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With a Month to Durga Puja, It is Raining Discounts For Kolkata's Online Consumers

In-store prices are often higher than similar products available online, But some consumers wonder how products online always show a discounted rate and whether there is more than meets the eye in this sales strategy?

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:August 30, 2019, 10:18 PM IST
With a Month to Durga Puja, It is Raining Discounts For Kolkata's Online Consumers
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Kolkata: The festive season of Durga Puja is a month away and Kolkatans are already in shopping mode. E-commerce platforms are abuzz with discounts which Bengalis cannot ignore. There is also the option of walking into the store to shop for those who want to physically experience the joy of trying on a kurta before purchasing it.

In-store prices are often higher than similar products available online, which makes e-commerce platforms a shopper’s paradise. Some consumers, however, wonder how products online always show a discounted rate and whether there is more than meets the eye in this sales strategy?

Ananya Buba, Director of Chase Labs which makes women’s apparel under labels ‘Miss Chase’ and ‘Avirate’ and sells them on e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Jabong and Amazon, says discounts are not always an eyewash and they do benefit consumers in a big way. “Indian people love deals. A subset of brand manufacturers do artificially mark up their prices and make it seem like they sell products on discounts. Emerging digital-first brands like ours give consumers value for money. If the cost price of a top is Rs 400, we still sell it at a discount unlike other international brands which charge consumers a huge amount for the label,” Says Ananya Bubna.

A digital-first brand is one that only uses the digital platform as a selling method and doesn’t necessarily get into sales through offline stores. These brands rather focus on giving consumers a great online shopping experience. Store rentals are not required for digital-first brands and they pass on those savings to consumers as an additional discount. The other way of looking at it is that more the discounts, more the chances of visitors on the e-commerce platform buying quality products which are cost-effective.

Bubna goes on to say that 0.1% of the Indian population cares about fresh season launches. The rest of the population has a sizeable number of consumers that digital-first brands cater to. “Indian consumers are smart and don’t want to pay extra which comes with buying apparel from an international brand. I would term it unofficially as a brand tax where a brand places a label and charges three times more than the cost price. The cost structure for these big brands are similar where consumers pay more due to the brand name. What we are giving consumers is stylish quality products online which are value for money and consumers are not complaining,” says Bubna.

The strategies are different for brands selling products online and offline. In offline selling, consumers pass a store, see the product and then decide on whether to enter the shop and buy what they see. The price then becomes the secondary factor. In online shopping, sellers use smart pricing strategies among others to lure consumers to consider their products.

When one brand gives consumers discount options of 70%, most consumers are likely to choose these compared to similar products sold at a 30% discount. Brands stand the risk of losing out on their consumer base. Pricing, however, is the sole discretion of brand manufacturers. There is no set rule on deciding selling prices of products but even of offline products sold online, the prices for genuine products are sometimes slightly lower than their offline versions.

“I prefer shopping online since they are cheaper than what the stores have plus the quality is overall decent and sustainable. There are a lot of discounts available online unlike stores and I still find the latest trends. I can exchange the product if there is a problem with it which is easier than having to go to a store each time to exchange the product,” Says college-goer Puja Saraf.

Another consumer Megha Dutta feels online shopping is easier and value for money and can be bought without having to battle traffic jams to reach a store. “If I find something similar online and cheaper which I have seen in a store, then I will definitely prefer to buy it online. I am not only getting cheaper products, but I am also getting them delivered at my doorstep,” says Megha.

E-commerce is the perfect marketplace for consumers who want trendy branded products and newer digitally first brands. The choice lies on consumers at the end of the day. But when money saved is money earned, availing discounts is a smart way to shop and is the way forward for many consumers. Who would not want to shop till they drop and still save money this festive season?

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