Kerala shoppers can look forward to a shopping bonanza this Onam. The state’s government has allowed Flipkart and other companies to transport heavy goods via road again. The ecommerce company has tied up with appliance company BPL to sell its TVs, fridges and washing machines.
Sandeep Karwa, who heads the large appliances department at Flipkart says,
“If you look at Kerala as a market, the demography and everything, it starts with the literacy rates—so it’s a very important e-commerce market. We see similar trends with markets like Goa and Pondicherry. What we’ve been trying to do is figure things out and work it out with the government to ensure that stuff now reaches customers.”
A mutually beneficial alliance
Exposure via Flipkart can be a boost for BPL too. The company is looking at reviving its image. BPL was the favoured brand in the ‘90s, which faded thanks to competitors like Samsung, Philips and Sony. Manmohan Ganesh, the company’s general manager says,
“We’ve set a target of achieving 10% of Flipkart’s sales (in large appliances) and we’re hopeful of crossing that. The numbers have been quite encouraging; we’ll really know after the festive season how much we’ve achieved. Typically, 50% of the sale of TVs happens during this period.”
Gearing up for Big Billion Day
Both parties are also pinning hopes on Flipkart’s magnum opus sale due next month. BPL is aiming its ad campaign close to the Big Billion Day. Ganesh said on the matter,
“Right now everything we’ve done has been around online. For the season, we will have offline. We have an only online strategy right now — the only challenge is that people can’t experience the product.”
Experts feel that it is all about customer loyalty. In a market where no single player has a lead, it is all about retaining the customers’ attention. Sreedhar Prasad, partner at KPMG feels,
“What matters most in category-led domination are factors like quality and fulfilment. Pricing is not a big issue — players who take care of quality and fulfilment will end up gaining market share.”
Flipkart had relaunched its large appliance segment in 2014. The company’s agenda for 2016 is to drive its growth through the segment. Shoppers tend to change their household appliances during festivals like Onam, Diwali and Christmas. Flipkart and BPL have doubtlessly chosen to strike while the iron is hot.