reveals that digital buyers in India are going to reach 330 billion by the end of 2020. The phenomenon of online shopping has taken India by a storm. Thanks to the rapidly increasing purchasing power of an average Indian, the compelling advertisements rolled out by the publishers, and easy accessibility of the internet, e-commerce is experiencing new heights each day.
The convenience of shopping while not moving an inch from your desk can be addictive and the data on the growth of online shopping proves it. Couple the shopping feasability with attractive online offers
on almost everything under the sun, digital shopping is growing by the minute. Read on to know what is influencing the growing popularity of online shopping in India.
Why online shopping?
What really draws the consumer world to online shopping is, of course, the excellent discount offers that traditional offline outlets simply can not match up to. The Indian retail e-commerce industry is estimated to experience revenue growth of up to almost 62 billion dollars! India, being one of the fastest and albeit dynamic market, has been the center of attention from global major players in the industry- the takeover of Indian e-commerce site Flipkart by the retail giant Walmart for 16 billion US dollars testifies to the fact and even that is the only tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at how online offers have impacted the shopping scene in India.
What sets online shopping from traditional offline stores is the practice of discounts. The internet has revolutionized pretty much everything about our existence. For an industry so heavily reliant on the internet, it is expected that online retailers would have some hidden cards up their sleeves! We are all more or less aware of the huge margins in discounts offered by online stores as compared to offline stores. While offline stores can barely afford to give you a 20% discount on the MRP (even that one store where your entire family has bee shopping for generations), most major e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon would show you the same product already listed at a discount almost always higher than offline stores, and then you have your coupons and extra promotions that bring the prices even lower down. So how does it all work? The next segment tries to explain.
Who is paying for the discounts?
Name one person who does not like discounts. Can’t think of one? Yeah, you are not alone. I mean, who does not like value-for-money deals, or even better, saving money! Online shopping sites have plenty of discounts for you and they actually go overboard to give you more discounts. Sign up for their newsletter, voila, a promo code waiting for you in the mail. Pay through specific payment gateways, more discounts on the already discounted price. Even after all that, you have Diwali sale, Republic Day sale, Independence day sale and of course, End of Season sales! While it is great that you no longer have to wait for months for that one great offer that your wallet can’t refuse, have you wondered whose pocket is paying the difference?
Given how quickly the e-commerce industry has set up their stronghold, one need not be surprised to hear that the rules and regulations of sales and marketing have not caught up yet- a boon. Although possibly temporary, for both the sellers and the consumers. Online stores, save a few exceptions, do not have to pay sales taxes- the explanation being the absence of a physical sales storefront, an office or a warehouse. While major players like Amazon and Flipkart do have warehouses, not paying sales taxes means a great deal for smaller sellers, resulting in lower prices automatically.
The leading players in India are primarily Amazon, Flipkart, and SnapDeal that operate as marketplaces. Amazon often funds the discounts in selected categories and otherwise recommends the amount of discount to the sellers- a suggestion that is not binding but often taken up as the difference is paid by Amazon in cheques to the sellers. While Flipkart does not pay the sellers by cheques, it indirectly funds the discounts by foregoing commissions, listing fees and other such charges that sellers pay to them. The story is almost similar to SnapDeal.
How to find great online offers?
Now that you are done with your consumer duties of knowing how the industry works, bet you are wondering how you can make the most out of these great discounts that online shopping sites swear by, right? Fret not, we are here to offer a hand (we mean a handful of hacks that you simply can’t go wrong with) so that you can treat yourself without feeling guilty!
• Subscribe & conquer
: Create personal accounts with the major e-commerce sites and sign up for their newsletters (you might want a separate mail ID for this one because hello, spammers). Most retailers offer exclusive discounts and promo codes for signing up as well as the occasional surprise discounts that apply only when you check out via personal accounts. Keep checking their social media occasionally, any upcoming promotions are usually announced in advance.
• Vouchers are your best friend
: Vouchers are nifty little things that care about your wallet. Collect vouchers and use them religiously. There are several sites like GrabOn or Nearbuy that list various coupons and promo codes for specific sites, major sites like Amazon and Myntra are always listed. Check for the expiry date before making a purchase. Even sellers often offer exclusive promo codes if you review their products and mail them the screenshots so take as many chances as they come your way.
• Don’t jump the gun
: Patience pays off when you are a regular online shopper. Let items sit in your cart a while and one of those push notifications you receive immediately after is bound to have some little incentive for you to complete the purchase. If it is a leisurely purchase, then give it an extra couple days and better offers will pop up.
• Rewards and cash-backs
: Major marketplaces like Myntra and Flipkart offer loyalty programs that are immensely helpful. Use your coins to cut down the prices or to enjoy some additional offers on other products like car rentals, movie tickets or flight bookings. Use rewards from your credit/debit cards and look out for cashback offers. Some bulk memberships like Paytm First or Times Prime club also offer exciting incentives across different categories.
While the online retailing industry is facing the occasional clap back from the government for offering deep discounts, an analysis of trends does show that the discount train is not coming to a halt any time soon. So keep an eye open for all the exciting online discounts and work on your bucket list!
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.