Fashion e-tailers kickstart 2015 with discounts

fashion

Flush with new rounds of investor funding, e-commerce companies Snapdeal and Myntra have kicked off their first sales of 2015, as they look to grab a larger slice of consumers’ wallets. 

Snapdeal, the country’s largest online marketplace, kicked off its ‘End of Season Sale’ (EOSS) last week, with the company already claiming to see a 150% jump in sales, compared to its overall gross merchandise value (GMV) figures in the last week of December. 

“We expect to touch lives of about 5 million shoppers during winter EOSS 2015 from 8,000 cities and towns, with more than 20,000 sellers participating in the sale,” said Amit Maheshwari, vice-president, Fashion at Snapdeal, in an email statement to ET. 

Company representatives, while refusing to disclose the average daily sales it records during non-sales periods, however confirmed that Snapdeal expects to cross $1 billion in GMV from its fashion and apparel category alone, by the end of the current fiscal. 

“There has been a massive movement of shoppers from offline market to online market and overall figures for EOSS 2015 are expected to rise as compared to previous years,” Maheshwari said. 

In October, Snapdeal claimed to have sold goods worth Rs 600 crore during its Diwali sales. 

The Delhi-based e-commerce company is not alone in its endeavour to stamp its presence among the country’s growing digital population. 

Fashion e-tailer Myntra, too, held its ‘End of Reason Sale’ that closed on January 4, as it attempts to hit the $1-billion mark (about Rs 6,300 crore) in GMV in the coming 15 months, a threefold growth. 

Questions, however, continue to be asked of the country’s e-commerce firms of their ability to handle large order volumes, their technology infrastructure and back-end systems. 

In October last year, Flipkart’s much-hyped Big Billion Day sale was marred by technical glitches and recriminations from swarms of buyers angry and disappointed with pricing and availability of products. 

“Most of our shipments (80%) take less than three days,” said Ganesh Subramanian, chief operating officer, Myntra, adding, “About 70% of Myntra’s deliveries are handled in-house.” 

In order to hedge customer traffic and prevent technical glitches, the Bengaluru-based company allowed only a limited number of users on its website at each time, which led to the delay. 

“Our store is full of shoppers and our systems are operating at maximum capacity. We are trying our best to sneak you in. Please check back in a few minutes to shop at India’s biggest fashion sale!” Myntra’s web page said when a customer tried to access the website. Needless to say, irate consumers soon took to social media to air their grievances, complaining about a 30-minute delay in login and order summaries not being acknowledged by the website after payment for at least a couple of hours. 

However, the deep discount sales will continue for the foreseeable future as India’s three major e-commerce companies — Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon — duke it out for top honours in an industry that is expected to touch $23 billion, according to a Nomura report, by 2019. 

The online retailers could, reportedly, end up spending up to $1 billion on discounting products and marketing, as they try and out manoeuvre each other in a high-stakes game.

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