It took quite a few years for e-commerce to find acceptance among the incredulous shoppers of India. While not actually flourishing, the Indian public is slowly warming up to the idea of shopping through an online portal without seeing or feeling the product prior to purchasing.
With the rise in Internet adoption customers have become aware of the wide range of products available on the world wide web which are simply not available on their local store. Improvement in the Indian Postal Service and the launch of dozens of courier services have made product delivery reliable, and reduced logistic headache for operators. To further woo the Indian customers, e-commerce websites in India introduced the popular Cash-on-delivery model where customers pay only after the product is delivered to their doorstep.
There are literally hundreds of e-commerce sites in India that caters to everyone selling everything from safety pins to air-conditioners. Some websites are very niche, selling only one particular product such as toys or perfumes. The websites below are mostly jack of all trades, but I’ve also included some niche sites at the end. If you don’t know where to begin, here is our exhaustive list of shopping websites that you can trust.
All-in-one Megamall Stores
Arguably the most popular e-commerce site in India and one that played a big role in popularizing online shopping in the country. Like most e-commerce websites in India, Flipkart started by offering books at deep discount. It has since expanded into various segments such as electronics and gadgets, mobiles, computers, games, home appliances, beauty and health care products, toys and baby products and more. Flipkart also offers digital music (MP3) download for as low as Rs 15 per song. Recently, Flipkart added clothing to their repertory with a decent collection of men’s and women's wear.
Most of the products offered on Flipkart are at discounts, although the prices tend to be somewhat higher than those offered by other shopping sites. Flipkart makes up for the relatively higher price with fast shipping and excellent customer service. Flipkart is currently the only Indian shopping site with in-house delivery service (as opposed to using third-party courier services).
This is another popular e-commerce website indulging in diverse goods such as books, electronics, mobiles, home and lifestyle products, computers and cameras, clothing, baby products, flowers and gifts, and even automobiles such as bikes- new or used. Discounts are available on almost every product, and each day new deals are posted.
What I like about Infibeam the most is its competitive pricing; compared to other e-commerce sites, Infibeam tends to be cheaper. The other thing that I love about this site is their second-hand (used) book market. Infibeam sources used book from sellers abroad at reduced price. These sellers are the same ones selling used books on Amazon and often at the same price. The advantage of buying through Infibeam is you don’t have to pay for shipping. I’ve bought a couple of used books from Infibeam and they are in such good conditions that you wouldn’t know they are used.
The internationally famous ebay is another big place to shop. This is a place where you’ll find anything and everything. For those who aren’t aware, Ebay is not a retail site, it’s a marketplace for sellers and buyers to get together. Individual sellers list their products for sale and buyers bid on them or buy. The sellers are responsible for shipping and logistic, but payments are handled by Ebay and this is meant to protect buyers from fraud.
If you are buying from Ebay, watch out for seller reputation and their returns policy. Also check the prices against other websites selling the same product, and even prices by your local seller. Sometimes the price turn out to be higher than the street price. There are lot more things that you should be aware of when you are shopping at ebay, but these are beyond the scope of this article.
Homeshop18 deals in pretty much everything from books, electronics and mobiles, to jewellery, home appliances and clothing. Prices are very competitive and a majority of products are offered at big discounts. Homeshop18 is worth checking out for their lucrative deals on home appliances, books, mobiles and clothing. Homeshop18 is also the only e-commerce site in India to have its own 24hour TV channel that showcases different products available on the site.
This is another popular e-commerce site founded in 2009. They started by selling multi-brand footwear and later expanded into other categories like apparels, accessories, bags, jewellery and other lifestyle products. Aside from lifestyle, Yebhi also includes electronics goods, home appliances, computer peripherals, mobiles, home furnishing, watches and more.
In comparison to other retailers, who offer a 30 days return policy, Yebhi offers a 100-days return policy. And if that isn’t enough, Yebhi recently introduced a "try and buy" feature where shoppers can actually try the clothes and shoes they buy on the portal when it is delivered to them and return it if they are not satisfied.
Indiaplaza was the first e-commerce website of India. Launched in 1999, the website was earlier known as Fabmall after which the company acquired US-based online shopping firm Indiaplaza.com and rebranded itself as Indiaplaza.in in India. Later, both websites were merged into a single website.
Despite being the first to set up shop in India, Indiaplaza allowed competitors to slip ahead and is currently playing second fiddle to more popular sites such as Flipkart and Infibeam. This doesn’t mean Indiaplaza is anything less. It has a respectable collection of good spread over multiple segments – apparels, electronics, books, baby products, handicrafts and gifts, cakes and cookies, jewellery, footwear, and home appliances and gym equipment.
