All About The Great Online Shopping Festival 2014

Brief History

On December 12, 2012, Google India organized a day long shopping festival during which people could shop from hundreds of different online retailers at earth-shatteringly low rates. Following its success, Google organized the same event next year in December 2013. However, due to the massive success of GOSF in the previous year, this time around, it was organized for 3 days from 11th-13th December. Surpassing everyone’s expectations, the response to GOSF in 2013 was so “great,” that the organizers had no choice but to extend it one more day, in order to satiate the ever increasing number of online shoppers in the country. Now, come December, GOSF 2014 is expected to woo and please millions of online shopping enthusiasts in India, during its 3 days long run between 10-12 December. Being one of the first of its kind in country, GOSF has played a big role in introducing people to the many benefits of online shopping, even if it’s just for a period of 3 days. Moreover, it has proven to be extremely fruitful for the many already-existing as well as upcoming online and offline retailers, in getting their brand recognized and also make good sales in the process.

What’s So Special About GOSF?

There are some very good reasons why this initiative by Google is called “The Great” Online Shopping Festival. In order to attract as many shoppers as possible, the event offers massive sales in all categories across hundreds of brands and online shopping stores like Flipkart, Amazon, SnapDeal, Myntra and Jabong, to name a handful. Although the money-saving deals are applicable for a variety of products and brands, there are still some really popular categories that make the maximum number of sales during GOSF, something by which both the customers and the retailers profit. Some of the most sought-after categories are those of;

Electronics

One of the most popular categories, understandably because everyone wants to get their hands on the latest smart phones from the leading cell phone brands, especially if they are available at cheaper rates than the market prices. From Apple, Sony, Samsung and Nokia to HTC, Micromax, Gionee and more, almost every smart phone brand offers amazing discounts on their handsets. Apart from phones, the electronics category also sees good sales through LED/LCD television sets, home theaters, refrigerators, gaming consoles, among many others.

Fashion & Apparels

Another hot category is that of clothing and fashion. With most of all major cosmetic and apparel brands like L’Oreal, Davidoff, Olay, Wrangler, Burberry, United Colors of Benetton, Adidas and countless others, offering their latest range of products at wonderfully reduced prices, it comes as little surprise that this category is always in demand.

Travel & Booking

Nobody wants to miss a chance to travel to exotic locations, both within India and abroad. And if such travel and hotel bookings are available for lesser prices than usual, who would not be tempted to plan a vacation immediately? That is precisely why big travel companies like MakeMyTrip, Yatra, GoIbibo, Travel Guru, etc. introduce exciting deals on bookings during GOSF, luring in travelers who rush to book their reservations at cheaper rates.

Apart from these three, there are several other categories like books, jewellery, home decor, health and beauty, dining and restaurants, etc. that come with attractive discount offers that help shoppers save a good sum of money during the three days of GOSF.

What to Expect From GOSF 2014?

In an unprecedented move, this year, Google has already started creating buzz about GOSF through a Pre-Party, a 14 days long contest from November 25th to December 10th, the day of commencement of GOSF 2014. During this unique contest, 14 shortlisted brands will offer deals and discounts and hold contests on their products, for one full day each. The lucky winners of these contests will stand a chance to shop for free from the respective brands for a limited period of time. Add to that, this year, GOSF will also have a special segment called the “299 corner,” which will include costly, branded products for just Rs.299.

Apart from these new and special features, GOSF 2014 will give amazing discount offers and deals to customers for more number of online and offline retailers than ever before. So if you have been stashing up money to splurge on your favourite products and brands in one go, GOSF 2014 is just the right event for you. You can indulge in three days of non-stop, money-saving shopping experience between 10th-12th December and get all your desired goods at shockingly low rates!

The Expectations of Online Shopping

Online shopping is going to blast. Nowadays retailers are adding in-store pickup, offer free shipping and experiment with social media. It is getting difficult to say who is pure internet retailer and who are bricks and mortar shops with online portals. All of them are reformulating how we will shop online in the future: via a mobile device, tablet computer, in store kiosk, etc.

New legislation might be required in order to protect the customers but this will also affect negatively online shopping. Internet retailers would have to collect sales tax. We will talk about legislation latter on in this article.

