Pepperfry to launch new campaign and scale up content marketing

CMO, Kashyap Vadapalli on the start-up’s marketing play, why it has decided to stay away from IPL and response to its furniture rental apps

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Published: Apr 18, 2018 8:55 AM  | 5 min read

Ever since its brand revamp in November, online furniture retailer Pepperfry has taken an aggressive mode to get closer to its targets. It has already announced 12 offline stores in the next six months. Recently it raised Rs 2.5 billion from State Street Global Advisors. Now it aims to accelerate its break-even point and expects to become a profitable business over the next 12-18 months. On the marketing front it intends to spend Rs 10 crore annually on content marketing, according to media reports. We spoke to Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO, Pepperfry who shared more insights on the start-up’s marketing play, launch of a new campaign and why it has decided to stay away from IPL:


How has the response been to your brand revamp since November?

The last four months have been fantastic (in terms of traffic and transaction numbers) compared to the four before that. I am not attributing to the logo change. We have refreshed our brand. We have found a lot more stickiness.
We launched brand identity change with a series of activities. We used our birthday to spread the new logo again with celebrities singing for us. With all of these activities our Twitter and Facebook accounts witnessed a lot more engagement from customers.

You consciously took a decision to not be on IPL. Why?

Our audience is strongly women-centric. I believe that while everybody watches IPL there is too much wastage and it doesn’t make sense for me to pay those prices. This is because a lot of younger males form the core of it whereas my target audience is 30+ females.

We will be launching a new campaign in the next couple of days on decor furnishings category. This time it will be on digital and TV.

How are you planning to increase your presence digitally?

Our focus on digital over the last few years has been extremely performance-orientated. We would run a lot of our digital campaigns with the focus on driving transaction and revenue. Over the last three to six months, we have been dabbling with content-based marketing on digital through multiple types of video format. It's fantastic for brand stickiness and reach. We will actually scale it up. Of our digital spends we would probably spend 15-20 per cent on content.
Digital takes away 50 per cent of our marketing spends.

How are you planning to scale that up?

We are planning of more tie ups with content platforms and influencers (celebrities, bloggers and vloggers). Right now I am looking at standalone videos but we will consider web series. The latter gets a lot of reach. If three-part web series can accumulate a reach of five million views. For TV there is a certain amount of reach at certain frequency. We have done so many TV campaigns that we are able to actually drill back and look at the relationship between the traffic jumps and TV deliveries. We are trying to see if we can put together a framework for web series.

You are planning 12 more Pepperfry offline stores in the next six months. How much do they contribute to overall revenue?

Last year it was about 20 per cent. As we speak by end of this year it will be as high as 30 per cent. Our stores are primarily set up for design inspiration. When people walk into our store they actually end up buy 3x-4x of what happens online. Once they see the store, the layout and quality they get ideas. They end up changing 5-6 things. It’s an upgrade. Almost 85-90 per cent of items that we sell overall are not in the store.

When it comes to your TG are you planning to shift your focus to rural?

Rural, honestly, for us is not a market. We are very metro-focused in the sense that the top eight cities contribute 70 per cent to our business. We see that the top Tier 1 cities will grow. But there is a lot of opportunity in metros also.

You ventured into furniture rental space. How has that worked out for you?

When we launched furniture rentals our idea was to learn the market. So the first few months we collected data in terms of the things people are looking for, the time frame and the payment methods. As we are processing all the information we will develop special lines for rentals. We will do a big launch in next three to six months. Right now it was a soft launch.

So what kind of insights you got from the research?

People are mostly looking for utilitarian and design-forward stuff while renting. We discovered that the rental market really booms in cities with migrant millennials. For example Mumbai is a large city but Pune has more migrant millennials. So we think Pune might perform better.

Are you looking at this category to play a key role in revenue share?

For us the rental play is not so much about revenue share. It’s about talking to younger people. We figured that our audience is between 25 and 45 but the core audience is above 30 whereas rental is aimed at 22 to 29 kind of audience. For us this is an opportunity to start talking early to people who will eventually move into our core segment. It gives us an opportunity to talk to them and eventually they will become our core customers.

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