Cash on Delivery a Blue ocean opportunity for India


There is one e-commerce model that has emerged as a significant driver of sales growth and customer acquisition this year for advertisers in India: Cash on Delivery (COD).

This new payment method, where customers pay for their purchases at the time of delivery rather than in advance at the point of purchase, has revolutionized online shopping in India and advertisers need to take note if they want to grow their sales and engage with customers in this market.

For affiliates looking to carve out a niche in the burgeoning Indian market, the COD e-commerce sector offers a wealth of opportunities and benefits.

What is Cash on Delivery (COD)?

Cash on Delivery (COD) is a payment method where the customer pays for goods at the time of delivery rather than in advance through online transactions. This method is particularly popular in markets where trust in online payments is low, or where a significant portion of the population is unbanked or lacks access to digital payment systems.

Key Features of COD:

1. Payment upon Delivery: Customers make payments only when the product is delivered to them.

2. No Need for Digital Payments: COD caters to customers without credit or debit cards or those hesitant to use them online.

3. Trust and Security: Customers can inspect the product before making the payment, reducing the perceived risk of online shopping.

The Emergence of Cash on Delivery in India

India’s e-commerce journey has been nothing short of remarkable.

With a population of over 1.3 billion and a rapidly growing internet user base, the potential for online retail is immense. However, a major roadblock to this growth has been the limited penetration of credit and debit cards, coupled with a general distrust of online payment systems. Enter Cash on Delivery, a solution that has addressed these concerns and transformed the e-commerce landscape.

The Emergence of Cash on Delivery in India

COD gained traction in India due to several factors:

1. Trust and Security: Indian consumers have traditionally been wary of online transactions, fearing fraud and scams. COD alleviates these concerns by allowing customers to verify the product before making a payment.

2. Financial Inclusion: A significant portion of the Indian population remains unbanked or underbanked. COD enables these consumers to participate in the online shopping revolution without needing access to digital payment methods.

3. Cultural Preferences: The Indian market values tangible transactions, where money is exchanged only upon receipt of goods. COD aligns perfectly with these cultural preferences.

According to a recent report written by Nielsen, around 83% of Indian consumers prefer COD as their payment method for online purchases. Our CEO recently shared some stats about this too in her recent presentation at ad:tech India.

COD gained traction in India due to several factors:

This preference has made COD a dominant force in Indian e-commerce, accounting for a substantial share of online sales.

For affiliates, this presents a lucrative opportunity to tap into a growing market with unique advantages.

Leading Brands in the COD Sector

Several e-commerce giants have leveraged COD to capture the Indian market, driving significant growth and expanding their customer base.

Here are some of the prominent brands thriving in this sector:

1. Amazon India: As one of the leading e-commerce platforms in India, Amazon offers COD as a payment option across a wide range of products. Their extensive delivery network and customer-centric approach have made them a favorite among Indian shoppers.

2. Flipkart: Known as the pioneer of COD in India, Flipkart has capitalized on this payment method to build trust and expand its reach. With a strong logistical framework, Flipkart ensures timely deliveries and a smooth COD experience.

3. Snapdeal: Another major player in the Indian e-commerce market, Snapdeal, offers COD to attract customers from various demographics. Their focus on affordability and accessibility has made them a popular choice for online shoppers.

4. Myntra: Specializing in fashion and lifestyle products, Myntra uses COD to cater to fashion-conscious consumers who prefer to see and try products before making a payment. This strategy has helped Myntra gain a loyal customer base.

5. BigBasket: As the leading online grocery delivery service in India, BigBasket offers COD to provide convenience and flexibility to customers, particularly in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where digital payment penetration is lower.

Why Affiliates Should Consider the COD E-commerce Market

Affiliates play a crucial role in driving traffic and sales for e-commerce brands. The COD model, with its widespread acceptance and popularity in India, offers several compelling reasons for affiliates to get more involved.

1. Broader Audience Reach: The COD option opens up e-commerce to a broader audience, including those who are hesitant to use online payment methods. By promoting COD-enabled stores, affiliates can attract a larger and more diverse customer base, leading to higher conversion rates and increased commissions.

2. Higher Conversion Rates: The trust factor associated with COD significantly boosts conversion rates. Customers are more likely to complete a purchase when they know they can pay upon delivery. Affiliates promoting COD options can leverage this trust to drive more sales and maximize their earnings.

3. Increased Customer Retention: COD not only helps in acquiring new customers but also in retaining them. Satisfied with the security and convenience of COD, customers are likely to return for future purchases. Affiliates can benefit from promoting brands that offer COD by earning repeat commissions from loyal customers.

4. Leveraging Local Market Insights: Affiliates with a deep understanding of local market nuances can effectively target and engage Indian consumers. By promoting COD, they can align their marketing strategies with the preferences and behaviors of the Indian audience, enhancing their effectiveness and profitability.

5. Partnering with Leading Brands: Many leading e-commerce platforms in India, such as Flipkart, Amazon India, and Snapdeal, offer COD as a payment option. Affiliates can partner with these well-established brands to promote COD products, benefiting from their extensive reach, marketing resources, and consumer trust.

6. Tailored Marketing Campaigns: Affiliates can create tailored marketing campaigns that highlight the advantages of COD, such as no upfront payment, the ability to inspect products before payment, and the elimination of online payment risks. These campaigns can resonate well with the Indian audience, driving higher engagement and conversions.

7. Flexibility and Adaptability: The COD model is highly adaptable to various product categories, from electronics and fashion to groceries and household items. Affiliates can diversify their promotional efforts across multiple niches, enhancing their earning potential and mitigating risks.

Strategies for Affiliates in the COD E-commerce Sector

To maximize the benefits of the COD e-commerce market, affiliates can adopt several new promotional strategies to enable growth within their own businesses:

1. Content Marketing: Creating informative and engaging content that addresses common concerns about online shopping and highlights the advantages of COD can attract and convert potential buyers.

2. Social Media Engagement: Leveraging social media platforms to promote COD offers, share customer testimonials, and engage with followers can drive traffic and sales.

3. Email Marketing: Building an email list and sending targeted campaigns that emphasize the convenience and security of COD can boost conversions.

4. SEO Optimization: Optimizing websites and content for relevant keywords related to COD and e-commerce can improve search engine rankings and attract organic traffic.


The Cash on Delivery e-commerce sector in India presents a wealth of opportunities for affiliates and currently is a blue ocean opportunity for early adopters who want to leverage scale. By tapping into the trust and convenience associated with COD, affiliates can reach a broader audience, achieve higher conversion rates, and build lasting customer relationships. As the Indian e-commerce market continues to grow, affiliates who embrace the COD model are well-positioned to reap substantial rewards.

Book a call with us to find out how to promote COD e-commerce brands and tap into lucrative affiliate earning opportunities.