Google closes GOSF, but online offers don’t go away

Google closes GOSF, but online offers don’t go away

Google closes GOSF, but online offers don't go away

On Wednesday, Google India said it would shut down its Great Online Shopping Festival program, which started in 2012 and ran for three years.

The annual sale had novelty value when it started, and impressive statistics to show in terms of traffic, with the 2014 edition receiving 80 lakh visits during the three days of the festival. Last year’s GOSF saw the participation of 400 partners, as well as the launch of Chromecast and Nexus 6. Notably, the festival managed to sell a good number of houses, cars and bicycles. Regardless of its success, it’s very pragmatic of Google India to wrap it up as people were already calling it lukewarm last year.

The e-commerce landscape has changed dramatically over the past year – most major e-commerce companies have their own apps they prefer to promote, and sales-based campaigns have been underway for a month. We’ve had the Amazon Diwali Sale, Snapdeal Diwali Sale, and Flipkart’s Big Billion Days Sale before. Another sale at this point would only elicit groans of boredom and fatigue at this point from a jaded online community of shoppers who are no longer impressed by “fake” discounts.

(Read also: Snapdeal Diwali Sale: exaggerated discounts dampen the spirit of electronics on Monday)

Most e-commerce companies also offer year-round sales, and tech brands have gone to town with the flash sale model, as brands like Xiaomi, Yu, One Plus all bring their inventory exclusively online.

As Google India says in their blog post: “Users don’t have to wait 12 months to get the best deals online, small and medium businesses don’t have to wait for to find customers anymore. from all over India.”

That’s a pretty honest assessment of the e-commerce market in 2015, and as Google India notes, virtually everyone on the internet in India has had online shopping experience, and it’s already an industry 10 billions of dollars. This particular use case no longer needs validation from a tech giant to give it credibility. According to the latest estimates from Gartner, the Indian digital commerce market has a transaction volume of around $7 billion (about Rs 45,841 crore) and is growing by 40% every year.

What this whole deep discount model has called into question is whether it can buy consumer loyalty – or be seen as an innovation. The average Indian online consumer is savvy enough to know a good deal when they see one, and have no reason to stick with any particular e-commerce platform. Meanwhile, an ecosystem of transaction aggregators and comparison engines make hay while the sun shines, feeding on the largesse of the VC. This means that the online deals and sales that have become a way of life for e-commerce platforms aren’t going anywhere just yet – so unplugging the GOSF was a smart move.

(Read also : The problem of online festive sales)

Online sales are unlikely to go away – Amazon and Flipkart will always be more competitive than offline stores because they don’t have to spend money on commercial real estate and given their economies of scale. But the giant deals we’ve seen will slowly dry up. On the other hand, new e-commerce companies that use their funding to subsidize consumer purchases, in order to drive growth, are really doing themselves a disservice. The deals will stick, but don’t expect them to be stolen, if the company plans to last.

Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.


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