Futurebazaar is an e-commerce website from Future Group who own famous retail stores like Big Bazaar and Pantaloons. This site is mainly for home appliances which is further divided into various categories like bed and bath, kitchen and dining, office, sports, jewellery and entertainment. Futurebazaar has a clearance section where you’ll find products selling at heavy discounts. Do lookout for the prices though, they are not always cheap.
Rediff is one of the oldest website in India, and the 11th most visited Indian web portal according to the (dubious) Alexa ranking. Rediff’s shopping portal boasts of over 150,000 products in diverse categories. I won’t attempt to list them here because it’s huge, but I want to highlight a few verticals that I found interesting and those that I haven't seen in other shopping sites. These include paintings, musical instruments, cheap electronic peripherals like power cords and SATA cables, astrology and religious products (vaastu, feng-shui, gems and what not). Like eBay, Rediff shopping is a marketplace of sort and the products are sold by independent sellers. Prices of the products as well as shipping charges, hence, is different from product to product.
Indiatimes Shopping is the ecommerce division of the The Times Group, India's largest media conglomerate. Launched in 2000, it is an old player in the e-commerce business. For a long time it operated essentially as a marketplace model, much like eBay, with sellers being allowed to sell directly on the website under their name and warranty. However, it has recently made moves towards the stocking mode of operation, with its deal with Nokia and also in some of its traditional categories like Movies, Music and Games. Indiatimes Shopping’s inventory is not very large and is overall disappointing.
This is another fast growing e-commerce website offering a range of products from mobile phones, computers, cameras, perfumes, watches, toys, handicrafts, cosmetics, fitness and sports equipment and many more. BuyThePrice is worth checking out for cameras, mobiles and anything electronic.
Another popular one-stop-shop is Tradus, that offers a wide variety of products across 50 different categories ranging from the latest gadgets to exquisite hand-crafted jewellery. Aside from sticking their own products, Tradus is also a marketplace for independent sellers. Because of this the prices vary and you may not get a deal out of every purchase. Although the products are cheaper compared to street prices, they aren’t as cheap as they are made to appear. For instance, the Nikon D5100 DSLR is listed at Rs 32,999, which is a fair price. But the reported 23% discount is false as the camera isn’t anywhere close Rs 43,000 the site claims to cost in retail. The actual discount is just over 1%.
Rightshopping has an impressive inventory and some interesting niches. Aside from their main portal, the company runs several sister e-commerce sites devoted to special segments such as toys, gadgets, and flowers. The website gives prominence to their deals section which is further divided into daily deals, hot deals, Rs 199 Store and clearance sale.
Seventymm originally started as an online DVD rental service. Later it expanded into selling pretty much everything else. Then on Feb 2012, it shutdown its DVD rental business and solely does the online shopping business. Currently offered products include apparel, electronic gadgets, fashion accessories, footwear, home accessories, jewellery, watches, home decor, kitchen appliances, kids stuff, and other life style products.
Launched just last year, ShopClues is among the latest to jump into e-commerce. Like eBay, ShopClues is a marketplace where buyers and sellers could get together. The prices are quite reasonable though not as competitive as eBay. Having said that, ShopClues has some pretty good deals and sometime you may stumble upon rare gems.
Electronics, Computers, Mobiles and Cameras
- Smartshoppers – Everything electronics from computer peripherals, cameras, lens, mobile phones, entertainment products and games. Not included are home appliances such as microwave ovens and refrigerators.
- PrimeABGB – All computer hardware, laptops, notebooks and accessories. Discounts, daily deals and combo offers are its main attractions.
- The Mobile Store – The online version of the popular chain of retail stores in India dealing with mobile phones and accessories. Aside from handsets, it also offers pre-paid recharge service.
- Next – Another retail giant moving into cyber space. Their website offers the same line of products you’ll find on their brick and mortar stores, which are home appliances, electronic goods, and laptops and computers. Their prices are very attractive and discounts are available on a large number of products.
- Shopbychoice – This site offers wide range of products in electronics, lifestyle, home appliances, home entertainment, computer and IT. I found the prices somewhat inconsistent – some products were lucratively priced while some others are overpriced. Shop with caution.
- Univercell – A store for mobile phones and tablets. You can search and filter phones by price, brand, form factor, and features such as CPU, band type, OS, and others. Prices aren’t great, though.
- Saholic – Sells branded mobile phones, tablets, laptops and accessories. Prices are very competitive. They frequently offer deals and has an almost permanent clearance sale section.
- Lets Shop – Houses a huge range of cell phones and cameras. At the time of this writing there are over 1,000 different cell phone models and over 500 cameras. Also available are laptops, computer peripherals, and a respectable selection of watches.
