As leading e-tailers Flipkart and Snapdeal have raised the pitch in the fierce competition for attracting customers during the festive season, bricks and mortar giant Future Group struck back with the tagline on Tuesday: "No deal can win the trust of a billion people, you have to earn it."
This appeared to be an oblique reference to the discount bonanzas being offered by e-tailers. The Kishore Biyani run physical retailer further stated in an ad blitz: "You can't take a nation for granted even for a day.
Since 15 years, we have always offered honest promotions and discounts. We stock enough to let everyone benefit only to give you the most genuine offers and sales."
Future Group upped the ante with the ad campaign offering 'free shopping' to its customers through points earned on Future Group shopping cards. The offer is valid till October 12.
The 'free shopping' card, earned through points on goods bought from Future Group formats, is valid for the following 12 months, the company said.
Meanwhile, Flipkart continued with its aggressive campaign to lure customers with its fashion subsidiary Myntra coming up with a Cracker Sale on Tuesday.
Myntra is offering up to 50 per cent off on goods ranging from apparel to shoes that include top brands such as Adidas and Puma. Apparel from United Colours of Benetton are being offered at a 40-per cent discount. The discount was even higher at 60 per cent for ethnic wear that included sarees, salwars, kurtas and kurtis.
In addition, Myntra is offering attractive gifts such as Maruti Swift, 55 inch LED LCD TV and mobile phones, and digiflop pro tablets for lucky buyers.
The company is also offering 10 gm gold vouchers that could be won in the lucky draw for buyers. Several of these discount schemes are available till Oct 31.
However, there may be a catch in some items which carry a very high price tag to start with. For instance, some Berry shirts are priced at Rs 7,199 and after 43-per cent discount still cost around Rs 3,600 apiece.
The pre-Diwali bonanza offered by e-tailers has dented margins of offline stores with more people preferring to shop at a click of the mouse. Manmeet Singh, manager at United Colours of Benetton, said, "As exclusive stores, we do not offer sales except seasonal ones. Sometimes, people try out a shirt but buy it online. We can't afford to give discounts because we have to take care of our overheads such as electricity bill, staff salaries, rent, etc." Naveen Kumar Jha, of Mobile Store, agreed. "The online sales yesterday (Monday) affected our business, which went down by more than 40 per cent."
However, Suraj Kumar, manager at Croma, differs. "The sales haven't affected our business. They began the sale at 8 am and by 10.30 am, most of the goods were out of stock.
(With inputs from Ashlin Mathew and Srijani Ganguly)