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Getting brands festive ready: An inside look at how Fynd gets brands ready for the ecommerce sales season

Come September, and the zeal of the festive season preparations becomes omnipresent. Starting with Navratri, moving on to Durga Pooja and Diwali, and running up until Christmas & New Year—the last quarter of the year is always action-packed. It is the time of the year when consumers indulge in shopping, and brands put their best foot forward. The most rewarding time of the year, it represents half or more of the annual revenue for many retail businesses. No wonder, brands also shell out their highest annual marketing budget during this time of the year.

The Beginning of the Carnival

Ecommerce giants steal the limelight by offering bumper deals & discounts over the biggest mega-sale events.

These sales voraciously feed those hungry for massive discounts. Consumers eagerly wait for the festive offers and with a well-planned strategy, brands are bound to capture and earn loyal customers.

Insider insights captured exclusively by Fynd

Last year, India's e-commerce festive sale season delivered $8.3 billion (about ₹58,000 crore) worth of gross sales for brands and sellers, up 65% from $5billion (₹35,000 crore) in 2019. The sale even exceeded the pre-festive forecast of $7 billion, as was reported by the research firm RedSeer.

Here are a few insights we derived from last year’s trends from our work with retail brands on India’s top ecommerce marketplaces:

Insight #1:  Top-selling categories

A study of previous year’s festive season sales data revealed the top selling categories—loafers being the the best selling category, followed by casual shirts, jeans, casual lace-ups, sandals, sneakers, t-shirts and formal slip-ons.

Insight #2: Top selling sizes

Another beneficial insight taken from previous year’s trends; the top-selling sizes during the sales period were size 8 for footwear and sizes M & L for apparels. It is advisable for brands to replenish their stocks for these, keeping in mind Indian demands & trends.

Insight #3: Top states for order fulfillment

Maharashtra topped the chart being the state that fulfilled maximum amount of orders during the festive period in 2020. Shortly behind were Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka & Haryana. A useful takeaway for the brands from these trends is to keep a high inventory in the warehouses located within these states for this year to suitably plan for logistics and quick deliveries.

Insight #4: Cross-state & within state deliveries

Of the total deliveries, 16% of the orders were fulfilled and delivered within the same state, whereas 84% deliveries were made across the borders of the state. Considering the warehouse locations, brands can save on logistics by increasing options for within-state deliveries.

Insight #5: Consumer behavior towards discounted products & non-discounted products

Comparing the modes of payment for the discounted and non-discounted products, we can see that almost 40% of the orders for discounted products were on COD basis, whereas, for the non-discounted products it was just 14%.

It can be inferred that consumers opting for non-discounted products are confident about their purchase, and feel they have made an informed choice. This suggests their stronger desire for the products, and thus the probability of returns for non-discounted products is lower as compared to discounted products.

Insight #6: NSM to OSM ratio

As observed from last year’s trends, almost 70% orders placed were for Old Season Merchandise (OSM), as they are usually put on heavy discounts. However, 30% of sales still came from the New Season Merchandise (NSM) which is usually put on just a 5-10% discount, if any. Based on this insight, brands can build a solid strategy to promote their new Autumn-Winter collections during these sale periods with minimal discounts.

The growth observed in ecommerce in 2020 was phenomenal. Intense competition and high traffic make this a very stressful time for brands. There is a lot to do, and sometimes, some things can get sidetracked. At Fynd, we understand this and are highly committed to ensuring that nothing is missed out and all potential opportunities are tapped in.

Ready, Steady, Go!

1. Finish line before the ‘Freeze’

To avoid any kind of instability or interruptions during the festive sale period, all Marketplaces ‘freeze’ onboarding of any new brands. Likewise, there is a defined ‘freeze’ timeline for each marketplace for store creations and even feature or integration level changes.The dates may vary, but Marketplaces generally cease new onboardings around the following period:

Fynd ensures all new integrations, seller account creation & registration, store addition, and cataloging are completed within the defined timelines. Status Quo, Vans&Proline are few recent examples of brands that we successfully onboarded on marketplaces this month, and took live for the upcoming sales. Adhering to these timelines, we also activated nearly 20+ new stores for brands like AND, Global Desi, W, Aurelia, and SSIPL. We promote brands for timely action and help in expediting the process so they get the maximum benefit out of the festive season sales. We also carry out necessary checks for them to be ready, stable, and competently operational.

