The festive season is just around the corner. While India is battling the economic slowdown, the e-commerce and retail industry is all geared up to capitalize on the festivities with a hope to recover lost sales. The online retail industry, especially, expects its sales to achieve a stellar growth during this season, in view of the surge in first-time shoppers from smaller towns and cities as well as the pandemic-induced slump in offline retail. Hopes are pinned on the tier-2 and tier-3 cities as surveys suggest that their contributions can double this time as compared to last year.
Sectors like mobile phones, consumer electronics, grocery are expected to top the sales during this festive season. The smartphone market will continue its upward growth trajectory with India emerging as one of the top manufacturing hubs and one of the largest mobile phone consumption markets. As a result, the domestic and export markets both will fuel its growth. Smartphone sales on the e-commerce platforms this festive season will capture more than half of the market as mobile phones have become more popular than before.
Not just smartphones, for those placed at the bottom of the pyramid, feature phones too will continue to grow with the passage of time. The boundaries of this classification of feature vs smartphone will continue to diffuse. There will also be an increase in online shopping of apparel, grocery and electronic appliances.
Strategies to scale online sales during the Festive season
The year-end festive season is considered the year’s busiest season for retailers, merchants, and vendors. Amidst the strict adherence to social distancing norms and other health guidelines to be followed mandatorily in public places, e-Commerce will be preferred by consumers this year.
Businesses have already started adopting varied approaches like an increase in online promotions, social media/digital campaigns, remarketing and more. However, there are a few things that e-commerce and retailers should start thinking about while planning for this festive season:
Hedge Supply Risks: Most retailers are boosting/ innovating their supply chains and ensuring stock availability through B2B trade platforms like eolstocks, udaan and others. This way they are not completely dependent on a single distributor-led supply chain. If you are already not on one of them, it’s time to ensure that you are stocked well for the festive season.
Shipping: This has always been a big deciding factor for customers and delivery time has been identified as the most prominent reason for cart abandonment. E-commerce has already worked out the solution for low costs or free delivery and now the next enticing trend is fast delivery. With rising demand from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, the adoption of technologies in last-mile delivery solutions can improve conversions.
Personalization: Consumers will prefer an e-commerce platform if they feel it better to understand what it is they want. And hence Machine learning continues to grow and be integrated into e-commerce and helping them customize the experience.
Omnichannel: This is not restricted to just websites and it extends to stores, websites, web stores, social platforms and mobile apps. Ensuring consistent across all these channels is the biggest challenge for companies and B2B and B2C e-commerce space. It will be very crucial to keep all customer checkpoints updated, relevant, and bridge the gap between online-offline for an integrated buying experience because this time the offline experience is reduced to zilch.
Retention: The festive season does bring many opportunities for retailers big or small. Customer relationship maintenance for e-commerce giants is already established but for the smaller players, this should be of prime importance. They need to keep an eye on the reviews they get, invest in a rewards or loyalty scheme to build a long-term relationship with their customers.
The festive season is usually the most stressful time for retailers and e-commerce players as they receive high traffic and also see intense competition. The e-commerce market is already booming in India and a greater number of people are starting to make transactions online. There is a dynamic growth expected as consumers now prefer online shopping over offline retail shopping. It is like a newly discovered marketplace for many retailers in India where a buyer can directly interact with the seller with just a click of the button. Retailer and e-commerce players should systematically start planning for targeting the relevant people in this festive season, engaging them with the right products, and focus on building a healthy relationship so they buy high-value products repeatedly.