eCommerce Blog

eCommerce Blog – Opportunities in US and India (by Darpan Munjal)

Competitive advantage in the digital world

Posted by Darpan Munjal On March - 14 - 2008
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Recently I got an invitation from an old colleague to join Plaxo. I thought to myself – I don’t need another social network to maintain professional contacts, I already have LinkedIn! Within the next 3 days, I suddenly started receiving Plaxo invitations from my other LinkedIn contacts – it almost felt like some sort of evil spam! As much as I hate to sign up for a new site I don’t intend to use, my curiousity got the best of me, and I indulged in accepting the invitation to see what all the hype was about. Moments after clicking through the registration process, I realized how easy Plaxo made to import contacts from my other sources – Gmail, Outlook and most surprisingly from LinkedIn!!

These are the initial signs of what is changing in the digital world. Information created by users is following them from one site to another. This is particularly timely now that the users have started feeling the “network fatigue” that comes from maintaining multiple social-networking profiles, e-mail accounts, blogs, address book applications and the like. Things are changing, really changing in the social web. Initiatives such as Dataportability group are all about making the web more free flowing in terms of user data – most of the key players such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo have already signed up. If things pan out the way they are Read the rest of this entry »

Is Web 2.0 Overrated?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On December - 21 - 2007
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At least that’s what I felt after attending the Web innovation conference held in Bangalore this week. I don’t understand why folks spend so much time slicing and dicing what web 2.0 means. I could hear some people even talking about Web 3.0 – some of the gifted ones even offered a glimpse into Web 4.0!!  Now, come on! Isn’t that a bit too much? We are not talking about a software release which comes in different versions with a predefined set of features. We are talking about evolution of the internet economy here. Don’t get me wrong – I definitely think Web 2.0 is a beautiful thing and the power of communities has a huge potential for the new economy. But that’s exactly my point – people need to think about the applications of this concept, as opposed to getting hung up around the text book or Wikipedia definitions of Web 2.0. Ok, enough with my ranting – it wasn’t all that bad. There were some decent speakers as well – like Rohit from Techtribe who offered some good insights into the dynamics of online communities.

It would be great to see more businesses in India that are built around the power of online communities. A lot of people feel that online communities may not be a good fit for the Indian culture, but I strongly feel that the communities can be very successful if the right incentives are offered to them.  I am posting the slides that I used for my topic at the conference – “the future of eCommerce”. eCommerce is definitely an area
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How transparent is your retail business ?

Posted by Darpan Munjal On July - 23 - 2007
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While we were wrapping up the last minute shopping for our trip back to India last week, my daughter insisted that we go to Toys’R’us store –she wanted to buy that new Barbie she had seen with her friend few days ago. As we were walking down the aisles of the store, it reminded me of my childhood. I used to love toy cars a lot and every time I used to go to the market with my parents, we would go to the Toys store almost as a ritual. The store was probably less than 700 sq feet in size and yet, these toys were like hidden treasures – hard to find and it was up to the store owner to show the toys he thought we might like. None of the toys had any price displays on them and store owner would “tailor” the price depending upon which customer he was talking to.  The total assortment was probably less than couple hundred toys. And yet, as a consumer, it was hard to find what you were looking for, not to mention that comparing prices across different stores was almost impossible. On the other hand, my 4 year old daughter even knew the exact location of that Barbie in the 50,000+ sq feet Toys’R’Us store!


The organization and maturity in the retail sector is inevitable in India. As the retail sector gets more organized, there will be more and more consistency in the assortment as well as the user experience across various stores. However, the retailers must demonstrate one aspect to be really successful Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of eCommerce – Web 3.0

Posted by Darpan Munjal On June - 12 - 2007
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The other day I visited a website called which is an online shopping community where users can build, maintain and share online collections of their favorite products with other users. There is even a style compatibility test on the site where users can see how compatible they are with other users in terms of their shopping habits, taste and style. Since then, I have been thinking everyday about the role online communities will play in eCommerce and then it finally struck me Read the rest of this entry »

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