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Media buying agency GroupM and Google have tied-up to launch a virtual shopping and entertainment platform called Grand Diwali Mela during the Diwali festive season, reports The Economic Times. This platform is expected to go live on October 1 and will be active till Diwali (October 23). It is expected to be accessible on all devices, including mobiles, tablets and desktop PCs. GroupM will be responsible for bringing in the brands on the platform, while Google will be providing technology support. The report claims that GroupM and Google are currently in talks with a top e-commerce player in India to join as a partner and provide logistics support.

The Grand Diwali Mela is expected to feature categories like, real estate and automobiles, besides the usual consumer durable, electronics, and FMCG products among others.

Group M claimed that customers will be allowed to sample products (in some cases), besides being able to browse through merchandise. It’ll be interesting to see how the sampling of products is facilitated, as that can pose a major logistical challenge.

Details about the platform are still sketchy at best. What will the entertainment component on the platform be? Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India, so it’ll be interesting to observe what this platform offers in order to retain consumer interest for a period of close to one month.

GOSF experience: Google has substantial experience in operating an online shopping festival. Its Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) has been well received by both brands and consumers. We had wondered, before the start of GOSF 2013, if there is space for or rather requirement for such a platform, because most e-commerce portals offer good deals throughout the year. However, based on the response the e-commerce portals received at the event it was clear that a centralised sale driven by a single party has more impact than the sales set up e-commerce companies on their own.

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