E-commerce companies have devised fresh strategies to bounce back after a dip of almost 30 per cent in the online sales, post demonetisation. From increasing discounts and running exclusive cashless sale offers, recruitment of manpower, building the backend, replenishing the stock to meet the surge in demand and to reintroducing Cash on Delivery (COD), the e-tailers are back in action. According to analyst RedSeer Consulting, there has been an increase of 15-20 per cent cashless transactions in the last few days, which is a boon for this sector.
Discounts & Offers:
Snapdeal has recently announced their ‘Unbox Cashfree Sale’ from December 5, where the company is offering up to 70 per cent off on a wide variety of products. For the two day sale, it has also tied with SBI Bank and will be giving 10% instant discount on SBI Bank credit and debit cards. Snapdeal has also launched a TV campaign in order to talk about their latest sale offering which they are promoting aggressively. The other big player like Amazon India is handing out flat discounts of 40-70 per cent in its fashion category. Flipkart is offering discounts of 40-80 per cent in most of their key categories, while Myntra is giving discounts up to 70 per cent.
Re-introducing Cash on Delivery:
Following demonetisation, some companies like Amazon had temporarily halted COD facility which forms the bulk of online shopping in India, while others like Flipkart and Snapdeal had put a cap on the value of orders that could be delivered through the service.
Owing to lack of funds in the hands of the consumers, the number of delivery returns had also climbed to 50 per cent. Snapdeal and few other players had replaced the Cash on Delivery, with Wallet on Delivery feature, to enable the consumer to pay through e-wallets at the time of delivery. However, these players are slowly reintroducing COD feature to improve sales.
Recruitment of manpower & building backend:
The focus for e-grocery platform like Big Basket is not on spending in marketing at the moment, but more on strengthening the backend, to meet the surge in orders. Commenting on this, Ragaleena Sripada, Senior Marketing Manager, Big Basket said, “Demonetisation has actually impacted us positively, we have seen almost 30-40 per cent jump in orders. Therefore, right now we are building our operations, getting extra vans, replenishing the stock and training the newly recruited manpower. Our attempt is to match up to the rise in orders.” Big Basket had never halted the COD feature post demonetisation, earlier the ratio between online transactions and COD for the company used to be 50:50, but now 80 per cent of the transactions are taking place online.
According to a survey done by CashKaro.com, for buying groceries and daily items, around 25 per cent of the respondents have started using Amazon, 15 per cent are using Big Basket, 7 per cent prefer using Flipkart, 7 per cent of them are also purchasing it on Grofers and 5 per cent are using Snapdeal. In addition to this, 91 per cent of the respondents also agree that ‘Cashback offers’ by retailers, banks and sites like CashKaro.com are helping them to ‘Save & Earn’ during this period of cash crunch.
Sanjay Sethi, CEO, ShopClues.com cited, “Our business from smaller cities has seen about 15 per cent increase though there are some supply chain hiccups because of low liquidity. But overall I think it is moving in a very good direction and the bottom line impact will be very far reaching. Even the investors are looking at it as a fundamental change in the ecosystem. This move has made the merchants more aware about the need for digitisation plus if you can't digitise you can't scale and digitisation is very important for scaling to happen. "
No Cost EMIs & reliance on hi-end technology:
Online furniture portal Pepperfry is yet to analyse the impact of demonetisation and they firmly believe that their business should significantly improve because a lot of payments would get digitised. Ashish Shah, COO and Founder, Pepperfry said, “To combat the temporary impact we have also taken some steps at our end, for example this week we launched no cost EMIs so you can use your card and without paying any interest etc. You can make the transaction and pay money in six instalments. EMIs on Pepperfry has been an important part as close to 12 to 15% of our business used to come from it so that percentage again can go up as digital payments are getting more accepted across the country. So overall I think demonetisation will turn to be extremely good for this sector.”
Online marketplace to buy and sale automobile, Droom on the other hand, expects to reap benefits from the technology they have invested in the last two years during this time. Sandeep Aggarwal - Founder and CEO, Droom elaborated, “We only expect few weeks of inconvenience, after which we will surely start to get benefits as we have invested very heavily in the last two years to create India’s most advanced end-to-end online transaction platform for automobiles. We are primarily an IP, technology and data science company and in long run it is better for us as people embrace online payments vs. offline. Our online tools and technology such as Orange Book Value and Eco are the enabler of online transactions for automobile and the current change will accelerate adoption of these tools.”