Tuesday 13 December 2016

Demonetisation: win some, lose some; Snapdeal’s sales increase, estimates for ecommerce industry drop

One of the side-effects of abolishing higher denomination notes was decline in COD orders. Therefore, etailers are trying to find new ways to make the most of this situation. Case in point: Shopclues launched a payments service ‘Reach’ for sellers.
Online marketplace Snapdeal too found a way to boost sales during the slowdown and dilute the impact of demonetisation on its cash-on-delivery business. Earlier this week, the etailer hosted a 2-day ‘Unbox Cashfree Sale’. And it turned out to be a success as the sales shot up!

Some stats of Snapdeal’s cash free sale:

  • 75% of payments were made using the digital mode
  • Discounts of up to 80% were offered
  • Pre-paid orders received premium service of zero shipping charges, free express delivery and  extended 14 day return policy
  • 90% of mobiles and electronics purchases were cashless
  • 75% of kitchen and large appliances purchases were cashless
  • 60% of fashion and accessories purchases were cashless
“The cashless trend was seen equally in smaller cities and towns too. More than 90 per cent of the orders from smaller towns like Madehapura (Bihar), Tura (Meghalaya), Malapuram (Kerala), Ballia (Uttar Pradesh), Ambikapur (Chattisgarh) and others were placed using cashless options,” stated Snapdeal in its statement.

But what about curb on discounts as per FDI guidelines?

After the revised FDI rules & regulations announcement, ecommerce companies were being cautious about offering discounts barring the annual & big festive sales. But IOS recently reported how demonetisation has led to discount based sales once again. Snapdeal’s ‘Unbox Cashfree Sale’ is one of it.
Many trade bodies have reached out to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to complain about the discounting trend. Although, etailers maintain that they are not offering any discounts to its customers. DIPP’s officials have informed that ecommerce companies have assured them that the discounts are being given by the sellers & brand owners and advertisements are displayed with a disclaimer.

Another side-effect: ecommerce industry’s estimates reduced

Industry watchers and research firms that release growth forecast for Indian ecommerce industry at regular intervals were obviously not aware that November is going to be the month of demonetisation.
As a result, the estimates have been trimmed down to accommodate the recent sales slowdown. Market research company eMarketer had predicted that India’s ecommerce business with grow by 75% in 2016. But the firm reduced the projection to 55.5%.
Monica Peart, forecasting director at eMarketer asserted,
“This new system will lead more people to use traditional banking services like credit cards, which is a key factor in allowing consumers to buy online but it will take time for this kind societal change to take effect, so our forecast numbers for the out years are still lower than previous estimates.”

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