Thursday, December 2

E-commerce on a roll

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Electronic commerce may have been born some four decades ago, but the sector witnessed its most dramatic rise in the past couple of years when the pandemic forced offline businesses into lockdown mode. E-commerce platforms — some of which debuted amid this global crisis — are still riding the momentum, with Kolkata and the rest of the eastern India market reporting an “exceptional” spurt in sales in the run-up to Diwali. And, the revenue stream is expected to remain swell until the ball drop for New Year.
While the young were already hooked to online shopping, Covid confinement prompted even the elderly to log in for essentials such as groceries and medicines. This dependence on the convenience of doorstep delivery en masse, in turn, jacked up sales figures for even greenhorn e-tailers who are now bullish that the growth graph will continue to go north.According to a recent survey by Unicommerce (an e-commerce management service provider), fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), beauty and personal care, health and pharma, and home décor and furniture are among the emerging segments in online shopping. While the FMCG segment reported 73% growth in sales, its sub-segments like food and beverage grew by 72% and 74%, respectively. The face care segment saw an exponential 171% growth followed by hair care at 92% and body care at 31%.“The pandemic has altered the buying pattern of consumers and the tighter embracing of e-commerce platforms has led to the evolution of many new segments in shopping. There has been a phenomenal growth of brand websites and online marketplaces. We want e-tailers to understand these emerging segments,” said Kapil Makhija, the CEO of Unicommerce.

Delhi-based e-commerce company Snapdeal saw a 98% rise in its first ‘Toofani sale’ this festive season compared to 2020. “Nearly 60% of the orders received came from tier-III cities while tier-1 (including Kolkata) and tier II cities accounted for around 26%. In Kolkata, the apparel segment is trending at 224% compared to last year. People are using our ‘Toofani sale’ offers for both festive shopping and stocking up on regular purchases,” said Saurabh Bansal, the platform’s chief merchandising officer. Snapdeal’s pre-festive season expansion with 130 new logistics hubs helped in fast shipment of more than 60% of the orders, he added.
As the country’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart feels the festive season is an opportunity to create value for all stakeholders, including traders and customers. “We are expanding our supply chain across the country and have opened several warehouses in Bengal. For this season, we have hired over 1 lakh people as delivery executives, sorters, pickers and packers. Besides, we have strengthened our ‘Kirana delivery programme’ this year with more than 1 lakh partners in Kolkata and other cities. A new fulfilment centre has come up in Dankuni to ramp up our supply chain infrastructure,” said a company spokesperson.Skin and intimate care company Skin Pot has reported a growth of 25% in sales in October, with 12% coming from eastern India, including Kolkata. “D2C (direct-to-consumer) retail brands are expecting to meet their annual sales target this time. They are drawing up strategies to stay ahead in the competition. These brands expect the momentum in sales to continue till December,” said Anondeep Ganguly, founder and CEO of Skin Pot.

Big Boy Toyz (BBT), a sales hub for pre-owned luxury cars, is swamped with online orders. In October alone, it has delivered 10 cars in the Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1.2 crore price range. “Transactions have happened online for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo Polestar and Lexus, among others. There has been a 35% growth in sales this month compared to October 2020,” said Jatin Ahuja, founder and MD of BBT.

Harry Sehrawat, co-founder of Sanfe (an online brand for feminine products), boasts a 1.8x jump in festive sales. “The range includes both existing products and new launches. Lucrative discounts up to 35% prompted women to hit buy-buy mode. A major boost in sales was seen on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa and Purplle. With a good number of days left in the festive season, we are set for new categories and brand campaigns,” he said.Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, CEO and co-founder of Fast&Up, is equally sanguine. “Being a steady usage segment, nutrition has not seen an overwhelming growth amid the festivities. However, excitement in general has picked up. There is a lot more traction through e-commerce for products and the growth is mostly driven by the accelerated online adoption that resulted from the pandemic. The general positivity is good and transgresses categories, including nutrition,” he said.Since the outbreak of the pandemic, TerraBrush — an eco-friendly oral care platform — has been witnessing a spike in sales. The same reached a summit during this festive season. Karthick Solai KS, CEO of the company, said: “If the current trend continues, online shopping may soon replace in-store purchases as it offers the convenience of choosing and buying products from a wide range of varieties.”

Source: Times of India

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