E-sale fest clicks with shoppers

Written by Vaishnavi Bala | Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi/ Mumbai | Updated: Dec 15 2013, 05:40am hrs
ShoppingAbout 241 players participated in the fest this year, offering some of the best deals to buyers from December 11 to December 14 (Reuters)
Chennai-based Jayashree Arunachalam, a 26-year-old media professional, is excited at having bought a range of clothes and accessories for below Rs 5,000 during the just-concluded Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF).

Her enthusiasm for the deals, going by the response to GOSF, an initiative by Google India, was shared by several others.

For four days of the fest, the Indian e-commerce space was buzzing with increased traffic and aggressive discounts, with bargains on almost anything from cars, laptops, luggage, property, holidays, insurance, spa packages and event tickets to grocery coupons, books and jewellery.

So overwhelming was the response that the virtual shopping extravaganza had to be extended by a day the sale went on till Saturday night instead of Friday. This, after the site had crashed on the first day of the festival owing to the humongous traffic.

GOSFs first edition last year had witnessed over a million people visiting the site, but this time the target was over 3.2 million people, of which a majority were first-time online shoppers. About 241 players participated in the fest this year, offering some of the best deals to buyers from December 11 to December 14.

For retailers like Jabong, revenues increased by as much as six times on a single day during the festival. Similarly, Yebhi saw a 50% hike in traffic as compared to usual days, with apparel and electronics driving most sales.

Premium brands have seen the maximum traction. While we have seen an increase in sales for both shoes and apparel, an interesting insight was that men had beaten women during the GOSF. Mens apparel and footwear have seen the maximum growth implying that men shopped more during the festival, says Jabong co-founder Manu Kumar Jain.

The online retailer offered an extra 40% discount plus a 15% cashback offer, and international air tickets and iPads as gifts.

Myntra COO Ganesh Subramanian says the company shipped one lakh units of items on the first day of GOSF. The momentum continued even after the first day. On an average, the spurt in sales was four times that of an day without any discount. This year, the sales met our expectations, except for the time when the website crashed on the first day, says Subramanian.

The traffic to the website also doubled during the festival.

This year, hotels, flights and holidays were a surprise hit. Travel portal Yatra managed to garner incremental sales of about 25%, majorly driven by its Android and iOS mobile apps. Hotels have been a huge hit this time around as we were offering a flat 35% off, closely followed by flights and holidays, says Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.

Meanwhile, HomeShop18 observed a trebling of sales. It also launched a limited-edition 10-gram silver coin to celebrate the unique date of 11-12-13 (December 11) during the GOSF. As per Sundeep Malhotra, founder and CEO of HomeShop18, the website sold over 3,000 of these coins.

The number of orders increased to about eight per minute. The top-selling categories were shoes, apparel, home furnishing, electronics and accessories, corroborates Nikhil Rungta, chief business officer, Yebhi.

Online coupon and cashback site Cashkaro saw Myntra, Flipkart, Jabong and Snapdeal getting the most transactions during the GOSF. It offered Extra Cashback on purchases across top retailers, including Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong, Tradus, Firstcry, Indiatimes Shopping, Yebhi, Zovi, Basics Life, Foodpanda, Zivame, Trendin, FreeCultr, Fashionara, Goibibo Domestic Flights and Homeshop18.

We have also observed that the time spent by customers on Jabong increased by 50% and pages per visit increased by 70%, Jain of Jabong adds.

While mobiles contributed 10% of the traction for Fashionandyou, traffic and transactions more than doubled during the first two days of GOSF for Cashkaro, of which almost 20% transactions were made via mobiles. The HS18 mobile app for Android and iOS recorded three times more traffic than any other given day. In fact, to drive up traffic from mobile devices, Airtel offered a flat 10% cashback on all online transactions on top of the other offers by participating websites to customers who made transactions using Airtel Money.

As new internet users come aboard, we continue to see a very healthy growth in searches for online shopping, with over 40% queries coming from mobile phones, explains Nitin Bawankule, industry director, eCommerce, Google India