Ecommerce Pivots to Social Media To Boost Festive Sales Further
*This is in partnership with BloombergQuint Brand Studio
With accelerated eCommerce adoption, the twin marketing goals of driving efficient customer acquisition and retention, leveraging social media, have become more important than ever before.
The pandemic has fuelled adoption of digital across India in an unprecedented manner, leading to considerable change in consumer behaviour. The acceleration of ecommerce has been particularly rapid across categories like groceries, fashion and food delivery. Mobile will continue to play a significant role in driving purchase decisions this festive season. To tap into the 150 million existing online shoppers, and grow further, leading ecommerce brands are adopting mobile first approaches to reach the consumers, acquire them early and efficiently, and retain them aggressively.
A recent AppsFlyer Festive Report 2020 highlights how accelerated adoption of eCommerce is creating a new digital playbook for brands, one that advocates for driving efficient customer acquisition, along with aggressive retention strategies with a focus on customer life-time-value. The report also talks about the need to measure the incremental outcomes for each marketing dollar spent towards acquisition and retention goals.
The importance of profitability, and improving return on marketing spends has become more important than ever before in the context of pandemic-led economic uncertainties. As businesses prepare for Diwali, and the festive season beyond that, top industry leaders across ecommerce have shared their thoughts on digital strategies in the festive season and how marketers can re-look at their acquisition and engagement plans to sustain growth at this critical juncture.
Acquire new users efficiently and re-engage with them consistently – the new festive report from AppsFlyer outlines key insights for app marketers to sustain growth momentum beyond Diwali
1. Building a strong consumer acquisition and retention playbook with profitability and life-time-value of customers at its core.
2. Measuring incrementality for each marketing dollar spent towards the acquisition and retention goals.
2020 has been an inflection point for digital and ecommerce. How are you tapping this surge in online adoption in this festive season?
Vikas Gupta: As India’s homegrown ecommerce marketplace, we pride ourselves in being close to consumers and intimately understanding their needs and expectations. Since the relaxing of lockdown restrictions in June, we have expanded our offerings across various product categories to meet consumers’ needs and desires. Demand for essential categories has seen a significant spike, while many erstwhile non-essential categories have now become essential in the new reality of social distancing and working/studying from home. We consistently strive to offer the widest selection of products at affordable prices, with a strong value proposition, delivered safely to your home. We also offer many financial constructs to make shopping more easy, convenient, and reliable on Flipkart. We are not only meeting this demand but also swiftly scaling up the supply chain with extensive safety and hygiene measures at every step.
Being a digital-first organization, how did you leverage digital media platforms for your Big Billion Days?
Vikas Gupta: The role of engagement and communication has never been more critical, especially in today’s digital-first world. For us, the role of digital media is to deepen our relationship with consumers through hyper-personalized experience across various touch points in the customer journey. This is enabled through superior technology, deep technology integrations and a bias towards innovation. As people continue to spend an increasing amount of time on their smartphones and social media platforms like Facebook, this gives brands the opportunity to engage the audience meaningfully on a platform that they are seeking to spend time on, daily.
In partnership with Facebook, we are not only engaging the metro audiences but are customizing campaigns in vernacular languages to reach consumers in tier-2 regions and beyond. All this is driven through very personalized communication at scale, which drives efficiency from an engagement perspective.
What digital innovations are you driving this season to connect with consumers virtually, as they prefer to stay at home?
Vikas Gupta: Digital consumption on the rise today - from what people are watching, to the games they play and where they shop too. The continuing rise in the adoption of social media across the country is leading to the emergence of a new range of engagement formats. This year, we had some exciting things for consumers, during the Big Billion Days: We collaborated with Instagram and SparkAR platform to create an AR experience that brings alive our best offerings. We worked closely with Facebook and their Sideflix platform to create a unique gaming opportunity that unlocks new incentives for both first-time and repeat buyers. We collaborated with social influencers to drive discovery of our offerings across tech and fashion.
How is the marketing approach different for Grofers for this festive season?
Prashant Verma: Grofers witnessed a surge in demand that has now stabilised at 60% higher than pre-Covid levels. We are also seeing 64% first-time online grocery shoppers and expect a further 80% growth in sales during the festive season. As household budgets tighten during this festive season, we are trying to deliver value-for-money to our customers on a range of products including groceries, gifting items like dry fruits and chocolates, personal care, home care, and even general merchandise items such as kitchenware and appliances. Taking cognizance of the increased digital media consumption, our marketing playbook has completely changed as we are digital-first across the full funnel now. From generating top of the funnel salience through short-form videos, and Reach & Frequency campaigns, to granularly targeting relevant cohorts via Dynamic Product Ads, our full-funnel digital strategy has helped us acquire and retain over 70% of the shoppers who came to us during the first month of the lockdown.
Facebook has been a key partner across every stage of our marketing funnel. Reach & Frequency campaigns on Facebook have been efficient in driving brand consideration amongst high-affinity ecommerce shoppers, and its Dynamic Product Ads have helped us in cutting through the clutter to improve sales conversion across the customer lifecycle. Facebook has also enabled us to run targeted campaigns that have helped in scaling acquisition and retention efficiently.
Do you see CPG brands increasingly pivoting to ecommerce? How are you partnering with leading CPG brands on your platform to drive sales in this festive season?
