THE ECONOMIC TIMES: About two months ago, Future Group founder Kishore Biyani visited China to understand shopping behaviour during Singles Day, the biggest shopping festival in the world’s most populous country.

Biyani was part of the star-studded event that Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibabahosted in Shanghai and included guests such as actress Nicole Kidman, singer Pharrell Williams and local celebs for its Singles’ Day sales extravaganza. The next day, Alibaba saw its sales hit a new record of $25.3 billion.

Biyani wants to mimic that in India.

“While we have launched the Republic day sale more than a decade ago, we have taken inspirations such as bringing celebs for live gaming show on Facebook and opening pop-up stores from Alibaba. The idea is to blend online shopping with offline stores, or O2O, which already accounts for 10% of our sales,” said Biyani, adding that he is targeting sales of over Rs 1,000 crore from the five-day mega discount event during the Republic Day week.

Future Group said it plans to reach nearly 30 million customers mainly through a 24-hour live entertainment show on Facebook where about two dozen celebs will participate. It will also announce hourly exclusive offers and coupons to drive store walk-ins.

Over the years, brick-and-mortar retailers have been investing in omni-channel strategies and experimenting with global models such as flash sales, offering a single product for sale for a period of 24 to 36 hours. Several brick-and-mortar retailers including Future Group clocked double-digit same-store sales growth over last year, even as e-commerce rivals are focusing on profitability.

“E-tailers generated their higher ever sale performance over the five festive days from September 20-24, 2017. For these festive sale days, the analysis shows that the e-tailing industry managed to generate Rs 9,000 crore/$1.5 billion of sales,” a report by research firm RedSeer Consulting adding that it translates into a 40% year-on-year growth when compared to $1.05 billion generated in the 2016 edition.



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