Building breakthrough brands in the digital age: Radhika Aggarwal, Shopclues

Radhika Aggarwal, Co- founder of Shopclues, spoke at the India Brand Conclave about building a strong brand in a digital era

For Radhika Aggarwal, Co- founder of Shopclues, the genesis of her e-commerce company came when she first realised the importance of getting malls, bazaars and small-medium merchants online.

While speaking at the Indian Brand Conclave about building a strong brand in the digital era, she talked about the journey of Shopclues and the challenges she faced at a time when offline markets (read malls and bazaars) were the nation’s favourite go-to place for shopping.

“Shopclues started in 2011 and the entire premise behind starting the company was that e-commerce in pretty much any country should resemble off line commerce as well,” said Aggarwal.

She then touched upon various topics including how digital is the toughest part to crack when one builds a brand. Given the fact that today marketing strategies are not looked upon as wholesome, she added, “We see marketing as breaking up into brand strategies and performance strategies yet one of the fastest growing companies in today’s era has figured out their brand promise far before even investing a single dollar in brand marketing.”

Giving the example of Uber and how they stared with the tagline ‘Everyone’s Private Driver’ and went on to expand themselves from point A to point B, Aggarwal highlighted how brand building and scaling growth at the same time, along with building a technical craft, has become integral for building up any new brand today.

According to Aggarwal, modern products are never complete. “They are connected, upgradable, trackable but the fact is they continue to add value so it has to be very flexible as well,” she said.

Talking about the immense transformation of Airbnb as a brand, she said, “Airbnb has evolved from a technology company that really reversed an engineered, created list into a lifestyle brand, that too without significantly spending on branding.”

It is an expensive proposition to build any brand in India today and talking about the journey of Shopclues, Aggarwal admitted that when she started six years ago she took a bunch of shortcuts in order to build the brand and enhance its marketing aspects. Elaborating further, she said, “When we launched Shopclues, we took a page of the famous Gmail’s success story. In December 2011, when we launched, Facebook was hugely popular and anyone who was seen online was actually available, so we created a page on Facebook and the only way you could access that page was to like the page and when you access it, you get a secret code that would take you to the site. So by doing that our customers would get to see amazing deals and they would get 50 Clues bucks, which were equivalent to cash at that time and be able to make a purchase and that also helped us to be (quite) the internet sensation.”

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