First Internet Summit IIM Rohtak: 2014

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IIMR’s inaugural Internet Summit- “in line with emerging trends”

IIM Rohtak organised its first Internet Summit on October 18, with discussions focused on the topic for the emerging trends of E-commerce in India. It sought to elaborate on the challenges associated with marketing, finance, logistics and technology for E-commerce industries. In his keynote address, Mr. Yuvraj Srivastava (Senior VP and Head HR, Makemytrip) underscored the importance of E-commerce in the twenty first century. With only 14% of the populace currently making online purchases, and a 28% year-on-year growth of India’s Internet users, the online retail industry has a lot of potential.

The first and second panel discussions focused on the topic “Break-downs and Break through: Challenges in the initial stage for Internet start-ups” with discussions on how E-commerce can be accommodated in the existing business architecture, and how Internet based start-ups can tackle competition from existing players. Mr. Abhiram Mishra (Head- Operations, North and West, RIL) pointed out how M-commerce has begun to play a crucial role in the strategy for E-commerce companies. The operational challenges that any start-up would need to address are- exceptional order fulfillment experience, on-time delivery, returns and refunds. Mr. Chandan Thakur (Director, Greysprings), Mr. Saurabh Uboweja (CEO and Director, Brands of Desire), Mr. Anupam Bhasin (Whole time Director, Hero Corporate) and Mr. Amit Srivastava (CEO, Unicode Systems) also shared their valuable thoughts.

The third panel deliberated on digital behaviour and discussed the role of social media and ad retargeting in increasing market visibility. If one can understand the motivation of consumer making a transaction, half the work is done. Mr. Ankur Sethi (Founder and Director, Corporate Shiksha) spoke about the relevant pointers in today’s marketing context and how customer engagement must be defined according to the business model being followed. Mr. Vineet Kumar (Director Marketing, SAP India) and Mr. Parijat K Mondal (Business Head, Oriental Aggregates) also attended the panel discussion.

The next panel discussed about the trust related challenges and customer transition from brick and mortar shops to online shopping. Mr. Satyakam (Marketing and Business Development, Ernst & Young) mentioned that the major reasons for people shopping online are convenience, great deals and availability of options. However, in order to provide these to the customers, trust must be built by putting policies in place, creating a brand and generating awareness. Mr. Anuraj Soni (COO, Magic software) and Mr Premraj Pillai (Management Consulting) also shared the same view. According to estimates, approximately 57% of the decisions to buy online are influenced by company policies that guarantee security. The development of social media has brought changes in the way people communicate about companies and products.

The Summit’s last panel discussed the broader aspects of funding and other lifecycle challenges from startup to growth in the E-commerce industry. Mr. Rachit Singh (Founder Member and Managing Director, Manaar-Guiding Young Minds), Major Atul Mehta (Founder CEO, HR Power House) and Dr. Sreekanth Venkataraman (Vice President – Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, UPES) were the  esteemed panelists for the discussion. Investors ask the hardest questions, but those are the questions that truly matter, and must be answered with full conviction. Venture capital firms have never wanted to miss the E-commerce bus; however, the start-up companies must prove their worth by growing in their respective verticals, improving unit level economics and efficient marketing.

It has become a tradition of IIMR to organise events designed to enrich the learning experience for students as well as provide a forum to industry experts to learn from the students in turn. With intellectually stimulating discussions and insightful ideas, the first Internet Summit sought to do just that.