SMBs Don’t Need An Annual Event For Marketing: Google India eCommerce Head

Nitin Bawankule, Director of Industry (E Commerce, Retail, Online Classifieds, Technology, Education and Government) at Google India (Image Courtesy: LinkdIn Profile)

Nitin Bawankule, Director of Industry (E Commerce, Retail, Online Classifieds, Technology, Education and Government) at Google India (Image Courtesy: LinkdIn Profile)

In a recent announcement by Google, the yearly online shopping festival ‘Google Online Shopping Festival (GOSF)’ has been cancelled. Nitin Bawankule, Director of Industry (eCommerce, Retail, Online Classifieds, Technology, Education and Government) at Google India in its official blog made the announcement on November 3.

The blog post quoted, “ There were many learnings for us and the Industry on the whole but the time has come for us to bid adieu to the Great Online Shopping Festival. We will continue to invest in initiatives to empower small and medium businesses and work along with the Industry to make Internet a growth engine for the country.”

In a conversation with Mr Bawankule, we asked him a few questions regarding the scrapping of GOSF.

Discounts are now over-used and abused, can this be a reason for scrapping GOSF as Google don’t want to be a part of this madness?

“When we launched Great Online Shopping Festival as the Cyber Monday of India in 2012, our objective was to encourage more Indians to shop online by offering them the best of deals across portals. We brought all the leading eCommerce players on a common platform to boost the online shopping industry by focusing on first time buyers. Since then the Industry has taken many steps to boost consumer confidence and the ecosystem for eCommerce in the country is very robust now. The pace of growth and the impact eCommerce companies are driving in India has gained significant momentum and we are very pleased that we were able to play our part in this journey in India. GOSF from the very beginning was designed to be a catalyst initiative for the Industry and we think it delivered more than we expected for the Industry.”

GOSF gave a platform to small brands, helped them rise. The support Google offered to small e-retailers is gone. Comments Please

“GOSF served as a great platform 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 today are well established online shopping destinations. Having said that many of the large players today work with 1000s of SMBs on their respective platforms and they all are seeing great traction on deal days and otherwise on those platforms through the year. SMBs don’t really need an annual event for marketing their products to buyers anymore.”

Sales of small brands will be hampered. The big players will now hold monopoly and grip on the concept created by Google. What do you think about this?

“eCommerce Industry in India is growing really fast and there is a lot of headroom for growth as more Indians shop online – small businesses will continue to have a lot of choice to engage buyers online across platforms and also scale direct selling from their own stores.”

The concept of ‘Online Shopping Festival’ was launched by Google in 2012 where a range of products were sold on heavy discounts. Google collaborated with small and big retailers to take part in the festival and sell their products. Almost 100 e-retailers took part in the first of its kind.

The rise of eCommerce industry in India (Image Source: GoogleIndia.blogspot.in)

The rise of eCommerce industry in India (Image Source: GoogleIndia.blogspot.in)

The response was exceptional, so the website crashed and when it came back after an hour, all the deals were gone as if they never existed in the first place. Seeing an amazing response, next year in 2013 Google extended its timing and made it a two-day show. The site crashed again, with almost 250 retailers selling their products online this time, creating a resentment among the consumers who were looking forward to the sale. The event was eventually extended for a day and the total traffic count in three days was more than two million.

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GOSF 2014 was again a three day festival. Google collaborated with more than 550 e-retailers, though Flipkart had some other plans so it opted out. The traffic generated was almost seven times that of 2013 counting to almost 15 million.

This year was a disappointment for small retailers to set a mark in the industry as GOSF 15 was cancelled. There can be many reasons for the cancellation and it cannot be denied that it is affecting a few.

Discounts can be a reason and so can fear of emerging giants like Flipkart, Snapdeal or Amazon. No matter what the chapter of GOSF is closed, as the blogpost of Google India quoted, “The pace of growth and the impact e Commerce companies are driving in India has gained significant momentum and we are very pleased that we were able to play our part in this journey in India. 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.”

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