Online shopping comes back to life in India

It’s been a long wait for the online businesses in India to see the acceptability of the electronic form of shopping. In 2011, more than 50% of the internet users in India logged on to shopping and price comparison websites to discover the best deals.
First the Air travel industry and then the Indian Railways attracted Indians to use their credit cards and debit cards online. Then the retail websites lured them with some really good deals on books, apparels, gadgets, computer accessories, shoes, linen and other low-ticket size items. And just when the market was pacing up, the insurance companies also threw in their low-cost online insurance plans.

After experiencing success in the online term insurance plans, life insurance companies are now trying to sell guaranteed insurance plans and ULIPs through the online channel. The non-life insurance companies have been online for sometime now with their health insurance, travel insurance and car insurance policies, but a lot of action has picked up in the last 18 months or so. With these zero commission plans, insurance companies are able to offer a good value proposition to the customers on the pricing and convenience front. Moreover, the customers also seem to appreciate the self-service approach where they can read and analyse the plans at length and then proceed to purchase. Manoj Aswani of says, “We have seen a good spike in the number of visitors who compare insurance plans and then buy it from the website without using any (offline or human) assistance. This is very encouraging and the trend is simply picking up.”

Insurance companies are increasing their spends and focus on IT infrastructure to make their websites more interactive and user-friendly. The companies are also scaling up their customer service teams to assist the visitors on their website and help them buy. With a growing number of Indian consumers turning to the web to shop, businesses are increasing their visibility through a lot of marketing activities. It seems like Indians are finally consuming in e->