Festive East: We overcame pre-COVID levels in Oct’20 itself: Navarun Sen, CenturyPly
With Dussehra/ Durga Puja just a few days away, the country is in the throes of festive fervour. After no Dussehra/ Durga Puja celebrations last year due to the pandemic, consumers and brands are looking at a return to markets with a vengeance. With the vaccination drive gathering momentum and most of the COVID-19 restrictions lifted, there is a general air of optimism. Offices, market places, educational institutions, malls and cinema halls – all have now opened, giving people a sense of return to normalcy.
Like the rest of India, the East and North-East markets are in a resurgent mood. Durga Puja is the biggest festival in West Bengal and Tripura and is also celebrated extensively in Assam and other parts of the North-East. Markets are seeing the return of shoppers, and some marketers see a revenge shopping trend gaining precedence. Amid COVID-29 protocols, the shopping frenzy is just beginning and will only increase as the Pujo nears. Experts believe that this is not just revenge shopping, but also a re-assertion and reclaiming of a life that one was living before the pandemic struck.
This festive season, Adgully turns the spotlight on the East and North-East markets and will speak to a cross-section of brands, marketers and market experts to gauge the mood of the shoppers and brand sentiments.
In conversation with Adgully, Navarun Sen, President - Panel Division, CenturyPly, speaks about the demand surge seen across India, the company’s online and offline strategies for the festive season and more.
What kind of sentiments do you see in the East markets during the festive season this year? Are these sentiments close to the pre-COVID levels?
We are seeing a very good surge in demand pan-India and to add on, East India is the major contributor to this surge. Entire East India is growing. Also, to add up we are finding demand from both Urban as well as Rural towns.
We are way ahead of the pre-COVID-19 levels. We had overcome pre-COVID-19 levels in October 2020 itself. And since then, we have seen a growth trajectory. Organised players have dominated the overall demand surge and in this surge CenturyPly is the leader. The reason for the same is the right product, right promotion and right price.
How are you planning your strategy for online and offline sales? What kind of footfalls are you expecting during this festival?
Online: We stated our online sales since end of FY2020 with our own set-up of e-commerce. With this, we are present pan India. Any customer can order our products online and it will be serviced. The order size can be as small as one sheet. Also, we are currently present in both Amazon and Flipkart in all major cities. We are continuously doing lead generation campaigns in our online strategy.
Offline: We are present across India with more than 7,000 direct and indirect channel partners, supported by 28 warehouses, 1 RDC and 6 factories. We have a very robust SCM process, which is ready to service any demand. Product positioning with the right features has been our strength and CenturyPly is known for its quality of product. So, innovation along with maintaining quality of the product while doing so is the core strategy of our sales.
In the case of the building material industry and very specific to the plywood industry, it is typically pre-festive season demand which is higher as everyone wants to complete their work and move into their new/ renovated space. So far, it has been a very good demand servicing in the last two quarters. And we anticipate this run going forward.
Any specific campaign strategies planned for the festival season? Most importantly, will you be offering attractive discounts to woo customers?
As we have mentioned, demand for our product is just before the beginning of festival season, and hence, our campaigns are aligned with the same. We had a product-specific campaign to tackle our customer base across the segmentation.
Our price offering has been very competitive and in line with the customers’ expectations. Along with this, we have products available in all price points. We have already offered two new technologies – ‘Virokill’ and ‘Firewall’ – at no additional cost to our customers.