Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The mCommerce boom

Mobile Commerce is big in India! And no, I am not talking about purchasing movie tickets, books, music etc. using your mobile phones. I am referring to the thriving hawker industry in the country that caters to the consumer on the go. I have never seen the quantity and range of stuff available for you to buy while you wait patiently in your car waiting at the traffic signal for the light to turn green.

Major street intersections in Bangalore (and most major cities in India) are like an open air mall. As you stop at a red light, street vendors make their approach towards you. These guys sell everything from cell phone chargers and sun shades for your car windows to toys, magazines, cleaning rags, towels etc. This open market is aligned with trends and seasons. For example, on January 26th (Republic day of India), everyone was selling Indian flags of various types and sizes on the streets.

The hawkers themselves are young and old, men and women. Business starts as rush hour begins in Bangalore (around 9am) and ends when the traffic starts to wind down (around 9pm). These folks are hard working, persistent and resilient! They appear magically as soon as your car stops at a traffic signal. They present their merchandise in an entertaining fashion and transact quickly.

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