Naspers-backed local classifieds site Olx.in came to India in 2006 and has come a long way since. With the help of its well-though marketing communication it has managed to bring consumer-to-consumer (C2C) commerce to India and made a ripe market out of it. Its positioning has been simple, to make people sell their unwanted household items be it an old bag or a car.
From ‘Bech de’ to ‘Sellphone’, the brand has built its recall on the back of several interesting campaigns one after the other. Not many consumers though are aware that it is part of a global chain and is present in 105 countries with the parent company being in Argentina.
Talking to exchange4media, Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, Olx India shared how their marketing campaigns have managed to build the brand that it is today. “We were the first ones to use TV intelligently and we have succeeded over the last couple of years. People look up to what OLX has done in the space. We have used our campaigns to build our brand and today Olx enjoys benefits of our intelligent marketing,” he said.
He further added that though all their campaigns have been instrumental in getting people to know them and register the, but it’s because of the overall package that they see repeat users. “Marketing definitely helps us bring in the initial traction but after that a lot of our growth is also because of the customer experience,” he added.
Of pivots and USP
The market has several other players now, but the top 2-3 players include Olx.in, Quikr.com and Sulekha.com. Since Sulekha pivoted from a pureplay classifieds site to a full-fledged online marketplace during the last year, it leaves Quikr and Olx to battle it out in the online classifieds segment.
There are indeed several ways by which Olx firmly claims to differentiate itself from Quikr. The first being 100 per cent user generated ads. Batra shared that all of the ads on their site are listed by the user. On Quikr, a dedicated sales team is available to assist any user who wants to upload an ad. Olx claims to have one of the leanest teams among most online businesses in India.
Talking about expanding reach with a pivot Batra clearly stated that they are focused on the C2C classifieds sector and won’t be straying from it. “Companies who pivot or add features like ecommerce or other businesses to the site are defocused, we are not. We might expand in our focus area but the core of our business will always remain in classifieds,” he said. He further added that as of now the company is focused on growth and not monetization. Apart from advertisements on Olx’s site there is no other stream of monetization that the website is engaging in as of now. Though they had a paid listing option, it was discontinued last year. “As we achieve our objectives in terms of growth, we will look to other models and monetisation,” he said.
Marketing spends and strategy
In terms of marketing spends, Batra shared that the firm focuses on all media. “As of now, we focus equally on offline and online. It kind of varies sometimes spends on offline are more than digital and sometimes vice versa. We have kind of maintained a 50-50 ratio between offline and digital spends. Going forward we would probably maintain a similar balance,” he added. He further shared that they expect to reduce advertising in itself only. “Since we have achieved a scale and made a unique place in the whole C2C space we can now afford to go slow on advertising. We have budgets available but we may or may not be going that aggressive,” he stated. Social media forms a big part of the company’s communication strategy. It’s one of the most active pages on Facebook and Twitter. “Social media is a means to spread our proposition on our marketing communications. It helps us connecting with our users and take feedback,” Batra said. He added that how social media has paid off for them is the way it has helped in reaching out to so many people. “We are doing less on our own on social media but users are generating a lot more for us. We are also one of the most engaging brands on social media in India today. Users find Olx connect so strong that it has become the part of their lingo,” he added.
Going forward, the company is going focus a lot on mobile. “Five years back we had launched mobile and later we launched our apps as well. The growth we have seen on mobile has been unprecedented. 70 per cent traffic comes from mobile (both apps + WAP site) and we expect this number to grow further because of the way mobile is growing. Our latest campaign, ‘Sellphone’, celebrates mobile as a platform and how it has been instrumental in Olx’s growth,” he added.
On the digital ecosystem, Batra stated that it needs to be relooked from mobile perspective. “For most of us, majority of traffic comes from mobile, so how do we change our strategy? Do we need to spend on web at all? People who are not on mobile might have been relevant yesterday, but won’t be very relevant tomorrow,” he concluded.