In continuation of our previous article that spoke about availability of TALENT in both London and Mumbai, this article talks about the Infrastructure, as it exists in the two cities, and the importance for specific factors for our specific business.
For an e-commerce business, one of the key requirements for customers and businesses is the availability of reliable, robust and easily accessible infrastructure facilities.
From a customer's point of view, the key requirements are of a reliable logistics systems (including reverse logistics) and a payment system. The customer shares her credit card details with a retailer, and this naturally implies a great level of trust on the retailer and the payment protection system.
The customer expects her details to be secure and expects the actual processing to happen securely. Smooth processing of a transaction is of course mandatory the journey for a customer needs to be smooth and easy. From the perspective of payment systems and security systems backing the same, both London and Mumbai are home to some world-class companies that provide these facilities. Logistics and reverse logistics, however are a completely different story.
International courier companies that specialise in customer deliveries are operating in India - they have been operating since many years and have established offices in the key cities. Around one year ago, on discussions with these companies, it became very apparent that they had not prepared for e-commerce in India. Specific requirements related to customer deliveries and related return logistics were not offered by any of these companies as off-the-shelf solutions. Integration with our back-end stock systems was out of the question. We discussed the same issues with the London offices of the same companies and were astounded at the level of service and solutions that the same companies were able to provide internationally. No doubt the situation has since improved in India and these companies have started to offer similar solutions, but one cannot help but think that they have stepped into the game a little late.
Once the requirements of the customer are catered for, businesses can look at their respective requirements. In the case of apparel e-commerce (and most e-commerce sectors), Warehousing and Storage are an important requirement. The availability of well-connected and well-serviced storage facilities can make the difference between an efficiently run logistics systems and one that just drags its feet along. The ability of service providers to cater to business needs and their willingness to give assured levels of service are essential. This is another aspect for which London had a lot more options and a developed network of service providers as compared to Mumbai.
For the basic infrastructure facilities, London had a lot more options available as compared to Mumbai and the level of assured services available was completely un-matched. This round also went to London.