. The future for OTAs like us lies in consolidation of sectors, dynamic packaging of products, offering value for money and creating a memorable experience for customers.

Exceedingly, marketers in the e-commerce space will have to play the role of publishers to be relevant to the search or information which the customer is seeking when he/she is online. So, content curation and aggregation is a job unique to this industry. Besides, typically, there are job profiles of content managers, editors and visualisers. There are posts of community managers also which, although not unique, play a very important role in the e-commerce space.

The invisible customer

Sandip Shah,

Co- founder and Managing Director, ShopYourWorld.com:

The most unique aspect of online shopping is that you don’t see your customer. As much as this offers a lot of ease to the shopper, it only makes the work of the sellers more challenging. The store front is your website. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are absolutely spot-on with the look and feel, ease of navigation, technical stuff like loading time, etc.

Secondly, you need to be advertising online first before heading offline. This leads to a huge demand for digital marketing professionals, creative designers for creating good Web banner ads. Finally, the fulfilment bit requires some experts from the logistics industry to get the last mile right. The other important piece is the website backend. Each business has their own different technology used — from RubyOnRails to PHP to basic Magento/Wordpress based sites. Each of these requires a different level of coding expertise.

Every aspect of purchase, customer service, processing is done via the web. This creates a lot of unique profiles like merchandising officers and online marketing specialists.

At ShopYourWorld, one unique role that we have is a web merchandiser/procurement manager who is constantly updating himself with the latest gadgets and other products in the international markets like the U.S., the U.K., Japan, etc. to find the most exciting products. We try and source any product that's not available in India. Therefore, this function is sort of the core for our business and unfortunately it's not a role which is easy to fill as the person needs to be web savvy, an expert with gadgets and possess great communication skills to interact with international brand managers to place the orders for these items. It is not just a unique job but also extremely interesting!

Digital media is still evolving

Prof. Kiruba Shankar,

Professor, Great Lakes Institute of Management,

Chennai:

Here are some of the unique challenges involved in teaching Digital Marketing to students.

Unlearning — Moving from a personal to a professional mindset: Most students are social media savvy and since they have used all social media platforms for personal use, there are certain things they need to understand when moving to handling social media pages for a corporate. This requires that certain ethics are followed.

Concept Vs Platform: Students sometimes tend to use only one or two social media platforms and do not move to other upcoming social media channels. This creates a basic issue of evolving with the changing digital world. Students have to be taught to be more involved with the digital media concept rather than a particular platform.

Moving from the big screen to small screen: With the world moving to smaller screen sizes like that of tablets, phablets and mobiles, students have to understand the importance of how their digital campaigns work in all the devices.

Digital media in India is still evolving: The number of users of social media is still less compared to the U.S. and other developed nations, and hence the number of Indian case studies available for teaching is very small.