Brands can’t survive for long only on traditional methods of retail: Anand Narang, Bata
The great Indian Festive season has started amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know what kind of a washout the first half of 2020 has been when it comes to businesses and even personal lives being completely disrupted. Given the strict Government directives on maintaining social distancing, the huge crowds of shoppers that usually throng the markets during this time might be a lot less this year.
In normal circumstances, brands look at the festive season as an opportunity to gain maximum ROI, leveraging the consumer sentiments during this time. However, the unprecedented conditions have dampened the economy so far. While some are sceptical about businesses picking up during the rest of the year, we are also seeing a general mood of optimism.
Amid such a scenario, Adgully has reached out to marketers and publishers across India to gauge the sentiments during the festive season this year as part of our special series on ‘Festive Mood’. Over the next few weeks, we will be bringing the views and insights from various markets on how marketers and publishers are endeavouring to trigger a revival and give a boost to festive sentiments.
Anand Narang, Vice President Marketing, Bata India Ltd,
How do you see the consumer sentiments across the nation this year? Which markets are seen as leading the rebound and how? What factors will drive growth this festive season? How much do you see festive sales getting impacted due to COVID-19 this year?
The pandemic has completely disrupted and changed the world as we knew it and has certainly altered consumers’ buying pattern and behaviour. While we see customers coming to stores, some segments of customers like the elderly and kids are staying back and shopping for them is happening via e-commerce platforms as they prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes. We see more footfalls in smaller towns versus metros, which are facing more restrictions due to shop closures and high number of COVID cases.
We have witnessed a steady increase in demand since the lifting of lockdown, and we feel the trend will continue for the festive season as well. We have launched two new hyperlocal channels – Bata ChatShop and Bata Store on Wheels, and we have received good response from the customers.
Gradually, people are returning to this new normal way of living and learning to celebrate the little joys and festivals with utmost safety and precautions. We believe they will celebrate the festivities this year as well.
What kind of integrated marketing activities are you planning for the festive season? On which platforms will you be investing your ad spends more and Why? What kind of digital push are you looking at?
We will continue to focus on different media basis our consumer-centric approach – be it CRM, Retail, Digital, Social, VM, Activation or ATL. The core of our brand has not changed because of the pandemic, but what has changed is the medium through which we communicate with our stakeholders.
For us, it is of utmost importance to understand the change in consumer behaviour in detail and find a perfect balance between their needs and best practices to devise our marketing strategies for the festive season. With people being homebound and working from home, their average time spent on mobile phones and e-commerce platforms has increased.
In tandem with this, we will be promoting our online store, bata.in, along with enhanced presence on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, PayTM, Tata Cliq and Ajio for the festive season. We will also be reaching out to our consumers through our newly launched hyperlocal channels – Bata ChatShop and Bata Store on Wheels.
Do you see retail footfalls increasing during the festive season, given that people are still not venturing out for shopping in a big way? What alternate routes are you looking at to shore up sales – such as e-commerce, online purchases, D2C initiatives?
While we see customers coming to stores, some segments of customers like the elderly and kids are staying back and shopping for them is happening via e-commerce platforms as they prefer to shop from the comfort of their homes. However, a brand cannot survive for long only on traditional methods of retail, and it is especially true for the times that we are currently living in. One has to adopt an omni-channel approach in order to survive this competitive landscape along with challenges that COVID-19 has posed.
For us, the safety of our customers is paramount, hence we have undertaken a host of measures to ensure a safe and convenient shopping experience for them. We have segmented our consumers in three categories – Digital Natives, Digital Adopters and Digital Novices. For our digital novices like the elderly, children and home-makers – people who are not stepping out of the house as much, we have launched Bata Store on Wheels. Under this initiative, we set up mobile stores in residential localities, in association RWAs, to offer a safe and convenient shopping experience to our customers. The stores carry a wide variety of collections, carefully crafted to suit the current needs and requirements of the customers. The consumers’ response has been encouraging. We are ramping up this new channel. We have also launched another new hyper-local channel, called Bata ChatShop, that allows customers to shop from their local Bata stores via WhatsApp.
Apart from the hyperlocal services, we have scaled up the product catalogue on our e-commerce platform, www.bata.in, which now has more than 6,000 products. We now service more than 1,300 towns and cities through our e-commerce platforms, which includes our website, bata.in, and our partners like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, PayTM, Tata Cliq and Ajio.
We are expanding our omni-channel facility and today, we are serving our consumer ‘From anywhere to anywhere’ through 1,000+ of our Bata stores. We figured if the consumers cannot come to us, we will reach out to them right at their doorstep. We understand that people have footwear needs and we want to make sure we leave no stone unturned in delivering the very best to our customers.