Wednesday, April 24

Are Online Shopping Sales Really Fruitful?

It is hard not to notice the rapid digitization and internet penetration that has ushered in an era of E-commerce in India. As a result, there has been a massive increase in the number of online marketplaces and retailers. The growth of businesses like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, etc, speaks volumes about the potential of the Indian ecommerce segment. This growth is further aided by a plethora of advantages accorded by shopping online like convenience, speed, reach, etc.

e-commerce marketplaces

Additionally, the recent coronavirus pandemic has made people jittery about stepping out of the house. Hence, more and more people are opting to buy through the net. The result is a massive influx of new online shoppers, especially from Tier II and Tier III cities. 

2020: Festive Season

Above backdrop is what welcomes the 2020 festive season in India. Numerous festivals like Navratri, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and many others dot the months from September to November. Celebrations, gifts, get-togethers and endless shopping lists are the norm for these months. It is common to see swathes of people rushing to buy that latest festive season clothing collection. Others are busy buying jewellery, vehicles, home appliances or latest gadgets.

Therefore, not just people, it is a period of rejoicing for businesses as well. Businesses are eager to make the most of this shopping exuberance among people. As a result, discounts and festive offers abound. Among internet circles, online shopping sale searches start hitting a peak. No surprise when sales like Great Indian festival and Big Billion Days are received resoundingly every year.

Events like the ones mentioned above form a part and parcel of attracting new shoppers and retaining existing ones.  Major brands like Amazon and Flipkart rely extensively on periodic Amazon Prime Sales or Flipkart Sales to keep their growth figures pointed upwards. These mind numbing numbers reveal how fruitful online shopping sales can be.
Read on to understand more from the perspective of shoppers, retailers and marketplaces.

Online Discount Sales:  Shoppers Perspective

From a shopper’s perspective, the following are some of the benefits of online discounts. So, read on if you are an avid shopper. 

  • The Incredible Offers: These form one of the most significant advantages of online shopping sales. Online players see sales as an opportunity to grab a bigger share of the ecommerce pie. Hence, they go all out in planning the most lucrative deals. Besides the flat discounts, other indirect ones like exchange offers etc further add to the attractiveness.
  • The Sheer Variety: More and more retailers are jumping the internet bandwagon every day. This enables shoppers to explore a wide range of discounted items from the cosy corners of their homes. Appliances, fashion items, electronic items, furniture, home décor, etc. The categories available through the ecommerce route are endless. This prevents the physical scouting associated with finding the best deals offline.
  • The Extensive Reach: Rapid improvements in logistics have resulted in an increase in the reach of ecommerce market players. Previously unserviceable pin codes are now coming under the widening ambit of delivery and logistics partners. This wide reach enables a large populace, especially in the smaller tiers, to access branded discounted items. Since opening a physical store demands significant investment, these areas are better served online.
  • Highly Convenient: This shopping mode is very convenient as all one needs is a working net connection and browser. This convenience increases further during festivals and other events. No one can deny the irritation of having to find that parking spot during peak festive hours. If one is unable to enter the parking lot itself, how will he/she avail discounts? Online discount sales therefore, help us focus on the buying process itself.
  • No Time Constraints: One can access the discounts offered by ecommerce marketplaces at any time of the day. This removes time constraints that might otherwise exist in an offline setting.

The above are some of the ways in which online shopping sales can be immensely fruitful to the shoppers. 

Online Discount Sales: Retailers Perspective 

The advantages of ecommerce shopping sales are not just limited to the shoppers. Retailers, both large and small, are increasingly realizing its importance for improving their top line figures.  They are going online either through the existing marketplaces or by creating their own websites..

E-commerce business in India

The following are some of those benefits that you can enjoy as a retailer: 

  1. Top Line Figures: The primary purpose of discounts and other offers is to drive the top line metrics. These include gross figures like the total sales or revenues etc. Insofar this purpose, sale events appear spot on. Statistics released by the company after events like Big Billion Sale, Amazon Prime Sale or End of Reason Sale, etc exhibit encouraging growth figures. This corroborates the importance of online discounts in giving a much needed traction to businesses.
  2. Increased Visibility: An increase in visibility generally follows directly from listing ones wares on an ecommerce platform. This is because of the rapidly growing network of these platforms. In order to increase one’s visibility further, retailers might offer attractive discounts. This helps to gain eyeballs, which might then translate to increased sales figures.
  3. New Customer Acquisition: Retailers, especially those starting out, can gain new customers by sales events. Customers are encouraged to try new retailers offering attractive discounts. This provides an opportunity to these retailers to develop a long lasting relationship with the new customers. Without these discounts, shoppers might be apprehensive to try out these new sellers.
  4. Increased Customer Lifetime Value:  Another advantage that flows directly from new customer acquisition is an increase in overall customer lifetime value. This comes from the acquired customers who decide to carry their relationship with the retailer further. They become regular customers and continue to provide value throughout their association.

The above lists down some of the ways in which retailers gain from online discount events.

Online Discount Sales: Marketplace Perspective

Online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc act as platforms for third party sellers to list themselves up. These marketplaces gain a commission on the sales that occur on their platforms. Naturally, they tend to gain a lot from an increased shopper and retailer base during the discount season.

Conclusion

The above reasons indicate how online shopping sales are actually fruitful. Shoppers, retailers and marketplaces stand to gain from well-planned strategic discounted sales. 

However, these events are not without their share of caveats. First, while discounts do increase top line numbers, they are poor at indicating the actual profitability of businesses. It might be that the customers gained during the discounts are only temporary. Second, these events also garner a great deal of hype. This hype might draw attention away from the actual numbers and paint a rosier reality.

That being said, well planned sales events are great tools in the ecommerce armoury. They can go a long way in assisting other value delivering tasks undertaken by the retailers and develop an overall sustainable e-commerce model.

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