The dynamics of e-commerce in China are very different from the US. Let’s dig in!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to your company and yourself. Tell us what you do and your background. We’ll take it from there.
Excerpt from my new book, From eCommerce To Web 3.0.
In 1999, long before fashion on the Internet actually took off, I started a company called Uuma. It was a traditional venture-backed personalized fashion startup that received an acquisition offer from Ralph Lauren before the company was caught in the first dotcom crash.
I am going to articulate the vision behind Uuma, particularly because that vision still remains unrealized. I hope that some entrepreneur, somewhere, will execute on it.
As you know, I define Web 3.0 as a verticalized, personalized user experience. The web is still utterly fragmented. You have to go to different places to find information about the same context. I have long had the vision of a personalized Saks Fifth Avenue. I want my store — my personal store — that carries merchandise that applies to me; that suits my hair color, eye color, skin tone, body shape and personal style. I want it to stock my favorite designers and more like those. And I want to see articles and community discussions that are specific to my interests.
According to eMarketer, global business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales are estimated to grow 20% to $1.5 trillion this year. The growth is attributed to increased adoption of online and mobile devices in emerging markets and higher penetration of features such as advancing shipping and payment options, as well as the thrust into international markets by bigger brands. In fact, this is expected to be the first year when the Asia-Pacific market will outgrow the North American market with sales in Asia-Pacific estimated at $525.2 billion versus $482.6 billion in North America. Not surprisingly, China will be the largest market in the region. Here is an interesting infographic from the report showing the high e-Commerce growth anticipated by emerging markets.
According to iResearch, the Chinese online travel market is expected to grow from $46 billion in 2014 to $75 billion in 2017. A more conservative estimate for the market was released by PhoCusWright, which estimates the market to be worth $30.3 billion by 2015 and that it will account for 24% of China’s travel bookings by 2015.
We’re seeing a real trend of zero-logistics e-commerce businesses scaling phenomenally well. Read Azim’s experience!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of educational path did you follow?
Azim Makanojiya:I am from India. My parents shifted from a village to Mumbai city for better opportunities. That’s where I was born. My father came to the US around 1984. My mom was still back there in India. Within two years, we came to Houston and settled down here. I was about a year old then. >>>
A survey of more than 3,000 consumers conducted in February this year to understand car buyers’ behavior across the United States revealed the presence of a “trust gap” between car buyers and dealers. For instance, car buyers believe that dealers are getting significantly higher margins than what they actually get. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, profits made by a dealer on a new-car sale have fallen from 5.5% in 2003 to 3.8% in 2013. Online negotiation and car buying and selling platformTrueCar (Nasdaq: TRUE) is hoping to minimize this gap in consumer perception by providing a more transparent solution.
It is not just online discount coupon site Coupons.com that is seeing their stock price fall below their list price. Market leader RetailMeNot (Nasdaq: SALE) is not faring any better—its stock is trading well below its list price from July. Recently announced disappointing results have not helped the stock either.
In one of the most awaited e-commerce IPOs, Alibaba listed earlier this week to become the largest ever IPO in the world. But it is not just Alibaba that has led the recent Chinese IPO bandwagon. Earlier this year, Chinese B2C e-tailer JD.com had listed a successful IPO as well.