Live Bargaining Online? Shopping at E-Commerce Sites Now Becoming More Indianised

Read to know what e-retailers are doing to Indianise the shopping experience for value shoppers in India.


Naa Aapka Na Mera Chalo Dedh Sau De Do’

A common price negotiation that we are all familiar with while shopping from a brick and mortar store be it vegetables, clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, etc., in India.

Imagine one could bargain the same way in online shopping over the prices shown next to the slashed prices already? Voila.

As data prices become cheaper and smartphones become more affordable, India’s e-commerce landscape has burgeoned deeper into the lower-tier towns and cities, thereby including the value-conscious online shoppers under its ambit. The term ‘value’ here signifies affordable products without compromising on quality, durability, and trendiness. Online shoppers from this particular cohort hunt for finding affordable products that match their expectations on quality, durability, and trendiness.

Not to forget the emergence of social commerce sites/apps like Meesho, BulBul, and Simsim that have spoilt the Indian online shoppers’ choices on affordable shopping.

Purchasing traits of value shoppers

Here are some of the trends showcased by the value shoppers while shopping:

  • Value shoppers are budget-oriented: Value shoppers have a fixed budget and a study by Kearney says that 62 percent stick to it. With a tight purse, a significant amount of time is invested in finding and evaluating the products before purchasing.

  • Discounts are favourite: Best deals and the biggest discounts influence the purchasing decision. Kearney’s study says that around 87 percent of the digitally savvy value shoppers compare prices of more than three products before zeroing down on a purchase.

  • Less brand loyalty: value-conscious consumers have less brand loyalty. Within a preferred price range they have the willingness to experiment across brands.

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Kearney’s study says that around 87 percent of the digitally savvy value shoppers compare prices of more than three products before zeroing down on a purchase.

Bargaining online? A win-win for both seller and buyer

The usual business model of e-commerce sites to drive maximum profitability and sales is to exploit the festive period to give heavy discounts, for which the shoppers eagerly wait. But what should e-commerce platforms do to ensure they get the best deals even when it is not a sale and can treasure their loyalty?

Indian shoppers are habituated with assisted shopping through up-selling and get the right price from a seller through bargaining.

To which Coutloot, a social commerce platform that emulates Taobao’s model to allow any offline seller to sell their products online has implemented an ‘automatic bargain’ feature that allows both buyers and sellers to bargain automatically. This auto-bargain feature provides a pre-decided bargain price to the buyer within a chatbox that allows them to close deals instantly. The buyer can select and quote a desirable price that he/ she feels is appropriate for the product. Coutloot aims to achieve a conversion rate of 15 percent with this live bargaining feature.

Kurland and Marrapodi’s e-commerce negotiation site

Hunting for the best deals online is not limited to Indians, but even to American founders Andrew Kurland and Joe Marrapodi that led them to build their e-commerce negotiation site Greentoe. It is an e-commerce site that allows customers to haggle down prices. What drove them to build their site was the frustration arising from spending too much time to find the best deals online.

It works in this manner, say a shopper wants to buy a camera online at the best price but does not want to spend a lot of time comparing and looking. Greentoe’s network of vetted online retailers simplifies the process by showing the average price and the lowest price possible for each product currently available online, it is then upto the willingness of the customer to pay for that product.

What lies ahead for the e-commerce sites on live bargaining?

The freedom to bargain on e-commerce sites is although in its infancy in India, but the platforms might not want to miss the loyalty of its customers since according to a study by Kearney, value shoppers will constitute 38 percent in online shopping by 2026 and will become 50 percent by 2030. Therefore, there is a need to humanise and Indianise online shopping by adding a live bargaining feature.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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