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mcommerce in India: Four considerations for retail sales

India’s mcommerce market is growing steadily as more and more users gain access to smartphones. Currently the market hosts around 204 million smartphone users, almost the same number as in the US, at 207 million users, according to Statista. This enormous figure only represents around one sixth of the country’s population, which demonstrates India’s potential. Cementing the country’s position as a mobile-first economy are its mCommerce figures, which show that more than 65 per cent of online sales are currently made on a mobile device and that these sales are expected to grow by 76 per cent next year, according to eMarketer.

While lucrative, the market is also highly competitive: making a splash and attracting customers is not always easy. One way to draw users to your app is through seasonal sales, but there are a number of important things to consider when it comes to planning, timing, and properly promoting the sale.

1. What to sell? Consider your new collections and best sellers

All too often, retailers assume that the primary purpose of a sale is to get rid of old stock, to clear out inventories and make space for new products. However, the real reason to have a sale is to boost revenues, and so therefore it is essential to place your focus on new collections. Don’t offer your customers end-of-season jeans in clearance sales, cash in on big sales throughout the season, and offer new and popular products when consumers are actively looking to shop. Spend some time looking into your top-selling stock and make sure these are the products you promote in your ads. This is what will attract customers to your app.

2. Understand your audience and time your sale accordingly
While most app developers know that data can provide valuable insights on their audiences, this goes beyond targeting their ads. Demographic data should be paired with market analysis, at which point it is then able to help plan events like sales. Who are your customers and when do they prefer to take advantage of sales? Are they young professionals who want to keep up with Western fashion trends, or families searching for the best outfit to celebrate traditional holidays? Figure out when your customers are looking to spend and make sure you target them with great discounts and sales around that period.

3. What is the competition like in your chosen period?
Don’t go for the obvious cases. A lot of retailers tend to push sales around major holidays in which people are buying new clothes anyway. Investing into organizing and promoting a sale before and during Diwali, arguably India’s most important holiday, should help you achieve the desired ROI, given how much organic traffic this time period supplies anyway. However, there are other, less obvious opportunities to hold a big sale. Large retail organisations like Myntra stage their biggest sales in traditionally quieter periods in India. Myntra has India’s large urban student population as one of their key demographics, and the academic year starts in mid-July every year in India, so Myntra hosts special promotions which gives students the chance to freshen up their wardrobe. It’s important to find a good balance between maintaining traditional holiday sales and exploring other options.

4. Make sure your marketing tactics line up with your big sales day
Just as essential as planning for the big day is making sure you have the audiences there to make purchases. Timing needs to be carefully considered when it comes to improving your ranking in the app store and running user acquisition campaigns. Running a burst campaign shortly before your sale, to boost your app store ranking and increase visibility for potential new users, is an excellent way to start. Running user acquisition campaigns once the sale has started, and leveraging the sale’s big deals in the creatives is key.

The most obvious and straightforward solutions are not always the best. However, by planning and thinking strategically, and accounting for your company’s market positioning and who your customers are, any mobile retail organisation can attract the right users and convert them to harness India’s growing spending potential at any time of the year.

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Aysel Huseynzade

Aysel Huseynzade is responsible for the Indian market as Business Development Manager at Glispa Global Group. Prior to joining Glispa, Aysel worked at SAP's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.