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E-Commerce goes outdoor

12-July-2012
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E-Commerce goes outdoor

E-commerce, a sector that created buzz in the late 90s, has bounced back. This time, it is showing a lot of interest in outdoor advertising. India has emerged as the fastest growing and largest Internet market in terms of number of users. The year 2012 may come as a year of surprises to cynics of the industry who believe that online shopping cannot become an Indian reality. The argument that is often given is that buying behaviour of Indian consumers is non-virtual. E-shops are now looking at connecting with potential costumers extensively on offline platforms.

According to Ravi Vora, Vice President (Marketing), Flipkart, “Innovation for the sake of being innovative isn’t the goal.” E-shops must consciously try and take impactful properties that can break clutter and register strongly with the target audience. Flipkart has launched an aggressive outdoor campaign across 15 cities for a period of two months.

“Flipkart’s latest marketing campaign comes with a tagline- ‘Shopping Ka Naya Address’. So far we were addressing a target group that had already shopped online and was aware of its nuances. The current campaign intends to take online shopping to a wider audience – especially consumers from non-metros who perhaps haven’t experienced online shopping at all. The objective here is to build basic awareness about online shopping, apart from reinforcing the benefit of trust and reliability. Our outdoor campaign can be seen across a mix of mediums like billboards, ads/wraps on buildings and branding on trains and buses along with some BTL activities. We have used a number of platforms besides mass media advertising - like on-ground activities in corporates and colleges” added Vora.

E-shops have also tried using smart out media plans for mass visibility over the recent times. eBay India had undertaken a high visibility outdoor campaign after a period of two years for a duration of two months by investing 25 percent of its budget only on outdoor advertising. Apart from the traditional outdoor buzz, the e-commerce brand had tied up with PVR Cinemas in more than 20 locations. In this activity, eBay India gave discount coupons with every PVR ticket purchased. Branding across these locations was also a part of this partnership. In addition, eBay also collaborated with a popular coffee chain Café Coffee Day to exploit in-café branding opportunities.

In-retail advertising has been an interesting option that e-shops have started looking for. Snapdeal interestingly took its Yum-Dude TVC to across 35 Croma and 20 E-Zone stores in 12 prime markets across the country early this year. Snapdeal was the first brand in Indian e-commerce sector that is using multiple television panels at prominent electronic stories for mass visibility. This move was taken considering the fact that the footfalls in electronic stores in India are tremendous and always increasing.

A lot of enthusiasm can be seen amongst big brands in India, especially in the last couple of years. This is basically to increase their distribution scale in a dynamic market place like India. Big brands have really small distribution scale, particularly in Tier I and Tier II cities. Even in some metros store locations are too distant. Many brands in India still have around 20 stores across the country, which is still small for a country the size of India. Online gives these brand a good platform to reach consumers across the country. Online brands there by uses offline communication mediums like on ground activities and traditional outdoor assets for not just brand awareness but also for engagement.

Looking at the intensity and galloping growth of the e-commerce industry in India one thing is clear that outdoor players have an interesting sector in its kitty to work. What needs to be noticed is will the outdoor industry help these e-commerce break the clutter as it is indeed the survival of the fittest when it comes to this particular domain.

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