50-60% of our spends are on digital, 40-45% on traditional: Bansi Kotecha, Uber Eats
Uber Eats’ latest campaign – #EatsNewEveryday – is based on the insight that the need to change taste/ break monotony is the biggest trigger for ordering in among the youth. Hence, the campaign showcases the platform’s range of cuisines and restaurants.
The campaign film features Alia Bhatt in her endearing bubbly avatar, while Dulquer Salmaan will feature in the film versions made for South India, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The films depict a very endearing interaction between Alia/ Dulquer and their respective dogs, where they talk to him about how they are spoilt for choice by Uber Eats, given the range of cuisines and menus that it offers. They talk about different choices from Biryani to Shawarma, from pan fried noodles to Thai Curry Jasmine rice.
In conversation with Adgully, Bansi Kotecha, Head of Operations, India & SA, Uber Eats, spoke about Uber Eats’ new campaign, their India strategy, and how the Indian marketplace is getting acclimated to ordering their food on apps.
Could you take us through Uber Eats’ brand journey in India so far?
When we started out, people were getting used to ordering food online. Restaurants were getting used to apps, they were training their staff, while the couriers were getting used to delivering. Over the last one year, we have seen a massive shift in how consumers, which is all sides of the marketplace – an eater, restaurant and courier, have become a little more tech savvy and have starting exploring the app in different ways.
People knew if they wanted a Pav Bhaji, they would go to this restaurant because they have been doing that for the past 30 years. Now, they order Pav Bhaji but are not searching for that one particular restaurant. That has made us evolve our thinking about how to show that selection to our customers.
Similarly, on the restaurant side, we are thinking about how the restaurants’ perception of food has changed. An Indian restaurant typically has about 200-odd items on their menu, but only 20 per cent of those items sell 80 per cent of the time. Now, after talking to the restaurant, we made them ask themselves whether they really needed to show so much to the eater. We are trying to create a balance between giving the eater enough choices and at the same time also reducing the cognitive load of 200 items.
How have you firmed up Uber Eats’ positioning in a competitive scenario?
The campaign that we are doing right now is focused on the youth. Today’s youth are late college goers, early jobseekers, in the 18-25 age group, who is just trying to get his foot on the ground and still not deep into the responsibility. The kind of youth who loves to experiment, loves to eat out, loves to explore, loves to eat out or order in every single day, multiple meals a day. These are the guys who are not just eating an odd pizza or burger, but are also experimenting with breakfast, a snack chai, or dinner.
We are trying to position ourselves as a platform where that experience seeker or variety seeker has a plethora of options to select what he wants to eat.
What are your insights as to consumer behaviour in this space?
Every time an eater comes on to our platform, he knows what he wants to eat, but he doesn’t care which restaurant. So, the idea is that if someone wants a pasta or a pizza, he can pick and choose based on his mood, liking, delivery timing, etc., and pick it up from there.
What is the market that you are targeting to spur growth?
We are targeting the urban population – not just in metros but Tier 2 and 3 markets as well. Phone penetration and spending power in these markets is increasing continuously and what we’ve seen is that there is a very strong product-market fit for foodtech, not just in the Tier 1 markets, but in Tier 2 and 3 as well.
Mumbai has always had the culture of calling the restaurant and getting food delivered, but if you go into Tier 2 and 3 markets, that culture is slowly becoming more prominent. Now, with foodtech coming in, where we don’t have to call, everyone is getting into it, including restaurants. Restaurants are getting savvy about foodtech and they are consciously building their brands keeping food delivery in mind. We want to position ourselves in that space.
What has been your campaign strategy to break through the clutter?
The first campaign was about clearing the clutter and announcing that Uber Eats is coming in. In that we made our mark and got the message across that we have the right kind of restaurants and eater experience to meet the demand of our customers.
Post the festive season, after the bombardment of all the other players have happened, this is the clean period where the mood is peppy as we move towards the year end. We want to capitalise on the spirit of ending the year on a high note. Our latest campaign began on November 15 and will continue till December 15.
