Google’s Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF 2014) has clocked almost 7 million unique visitors so far this year compared with 2 million last year. With more than 450 partners — most of them small players and offline merchants — Google on Thursday said sales were spread better among merchants this time.
“There are a lot more players this year across all categories. One player could not have reasonably expected to have a big spike in sales. People’s expectations are high and the base keeps on increasing,” Nitin Bawankule, director for e-commerce and online classifieds at Google India, told FE. He added that travel and housing have done good business. Among big players, Amazon, Shopclues and Jabong have registered good sales, he said.
“However, we would have liked Google to promote GOSF more than what it is doing. We had expectations of a 250% increase in traffic this year going by last year’s experience,” Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, CEO of online jewellery store BlueStone, told FE, though he attributed the lower-than-expected growth to high base effect.
According to eTailing India founder Ashish Jhalani, Google has left much of the non-digital marketing to participating brands. “In India consumers are used to being bombarded with ads on all media platforms. The sales would have been much higher if there was a greater push from Google. There was much bigger buzz last year,” he told FE.
“As a result of frequent online shopping festivals, these festivals are no longer a novelty factor for the consumer. They have higher expectations and expect the best from everyone and are not impressed easily,” said Sameer Parwani, CEO and founder of CouponDunia.in.
Bawankule said that while smaller companies have witnessed 10 times greater traffic this year than last year, bigger firms have seen three times the traffic, off a much bigger base. Real estate player Tata Value Homes has seen more than 10,000 registrations whereas Puravankara has booked over 125 apartments.
Google said that 40-50% of GOSF shoppers are expected to be first-timers, bettering last year’s figure of 30%. This indicates India’s expanding online shopping base. Also, more than 50% of traffic and sales have happened on mobile phones.
“With the Rs 299 offer, we have achieved what we set out to. Due to this scheme, many first-time shoppers got the confidence to shop online as the money involved is not a big risk. The Rs 299 scheme is sold out across categories,” Nitin Bawankule, director for e-commerce and online classifieds at Google India, told FE. He added that the company sold more than 3,000 Chromecasts in the first 15 hours of GOSF.
Companies have been reporting higher conversion rates this year, attributing it to greater familiarity. For instance, Fabfurnish has reported a 150% increase in traffic and a 400% rise in revenue. Online jewellery store BlueStone has seen a 100-150% increase in sales compared to last year, though conversion rate is up 50%.