Even as they await clarity on FDI policy, online retailers are doing all they can to catch eyeballs of consumers for greater market penetration. Companies including Groupon and Amazon are working out unique deals to catch the imagination of Indian middle class.
On Thursday, Groupon India offered a cash back offer on rail fares, something never done before even by online travel portals. According to the offer, which goes live today, the company will offer 2,000 coupons every day for Rs 9. Using the coupon, consumers can book rail tickets using the Spice Safar app to get Rs 100 off on a transaction. The offer would be available for seven days.
Similarly, Amazon India has started, what it is calling, 'gift a smile' programme where it is offering the facility of contributing to charities through its platform.
For the programme, it has tied up with 10 NGOs including Make A Wish foundation; Pratham; READ India; Sahyog; Save the Children; Bhoruka Charitable Trust; and Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra among others. These NGOs have posted their wish list on Amazon and a customer willing to donate can log on to the website, select the NGO and products and donate both in cash and kind.
Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, said that the idea of Groupon is certainly innovative and never-done-before kind. Last year, Groupon had come out with Rs 9 per kg onions deal when the price of onions was soaring.
“With railway fares being a hot discussion topic and the long weekend fast approaching, this deal could not have come out at a better time. These are marketing exercises to create a wow factor. These steps will create a strong brand recall,” Ankur Warikoo, CEO, Groupon India, said.
Experts say that India’s $13 billion e-commerce market is expected to reach more than $19 billion in next five years, something which has enthused companies like Amazon and eBay, which have opened shops in India on the marketplace model.
In Budget FY15, the government allowed foreign retailers, who manufacture products in the country, to sell via e-commerce platforms, taking a step towards liberalising FDI in the sector.