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Now, offline retailers fear mega Google fest

Google’s online shopping festival (GOSF), slated to start from December 10, may face even greater resistance from traditional retailers than Flipkart did during its recent Bigbillion day sale. While Flipkart clocked $ 100 million gross merchandise value (GMV) sale within 10 hours of its one-day festival kicking off, the Google event holds out a bigger threat as the fest will spread out over three days with more sellers and categories.  

CAIT (Confederation of All India Traders), a trade body comprising medium sized and small retailers, has registered its protest with finance minister Arun Jaitley, telling him how the sale on Google, with larger data resources than Flipkart or Amazon, could be a disaster for brick and mortar retailers. Recently, the big boys of Indian retailer such as Reliance, ITC, Aditya Birla complained about predatory pricing and lack of clarity regarding e-commerce in India to the ministries of finance and commerce.

GOSF, an annual event, is coming at a time when brick & mortar sellers and online players are locked in a battle for their share in the $ 600-billion retail market. The latest to trigger a controversy was the proposed launch of President Pranab Mukherjee’s book exclusively on Amazon, with offline chains threatening boycott of the publisher. Now, telecom firm Micromax is planning to launch its new canvas phone exclusively on Flipkart.

“Via gmail, Google a has larger share of database to rope in consumers in the festival. Exclusive launches, mega discounts will be doled out during the three day festival. Such trend coming from e-counterparts are detrimental for offline sellers,” Praveen Khandelwal of CAIT, adding that Micromax’s exclusive launch on Flipkart too will not sail through smoothly.

To attract new customers to shop online, the Google festival would dole out exclusive offers with mega discounts to first time buyers. “Last year over 30 per cent of buyers shopped online for the first time during GOSF, and this year we have worked hard to make it even more exciting for the first time shopper. We have partnered with over 450 players in the industry, and have created a special Rs 299 corner with free shipping and cash on delivery option,” said Nitin Bawankule, industry director, eCommerce, Local and Classifieds, at Google India.

Incidentally, for Google, this will be the third year that the internet giant is hosting the festival in India. It has muscled up significantly to cash in on rising growth of e online shopping this year. In fact, Google is eyeing 100 million consumers in 2014 via GOSF. Last year, 2 million users visited gosf.in and over 16 million users visited across all partner sites including smaller players registering 2x growth on an average in their daily sales, claimed Google.

Google India management is bullish on the festival as they feel the consumer confidence to shop online has grown considerably in the last six month. A report by Google points out that e-commerce in India will touch $ 15 billion in the next two years. Currently, the sector is pegged at around $ 4 billion.

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