However, more and more traditional retailers are going for online selling. L.L Bean launched free shipping on all items, Macy’s offers free shipping on purchases of $99 or more, Walmart bought social media platform Kosmix in order to build their online business and Toys R Us purchased a new distribution center to support internet sales.

More and more retailers will implement in-store pick up. Walmart started already by offering in-store pick up for orders placed online. Sears and Kmart are testing home delivery. Farm Stores in Florida offer their shoppers to order groceries online and pick up at a drive through. Some smaller stores might even open designated pick up locations for goods ordered online (example Chronodrive).

Nowadays people who own a smart phone can use applications that allow them to do price comparisons or use coupons to purchase online. But we are just getting started with this type of technology.

New applications allow customers to upload video clips modeling new cloths or using a new purchase. This is a new feature but will definitely pick up quickly.

What about the power of social network like Facebook and Twitter? As a consumer you are able to “like” or follow a favorite retailer and get discount on deals. For example 12 million consumers “like” Victoria’s Secret on Facebook as of March 2011.

Jim Okamura (managing partner at Okamura Consulting) says that social shopping is just getting started. He mentions that Facebook offers good return on investment. However there are still lots of retailers that have not taken this advantage yet.

Online shopping is also going to help a lot of small niche online retailers. Via international or cross border e-commerce, they are now doing 10-20% of their sales outside their own country (example SousVideSupreme, Zara, Top Shop and StyleTrek).

There are nowadays more and more sites that cut through the din of so many sites and bring consumers only the information they are interested in: Dealnews, ConsumerSearch, Brad’s Deals and My Shopping Genie. There are sites you can use to find coupon codes, and possibly to make money while shopping online. There are also a variety of websites you may utilize to earn “points” or “bucks”. You can accrue these points and bucks and “cash them in” for goodies such as gift cards, real cash, accessories, electronics, so on and so forth (Swag Bucks).

A great advantage for consumers of online shopping is that as it becomes easier to compare prices (via My Shopping Genie for example) stores will be forced to create better experiences with better sales staff and items hard to find anywhere else.

In an article from April 2011 it was revealed that China shut down 410 websites involved in copyright violations and counterfeiting in the first 3 months of 2010. This is a sign that governments are now trying to interfere in legitimating online sales and making it safe for online shoppers. China’s online shopping has been booming (iResearch analysis). China has more than 450 million internet users, being the world’s largest. China’s online shopping transaction volume jumped 89.4 % year on year. About 148 million customers purchased goods or services online in 2010. China’s online economy grew rapidly in the first quarter of 2011, mainly driven by the development of e-commerce and mobile internet. Due to this increase in online shopping, local Chinese authorities are placing more emphasis on monitoring online shops.

Another example is Malaysia. Malaysians spent $739millions shopping online last year according to a survey released by PayPal. The PayPal’s growth in Malaysia last year was the strongest in the region Asia and India at 70%. The biggest percentage of online retail purchases are made on local websites. However the USA is the most popular country Malaysians bought from.

As we mentioned above, governments are now trying to make the online shopping safer for the customers.

In an article from ABC News from April this year, it is stated that the White House has developed a plan named the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) in order to fight online identity theft. The idea of this plan is to consolidate internet logins, kind of “Connect” for online shopping with the government’s mark of approval. Furthermore better security will encourage consumers and financial services companies to embrace payments through smartphones. The supporters of this system pointed out that the program would be voluntary. However there are pros and cons regarding this topic. The customers may benefit from these type of legislations but there are also disadvantages to it.

The Pleasure Of Online Shopping

Online Shopping is today the most convenient and exciting way of shopping. It caters to every income group and therefore has a wide customer base. It allows customers to buy goods and services from sellers or merchants using the internet. Many people find this the most relaxed form of shopping, more so from the convenience of their home. It also has its advantages and disadvantages, that should be kept in mind to make shopping a pleasure.

