Ever since the government disallowed deep discounts by online players such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Shopclues, Paytm and others, orders on these portals have dwindled from their earlier highs. It is not hard to fathom why. Deep discounts were the drawing card of these websites and now that they have been pulled back, customers have started flocking back to offline stores. It appears that the government clampdown on discounts has created a level playing field for both online and offline retailers. On the face of it, the sobering down of online shoppers can be said to be a timely and welcome correction, and online retailers should not fret at this turn of development. They have much to look forward to and if they can put the pieces back together, they will be in the reckoning again.
A recent report on digital retail by AT Kearney & Google noted that people won’t stop shopping if discounts were withdrawn. But the focus of e-commerce companies, the report said, should be on product assortment, convenience of ordering and differentiation. It should be noted that the primary value proposition of e-commerce – the ability to by anywhere anytime – still prompts most users to come online.
So e-tailers need to focus on making their platforms more appealing to attract old and new buyers. They need to look at creating value around factors such as choice, trust, convenience, assortment and shopping experience. By focusing on value-added services and customers, online players will be able to ensure that customers keep coming back for repeat purchases.