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Adgully Exclusive | Mobile will be really interesting in the Indian market: ebay's Tanguy Peers

eBay India, one of India's leading online shopping destinations,Ă‚  was launched in India in 2000. Today eBay India boasts of over 2.5 million registered users across over 2,471 towns in India. According to an A.C.Nielsen research, around 12,800 sellers use eBay India as a primary or secondary source of income.

Though eBay is a global company, eBay India has time and again tried to keep the platform relevant toĂ‚  the Indian consumers' and Indian market's needs. The trading space came up with a new initiative in India recently, so as to introduce their very famous international idea of an in-store advertising format through an online medium.

On 24th of September in Mumbai, eBay in association with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), organized an event. The occasion was IAMAI's 13th Media Marketing Roundtable Conference and the event's agenda was to have a panel discussion on "'In-Store Advertising: The Online Avatar".

The panel consisted of Tanguy Peers, Vice-President, Global Advertising, eBay; Ashutosh Tiwari, Executive Vice-President, Strategic Marketing, Godrej Industries; Jasmeet Gandhi, Head, Devices, OPM and Services Marketing, Nokia, India; and Peshwa Acharya, Vice-President and Head (Marketing and Consumer Experience), Reliance Retail. The panel discussion was moderated by Ambareesh Murty, Country Manager, eBay India.

The discussion was to build up the idea of retail advertising by merging on-line advertising in an e-commerce format, thus enabling "in-store advertising online". The added advantage of this idea being that a consumer is reached with an advertisement while he is checking a trading site, which means reaching the consumer when he is in for a transactional experience. So the advertisement acts as added information to the consumer, engaging him further in the interactive buying process and at the same time building up on the feeling of fulfillment.

Post the discussion Adgully spoke to Peers and Kashyap Vadapalli, Director Category & Business Development, eBay India, to explore a bit more about this new innovative idea and eBay's plans for the Indian market.

Elaborating about the global trends in terms of the new idea, Peers said that it has caught up in a big way in the US markets and some of the western markets like UK and Germany. He further added that 15% of the advertising dollars have been transferred to online and despite the global recession online advertising has shown progress. According to him, the increasing use of online advertising is because the Return on Investment (ROI) can be calculated accurately for each penny that is invested online.

Talking about his expectations from the Indian market, Peers said, "I expect the Indian market to be at par with the rest of the world. I think it is going to be bigger in terms of mobile commerce and mobile advertising. I am very excited about the Indian market, because it is a highly educated country; people speak English here and the country has a well-imbibed trading culture by nature."

However, he feels that the only issue with the Indian market is the lack of Broadbrand Internet access and the fact that there is no 3G access as yet.

The online advertising though in an in-store format, is something that should have been explored earlier by a well-established name like eBay. But, Peers shares that like many internet plug points initially eBay just wanted the core product working proficiently, and gradually the company realized that there was an opportunity to offer a new selection to the users. The company thus added the online advertising feature to its strong footing over the e-commerce business. Moreover, eBay will look forward to provide only relevant advertising, with the right format and at the right time.

Vadapalli adds that, "If you look at most advertisers they are willing to go out and get their message communicated to the audience. So what they expect from the online media is interactivity at most, most of the other forms of advertising I think, once it goes beyond display it adds a little bit of interactivity and then it stops there. Brands and companies can not only get an advertising space on eBay, but maximize interactivity and the interactivity on eBay is actually "sales'."

He says that this new format is a differentiator in terms of not only communicating the brand message, but further adding value through interactivity and also enables easy purchase. The new format he says includes "everything from awareness to action with all the intermediary steps in between, through just one single platform and with the right kind of target audience."

When asked if eBay will be looking to strategise along the timeline of mega event like Indian Premiere League for example, Vadapalli says that it all goes hand in hand with the e-commerce arrangement that eBay is made of. So the company will look forward to providing value to its users, so during national events or festivals the advertisers will be expected to provide special offers to the registered users. Besides the whole interaction should not be sterile in its nature, hence eBay will be looking forward to adding excitement and curiosity to the whole shopping experience.

Though a year back, Vadapalli heard about the online advertising's share in the advertising pie being just around 2%, he believes that today it has gone upto 5%. However, he believes that in eBay the size of the advertising revenue doesn't matter but the relevance of the advertising format and its capacity to deliver matters.

"It's not about the scale that we are looking at, but it is more about being on the top of mind of the media planner, and that eBay is a part of all major marketing plans because the audience is so relevant," he says.

Besides Peers adds that when the consumer is in a buying mood, the consumer is more open to advertisements because he/she wants to research more and analyse more about the choice that they are going to spend on. Hence media planners need to understand this behavioral tendency and consider the highly productive in-store advertising.

Moreover, the company is also aware that when the offering will be relevant and when the audience will be relevant, it will have a bearing on what the advertisers are willing to pay. Thus, the advertisers will be willing to invest in the innovative feature of in-store advertising and pay the premium that eBay will come at.

Internationally some of the usual categories targeted for this kind of feature have been finance, telecom, technology etc. Although eBay India will also try to bank upon the same categories, they will look forward to add a few local well known product categories too.

In terms of new initiatives across the Indian market, Peers feels that though the basic concentration will be on creating more and more awareness about the new model. Nevertheless, he is quick enough to add that "mobile will be really interesting in the India market".

The new format is very interestingly placed and planned, and assures interactivity and sales. The in-store advertising model will not only help add brand value to a brand's online communication but also help in improving eBay's list of loyalists. The added feature though promising still needs a lot awareness and "interaction" on the media planner's level right now, to help it take off quickly.


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