The site now is as eerily silent as a closed mall. “The Google Great Online Shopping Festival is over for the year,” says Gosf.in, ending with a “Till next year.” After 12.12.12, supposedly India’s version of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the lull.
Are eager shoppers and consumers waiting with bated breath? Venkatesan K, a finance executive from Chennai, certainly isn’t. “I wish GOSF had more genuine deals,” he says. Venkatesan felt that the offers were “just a shade more than they were offered, on items which are regularly purchased” and “discounts were ramped up on out-of-stock items.” He was disappointed that “items not in demand had a higher than normal discount” but would have spent online if the discounts were “genuine.”
Radha Vasudevan, correspondent, Vidya Niketan School, Chennai, agrees. She got different mailers from the websites, promising discounts and “buy one get one free” offers. “I was looking for home furnishing products like cushion covers but found, especially in the ‘buy one get one free’ offers, that the price was inflated to start with,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I was getting a discount.” Ms. Vasudevan describes herself as a “reasonably” regular online shopper and usually shops for books online.
Some other online shoppers used this opportunity to buy products they usually find in a store and try out new vendors. Some wished there was better competition between vendors.
For many, the whole idea of having so many vendors on one platform was exciting. For Brinda Vasudevan, an editor, logging onto the GOSF was important because it was happening. “I wasn’t looking to buy anything specific though I did get an external hard disk,” she says. She had been looking for one for a while and feels she got a “good deal.” “I thought the whole idea was very exciting,” she says. “There were a great number of vendors to check out.”
Besides shoppers, GOSF was also about the many online retailers who participated. K. Vaitheeswaran of Indiaplaza, says: “There were two online shopping festivals held in the last few weeks. One was the GOSF by Google and the other was OMG [Oh My god] by CitiBank. We participated in both. We experienced massive jumps in sales in both.” Since this was the first time that a programme like this was being held, most companies weren’t quite prepared for the overwhelming customer load. “Also, we offered discounts mostly on electronics. Now that we know the wide profile of the customers, we will ensure discounts on every variety of items.”
Google India created the festival to be live online for 24 hours with nearly 90 eCommerce sites.