2. Bridging inventory gaps

An essential check before maximizing profits during sale season is an inventory audit. Often critical gaps in inventory and cataloging, if left unchecked, can result in massive losses for the brand. Fynd carries out a thorough analysis of the inventory listing and cataloging to find such gaps and fills them, aiming to cover upto 99% of the brand’s inventory on marketplaces for the festive season sales. We ensure and push the the brands to be ready with the new Autumn-Winter season collection photoshoots, and their listing across all marketplaces at least a month ahead of time. We maintain a tracker for each step before going live on for the sale season during the planning stage for the new season listings.

→ Bridging gaps between store inventory and marketplace listing

Traditionally, many brands preferred keeping siloed inventories for their online and offline channels. Since this approach decreases sales potential, on all platforms be it in brick-and-mortar stores, brand websites, or ecommerce marketplaces, we advise our brands to expose maximum inventory online. For example, the brand Spykar, preferred keeping its offline inventory out of the online sale market as a measure of safeguarding its store inventory. However, after carrying out an inventory analysis on one of Spykar’s three mother warehouses, Fynd presented a study that revealed higher sales as a result of higher inventory through store inventory integrations on marketplaces. That cycle, Spykar was able to jump from sales of ₹30L/month to sales of ₹3cr/month, just by increasing their online inventory through multi-stockpoint integrations.

Likewise, we also analyse the gaps between listing on marketplace on older inventory holding models like outright purchase (OR) or sales-on-returns (SOR) and the brands listings on their omnichannel account. Bridging such gaps enable the brands to expose maximum inventory during the sales period and earn higher revenues.

→ Bridging the gap between OSM & NSM

We conduct an analysis on the (old season merchandize) OSM to (new season merchandize) NSM ratio of the brand’s inventory going live. While the right level of OSM means brands can offer bigger discounts, NSM allows brands to roll out freshness, and a variety of new products for shoppers even during sales.

For instance a good balance was struck for the brand Celio. They rolled out products comprising of 60% OSM and the rest NSM. 80% of the OSM was put up on 40%+ discounts and the NSM passed through with just 5-10% discount. It is an ideal ratio to participate in the festive season sales to make profit on the Autumn-Winter 2021 & Spring-Summer 2021 season collection inventories.

Once we crack the right ratio for a brand, we check whether the NSM is cataloged or not and whether it matches the inventory flowing in or not.

→ Bridging the gap in no. of styles on each marketplace

We carry out an analysis for the number of styles listed across all marketplaces for each brand, which may not be the same. We then identify and highlight this difference to our brands. For example, we carried out  a catalog coverage & SKU listing gap analysis for brands like Spykar, Neerus, and Octave. Their coverage on Myntra was 80% higher as compared to their coverage on the other marketplaces they are live on. This analysis and our insights helped them expand their coverage on other marketplaces as well. We also helped in prioritizing their catalogs for new season stock, fast moving items and SKUs with maximum inventory depth. We ensure that all brands have maximized the number of styles listed and cataloged across all marketplaces.

→ Quick cataloging for all marketplaces

With one of our latest features—our catalog transformation tools, we have made it quicker and easier for brands to get their catalog ready for each marketplace, like, Fynd, Ajio, Flipkart, Myntra, (and even Google, and Facebook). All they have to do is list all the products on one common platform and our catalog transformation tools create catalogs for each marketplace, meeting their specific requirements and formats.

3. Identifying top-performers

To put your best foot forward, it is important to know your best performers. Fynd carries out a potential check for brands to take action, where needed.

→ Identifying top-selling products

Taking inferences from weekend sales, we identify the highest selling products and push these products for festive sales. We guide brands to ensure they have enough stock at stores and warehouses to sustain the higher demand during this period, and suggest they replenish stocks of these products in time. We also focus on exposing these products to get higher visibility on the marketplaces.

For example, after identifying Fila’s core product - Fila Basic Essentials hoisery products for clothing and footwear for both men and women as their top-sellers, it was recommended to increase and replenish such stock which led to a better preparedness for the brand. Such pro-activeness ensures that brands do not go out-of-stock during high sale period.

