In October 2015, Aditya Birla Group forayed into e-commerce space with its new fashion portal called abof.com, which sells about 55 brands including those of the parent group. In November they launched their first TVC called ‘Look Famous’, that showcases the brand’s specially curated apparels and footwear. Abof is also introducing 3D trial rooms where customers can try clothes priced between Rs 300 and Rs 4,000. The new fashion brand aims to target 15 per cent market share of the country's online fashion segment in five years.
Ashim Chatterjee, Chief Marketing Officer, abof.com, talks about the brand’s marketing strategy, competitors in the space and more…
In a space which sees the entry of new players almost every other month; how has abof.com planned to deal with the stiff competition?
We are taking baby steps. In this kind of market competition is actually welcome and also healthy. Moreover, we do things very differently. We started with a very strong positioning, and within a month of launch our campaign made its debut on TV. We have created a film which we believe delivered a strong message for the ‘millennial’ audience (18-25 yrs). On YouTube, we have crossed 1.3 million views. We are appealing in a certain manner and creating a sharply distinctive and differentiated brand proposition which hitherto hasn’t been focussed upon. Some brands often use deep discounts as a strategy to grow, which we don’t believe is sustainable in the long run. From the very beginning we decided to create a brand which people would admire and which is sustainable too.
Who do you think are abof.com’s biggest competitors?
Myntra and Jabong are our competitors, none of them have adopted a clearly defined positioning in terms of TG, or defined the brand as sharply as we do. We believe that is our competitive advantage in the long run.
How would you explain the business strategy of your brand?
Our vision is to build ‘abof.com’ among India’s most admired fashion e-brands by creating a curated set of merchandise and offering a personalised shopping experience. Those are three key pillars of our business strategy. Certainly, we are not going to be a heavily discounted fashion portal. Unlike other portals, we just have 55 key brands, which include those of Aditya Birla Group like Louis Philippe and Van Heusen and other popular brand like Levis and Puma. We also have abof.com brand of merchandise which will be regularly revised based on the response.
Right now building the brand is paramount to us, and our TVC was a well thought out decision as we realised that television has a certain appeal, reach and messaging power. At the same time, we are heavily focussing on YouTube too.
Tell us about the target audience of ‘abof.com’. Are you looking at an all-India appeal or just focussing on certain regions?
Various statistics have shown that over half a billion population is below the age of 30, and that number is only going to grow because that’s the way the age pyramid will pan out. That’s a tremendous advantage for us. We have narrowed our TG to 18-25, which we loosely call the ‘millennial’s, who are getting out of college and entering the workforce. This is the large segment we are targeting across big and small towns, and we hope to create a certain admiration for abof.com amongst them.
How would you define your brand positioning?
Our appeal has been built around a great set of curated merchandise, and essentially with our style anyone can look fabulous everyday. Our ‘millennial’ audience wants to be dressed suitably to make a statement and be admired; abof.com helps them to an extent with personalised shopping experience and curated line.
How have you divided ad spends across mediums and what is your marketing mix like?
We don’t have any particular bias regarding ad spends. Right now it is agnostic to the medium and will be equally distributed across mediums. The bias will start once we get the returns in place and also get a fair idea of the consumer behaviour.
To give you an idea of the investments, on an average we have 300 spots a day across television channels. Our marketing mix is evolving. Within a few months we are trying various things across channels, devices, digital and offline.
What are your expansion plans?
Our ambitions are long term. We seek to be among the top three players in e-commerce. You will see quantum levels of growth which hopefully we will achieve.
What are the strong points of your brand building campaign? How is it different from other players?
Our ‘Look Famous’ proposition has given us a good start to make our brand more relevant and insightful. However, it will take time to build the brand. Apart from the messaging consistency, we are present beyond a wide variety of touch points; our brand is presented across websites, YouTube and television channels. The uniformity and certain tonality across platform, device and media are vital to make sure that consumer sees abof.com over a period of time.
Tell us about your focus areas in 2016?
We will take our ‘Look Famous’ campaign to the next level and focus on the Digital and Social for greater brand building and customer engagement. Broadly, that will be our strategic focus for the next financial year.
How is abof.com different from Trendin; the online store of group firm Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (a part of Aditya Birla Group)?
Well, abof.com has a mix of in-house and external brands while Trendin is essentially Madura Fashion & Lifestyle’s e-commerce portal and restricted to their brands alone.