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Update: Ashish Bagga, CEO of the India Today Group told MediaNama that the group is open to all mediums for Bag It Today, and will experiment with Print, Internet and Mobile. We were particularly curious about whether there will be a TV model like HomeShop18. “The business will evolve”, he said, in response.

Bagga declined to disclose how many brands Bag It Today has on board, but said that the business targets “middle India” for renowned brands – brands which don’t need to be sold. He declined to comment on the margins that the company earns on sales of the heavily discounted (over 50%) products, saying only that the business model is e-commerce.

While signups are open at present, they will eventually be closed. Signups are being driven by digital marketing on Internet and mobile, and the group has a fairly large database of consumers who interact with them regularly. “Business is good,” he said, declining to comment on the number of transactions that have taken place on the site so far.

Earlier: The India Today group has launched an exclusive e-commerce portal called Bag It Today, where members can get discount offers on private, time-bound sales from premier-brands. The model appears to be similar to that of FashionAndYou, co-founded recently by former Yahoo India Director (Sales) Pearl Uppal, and backed by SITG founder Harish Bahl.

The discounts, rather – “Private Sales” typically last for 2-3 days. Brands can limit the number of products sold per person. Brands on board include Satya Paul, Samsung, Nokia, Swatch, Calvin Klein, while Mont Blanc pens, Kodak cameras, HTC, Nokia. For premium brands, the discounting is heavy – a Calvin Klein watch with an MRP of Rs. 7300 is currently available for Rs. 3499, a discount of around 52%.  At that kind of a discount, I guess consumers won’t mind paying a delivery charge of Rs. 499.

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The product is delivered in 10-12 days. Three payment modules are available: Credit Card or Debit Card, Cash on Delivery and ITZ Cash Card. For every initial purchase, BagItToday is offering a free Reebok Watch for Rs. 2599.

Though the site claims it is invitation only, the invitation is rather easy to get: we just provided our email address and received an invite. Membership is free, and an attempt is being made at making the site viral by offering users Rs. 250 credit for each friend who places an order.

I wonder if its feasible to scale such a discount model: premium brands might not want their product to be made available to too large a consumer base at a heavy discount, and it could also be used for stock clearance. I did notice that quite a few products were sold out, so there appears to be a limit to the number of products being sold.

We’ve contacted India Today Group CEO Ashish Bagga for comments and will update when we have more inputs to share.