→ Identifying high potential stores

It’s also important to look at the fulfillment centers, and carry out an analysis on the stores. We identify the high potential stores of our brands based on inventory level, logistics, availability of OSM & NSM, store size and traffic, and various other criteria. We focus on getting these stores a higher exposure, and aim to activate them on all marketplaces

In the 2021 season, we identified such brand stores for Lotto across the country, including stores in Jammu. We activated 8 additional stores on Myntra and 11 stores on Flipkart right before the sales period, leading to a higher inventory availability online.

4. Discount planning

Discounts being the focal point to play on during the festive season, Fynd closely works with the marketplaces as well as all our brands for insights on planning discounts. In a drive to enhance their omnichannel business, marketplaces also run special discount schemes for accounts that go live through omnichannel aggregators like Fynd. With an analysis of past performances, a study of competitors in similar categories, some guidance and general market awareness, we ensure our brands come out on top.

→ Opt-ins for higher visibility

For each brand, we check whether they have selected the marketplace opt-ins for higher visibility during the sale period. Most marketplaces offer additional discount banners for brands, and we get involved in discussions with our brands to check the viability of opting-in for these banners on the marketplaces.

5. Drawing lessons from the past

Historic trends and predictions are the backbone of any strategy. At Fynd, we conduct an in-depth analysis of the brand’s past performance during previous sales period and draw insights for higher performance during the current season. We set high focus on last year’s top-performing brands and categories. Although it is not always directly proportional, it helps to carry out a live stock count then and now to predict the sale count. We also identify lapses from previous years which could be any of the following:

  • Higher cancellations from a particular store
  • Late processing of orders
  • Delay in packaging
  • Higher SLAs during sale period
  • Lack of adequate inventory at stores
  • Discounts percentages that did not work well
  • Fewer number of styles live

We capture gaps at all levels, inventory, management, operational & technical issues and highlight them for the brand. Any under-performers are put under the spotlight for frequent monitoring and rectification. We allocate additional manpower from our end for any extra attention that may be required.

6. Dedicated store support

To ensure seamless operation, better management & stability during the sales period, we share guidelines with the brand at the store level to enhance their performance over the marketplaces. Fynd offers a dedicated Store Support Team to brands to constantly help them during this period of higher demand (up to 300-400% higher during the festive season). Understanding how chaotic it can be for the on-ground team, Fynd extends an additional support team to handle the high volumes. Through different modes of communication (Whatsapp, calls, emails, push notifications), we frequently follow up with the stores 2-3 times a day on 0+ orders aging, delay in pickup, cancellation, etc. ensuring sound operations during the sales.

For instance, during the festive season 2020, Spykar was additionally assisted by our Store Support Team and the brand appreciated the smooth flow in fulfillment of orders during that busy period.

7. System upgrades & integrations

While we work with brands all through the year, we especially take care to upgrade our systems to execute the increased load during the sales season. Analyzing last year’s numbers and predicted expectations, we scaled up our systems to be stable this year as well. On any normal day, we stay prepared to process up to 2.5 million orders a day. For the current sales period we prepped for the following:

  • Scaled up our servers 3x for the scheduled sales dates
  • Set up monitoring & alerting systems to identify issues in real-time
  • Upgraded Myntra from V3 to V4 integration
  • Moved Ajio from old V1 integration to new V2 integration
  • Added new features for Tata CLiQ
  • Upgraded to SmartConnect integration on Amazon
  • Added Nykaa and Nykaa Fashion to our pool of marketplace integration offerings

As can be seen, we'll leave no stone unturned for our brands to seize any opportunities that lie ahead. Since 2019, Fynd has been an active participant in preparing and working closely with 100+ retails brands every year for such bumper sales. The insights shared in this article have helped our brands attain sales higher than expected, and gain higher visibility across India's top marketplaces.

What are you waiting for? Festivity is in the air and the countdown is on. Reach out to us and learn more about our services, discover new ways to empower your business and charm your customers this festive season.

Special thanks to our Fynd Marketplaces Integration Account Managers: Kunal Kumar, Bhumika Bansal, Shreya Seerehalli, Siddhant Singh and Mayur Thanekar for sharing these insights with us all!

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