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Festive Marketing: E-comm players look for another bonanza season with deals & discounts

With the festive season on full swing, marketers have increased the tempo of their campaigns and initiatives. As in the last few years, this year, too, the e-commerce platforms are bullish about the festive season and have unleashed a sale bonanza for online shoppers. 

All the major players – Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues, Snapdeal, along with newcomers like Paytm Mall, fashion portals Myntra, Ajio, et al, have gone for the festive season with all guns blazing. Not to be left behind, the retail segment, too, has come up with a host of aggressive plans for the festive season this year. 

Both Amazon and Flipkart currently have their online sale period on. Amazon’s Great Indian Festival runs from October 10-15, while Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days runs from October 10 to 14. A high decibel campaign preceded these two sale offers. With the discounts being offered by both the e-commerce players, consumers are spoilt for choice this festive season. 

Best foot forward 

Ravi Desai
Ravi Desai

Speaking about Amazon India’s plans, Ravi Desai, Director - Mass and Brand Marketing, Amazon India, said, “We continue to make the festive season bigger and better for our customers. We strive to work the customer backwards, with all our marketing communications tailored to fit in the context of the daily Indian life. We are committed to providing our customers with a wide selection of over 170 million products and seamless shopping customer experience. Customers have access to hundreds of leading brands enabled by 3.8 lakh sellers. To ensure fast and reliable delivery, we have expanded our fulfilment footprint to more than 50 FCs in 13 states, offering a storage capacity of over 20 million cubic feet.” 

Nishant Gupta, Vice President - Marketing, Urban Ladder, noted, “In terms of the overall economic health of the country, there isn’t a massive consumer sentiment around festive buying. But given the attractive pricing and new offerings that come with the festivities, consumers will be persuaded to buy.” 

Commenting on the buying behaviour regarding furniture, Kashyap Vadapalli, Chief Marketing Officer, Pepperfry, observed, “A high degree of seasonality is observed in the furniture market. For example, the H2 (July-December) and H1 (January-June) sales are in the ratio of 2:1. Within H2, the Diwali month generates almost a third of the sales.” 

According to Vadapalli, the key triggers for this behaviour could be attributed to the traditional time-period for people to shop for their homes and the discounts offered by manufacturers and retailers during Diwali. 

Giving a retailer’s point of view, Roch D’Souza, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand Factory, said, “East India is one of our key markets and the initial response has been extremely positive with double digit growths. We are also seeing a surge in new customers, which is very encouraging, keeping in mind our future goals. An interesting trend that we are seeing is that consumers are coming multiple times to explore the best offers and merchandise, resulting in repeat purchase. Word of mouth has been the key factor for our growth since everyone wants a deal these days.”

Pawan Sarda, Group Head, Digital, Future Group, added here, “As a retailer, there are two things that we do. First, there is an organic demand in the market and the other is we fuel demand in the market. The period in which there is organic consumer demand is very important and the next two months for us are very critical. During the festive season, the consumer has a large number of choices to make for their needs and one of the areas that are very important is fashion. There is a huge amount of fashion that is bought in this period, in fact, in the East it has already begun and now we are seeing the rest of the market also starting the consumption.” 

He further said, “We are also a retailer of choice for a lot of gifting purposes – whether it is corporate gifting or consumer gifting, we are the brand of choice for consumers. Also, there is the home that is decorated during this period, where there is a lot of cleaning up that happens and again we become a choice for our customers. These are the three areas that we are going to play around with, and for the consumers who are looking at these categories, we want to become their choice.” 

Putting on the festive cap 

Brand Factory’s D’Souza noted here, “As a brand, we have always surprised our customers with unbelievable promotions and offers, we will stick to the same, but what we have also added is new styles specially manufactured by leading brands for Brand Factory. Our marketing plans have 3 key objectives. Firstly, we try to connect with our target audience through content created around the festive season, keeping in mind regional sensibilities. We recently launched our Pujo campaign, which includes print, digital and a video that has touched an emotional chord with the Bengalis. We will have similar strategy for all festive markets. Secondly, come up with innovative and exiting promotions to surprise consumers and increase wallet spends, and lastly, we use 360-degree marketing plan to create and. amplify our campaigns.” 

Gupta of Urban Ladder remarked that initially it was the big e-commerce brands that battled it out for the biggest media spread. “In recent years, however, all the big brands and retailers are capitalising on the shifting consumer behaviour and orienting the second half of the year to drive maximum business. In fact, this season has become so crucial that brands that miss out on promotions lose out on a major chunk of the business. It’s now hygiene to promote your brand during this season,” he added.  

