Saturday 30 November 2019

E-tailers eye Super Bowl of shopping to boost sales in India

E-tailers eye Super Bowl of shopping to boost sales in IndiaNew Delhi, Like all things American, Black Friday madness that began after Thanksgiving Thursday took over the Indian shoppers as several online players as well as offline stores on Friday jumped on the bandwagon to boost sales and add new customers in the festive season.

From Amazon to H&M, the Black Friday offers flooded people's emails and message boxes on smartphones in the country.

Amazon offered up to 60 per cent off on top international brands across categories like electronics, fashion, beauty and wellness products and accessories.

B2C fashion e-commerce platform SHEIN, online beauty and wellness destination and online fashion site (giving flat 60 per cent off with a code) also offered Black Friday sales on various designer brands.

Retail player H&M offered 20 per cent discount on all products and no code was needed.

Chinese company Xiaomi offered Black Friday discounts till December 2 on various devices, including Redmi K20 series, Redmi Note 7 Pro, Poco F1, Mi Home security camera. Mi LED smart bulb and Mi Band 3, etc.

Other vendors like Realme and Nokia were also offering Black Friday sales.

According to experts, the Black Friday sale concept is fast catching up with the Indian shoppers, especially among the millennials and young buyers, as marketers offer deals to make the most of these days post Dussehra and Diwali season sales.

"Indian consumers are value conscious and keenly seek attractive discounts. Retailers and online players in India are latching onto Black Friday as an occasion to seek new customers, to showcase their new offerings and essentially stitch a better consumer connect," Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS.

Although the Black Friday sales in India are currently miniscule if compared to the US or other countries, the trend is fast catching up.

"This trend is also an indication of the strategy to minimise or overcome dependence on the traditional Diwali sales window," Ram noted.

The momentum e-commerce players and retailers saw till Diwali died down in November. They are now gearing up for fresh sale season, starting from December 1, that will continue till Christmas and New Year.

Earlier, Amazon, Flipkart sold goods worth Rs 19,000 crore in festive sale between September 29 and October 4 as the festive season kicked off.

The festive month of October brought a big cheer for those serving the mobile, fashion and consumer electronics industry as sales in these categories saw a massive boost on various e-commerce platforms.

According to industry analysts, mobile once again ruled the roost, catering to nearly 50 per cent of all online sales during the month.

The e-tailers and offline stores in India are now aiming to gain from four days of Super Bowl of shopping that includes Cyber Monday -- a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday created by retailers to encourage people to shop online.

Future Retail's shares surge as regulator approves Amazon investment

BENGALURU: Shares in Future Retail Ltd surged 13% on Friday, after antitrust body approved a deal that would give Inc a minority stake in one of the country’s top retail groups.

Future Retail in August announced the deal that would result in the US online retail giant acquiring a 3.58% stake in the company, which runs over 1,500 stores in India and owns budget department store chain Big Bazaar.

The companies had not disclosed the value of the deal, which would help Amazon push deeper into India’s booming retail market.

In a brief statement on Thursday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it had approved Amazon’s purchase of a 49% stake in Future Coupons Ltd, an entity that owns about 7.3% of Future Retail, adding that it would soon provide a detailed order.

Reuters reported early this month that the CCI had sought more information from Amazon about the planned transaction.

Last year, Amazon and Indian private equity firm Samara Capital announced a joint investment in an entity that would give Amazon a stake in local supermarket chain More.

The Seattle-headquartered firm also owns a stake in Indian department store chain Shopper’s Stop.

Shares in Future Retail were higher by 13.8% by 10 am in Mumbai. Shares in other Future Group companies - Future Enterprises Ltd, Future Consumer Ltd and Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd - were higher by 2% to 16%.

A newspaper reported in August that the deal pegged Future Retail’s value at close to $6 billion, more than double its then market capitalisation of $2.9 billion.

Fraudsters accessed Flipkart, Myntra customer data: Noida cops

Fraudsters accessed Flipkart, Myntra customer data: Noida copsNOIDA: A bogus call centre was shut down and 45 people employed there arrested on Thursday but the investigation will go far beyond the two Noida buildings it operated from. Police said the fraudsters had managed to access customer details of ecommerce biggies Flipkart and Myntra.

Sub-inspector Baljeet Singh of Noida police’s cybercrime cell told TOI that along with details like names, email IDs, shipping addresses and order IDs, the accused were also in possession of data of products bought by customers on Flipkart and Myntra in the past.
Fraudsters accessed Flipkart, Myntra customer data: Noida cops Vaibhav Krishna, the Noida police chief, said the data was “sourced” from Flipkart and Myntra. “But whether it was acquired with authorisation has to be verified in the investigation,” he said. Representatives of Myntra and Flipkart did not respond to calls, emails and text messages for a comment.