- Deltapage – One of the largest store for computer hardware and components with a variety of products. The drawbacks are – 1) their price, which is almost the same you’ll get from your local vendor, and 2) shipping isn’t free. Above all, an additional 3% is charged for credit card transaction.
- Bitfang – Mostly computer components, software and games. Also sold are television, media players, mobile phones and cameras.
- TheITDepot – Like Deltapage, this is another tech heaven for computer components. Products are reasonably priced and some are offered at discounts too. However, the shipping cost has to be borne by the buyers.
- RateTag – This site is difficult to classify. They deal in some electronic stuff such as headphones and media players which are worth checking out. They also sell toys, some house appliances and grooming kits, watches and some fashion gear like sunglasses.
- Ezoneonline – This is another e-commerce site from Future Group (see Futurebazaar above). Ezoneonline concerns itself with computers and household electronics, as well as cell phones and cameras. Prices are a bit on the higher side.
- Gadgets.in – This isn’t your run-of-the-mill electronic goods sites. It houses some of the most unique and diverse gadgets that you may have laid your eyes on such as the “ZEN The Master Air Hand Mouse” – a mouse that you wear in your hand like a glove, and the possibly illegal “Triband Cellular Jammer”. And of course, regular electronic stuff like laptops and cameras and home appliances are available too.
- Egully – This is mainly an electronic store, but it also houses limited collection of apparels, jewellery, books and gifts.
- JJMehta – If you are interested in photography, chances are you’ve already heard about JJ Mehta’s shop. JJ Mehta has everything from point and shoot to professional DSLR, tripods, memory cards and flash guns. If you local photography store doesn’t have some gear, JJ Mehta will have them. Don’t expect to get a deal or discount out of JJ Mehta. One thing I feel is sorely missing from this online shop is professional lighting equipment.
Apparels, Beauty Products, Toys and Home Furnishing
- Myntra – This hugely popular fashion and lifestyle store offers products from over 500 brands. Products on offer include all kinds of apparels, fashion accessories and shoes from renowned industry leaders like Nike, Puma, Converse, Adidas, Reebok, Lee Cooper, and many more. There are also casual and dressy footwear for women from Catwalk, Carlton London and Red Tape to name a few.
- Jabong – This online fashion and apparel store deals with apparels, footwear, jewellery, beauty products, fragrances, home accessories and a few other varieties of products from well know Indian and international brands. Jabong also offers home decor products including furniture, lighting, crockery, kitchen utilities, bathroom accessories and what not. Kids apparel and toys are available as well.
- Pepperfry – Offers over 35,000 products in clothing, jewellery, fashion accessories, personal care, health care, gym equipment, furniture, and home decor products. Good discount is available on almost every product. This e-commerce site was launched in Jan 2012.
- FashionAndYou – As the name suggests, this website focuses on fashion accessories, apparels, and jewellery from over 500 international, luxury, lifestyle brands and designer at decent prices. With multiple options for women, men and kids, the offerings include apparel, footwear, accessories, fragrances, watches, cosmetics, home & lifestyle products. The site holds flash sales where 15 new products are offered each day at heavy discounts.
- Fashionara – An online fashion store that offers merchandise from premium and luxury fashion brands across apparel, footwear and accessories.
- Shoppers Stop – This is the online version of the department store chain that has retail stores at over 50 cities in India. Shoppers Stop retails a range of branded apparel and private label under the following categories of apparel, footwear, fashion jewellery, leather products, accessories and home products.
- Goodlife – One stop portal for home essentials, health and fitness products, and beauty and personal care products from 500+ Premium brands. Products include from categories as diverse as home decor, food, health, makeup, fragrances, bath & body, and skin, hair & personal care for both men and women. Boasts of over 20,000+ products from brands like L'oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, Calvin Klein, Archies, Garnier, American Garden and many more.
- Cliory – This relatively new entrant to the e-commerce space offers a wide variety of products ranging in the apparels, lingerie, jewellery and home decor space. Cliory is also probably the only e-commerce site in India that sells “sexual well being” products such as condoms and lubricants.
- Zovi – An online store for fashion apparel and accessories. They offer apparels, shoes, fashion accessories, bags, socks, sportswear and swimwear.
- Inkfruit – Originally launched as an online retail for t-shirts, Inkfruit has grown since then to encompass all kinds of apparel for men and women including footwear and fashion accessories.
- CBazaar – This site offers ethnic Indian clothing such as sarees, lehangas, salwar-kameez etc for women and kurta-pyjama, sherwani, and suits for men. Also available for accessories such as handbags and dupattas and Indian jewellery.