As far as digital strategy is concerned, the focus is on targeting the youth on the channels they like and not just spraying and praying. Today, you will see the youth spending more time on both digital and TV, however, the skew is more towards streaming platforms than on traditional TV.
The digital platform is used for both performance and building the brand. We are talking to our consumers through multi-channels, which we did in January, followed by the ICC World Cup, where we partnered with Hotstar aggressively.
Could you tell us about your creative strategy?
A lot of our creatives are done in-house. We have a robust creative team which puts these ideas together. We did the January campaign and the ‘Back to the 90s’ campaign, where we brought back to life the old Cadbury ad or the old Dhaara ad. Our team is really passionate about bringing those ideas to life and we’ve seen some great success.
We are using Alia Bhatt and Dulquer Salmaan in our campaigns, respectively, to get our message across to the youth, to have that brand presence and connect with the youth and drive those conversations.
The January 2019 campaign that we did with Alia and Dulquer got 60 million views on YouTube. It was the highest viewed campaign in the country in 2019.
We are hoping to get a similar traction using multiple channels such as digital, OOH, Print, Cinemas and restaurant branding across the gamut to ensure that we are connecting with the youth in every walk of life, where they are making the choice of eating at home.
We are doing a ton of restaurant branding. Basically, we are trying to partner with restaurants to showcase their cuisine and showcase the selection that we have. All the touchpoints that the eater could get in his market (whether the metros or Tier 2 and 3), he would see the campaign coming alive.
We are spending about 50-60 per cent of our marketing budget on digital and 40-45 per cent on OOH and traditional channels to talk to the youth.
What has been the impact of the logout campaign?
We treat restaurants who have come aboard Uber Eats as our partners. The question is always about what is right for the restaurant, because if they don’t do well, we don’t do well. So, for us it is about working with every restaurant partner in the market to have that connect. Hence, we’ve been very strategic on how to expand, which restaurants we want to bring in, and how we want to connect with them. We’ve perfected that really well now and we feel very comfortable in how we treat and work with our restaurants. If you open the app and keep scrolling, it just doesn’t end.
What is your take on deep discounting?
We focus on what the consumer really wants. We look at our data aggressively – where the does consumer enter the app, where does he scroll, where does he order or doesn’t order? The drop off is happening at this point, so we strengthen that a bit, we play with those specifics and work with specific restaurants to improve the conversion. That is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It’s not about whether we will deep discount or not, but finding that right balance between what the eater wants, what the restaurant wants and what is right for the business.
In the last one year, the conversations on media have been dominated by Zomato and Swiggy, especially because of controversies. How are you planning to increase your share of voice in media?
We are hoping that this campaign is going to be a good platform for people to talk about what we have to offer. Because this is a multi-media campaign across multiple markets, we expect to see the network effects of youth talking to each other about what our platform has to offer and get the momentum going.
With the competition introducing offerings like Swiggy POP and Zomato Gold, are you looking to expand your products on the Uber Eats platform?
We are always looking at tech innovations to further penetrate into the lives of our consumers. We look at our eater journey and decide whether this is where we can penetrate the journey a little bit more. We will see how we progress on this front next year onwards.
Going forward, what are your expansion plans?
Growth is a never-ending thing. When we look at the competition in the market combined, we are still scratching the surface. It’s going to be a growth story for this sector for the next few years, and not just today or tomorrow. This campaign gives us a platform to build the brand on top of which we will build our growth story.
We did that in January when we started our new campaign. We did that during the ICC World Cup tournament, where we connected with the youth around cricket and talked about places and engagements, where the youth would want to order and then we rewarded them with tickets to the World Cup. Continuing with that, I think we have a lot more to offer and build our base from that.
We are currently present in about 44 markets across the country. We have perfected the art of launching in a market, stabilising in that market and growing that market. Now, it is all about using that operational knowledge to expand in the country.
The second thing is that we have a stable and massive rides’ business. We have created that ecosystem in the city where we can cross-leverage. Our growth strategy includes making sure that our riders are also eating on our platform. Making sure that ecosystem comes together is part of the strategy. We ensure that for any given city, we have everything that an eater wants on the app, and then nudge them to play with it.