Online Shopping lets you to shop from your home. You can relax before your computer or laptop and browse from various shopping portals. Some advantages include the following:

  • You do not need to get dressed and ready yourself and the family for driving down to the shopping mall. Neither do you need to walk from shop to shop exploring variety of products.
  • Facilitates ease of comparison of products and prices. Online business owners therefore, price their products competitively as pricing plays a major decisive factor for customer decisions. Reviews that are available online will also give you an insight on the products you want to buy.
  • You get a wide range of merchandise at these shopping sites, unlike the availability of certain brand or limited categories in physical stores.
  • You do not have to listen to unwanted sales talk. Usually the salesman at any store tries to push products where they generate more margins. They tend to influence the customer decisions. You may also end up buying things which was not in your buying list! Online shopping, will prevent you from impulsive shopping.
  • You can be away from the crowd and do not need to stand in queues at the cashiers counter.
  • Discuss with the family before finalising your product purchase. This kind of comfort zone works very well as likes and dislikes are sorted out within the family before a purchase order is placed.
  • No need to take urgent decisions. As online shopping works 24 x 7, there is no need to rush through your purchase, unlike in stores where they have fixed time of operations.
  • Purchasing certain items at stores can be embarrassing and create awkward situations in the presence of curious onlookers.
  • Easy payment modes. Some shopping sites offer free delivery and even payment on delivery. Information products like e-books can be downloaded on immediate payment.

Most shopping portals offer discounts, special offers, deals of the day, and even festive offers on various occasions. They also offer a replacement policy at no extra cost. A wide variety of products like apparels, jewelry, computers, electronic gadgets and accessories, health and beauty products, toys and several others are easily available for your shopping pleasure.

While on the subject, it must be kept in mind that there are some disadvantages when you are shopping online. They are, to mention a few:

  • The quality of the product cannot be judged merely on the basis of a single photograph, as they can be deceptive.
  • You have to wait for the delivery of your items which you could otherwise pick up from a store instantly.
  • Unreliable shopping sites can sell off inferior products, which you may not be able to replace.
  • There are no contact points where you can discuss or bargain further.
  • Risks involved in credit card/ debit card transactions.

In spite of these disadvantages, online shopping is becoming more and more popular as the advantages favour not only the busy executives but also the house wives and the young generation.

Consider shopping from well known e-retailers. If you carefully analyse and take care of the above, your Online Shopping will be an experience that you will enjoy.

Online Shopping: The Good, The Bad

Hello out there in internet world, are you busy? Not right now, but in general. You probably are – everybody else is – and this is leading to unfortunate malfunctions in the wardrobe department: namely that we do not have enough time to keep up with fashion and actually go shopping.

Fortunately, the internet has helped in this respect, we no longer need to find the time to get to the town centres, walk around the shops, picking things up and trying them on, then standing in queue, paying for our goods, and then driving back home again (- what a palaver, it was hard enough just writing it, let alone actually do it!). Yes, luckily we no longer have to do that, because the internet is a 24/7 365 shopping centre, where it takes a fraction of the time to find what we are searching for.

Aside from the convenience factor, there are loads of reasons for shopping online, for example:

• Time saving: it takes a fraction of the time to shop online than it does to shop in the real world. There are no queues, no annoying cashiers having an ultra-slow day, and no shoppers getting in the way (- oh, and stealing the last item that you had your heart set on buying).

• You can narrow down your search and look for exactly what you want. For instance, if you need high heeled shoes in a size 6 made by a specific brand, you simply enter these search terms and press enter. This returns a list of exactly the shoes that you want. You cannot do this in the real world shoe shops; that is for sure!

• Price: as we said already, online prices are much cheaper, but this is not the only area in which you will save money. If you drive to your shopping centre, then you can save on petrol and parking; if you take the bus, then you can save on bus fare.

• No more painful feet: you can sit on your sofa and browse a whole collection of clothing and shoes. If you go to the shopping centre, you can walk up to three miles in one shopping trip, round and round and round and round! Of course, that is a long shopping trip, but it does happen (speaking from experience).

There are a few problems though, but these are easy to overcome:

• Sizing: you cannot, yet, try on your clothes or shoes online (although if they invent a special printer that can print clothes from protons, neutrons and electrons, we may be able to one day!). For this reason, you can face problems when the clothes arrive. When you find a shop you like, you can check review sites to find out if their sizing is accurate or if they are larger or smaller than standard, then buy accordingly. If the clothes arrive and they do not fit, it is no problem; you simply return them and buy the next size up or down. This is a little annoying, but is relatively rare.

• You cannot know whether a style suits you before the clothes arrive, because you cannot try them on. In shoe shops in the real world, you can wear the shoes and actually see how they fit, whether they suit you and if they look good. Again, this is easy to resolve by returning the goods and getting a refund.

The vast majority of online shops offer returns policies for such eventualities, so this should be no problem.