The e-commerce firm, which has its two biggest data centres in Chennai and Hyderabad, has been testing its server strength and creating backups
BENGALURU: Flipkart, which kicks off its flagship Big Billion Days (BBD) sale on 16 October, is relying on technology, value-driven shopping, and expanding its assortments to cater to customers from smaller cities this year.
BBD, which will closely compete with Amazon’s Great Indian Festive Sale, ahead of Dussehra and Diwali, will be a litmus test for e-commerce firms who have said the 2020 edition will be their biggest ever, bringing 40-50 million consumers to shop online.
The festive sale will push the active online shopper base in India to 160 million from 135 million in 2019, according to RedSeer Consulting.
Thousands of Flipkart employees will work remotely for the five-day sale, creating virtual war rooms across cities. The e-commerce firm, which has its two biggest data centres in Chennai and Hyderabad, has been testing its server strength and creating backups.
“As more consumers from diverse age groups and backgrounds come online to shop, we see a great focus on value this festive season," said Flipkart.
Flipkart is building this BBD edition on value-conscious customers, with the share of shoppers from tier II rising. It has been ramping up partnerships with value brands such as Bata and Max Fashion to offer more choice to consumers at lower price points.
More than half of the shoppers in this festive season will come from tier II cities and beyond, seeking value deals, and will be assisted by new shopping models, including video and WhatsApp-based shopping, a RedSeer report said. The Bengaluru-based firm is doubling down on the use of regional languages and voice search capabilities to drive convenience to this segment of buyers.
Flipkart also aims to source products from local markets to cater to BBD customers, through the Flipkart Quick service launched in July. Merchant kiranas in cities will also act as housing stations for the firm, as it looks to provide faster deliveries to customers in metros.
Electronics and smartphones will continue to dominate festive sales for both Amazon and Flipkart, while furniture and fashion will also see a rise in demand, according to analysts.
“Close to 40% of our new shoppers experience fashion as the first category on Flipkart. As consumers look to buy more comfort and lounge wear, we have ramped up our partnerships over the last month to bridge this gap on our platform," said Nishit Garg, vice president- fashion, Flipkart.
Even for long-tail categories like furniture, it has seen a 2x demand for work-from-home furniture.
“We have doubled the total number of furniture sellers on our platform over the last few months and increased seller count in this space by 30%. We have also doubled our warehousing capacity to reach 100% serviceable pin codes, with most of them being in Tier 2 and 3 cities. To add buying convenience, we have launched ‘Pay Later’ products and also launched expert chat on our listing pages, for quicker resolution of doubts," Manish Kumar, senior vice president-furniture, Flipkart said.
The firm will also leverage its private labels and has partnered with international brands to launch products.
The company will launch around 320 private brands across babycare, fast-moving consumer goods, sports and fitness, electronics and other categories, said Dev Iyer, vice-president, private brands.
“Festive sales are led by affordability and occasions and both have been impacted this year. With imports banned from China, we need to see how electronics as a category will fare. Supply chain disruption will also need to be tackled by e-commerce firms," said Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president, retail & consumer products division, Technopak.
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