Google has scrapped its Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) it used to conduct during the month of December, largely because of the heavy discounts running from ecommerce stores all throughout the year.
GOSF was created by Google India in 2012, this was based on the Cyber Monday and the Black Friday. During the festival, consumers use to get deals from various ecommerce sites.
“Our objective was to bring all the leading ecommerce players on a common platform and boost the online shopping industry by focusing on first time buyers. We had never done anything like this before in any country,” said Google India in a statement.
On the other side, GOSF use to serve as a platform for not only ecommerce biggies like Flipkart or Snapdeal but also for hundreds of small and medium businesses to find customers across India.
“Many small and medium ecommerce portals used GOSF as a launch platform and saw phenomenal growth in sales and some of them are well-established online shopping destinations today,” Google India Industry Director – ecommerce, Local & Classified, Nitin Bawankule wrote in a blogpost.
But now the ecommerce scenario in India has changed, ecommerce companies compete on multiple days by launching shopping festivals and even discounts throughout the year. And these small and medium portals do not have to wait for almost a year for platforms like GOSF.
In 2012, India had 130 Mn internet users with only 8 Mn Indians shopping online, and the total online shopping Industry was approximately $2 Bn. Today, India has over 350 Mn internet users and over 50 Mn online shoppers and is projected to reach 100 Mn by 2016. The Industry is already said to be worth over $10 Bn.
“GOSF in many ways was a catalyst in boosting consumer confidence to shop online and we are grateful to all our partners and buyers who contributed in making GOSF, the largest online shopping festival not just in terms of scale but also in impact,” said Google.
The last years have seen changes in the way customers have responded to GOSF. The first edition in 2012 had garnered a lot of publicity with over 90 ecommerce players participating. However, was concluded as a flop show, as most of the deals that were promised were not available and even there were technical glitches as well. The second edition saw over 240 ecommerce players, however this year too technical glitches were reported. The last edition, witnessed a decent reaction with over 550+ retailers participating.
When we spoke to some of the ecommerce companies, we got mix of reaction on Google’s decision to scrape GOSF.
Sujayath Ali, CEO & founder at Voonik.com said, “Ecommerce firms have now become a major force in India that they can run their own deal days better and bigger than what Google can do. These firms also have bigger budgets to get the message across. Another reason could be that the discounts are now over-used and abused by the ecommerce firms that Google might not want to be part of this madness.”
Mr. Sumit Agarwal, co-founder of Giftxoxo.com commented, “Too much of media hype created and too many days/offers created by the current players like Amazon/Flipkart/Snapdeal was destroying the essence of the shopping festivals like GOSF. Every day seemed to be a festival now. Besides, most of the small guys have become active suppliers to the big players in the industry so not much of value was being created to SMEs in the exercise. Visibility offered to small players in this exercise will be lost. Creating small niche brands and upside of sales will be hampered here.”
Ms. Ankita Jain, co-founder of GoPaisa.com said, “Our belief is that at first look it seems disheartening, but from deeper perspective it is no cause of worry for top 5-10 retailers who have billions in funding but for emerging and new brands GOSF proved to be an effective marketing channel for such brands. Hence, an important support/marketing channel for brands is gone.”
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