ETtechWith barely 10 days to go before their flagship festive season sale events begin, dominant e-commerce marketplaces Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart are going all out with new category launches, reduction in seller fees, and direct engagement to woo merchants, multiple people aware of the developments told ET.Amazon India has begun live commerce sessions on its app, starting with the fashion category, like what homegrown e-tailer Flipkart did in February.The US-based ecommerce firm has also waived off new seller fee by 50% to bring more vendors online.Meanwhile, Flipkart senior executives –including chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy –have been touring key hubs across the country to meet sellers and brands for its Big Billion Days sale event, people who have held discussions with the e-tailer said.Flipkart and Amazon India will both kickstart their flagship sale on September 23.ET reported last week about the dates of the sale, citing communication sent to merchants.Flipkart is expected to maintain its lead in festive sale market share and is aiming to grow by about 20-25% during the next one month, industry sources said.Last year, the Bengaluru-based e-tailer had clocked a GMV (gross merchandise value) of around Rs 35,000-Rs 37,000 crore during the festive month.“This time, Kalyan (Krishnamurthy) has also been on the ground in key hubs like Surat and other geographies over the past couple of weeks meeting sellers, brands and other ecosystem partners,” said one of the people who met the Flipkart leadership team.For both Flipkart and Amazon India, the upcoming sales events would be crucial as they arrive after relatively muted sales in the first of this year.
ETtechIllustration: Rahul Awasthi“A growth of 20-25% on a large GMV base is being aimed at, but they (Flipkart) will push for more. The communication to sellers and key brands has been to price it appropriately as affordability will be a key driving factor,” another person aware of the matter said.Amazon’s foray into live commerce right before the sale is a way of increasing engagement.Flipkart’s fashion e-tailing platform Myntra also launched live commerce last year, with users able to purchase products within its live chat option.Live commerce is believed to be more user friendly in categories like fashion and beauty, and e-tailers are experimenting with these categories for a start.Amazon India did not respond to ET’s queries. A spokesperson for Flipkart confirmed the company’s on-ground activity with sellers and other stakeholders, without delving into details.“The events you have referred to are part of programmes undertaken by our marketplace team to prepare and engage with our sellers ahead of our festive season,” the company told ET in a statement. It added that such engagemets have led to many policy enhancements by the firm for its merchants.Like Myntra and Flipkart, Amazon’s live commerce sessions are being held by various fashion influencers showcasing products like clothes, shoes, bags and other items.These sessions are planned and are being promoted on the app for certain time slots.The sessions are streamed live on the app along with promotional discounts.“The idea is definitely that it will catch on here. It is still early days here, but festive season sales and such big-ticket events are a good time to drive higher engagement and unveil new commerce options,” a senior industry executive said on Amazon’s foray into live commerce.A spokesperson for Myntra said its live commerce channel – M-Live – has seen over 10,000 live videos since it began late last year. It holds about 40-50 live sessions every day, it said.“On an average, we witness 100% engagement rates on live sessions. Our live-streaming commerce traffic has grown by 5 times and our orders through live commerce by 10 times in the last six months,” the Flipkart-owned fashion e-tailer said, without giving absolute sales numbers.The base for live commerce sales, however, remains small.H&M, L’Oreal, Maybelline, Lakme, MAC, and Puma are among the top brands that Myntra said it had worked with for its live commerce channel. The fashion e-tailer said it can host 5-10 concurrent live streams on its app.“… with ecommerce growing further, people will adapt to live commerce and it is aimed to drive spontaneous sales. It is for those items and within a price range, not for big-ticket items like smartphones, television, and other products,” a fashion ecommerce entrepreneur who has experimented with live commerce said. “If you see China, products like lipstick by one influencer on Alibaba were selling like crazy and it drove other brands to try out live commerce as well.”
Live commerce focussed startups like Bulbul and Simsim have previously been acquired by the Good Glamm Group and YouTube, respectively.
Keyword: Countdown begins: Flipkart, Amazon gear up for festive battle>