There’s a pent up demand building up to the festive season: Sheetal Seth

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.

Also read: We’ve seen 25% surge in demand for pre-owned cars in July: Amit Kumar, OLX Autos

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, Sheetal Seth, Head - Marketing & Digital, Raymond Apparel Ltd, speaks about how COVID and the lockdown has impacted her company, and also how the extended shopping window before Diwali and the wedding season comes as a silver lining.

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?

COVID-19 brought everything to a grinding halt and is wreaking every aspect of our personal and social lives. When markets finally started unlocking in a phased manner, we experienced pressing challenges such as drop in demand, loyalty and footfall, and even saw new opportunities, including the accelerated transition to online shopping. But at every turn, it was bound by uncertainty as lockdown imposed by local authorities came unannounced and impacted consumer and retailer sentiment.

Now after 5 months , while Green Zones are trying to operate with some semblance of normalcy, Tier 1 and Tier 2, where stores are housed in malls, have been among the last to begin operations or are yet to resume. We lost the first wedding season wave to COVID. However, amidst all this, there is a pent up demand building up to the festive season, followed by the wedding season.

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 the lockdown, ‘Moment Marketing’ got redefined in all aspects. Consumers decided on Digital overnight for most of their content consumption along with the accelerated transition to online shopping. It became imperative to pave the way for a new communication strategy, albeit with reduced marketing spends as business revenues took a huge beating.

Being a non-essential category we were impacted for a long time. With markets reopening, we amplified our omni-channel strategy and benefiting from our 1,000+ stores, which empower us to fulfill consumer demand across the country. We expect continued strength in the digital business, and have implemented measures to ensure that we can fulfill customer demand during the festive period. Our intent is to galvanise not just the digital audiences, but also how we stay connected with our consumers with relevant offerings across our retail touch points.

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?

After a decade India will witness a month’s gap between Shraddh and Navratri. I am confident that this festive season will bring the much needed respite as wave 2 of wedding season combined promises an optimistic outlook for retailers. This extended shopping window before Diwali and the wedding season comes as a silver lining. Gifting will also see a surge. To leverage this, multiple initiatives are at play, starting with activating loyalty programes, hyper local delivery, contactless shopping, a strong D2C backbone and a bit of a personal touch with our on phone consultation with our loyal base. We also launched varied consumer services – Video calling, Home Delivery of Fashion – to pivot both safety and long term success.


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