The festive season, which is almost upon us, is the most important one yet for Indian e-commerce firms. E-commerce players – who in 2014 queered the pitch for brick-and-mortar retailers with the latter witnessing the slowest festive season sales – are struggling to keep up this year majorly because of the e-commerce FDI policy that has banned discounts by these marketplaces.
This, coupled with a funding freeze this year has become a matter of concern for e-commerce players in India.
This year, in order to sail through the challenges, players are betting big on sellers, better products and improving backend and logistics networks.
Read on to find what other steps online and offline retailers are taking to make the most this Diwali season:-
What they are calling it: Great Indian Festival – Tyohar Bade Dilwala
What they are doing: The Great Indian Festival will have offers on a range of products from smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, musical instruments, stationery products, books, baby products, toys, clothing and accessories, shoes to beauty products, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more.
The company is also opening ‘seller cafes’ across 24 cities and towns to offer on-ground help to merchants on its platform ahead of the festival season.
It is also planning to financially incentivise the top 200 spenders among its sellers.
Amazon India has also partnered with Viacom18 to create a televised music festival for the very first time, envisioned as a platform to unveil the Amazon Great Indian Festival sale.
What the company has to say: “This year we recognize and celebrate the big heartedness that underlies festivities and have themed the Great Indian Festival as Tyohar Bade Dilwala. We are delighted to celebrate this with our customers as much as with the entire ecosystem of our sellers, vendors and partners to bring festive cheer all over the country. These marathon 120 hours of the event mark our continuing commitment to work closely with our partners and together bring the biggest sale yet for our customers, with the best ever shopping experience powered by Prime,” says VP and Country Head, Amazon India, Amit Agarwal.
What they are calling it: Big Billion Days
What they are doing: Apart from deep discounts, Flipkart has readied a no-cost EMI payment option for high-priced items and product exchange schemes to persuade customers to buy more.
It is expecting to hire over 10,000 temporary staff to ramp up its delivery and logistics service to meet the festive demand.
The company has also lined up an incentive structure to push sellers and will reward 2,000-plus sellers across cities and categories.
What the company has to say: “This year, our key focus is to ensure maximum value to our consumers by making quality products affordable and accessible. Great offers and exclusive partnerships will give our customers more options to choose from, and our innovative consumer finance, delivery and installation for large electronics and product exchange programs will only add to the customer delight this festive season,” says, Head – Category Design Organization, Flipkart, Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
What they are calling it: Unbox Diwali Sale
What they are doing: Snapdeal will be offering offer up to 70 per cent discounts on home appliances, electronics, mobiles, home furnishings, furniture and FMCG.
The company will be creating 10,000 temporary jobs to ensure smooth deliveries.
It is also relying on extensive data analysis to guide its sellers to achieve maximum sales this festive season.
The company has strengthened its back-end infrastructure to ensure error- free and timely deliveries. All pre-shipment checks on fast moving items like mobile phones, memory cards, power banks, personal care appliances, kitchen appliances, air conditioners, televisions, home theater systems, printers etc. has already been done, so that packets can be dispatched within minutes of the order being received.
What the company has to say: “We are entering this season with the widest assortment, key brand partnerships and exclusive line of products… Our superfast deliveries and free shipping options through Snapdeal Gold will add further sparkle to festive offerings,” says, VP and Head of Categories, Snapdeal, Saurabh Bansal.
What they are calling it: ShopClues Diwali Sale
What they are doing: ShopClues has partnered with CashCare Technology, a Mumbai-based fintech company for its Zero Cost EMI scheme that comes without any interest and processing fee.
The marketplace also plans to run a pre-approved sale, where a consumer can get the loan approved instantly and schedule the purchase later as per his/her convenience during the festive season.
It will be disbursing Rs.5,000 crore worth of loans to merchants selling on its platform under its financing initiative Capital Wings. Of this, Rs.200 crore will be disbursed ahead of this year’s Diwali festival.
What the company has to say: “As 80 per cent of our merchants are from tier-II and tier-III cities, the core challenge for them was to arrange working capital for starting and scaling their online business. Capital Wings was launched with the intent of making working capital available for merchants with flexible equal monthly installments options. Through the easy financing solutions on offer, merchants no longer need to worry about their cash flows. They can focus single-mindedly on their business and on driving sales. This initiative has already bolstered the business of 1,200 merchants so far, and in view of the upcoming festive season, we aim to enable more merchants with the requisite finance to meet the high demand,” says Assistant Vice-president – Merchant Services, ShopClues, Ganesh Balakrishnan.
55 eBay India
What they are calling it: Loudest Diwali Ever
What they are doing: The online shopping site has also come up with special discount up to 75 per cent across 2,000 product categories.
eBay India is offering consumers special discounts on every repeat purchase on the platform.
What the company has to say: Director – Marketing, eBay India, Shiv Suri was quoted by ANI as saying, “We have witnessed that Diwali shopping is both impulse and planned and is basis the value of the item being purchased. By offering over 10 crore products at various price points and making deals available for longer duration, we are not only ensuring refreshed deals for consumers but also catering to their buying needs before and during Diwali.”
66 Vijay Sales
What they are doing: Booking inventory, finance offers, exchange offers
What the company has to say: “Yes, it’s true that we are expecting one of our best festive season this year because of various encouraging factors. At our store level, the major preparation is of booking inventories so as to avoid last minutes disappointments. In addition, a lot of marketing and advertising plan is also on and we are trying to work out great finance and exchange offers for our consumers, like last year,” says MD, Vijay Sales, Nilesh Gupta.
He expects an increment of “15 to 20 per cent” in this year’s Diwali sales.
What they are doing: Launching a full range of Men’s wear traditional merchandise and tied up with celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor to display limited edition ‘Virasat’ collection, exclusively designed by Kapoor.
What the company has to say: “The consumer’s sentiment normally are buoyant during the festive quarter which goes up to the New Year’s and is crucial for every retailer. There might be a hiatus in demand and sales over the last few years but there is definitely a huge change from the past few months. Footfalls in the store have been growing at 14.5 per cent since last month, which is a very encouraging start to the sales season,” says, Vice President- Marketing at Lifestyle International – MAX, Jiten Mahendra.
We are confident about our offerings and aims 50 per cent increase in the incremental sales vis-a-vis last year,” he adds.
What they are doing: Strong product offering, merchandising, store ambience as well as festive specific marketing effort and introducing new collections.
What the company has to say: “We are focusing on strong product offering, merchandising, store ambience as well as festive specific marketing efforts to create an enjoyable shopping experience for our customers. We introduced our new collections in stores recently and have seen good sell-through,” says, Managing Director – Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd, Kabir Lumba.