Shine Bright: Small Businesses Strategies to Outshine Big-Bang Festive Offers

Shine Bright: Small Businesses Strategies to Outshine Big-Bang Festive Offers
Shine Bright: Small Businesses Strategies to Outshine Big-Bang Festive Offers

The festive season is indeed colorful, but it can get noisy at times! This holds true for the digital e-commerce and retail segments as well. Retail giants and online marketplaces go all out to grab eyeballs and purse strings during the festival season, while the smaller companies and startups are left struggling to remain visible. StartupTalky spoke to a few digital marketers and small and medium companies to try and find out some simple ways small businesses can make the most even amid a deluge of festive offers.

Be it the Great Indian Shopping Festival by Amazon India or the Big Billion Days by Flipkart, you cannot ignore the demand that these giants churn out single-handedly.

On Sunday Flipkart’s Chief Executive Officer, Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement that the Big Billion Days sale got 1.4 billion visits during its festive offering between Oct 7-Oct 15, two times “crorepati seller growth” over the previous year. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Great Indian Shopping Festival is expected to clock blistering sales.

A survey conducted of 1,000 mobile users by imobi and Glance showed that 84% of Indian consumers reported an increase in their online shopping budgets from a year ago during the current festive season. Around 66% of the surveyors intend to shop for items over ₹25,000.

“What happens during the festive season is that big brands have bigger budgets and larger-than-life campaigns that they allocate, and smaller companies get lost in that chatter,” said Vivek Kumar Anand, Chief Business Officer at DVIO Digital, which handles marketing for aggregators like Flipkart and Meesho.
In 2022, the advertising sales of e-commerce giants were tipped at a mind-boggling $1 billion, according to Sankalp Mehrotra, VP of Monetisation at FlipkartPitch during an event in February this year.

The best way to deal with the sale season is to just accept their might and pick niche products to market, digital marketers said.

"We try to avoid competition. For example, if someone is selling a product on Amazon, we try to avoid those sales and focus on some other products, through which we can avoid the competition because we understand that there are budget constraints and we cannot be with these giants,” said Abhyudaya Tripathi, vice president, business operations at digital marketing firm Tangence.
Spending on advertising during the festive season is also of little use, as returns may not be equivalent, Tripathi added.

Babycare retailer Citta’s Co-Founder and CEO, Akansha Sharma, expresses the anguish of putting up search engine marketing ads during the festive season. “You definitely have to increase (the budget on ads) during the festive season because everyone is doing that. So, you know, bidding is very competitive for ads. So if the other person is going to bid more, your bid automatically has to increase. It increases easily by 15-20%.”

Therefore, several smaller companies are left with no choice but to sell on aggregator sites, even though it may eat into their margins.

Many smaller companies struggle for visibility despite increased marketing budgets and high demand.

“There are a lot of Indian and international brands with deeper pockets and a much larger infrastructure base that come up with offers, discounts, and product ranges which are almost impossible and unviable for the smaller players from the MSME sector to compete with. Thus, we see an overall increase in sales from a market perspective, but MSMEs end up taking a hit,” said Navin Rao, co-founder of The Kaftan Company.

Maintain Exclusivity

The huge discounts offered on e-commerce sites tend to divert even loyal customers away from a company’s home website. One way to stay relevant during the festival season is to have exclusive products on your company website.

“There is the entire collection on Myntra and Amazon (by our company), but there might be a small capsule of, say, footwear, which is available only on our website, that would just create a differentiated element for the customer to come to our website and shop from this website,” said Shalvi Govil, Head of Digital Business at clothes retailer–The Indian Garage Co.

Companies can also get creative and offer services that are available only on their website. Clothes retailer TryndBuy has a virtual try-on room where a customer can try on clothes virtually. The company has granted 30 patents internationally for this feature and has already won several awards for it.

Citta tries to invest in fostering client relationships during the holiday season rather than getting down to intensive marketing. "We're planning to have a few more festive-oriented talks on Instagram, like storytelling for kids or something that will get them that is centered around the festivals. It's still a more genuine way to connect with people than just marketing,” Sharma from Citta said.

A recent survey by consumer data intelligence company Axis My India, 33% of the 5,452 people surveyed are more likely to interact with brands on social media when presented with compelling offers. While 39% of respondents cherish the classic touch, choosing not to interact with brands on social media for festive deals.

Sometimes small tweaks on the digital interface can cascade into bigger returns, even amidst the frenetic buying spree.

“Even if you change the meta tag and the meta description of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) words, then you will be up in the game in terms of higher CTR (click-through ratio) for the festive season. Let's say instead of having a plain vanilla kind of description for your SEO ranking, you are having 70% off during the festive season for the selected product; automatically, you will have a higher CTR,” said Anand.

Anand also suggested handing out coupons and discounts well ahead of time and keeping note of the buying behavior of customers. For example, luring buyers during the Shrad period is typically considered a lull period for purchases.
Some entrepreneurs try to look at the positives and focus on networking and building ties.

“These few months are a great time to get to know all the people involved, like a retailer or any other business partners. It's a very good time to start building relations with people involved, such as retailers or other business partners. We ensure that we're gifting something to our business partners and maybe meeting them,” Sharma from Citta said.

Direct-to-consumer skincare retailer Foxtale says it empowers customers through transparency.

“Whether it is through our ingredient list or our lab trials where the customer is privy to reviews of our products before they can make an informed decision, we try and empower our customers to make the right choice for themselves when picking out a product,” said Aditi Sahu, VP Product, and Development at Foxtale.


The big retailers and giants may take the thunder away as far as festive discounts are concerned, but smaller companies can also make hay while the festive sun shines. Brainstorming with creative strategies and looking at consolidating your existing clientele can go a long way in maintaining brand loyalty, irrespective of the festive boom.

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