The call centre operated out of two separate places in Noida. Among the 45 arrested employees were 22 women. Police said they called customers and introduced themselves as representatives of Flipkart and Myntra, cheating them in the name of giving cashbacks, huge discounts and reward points.

Apart from the customer data of the e-commerce firms, 16 walkie-talkies, 29 mobile phones and two computers were seized by the cybercrime cell of Noida police during the raids in the two buildings in sectors 6 and 7. The call centre was run by Delhi resident Dileep Saroj, who is yet to be nabbed.

Police said the fraudsters had cheated thousands of people across NCR and other cities in the past one and a half years. The callers used three kinds of modus operandi to con targets, and would convince them by sharing details of the previous purchases with the shopping sites.

“One was to call up customers and offer cashback on their previous purchase. The call centre operators would also tell their targets that after the purchase of a particular product, they were offering cashback to the customer on a new product. Further, they would offer discount of between 10% and 20% on their next purchase,” Baljeet Singh said.

“When the customer would order the next item, they would demand anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000 to put the product in the delivery line. Also, they would demand a registration amount from the customers. Many targets would send the money via online transactions through UPI accounts as demanded by the accused,” Singh added.

While the registration and security amount would be charged from the targets, the products would never be delivered as the accused had no actual connection with Flipkart and Myntra, police said.

The strategy didn’t always succeed because e-commerce companies do not operate like this — there is no verbal exchange in an online transaction — but there were many people who fell to the ruse. Police said the big concern was how this call centre had managed to procure customer data.

Police have come across the name of a person, Nandan, who they have identified as the main source of the data. “Only Dileep was in touch with Nandan and how the data landed into his kitty can be explained only by Dileep or Nandan. We are trying to arrest the accused,” Singh said.

Those arrested from the call centre include graduates. Asked about their role in the scam, police said that the accused were fully aware that they had been making fake calls to customers. “They knew that they were not part of Flipkart or Myntra,” said another police officer.

Friday 29 November 2019

In talks with SBI to jointly run e-commerce portal for MSMEs: Nitin Gadkari

In talks with SBI to jointly run e-commerce portal for MSMEs: Nitin GadkariNew Delhi: The government is in talks with the country's largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) to jointly run an e-commerce portal for marketing of products manufactured by micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that he is to meet SBI Chairman next month to discuss whether the bank can jointly run an e-commerce portal called Bharat Craft, meant for taking Indian MSMEs to the global platform.

“For the first time, after our govt came to power, we are readying a portal called Bharat Craft,” Gadkari said during the question hour in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

“I am meeting the chairman of State Bank (of India), we are trying that this portal is run by State Bank and the government jointly,” Gadkari added.

He said that China was able to progress because of e-commerce portal Alibaba, referring to India’s MSMEs as the growth engine for the country.

Gadkari added that the government is promoting village and cottage industries, and skill development in rural areas, which will lead to reverse migration from cities.

“The increasing migration towards cities will be stopped, and not only that, people who have come to cities, will go back to their villages. That is the kind of policies we are working on,” Gadkari added.

Gadkari said that the government’s policies are focussed on import-substitue and export-oriented products. “We recently levied a 30% duty on bamboo products that were being imported to China,” Gadkari said.

This move to slap duties on import of agarbattis (incense-sticks) from China to help spur manufacturing of bamboo-related products locally, and save the government Rs 4,000 crore worth of imports, Gadkari said.

Paytm in talks to raise another USD 1 bn funding: Sources

Paytm in talks to raise another USD 1 bn funding: SourcesNew Delhi, Digital payments major Paytm is looking at raising another round of funding of USD 1 billion, and is in discussion with multiple investors, including former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, according to sources. Sources close to the development said the discussions are on and might take a few weeks to get finalised.

They added that the funds will be used to expand the merchant offerings across India to equip them with technology and various other services.

Paytm declined to comment, while a response from Cameron could not be elicited immediately.

Paytm had earlier this week announced a USD 1 billion (around Rs 7,173 crore) fund raise led by US-based asset management firm T Rowe Price. Existing investors Alibaba, Softbank and Discovery Capital had also participated in the funding round.

Interestingly, Paytm founder and Chief Executive Officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted a photograph of him and Cameron on Thursday.

"With so inspiring and savvy @David_Cameron in Singapore! Thanks Sir for your lesson on giving back to society and creating social impact with business," he added.

On Monday, Paytm had said it is planning to invest around USD 1.4 billion over the next three years to expand financial services.

Reports earlier this year had stated that Paytm, which is facing mounting losses, was looking at raising up to USD 2 billion in funding. The company has said it will look at a public listing only after 2021.

Paytm had raised USD 300 million from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in September last year.

One97 Communications Ltd (OCL), the parent company of Paytm, had posted a loss of Rs 3,959.6 crore in 2018-19 as against Rs 1,490 crore a year ago, and its standalone revenue rose marginally to Rs 3,319 crore from Rs 3,229 crore in 2017-18, as per reports.