Prashant Verma: ecommerce will become a mainstream growth driver for mass-market CPG brands over the next few years and is already a leading sales channel for select brands. For this festive season, we are partnering with leading CPG brands on exclusive online-only launches and direct-to-home gifting solutions apart from creating targeted on-channel marketing campaigns and solving distribution gaps by making their products accessible. Numerous CPG brands are also focusing their efforts on deep diving into online shopping behaviour and adapting to the needs of loyal cohorts as well as brand flirters. This year, we have witnessed CPG brands transform their ecommerce capabilities, and they now actively drive sales conversion via performance marketing, apart from upper funnel brand building.
Facebook Collaborative Ads is one such solution to help close the path to purchase of a consumer by providing them with a call to action to shop online. We are the first ecommerce platform in the country to have this solution integrated with Facebook and recently partnered with Mondelez to run a successful Collaborative Ads campaign which enables brands to measure sales conversion with much better ROIs.
How is Tata Cliq’s marketing approach different this year as compared to last year? Is digital offering your business newer opportunities to drive commerce?
Kishore Mardikar: This year around we are looking at building conversations with our consumers rather than transactions. The idea is to take an integrated marketing approach where campaigns are indulging people in digital dialogues. There is a vast potential for discovery, exploration and engagement through digital content that we are certainly tapping into. Digital plays an important role in ensuring this start to finish journey. It will help us reach out to the right people with the right proposition to close that loop from discovery to decision.
Which are the key categories where you see an uptick this year and how does digital enable you to reach and drive discovery among the relevant consumer segments?
Kishore Mardikar: Although finding the situation quite obscure initially, people are now settling down to the new way of life and making it their own. It’s about “How can I make the best of this moment?” and therefore to take this lifestyle, which is not a choice, to something that is at least comfortable. So, we see them buying more activewear as they follow their virtual workout routines and buying cozier loungewear as they work from home on their upgraded laptops. And with things slowly starting to open up, fashion may also come to forefront, especially ethnic wear during the festive season. Being able to foresee these patterns, anticipate the needs and then recommend something relevant is how we can reach out to the right customers at the right moment. That moment of truth with the consumer is how digital will drive discovery and delight.
“This year, we infused plenty of excitement and enabled consumers to experience Flipkart's Big Billion Days in a never-seen-before manner. We collaborated with Instagram and SparkAR platform to create an AR experience that brought alive our best offerings. We engaged a large community of social influencers to drive discovery of our offerings across a range of categories.” - Vikas Gupta
“With 400 million Indians on Facebook family of apps, we play a key role in the consumer path to purchase. While India continues to be a large consumer acquisition market with a room for the next 200 million to join online shopping, an aggressive retention playbook has emerged this year to drive higher frequency and ARPU. Facebook solutions like Dynamic Ads, Value optimization, AR solutions, branded content for influencers are industry-leading solutions extensively leveraged by all key advertisers towards their ‘Acquisition and Retention’ goal.” - Nitin Chopra
“The markets have fundamentally shifted from offline (limited) to online, as a majority of consumers are trying to avoid public places. This is further going to spike up during the festive season with people trying to break the monotony of being confined to their homes. AppsFlyer data shows a strong intent from consumers to use, buy, and pay for goods and services this festive season and apps are now the de-facto platforms where consumers spend their time and make purchases. The right mix of user acquisition and retargeting will be the key to success for app marketers this festive season and beyond.” - Sanjay Trisal
“In this season of gifting, we will continue to drive full-funnel campaigns on digital. We are accelerating our customer acquisition initiatives across different valuable consumer cohorts. Our remarketing campaigns focus on re-engaging with new users and up-trading them to premium and luxury categories. We have added multiple sections on our platform that help consumers discover, explore, and choose the right gifts for their loved ones. We are leveraging digital tools like click to WhatsApp and AR to engage with consumers throughout their purchase journeys.” - Kishore Maridkar
“ecommerce and e-grocery, in particular, have witnessed tremendous growth this fiscal year, and we expect this trend to continue throughout the festive season. To capitalise on this trend, brands should create a digital-led marketing playbook across the funnel to maintain salience and drive sales conversion. With Facebook’s full-funnel marketing solutions across brand and performance, we at Grofers connect with consumers, simplify their user experience and deliver value to them.” - Prashant Verma
Myntra drives efficient new user acquisition through Facebook and Instagram
"Myntra’s campaign during the pre-festive period aimed at acquiring new customers while the focus transitioned to driving on-platform consumer actions during the festive season. A combination of organic growth and our brand campaign as well as the festive campaign around the Big Fashion Festival saw a significant customer growth this time; we registered a 105% growth in new customers over the previous edition. As a fashion destination platform, we are leveraging Instagram influencers as authentic voices to amplify our brand message and drive salience." - Harish Narayanan
Swiggy re-engages with consumers through Facebook this season
“Our digital strategy this festive season is a full-funnel plan which includes brand awareness and performance marketing. While we continue to drive the acquisition of new users for the core food business and re-market to existing users, we’re also promoting newer offerings like Swiggy Instamart and Genie. We continue to innovate our digital campaigns and have been leveraging newer formats like Augmented Reality to assist consumers in their purchase process.” - Srivats