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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Shopping portals offer smart bargains

Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 24, 2013
First Published: 01:57 IST(24/10/2013) | Last Updated: 02:31 IST(24/10/2013)

As surging inflation force people to make expenditure adjustments this Diwali, foot-falls are shifting to the online market place where smart bargains are on offer.

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Transactions at Snapdeal.com, a portal that facilitates contacts between shoppers and sellers, has vaulted six times this year over last year.

Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong are expecting Diwali sales to grow between 35% and 50% this year.

“We are expecting a 50% growth in sales during the festive season as compared to the previous month,” said Ravi Vora, senior vice-president, marketing, Flipkart.com.

Besides discounts on the printed MRP (maximum retail price), there are also freebies on offer on premium brands.

Where Flipkart is running a “cyber sale”, Snapdeal.com has come up with an offer called ‘Bachate Raho’ (keep saving). Leveraging the cost benefits of the online sales model, sites claim to offer better prices than offline stores, across categories.

“We have a team to monitor discounts and prices at offline stores by which we ensure that the prices offered online are the best,” said Amit Maheshwari, vice-president, merchandising, Snapdeal.com. 

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“We are already registering an increase of 30% to 50% in the number of items in the cart, and expect the average billing per customer to go up by 50% this season,” said Ganesh Subramanian, COO, Myntra.com, a multi-brand online shopping platform.

Companies are seeking to cut corners to stay afloat. Escalating input costs and costlier loans have forced them to defer investment plans, resulting in a freeze on hiring and salary hikes.

This, along with persistently high prices, has hurt spending. The same amount of money now buys fewer goods, making “e-tailing” a preferred option.

Popular purchases at online stores include jewellery, home decoration, footwear, apparel, accessories, home appliances and electronic gadgets. “Electronics are among most trusted online purchases as they are standardised products,” said Maheshwari. “However, for other touch-and-feel-based products we have an easy replacement policy.”


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