E-commerce players gearing up for Googles online shopping festival

Many online sites are gearing up for a surge in business with a fortnight of discounts during the ongoing Google-led online shopping festival followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday next week. The affiliate sites are creating 'howto' guides for best deals in different categories, anticipating a four-fold rise in traffic and a similar jump in revenue.

Sites that offer price comparisons, couponing and best deals may come up on top by creating 'how-to' guides during the GOSF (Google Online Shopping Festival). Smaller e-commerce merchants also gain from the rising traffic, given that they offer niche products and comparable discounts.

Typically, GOSF aims to tap firsttime shoppers, which constituted a large chunk nearly 30% during the 2013 festival. "This year, we have five times the number of merchants against when we started GOSF in 2012. Though there are 250 million internet users, only 35 to 40 million users shop online. Our idea is to get more and more first-time shoppers to experience this," says Nitin Bawankule, industry director for e-commerce, local and classifieds at Google India.

"While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not Indian phenomenon, we have created a GOSF section specifically on Desidime to help shoppers. Diwali and GOSF make up nearly 30% of our annual revenues and last year the traffic went up by 120% during GOSF. We will be adding 20 additional servers this year in anticipation of the volumes," says Mehul Jobanputra, CEO and co-founder of Desidime.


Given that 14 days of pre-GOSF which would showcase 14 different e-commerce players offering their best deals, affiliates will turn a channel for product discovery and collating updated deals. "Price wars are likely on key days and it is a big question whether the featured e-commerce players offer their best deals on the day they are featured or on days when their competitors are featured,leading to never-seenbefore discounts.

Given the technical interruptions last year and earlier this year for the shopping festivals, there is a better amount of preparedness," says Swati Bhargava, co-founder of cashback and coupon site Cash-Karo, which is expecting four times the traffic and three times the revenues during the GOSF days. The smaller e-commerce players reach out to a larger audience, expecting to benefit from the rising traffic. Last year, smaller players registered twice the traffic during GOSF.

"GOSF is a good platform for the smaller players who do not have the marketing muscle. The listing will be random and will rotate so as not to have any specific merchant's name on top. However, greater the number of categories the merchant offers, better the presence," says Bawankule.

Many smaller e-commerce players register a repeat customer base of up to 50% due to the exposure during the event. "During GOSF, there is a bump which remains. Many of our partners reported a 50% rise in repeat customers' post-GOSF and the festival benefits everyone in the ecosystem. The overall sales go up nearly three times.

The idea to launch a microsite is to help people search for best deals which are catalogued based on the brand or categories," says Sameer Parwani, CEO and founder of Coupondunia. The affiliate site started its dedicated microsite for GOSF on Monday. Incorporated in 2010, the couponing website was acquired by Times Internet earlier this year.

Digital media network Komli Media, which ran a series of deals and coupons ahead of the GOSF pre-party between November 17 and November 23, indicated better results for smaller players, given that the top e-commerce players will be holding on to their deals in anticipation of GOSF.

"The increase in transactions for the bigger players has gone up by 20 to 30% while smaller e-tailers have seen a jump of nearly four times the usual transactions over a period of two days," says Sandeep Balani, director, publisher development at Komli Media, which incentivised affiliates as part of its offer.

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