Written By Sagar Malviya & Shambhavi Anand, ET Bureau
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: About two months ago, Future Group founder Kishore Biyani visited China to understand shopping behaviour during Singles Day, the biggest shopping festival in the world’s most populous country.
Biyani was part of the star-studded event that Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba hosted in Shanghai and included guests such as actress Nicole Kidman, singer Pharrell Williams and local celebs for its Singles’ Day sales extravaganza. The next day, Alibaba saw its sales hit new record of $25.3 billion.
Biyani wants to mimic that in India. “While we have launched the Republic day sale more than a decade ago, we have taken inspirations such as bringing celebs for live gaming show on Facebook and opening pop-up stores from Alibaba. The idea is to blend online shopping with offline stores, or O2O, which already accounts for 10% of our sales,” said Biyani, adding that he is targeting sales of over Rs 1,000 crore from the five-day mega discount event during the Republic Day week.
What started as a day-long sale occasion on the 26th of January back in 2006 has become a serious revenue generator for the Future Group, generating roughly 5-7% of its annual sales. The first year also saw a crowd frenzy which forced the company to call the police in to manage the situation.
This year, the retailer will also open Big Bazaar pop-up stores in about 50 cities and localities where it is not present and sell pre-book fast billing pass ahead of the event. Top ecommerce companies such as Amazon India and Flipkart are offering deep discounts in the first online sales event of the year starting Monday.
“When a company talks only about discounts, people will just look for deals. But when discount is combined with excitement and entertainment, it contributes to the sale event. This (Bigbazaar event) will lift it above just a discount mechanism,” said Devangshu Dutta, CEO at Third Eyesight.
Future Group said it plans to reach nearly 30 million customers mainly through a 24-hour live entertainment show on Facebook where about two dozen celebs will participate. It will also announce hourly exclusive offers and coupons to drive store walk-ins.
“The line between online and offline shopping is blurring in today’s retail environment. We are increasingly seeing live videos become an important medium for brands to interact with their consumers. “Sabse Sasta Din” campaign, will be one of the first 24-hour Facebook Live, making it a much bigger campaign this year,” said Pulkit Trivedi, director, Facebook India.
Over the years, brick-and mortar retailers have been investing in omni-channel strategies and experimenting with global models such as flash sales.