- Utsav Fashion – Another ethnic clothing store specialized in bridal sarees, trendy Salwar Kameez and other Indian bridal wear like Lehenga Cholis. They also have an exquisite collection of jewellery, traditional wedding accessories, handbags and footwear.
- Fabulloso! - An online store that sells a curated selection of apparel and lifestyle products. It retails a selection of designer creations – both by established and emerging designers, wardrobe classics, shoes & accessories, personal care products, and home décor and furnishings.
- Rock.in – Offers Indians access to the latest seasonal collections of clothing and styles, inspired from celebrities and catwalks across the globe, all at affordable prices. Apparels from some of the biggest labels and designers of London, Paris and Milan can be found here.
- Yepme – Specializes in the online retailing of men’s and women's garments and accessories. Products include shirts, trousers, jeans, footwear and other accessories.
- Urban Ladder - A Bangalore-based online furniture retailer. It offers products across categories like tables and bar units, storage and shelves, seating, and accessories (trays, mirrors, laundry basket etc). It sources furniture from manufacturers across the country and even internationally.
- Urbandazzle – An online shop, operating out of Delhi, dealing with home decor products and dinnerware items at some of the best prices in India. Offers a variety of dinner sets, ceramic trays, shot glasses, bar accessories, home decor items, and kitchen accessories.
- FabFurnish - An e-commerce portal for products in furniture, furnishings, decor and kitchenware. Offers wood or modular furniture, home decor from Indian market leaders, hand crafted decorative items and appliances from leading international brands. In addition, FabFurnish.com provides discounts and offers to suit every pocket.
- Zansaar – Offers an amazing range of home and food products from around the world from lamps, bed linen to crockery, kitchenware to world foods. Zansaar has a pretty large inventory and offers big discounts.
- Bedbathmore – Offers home decor products for bedroom and bathrooms, such as bed sheets and curtains, bathrobes and towels. It also has a small selection of kitchenware and grooming kits.
- HomeSuperShops – Offers over 20,000 furniture products and home decor items including kitcenware, dinner sets, bed and bath and home fitness equipment on the side.
- Koovs - An online store catering to women looking for fashion apparel, accessories, bags and footwear.
- Ladyblush – A women focused shopping website selling everything from clothes, cosmetics, lingerie, innerwear, sarees, jewellery, watches, shoes, wallets and much more.
- Herstyle – Women’s lingerie, swimwear, footwear, personal care and apparel.
- StrapandStrings – Designer lingerie and swimwear from Lise Charmel and Chantelle from France, Christies from Italy, Mimi Holliday by famous fashion house of Damaris Evans from England, and internationally renowned Oscar de la Renta to name just a few.
- Zivame - An online lingerie store featuring hundreds of styles for the Indian woman, from multiple brands.
Kids Wear, Baby Products and Toys
- Hoopos – Focuses on mother care, baby and kids products. Includes clothes, toys, books, sporting goods and personal care all targeted towards kids.
- FirstCry – Online portal for baby and kids products. Houses over 50,000 items from 400+ top International and Indian brands like Mattel, Ben10, Pigeon, Funskool, Hotwheels, Nuby, Farlin, Medela, Pampers, Disney, Barbie, Gerber, Zapak, Mee Mee and so on.
- Hushbabies – Provides products for mothers-to-be and kids that include everything from clothes to baby care to maternity wear.
- Redbell – Online specialty toy store offering vast selection of toys , games, sporting goods, electronics, and juvenile furniture.
- Disney Store – The licensed retailer of Walt Disney products. Sells toys, books, music, clothes, school stuff etc. from the Disney brand.
Footwear / Shoes
- BeStylish – Boasts of being the largest online footwear store in India. Offers more than 5,000 shoes across 200 brands for men, women and children, with a 100-days return policy.
- Fashos – Offers footwear from across 50 brands. Also sells leather products like belts, wallets, bags etc.
- BuyNewSyle – Houses footwear from the best possible brands around the world ranging from shoes to snickers to boots.
- MetroShoes – The online arm of popular Metro Shoes retail chain. Offers everything that you’ll find when you walk into one of their retail stores.
This list is by no means complete, will never be and I shouldn’t even attempt to. In the midst of preparing this article I realized that I had severely under estimated the size of the Indian e-commerce space. It’s huge and there appears to exist more than a couple of hundreds – maybe even thousands - of e-store, and new ones are springing up practically every month, thanks to our entrepreneurial spirit and (over zealous) venture capitalists.
In the list above, I’ve included only those retail stores that houses products from multiple brands and sites that are reliable (or at least appear to be), and have received favourable reviews from customers. If you know any big store that I missed, feel free to chip in.