Oct 10, 2014

Is Indian e-Commerce Ready for Big Flash Sales This Festive Season ?

Host of pop-ups & banner ads splashes right in front of you during dedicated hours of browsing with tempting sales message like above. And on your part, you cannot resist clicking, rather do a little window-shopping or add items to your online shopping carts (if you have accounts).
With cash flow from recent fund-raising efforts made Indian e-commerce companies lineup with big flash sale, discounts, exclusive merchandise, and cash-back schemes for this festive season. Indian market viewed it as an opportunity to sell more and gain more market share and forces a tough time for the brick and mortar stores for upcoming Diwali & Christmas.
Today, Indian e-commerce industry is no more nascent rather it has grown up to a $3-billion e-commerce industry, ready to cash the opportunity and make a dent in offline sales channel. Festive season that began in September at India with Onam, Dussehra & Diwali will be ending in January with harvest festivals in Southern States. This season is going to capture a large, high, valuable and captivating sales slope gradient.
Online shops are growing as a favorable option in the Smartphone era as it allows shopping decently from crowd of brands, no need to shop physically and glue to exclusive offers sitting back at home. Shopaholics of today has convinced the online retailers since the beginning of the year 2014 that this Festive Season would be the best ever, making them expect to double sales with clothes, accessories, home appliances, electronics, etc.

The Cart Race Has Begun…

Yes, Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Jabong, Fab Furnish, Myntra, Yebhi, YepMe are ‘on their mark” and the gun has blown and they are working hard to touch the finishing line by the end of January. The crackers of Diwali has started to blow and the first lap is no doubt won by Flipkart with their “Big Billion day” Sale on Monday 6th October that has hit $100 million GMV (gross merchandise value) in 10 hours.
Snapdeal and Amazon were not behind as both launched their sales campaign on Monday following Flipkart’s Festive Offer. The former mocked Flipkart Ad on Monday with their banner tagline: “For others it’s a big day. For us, today is no different.” And Amazon has been running a sale from 4-6 October, calling it the Mission to Mars weekend and unleashed another sale called “Diwali Dhamaka Week” to keep up the race. Smartphones and footwear have shown the highest in demand this festive season, followed by laptops, tablets and home appliances & electronics.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores has started to feel threats and scared at seeing customers take bathe in the festive fever of online retail shops. They are increasing discounts and promotional schemes this festive season at the cost of a significant hit to their margins.
Flipkart and its rival Snapdeal put up all ideas to woo customers in a time when it is crucial to justify the actual winner of the Cart Race rather witness soaring values. As for Amazon that made a new entry is matching every step to win hearts of Indian shoppers.

Online Retail Takes the Lead

Earlier this year after many intervention in the Indian e-commerce market it was seen that in the $490-billion India retailing business, online shopping account for less than 10% or about $35-40 billion of the pie at present. As per the consultancy firm Technopark, in a decade both online and offline — will be a little over $200 billion and both formats will continue to try equally hard to get a larger share of the buyer’s wallet.Technopark, in a decade both online and offline — will be a little over $200 billion and both formats will continue to try equally hard to get a larger share of the buyer’s wallet.
The daily likes of online shops such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Jabong, and their polished algorithms sharpen their know-how on shoppers buying conscience and as for the brick and mortars such as Future Retail, Croma and Shoppers Stop, they tend to be Omni-channel — selling both on and offline to improve shopping experience.
According to Technopark, Indian retail e-commerce sums up to USD 2.3 billion, a nascent stage accounting for only about 0.4% of the entire retail industry, but estimated to reach USD 19 billion by 2019. With the upcoming festive season, the online retail shops are going to take a giant leap.

What the Industry Says….

Biyani of Future Group believes any product, which is easily identified with a model number, will be sold more online than offline. Like Google Moto phones, that sold out online by Flipkart and not in any retail outlet.
According to Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO, Flipkart, “E-commerce solves the problem of access by making millions of products available to shoppers with a few clicks.” Bansal adds further saying: “Those who prefer to touch and feel products, and that is still a majority of shoppers, will go to the shops.”

Now the most important question comes – after a sales glitch faced by Flipkart due to the poor website usability of the Big Billion Day campaign, has India really made the e-Commerce move??

For past few months, the retail giants have been asking it and Flipkart’s soaring success raised a little hope, but failure in maintaining the website, poor customer service, shortage of stocks, and network problems showed flaws in the big e-commerce move. It shows we are not yet ready for the e-commerce boom like other countries. Then, why a foreign investor would come to us?
Another example of constricted sales habit depicted by Amazon, which decided to limit delivery for Orders above INR 5,000 in Uttar Pradesh due to rumors of fake orders that abused the Cash on Delivery (COD) facility, and pushed Amazon to take this stand. This is seriously a constraint in the path of rising e-commerce economy.

Considering the Experts Opinion …

Economists predict that this is the “year of the retailers”. The e-commerce websites are going to perform better, compared to last year. With the presence of optimistic e-commerce marketing overview and consecutive sub 5 percent growth in last three years, country seems to scale new heights with GDP of 5.7 percent in the first quarter. Further with the launch of ‘Make in India’ campaign Indian manufacturing sector tends to attract more of foreign investors, which is likely going to favor the growth of the Indian e-commerce market. (At present, foreign investment is only permitted in the wholesale market and not in retail e-commerce)
Experts believe that we made the big e-commerce move and have the zeal to serve the best, but we need to consider the higher Internet penetration, rise in the number of Smartphone devices and users, and computer literacy. (Some eminent factors that could make or break e-commerce sales funnel) E-commerce is big supply chain and in a country of population 1.25 billion, potential growth of such industry is high if you can analyze the buying trends and behaviors of the shoppers.
To be successful, the online shopping carts must strengthen and exhibit three pillars of success:

  • 1.Powerful Product/Service Proposition – e-Commerce websites must offer unique products and services that stand out.
  • 2.Potent Supply Chain – Must enable a robust supply chain, ensuring the shortest time between purchase and delivery.
  • 3.Phenomenal Customer Service – Not just a good customer service, but try to stay obsessed with it.

So if you join the move, then you need to fix those bugs or revamp your sluggish website to grab the festive market.

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Pratip Biswas

Founder, Unified Infotech

I am an Entrepreneur and a Tech Geek with more than 1500 successful projects launched. I share my experience through my love for writing and help other entrepreneurs reach their business goals.