Kashyap Vadapalli
Kashyap Vadapalli

Sharing Pepperfry’s plans, Vadapalli informed that this Diwali, the online furniture portal had drawn up a multi-pronged marketing package ready to capture a lion’s share of the furniture market in India. He said, “We have plans for 360-degree campaigns across TV, Cinema, Radio, Digital and Outdoor to build on our leadership stature and at the same time, connect strongly with the consumers with the Diwali emotion. The focus of our messaging will be on the fantastic variety and value that we will be delivering to consumers this Diwali. We have hundreds of new designs and some really lucrative discounts. These are the two propositions that will be highlighted in the multimedia campaigns.” 

He further stated, “We are also accelerating our digital presence by partnering with content houses like TVF, Miss Malini and Vice Media. ‘Our Home Invasion Series 2’, in partnership with Miss Malini, has already commenced. During Diwali, we will be releasing 2 more episodes featuring actress Kajal Agarwal and TV/ OTT host/ actor Karan Wahi. We are also doing 2 web series, one of which is with TVF Girliyapa, called ‘Mr & Mrs Season 2’. For the other web series, we are partnering with Vice Media for ‘What The Folks Season 2’.” 

In order to highlight the various benefits of buying on Amazon, such as the wide range of top brands, scheduled and damage free delivery, 48-hour installation and 30-day return policy, the e-commerce platform’s latest campaign, ‘Dil Dimaag’, seeks to establish Amazon as the preferred choice for customers’ buying needs, be it festive shopping or daily essentials. “Our brand tells a story that the customers feel connected to and in a manner that is simple to understand and relevant,” said Amazon’s Desai. 

Choices galore 

Other e-commerce platforms, too, have announced slew of campaigns and offers to enchant consumers this festive season. 

In September, Myntra launched a 360-degree marketing campaign to attract shoppers in West Bengal, ahead of Durga Puja. One of the highlights of the campaign was a 35-second TVC in Bengali with renowned theatre and film actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty and his family coming together for the first time to play the lead role in the film. The overall marketing campaign propagated the concept of gifting oneself and the near and dear ones for the various ceremonies during the festival and the joy associated with it, underpinning Myntra as the ultimate Puja fashion destination with something for everyone. 

Online fashion brand Jabong, too, rolled out its digital-led marketing campaign in September to promote ‘What’s in’- a festival celebrating the launch of its Autumn Winter-2018 collection. The campaign is supported by high impact and frequency mediums like radio and outdoor in key cities, further amplifying the reach of the campaign theme and message. The brand also collaborated with leading fashion magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan to showcase the latest collection handpicked by the fashion experts. 

Snapdeal announced its pre-festive Flash Sale for two hours from 11 am to 1 pm on September 21, 2018, during which it offered special deals on headsets, trimmers, and more. The online market place has continued with the sale initiative with its ‘Dhamaka’ offers. 

In the run up to Diwali, Paytm Mall has partnered with top jewellers like Jpearls, Om Gold and RSBL, and is offering up to Rs 10,000 cashback on their gold coin (50 gm) purchases until November 7, 2018. These seller-certified coins are available in various denominations ranging from 0.1 gm to 50 gm, and 995 to 999.9K purifications, with prices as low as Rs 550. 

Growth expectations 

For Amazon’s Desai, the aim is to increase reach and serve more customers in the country, while making online shopping a daily habit for Indians. “We go where our customers are and hence, have ventured even to the untouched cities of the country – widely covering Tier 2, Tier 3 and below geographies through our integrated campaigns. We have seen significant expansion in India with focus on not only growing the existing customers’ share of wallet, purchase frequency, but also in driving incremental new reach and penetration through market expansion. One example of such an innovation is Amazon Easy. Customers can walk into the neighbourhood Amazon Easy store for assistance while shopping on Amazon,” he added. 

Nishant Gupta
Nishant Gupta

Urban Ladder’s Gupta believes that brands that do well in non-sale periods will continue to perform during sale periods. For brands banking on irrational discounting and promotions, though they might experience a spike in consumer spends, it is not the most sustainable form of growth. He further said, “Print and Television are going to be the best bet for a lot of brands and you could very well see multiple jackets each day on mainstream papers. TV ads will also get a creative push to drive more eyeballs/ relevance for consumer-facing brands. Digital will continue to drive traffic for online brands, but they will need a strong marketing push to stay top of mind, especially in saturated categories.” 

D’Souza of Brand Factory, added here, “I believe the market is already giving the right signals, and the buoyancy in consumer sentiments will encourage the market to go all out and hence, we might see spends going up this year. We are witnessing a very encouraging trend and are positive about the growth this festive season.” 

For Future Group’s Sarda, the focus is more on visibility. “We have been seeing a lot of excitement in the retail space. Overall consumption is increasing and we can see it at least for brands like Big Bazaar and FBB, which are seeing a huge traction. Therefore, we are very excited about the festive season. That’s exactly where consumers are looking forward to fulfil their aspirations for themselves and their families. Some categories become very important and we want to ensure that we are the preferred choice for them. If you go to the stores, you will see a lot of excitement there and we want to bring that experience to our customer,” he added.

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