Online, offline retailers in India woo shoppers together

Photo: Pixabay

Online and offline retailers in India have buried their long-running hostility to bind their fortunes together this festive season, a detente that has been possibly forced by the unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions of offline outlets, ranging from big chain stores to kirana shops, are participating in the ongoing Flipkart’s Big Billion Days (BBD) and Amazon’s Great Indian Festival.

The old adversaries have formed new partnerships to offer shoppers a wider selection of products at attractive prices. With physical stores struggling to revive sales as consumers avoid trips to crowded markets for fear of infections, e-commerce firms are using this opportunity to onboard brands and bring their entire store inventory online for customers.

Consultant RedSeer has estimated that gross merchandise value clocked by e-commerce firms in this festive sales will surge to $7 billion from $3.8 billion in 2019.

A large number of consumers will shop online (75%) and will also consider shopping in standalone stores (66%), as opposed to malls, with a 33% dip in shoppers in the latter, the Retailers’ Association of India (RAI) and LitmusWorld said in their 2020 Festive Shopping Index.

Flipkart, which kicked off its BBD sale on 16 October, saw close to 50% of its new customers coming from tier-3 towns, the firm said on Friday.

“More and more people are searching and browsing products online in a big way,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI.

Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India Ltd, said that early signs emerging from Durga Puja in eastern India suggest that people are tired of being locked up at home and are keen to go out to shop. “A lot of them will come out, but yes, the online commerce will be higher than the previous years,” he said in a recent interview.

While RedSeer predicts festive sales this year to bring 50 million new shoppers online, India’s e-commerce market is still just 4-6% of the overall retail sector.

Meanwhile, e-tailers have deepened their partnerships with offline retailers ahead of the peak festive season.

Landmark Group’s various brands, including fashion retailer Max, have partnered with both Flipkart and Myntra.

Flipkart has partnered with more than 100 brands and 2,000 fashion stores to help them showcase their retail selection to nearby pin codes in more than 300 cities.

Amazon India’s Great Indian Festival sale starts on 17 October and will offer more than 40 million products from MSMEs, partnering with around 650,000 sellers along with over 100,000 local shops and kiranas.

Meanwhile, the consumer affairs ministry Friday issued letters warning Amazon and Flipkart for not putting country of origin labels on goods.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.