Thursday, September 06, 2007

Online travel in India has unique challenges of its own

This week's guest blogger is Akif Khan, from Cybersource, who offers some handy advice to those eyeing the booming Indian market:

As one of the economic centres of the world it is commonplace for companies to conduct business in the UK.

During the past few years we have witnessed a growing number of Indian businesses such as ICICI Bank, InfoSys and Tata Group also establishing themselves over here.

Conversely, it has become fashionable for UK companies to outsource operations to India, as a way of cutting costs to keep apace with market pressures.

This is now changing. In an attempt to mirror the successes of their Indian counterparts in the UK, more and more UK companies are deciding to establish themselves in India. They are more interested in developing trade in the local region.

By establishing additional operations in India, we have found that we can explore the local opportunities as well as address the challenges UK online retailers face in the Indian market.

From our experience, one of the biggest growth areas in India today is the online travel industry with around 50,000 to 75,000 transactions being processed a month for some retailers.

However, as India’s online retail market is fairly young, the issues of fraud are only surfacing now. As is the case with retailers worldwide, fraud is a real issue for both Indian and UK retailers in India. Most fraud cases involve Indian fraudsters stealing details from international cards obtained from call centres or tourists for instance, resulting in most Indian merchants declining international credit cards due to high levels of risk.

One main challenge that UK retailers face in India is the different buying patterns. In India it is normal for one person to have a credit card and use it 10-12 times per week to purchase goods for family and friends. This would be deemed an extremely suspect transaction over here!

Other challenges include a lack of police action and the manual approach that many Indian retailers still continue to adopt on a widescale.

If both Indian and UK merchants can work together alongside industry bodies to combat fraud, we can focus their energy on fighting a common enemy whilst strengthening both economies. This will not completely eliminate fraud by any means but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Akif Khan, head of client and technical services, Cybersource

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1 comment:

rakesh said...

Online Travel Industry is booming in India.