Festive season will serve as a respite from COVID-associated slumber: Vishal Shah
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.
In conversation with Adgully, Vishal Shah, Founder and Managing Director, Storia Foods & Beverages, shares his company’s strategy for the festive season amid the pandemic and the important role of digital in Storia’s marketing mix.
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 global COVID-19 pandemic has severely dented businesses and the entire sector, particularly in the April to June quarter this year. While the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer sentiment is beginning to witness some improvement. “Cautious living” is emerging as the new theme, where consumers are beginning to feel that it is time that they need to resume their activities, albeit with a lot of caution.
Due to the lockdown, FMCG and Retail has really seen a boom time like never before. This sector has seen a growth in this tough time. With continued fear of lockdown, food-based retail chains and essential commodity providers have emerged as winners.
Fortunately, even amidst a lot of gloom, the smaller markets and rural India largely remained unaffected from the impact of COVID-19 and could see a good bounce back as soon as the unlock was announced by the Government in a phased manner.
This year, the festive season will bring in cheer and serve as a respite from the pandemic-associated slumber.
Despite the diverse geographies, socio-economic factors and customer preferences, India stands united in its collective obsession of going on a binged shopping spree during the festive season. However, the first step to being prepared for the festive season is to understand your customers’ shopping preferences during the festive season. The online channel will play an important role in the revival of consumer goods sales as it ensures buying from the comfort of our homes and contactless deliveries.
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?
With E-commerce and D2C being the key focus this festive season, we are planning to ramp up our digital presence with micro and macro influencer campaigns on social media platforms along with native banner ads. We are also looking for new product launches this quarter with health and immunity at the core and innovation in terms of consumer offerings, where we will leverage digital as a key medium along with other ATL and BTL activities that can be leveraged virtually. With surge in home consumption and health and wellness, we are bullish about our festive packs of 6 to further bolster our sales.
We are also looking to invest in technology with QR codes on our products for the consumers to be able to see the journey from farm to bottle and be transparent about our production facility so that our consumers can trust us completely and indulge in our products without safety concerns during the pandemic. This will be digitally integrated on social media platforms and our D2C websites.
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?
With the COVID-19 outbreak and home-quarantine regulations, we’ve seen an unprecedented spike in online shopping, delivery and traffic. While retailers focus on keeping shelves stocked and protecting customers and workers, the go-to-market strategy has shifted much of our focus to digital platforms and allowed us to focus on helping our consumers through this tough time. We, at Storia, have already launched shop.storiafoods.com, a direct-to-consumer channel in Mumbai, to gain an edge via online shopping amid shifting consumer behaviour. The initiative will be replicated in other cities as well across the country in the coming months. The website will allow shoppers from Mumbai to order Storia’s products online with exclusive offers. The company has also introduced ‘zero contact delivery’ initiative on all prepaid orders. In the past few months, Storia has created their presence in modern trade and e-commerce channels to grow the reach of its product to consumers.
Launching this new D2C channel allows for the opportunity to engage with our consumers directly, to learn from them, and use these learnings to continuously optimise everything – from the shopping experience to the products themselves.