Almost all the things – from books to smartphones, and from clothes to home decor – that I’ve bought in the last 3 years, be it in India or in the US, have been through the online platform. Needless to say, I am very comfortable shopping online and can be deemed as a power user.
It wasn’t always like this though. Earlier I would spent hours researching about product(s), visit multiple sites to read reviews, and compare it with substitute offerings before making the final buying decision. Google was the preferred ‘shopping partner.’ However, I now increasingly catch myself making almost all purchases through dedicated mobile apps of online retailers. For gadgets and books, it is always Amazon and for clothes and accessories, it is almost always Jabong. Quick and easy. I no longer need to do an extensive research. I guess there is an inflection point of trust when it comes to shopping online. It is when even your mom too starts to shop online!
Having worked with an online retailer and having looked at the business with a keen interest, I find this to be a tremendous development for such online stores as Amazon, but a worrying trend for such search companies as Google. Consider this: next time when you buy a product, if you skip Google and buy it directly through the Amazon mobile app, Google makes no ad revenue while Amazon saves on marketing (CAC or customer acquisition cost, for those who prefer jargons), and thus able to offer a better price. The people running the search business at Google should be worried as we move into an age where the smartphone adoption has already taken over the PCs.
This analysis brings me to an important conjecture. I currently work in a business where most of our sales are inbound, generated through ad campaigns (PPC or pay per click) run on search engines. Now, we are in a services business. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no ‘Amazon for services.’ That said, my #BigIdea2015 is precisely that. We will find more and more power users, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs realize the need for an offering that serves as a trustworthy platform to book or buy any service. Such offering will get started to be built in 2015.