With our digital-first approach, TV & Print are not our focus anymore: Umashan Naidoo
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.
Umashan Naidoo, Head of Customer, Westside,
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?
In India, the festive months are marked by optimism and celebrations and are traditionally a shopping season. Given the current situation, we are wary of the recent changes in consumer sentiments and their resistance to step out for shopping. We also understand that consumers are also expecting a retail experience that is safe as well as engaging, and we are committed to provide that.
Previously, we saw retailers hold back buys till festive and do a Big Bang approach. This has never been our style as we cater to the trend and shifts in season. We focus on providing value, as well as to provide the best retail experience. A happy shopping is incomplete without the touch, feel, and fit of the garments. The sentiment to celebrate big/ or small is possibly one of the questions all retailers are asking, especially with safety at the heart of all they do. Having said that, festive is a growth period for the entire fashion category, so our focus is balancing all the opportunities. We, of course, want to remain profitable with a range that is in line with customers shopping sentiment.
We have seen a surge in demand from metros cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. We are sure that in coming months, festive season, we will see positive consumer sentiments in other cities 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?
Our focus has always been on digital and our strategy of using social media and digital platforms remains as is. With our digital-first approach, our social media handles will continue to be our 1st level of moment of truth. Social media has allowed us to engage with our valued customers in conversations that go beyond fashion. During the festive season, too, our communication will be fashion led. This has proven beneficial to us as we see a rise in engagement rates on such content. Traditional media like TV and Print are not our focus anymore. We are also exclusively available at Tata CLiQ and will continue to be their partners.
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?
As mentioned, we understand that consumers are not venturing out for shopping. However, they are also expecting a retail experience that is safe. In lieu of this, embracing the festive sentiment with safety at the core has become the new norm of welcoming our customers in stores. We will share our optimism with our customers and offer a collection that surprises, delights and suits the Westside customers pocket and the occasion.
Most consumers are opting for e-commerce platforms to meet their demands, while at the same time looking for new shopping experience through technology. We have catered to our audience through our online presence – westside.com and Tata CLiQ.