Scores of offline retail chains, including smaller and regional brands, are ramping up their websites or setting up new portals to get into e-tailing even as the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown in the country led to a major shift in the shopping behaviour of people with millions buying online.
“We felt that consumers were likely to buy online more,” said Sumit Sehgal, chief marketing officer at Noida-based Sheela Foam that owns Sleepwell brand.
The mattress company recently added an ecommerce module to its website despite its presence on top ecommerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart. It also launched a separate portal for its online only brand SleepX.
“As the company has a significant market share of 30%, we have a loyal customer base who wants to buy directly from us,” Sehgal said.
According to a study by IT company Capgemini, Indian consumers’ appetite for online shopping to expected to rise to 64% over the next 6-9 months from 46% now.
Hence the rush to go omnichannel.
Premium jewellery retailer Hazoorilal Legacy, which has been in business for 68 years, launched its ecommerce portal this month and is currently shipping to Mumbai and Delhi NCR at no added cost to the customer.
“The launch of our e-shop is a significant milestone for the brand, further solidifying Hazoorilal Legacy’s offerings via a cross-channel business model,” said Rohan Narang, managing director of the jeweller that intends to take the online model pan India before the end of the year.
Five-decades old ethnicwear company Meena Bazaar is upgrading its website to make it “more user friendly” and has hired digital consultant Manuj Bajaj to advise it on digital marketing and sales. It is spending on Google targeted ads.
“Now our entire team is aligned to online sales,” said Sameer Manglani, a partner at the Delhi-based ethnicwear brand that operates 33 eponymous stores. “We used to have online and stores as separate departments and there were always competitions between the team. Now we have integrated them in an omnichannel way.”
Ample Foods, which owns and operates ready-to-eat Prasuma Momos brand, spruced up its website recently.
“While our products were available through various delivery partners in the metro cities and tier 1 towns, customers from tier ii cities had to be informed about the stores we were available in,” said Lisa Suwal, vice-president, marketing and sales, at Prasuma. The brand which was present in seven cities increased its presence to 21 and is looking at adding more variants.
Most of these firms sell much more through big ecommerce platforms than through their own portals, but executives point out that own portal gives them direct access to the consumer and that matters.
“Through a company-owned site portal, a customer deals directly with the brand,” said Sehgal of Sleepwell. “It helps you own the customer.”