India’s first e-commerce company Fabmart.com’s founder K Vaitheeswaran today said e-retailers like Flipkart cannot be written off as they have built good scale, brand and customer base. “You cannot be writing off companies like Flipkart, for some of them have built good scale; good brand and good customer base. I have no doubt they will figure out a way for solving their problems,” he told PTI here.Vaitheeswaran, here for the launch of his book “Failing To Succeed – The story of India’s first e-commerce company”, was replying to a query on market pundits being skeptical about survival of domestic e-commerce players – Flipkart and Snapdeal in view of issues like market overspending and dip in valuation.
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Vaitheeswaran, also known as the father of the country’s e-commerce, said the fast-growing businesses attract investors and entrepreneurs at initial stages, but in later part of the journey some companies fall by the wayside while some others march ahead.”It is but difficult to say, which all companies are going to fall by the way side and which will march ahead,” he added. He had founded in 1999 the Fabmart.com, which also set up a brick and mortar retail chain called Fabmall, later acquired by Aditya Birla Group and was rebranded as More. Vaitheeswaran carried forward the online venture under a new name, Indiaplaza.com, but could not deal with the onslaught of Flipkart and Snapdeal and shut shop in 2013. He said there will be new e-commerce players, entering the market after a few have fallen by the way side, or could be before that. He also said e-commerce will continue to grow for next 10 years.
“E-commerce started in the US in 1994, and we started two decades ago, hence the Indian market is still small and has lot of potential for growth. The growth potential for e-commerce is huge,” he said. Asked what mantra he would give Flipkart and other Indian e-retailers to take on giants like Amazon, Vaitheeswaran said indigenous companies cannot compete Amazon on technology, but can concentrate in areas which can attract customers.”It is tough to beat Amazon in technology. Some battles you don’t fight,” he added.