Tier 2 & 3 cities lead our customer growth: Kartikeya Bhandari, Flipkart

Senior Director-Marketing at Flipkart says that personalisation in marketing will be a huge game-changer in the future

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Published: Aug 6, 2018 8:50 AM  | 5 min read

Flipkart started using kidults, aka kid-as-adults, in its marketing initiative in 2013. Over the years, they became an important part of the brand’s communication strategy. Kidults have been part of many Flipkart stories, not only in the fashion category but others too.

As the brand recently signed Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor as its new ambassadors, we spoke to Kartikeya Bhandari, Senior Director-Marketing, Flipkart, to know how kidults work as an effective medium to connect with customers, marketing strategy of the brand and consumer trends present in the fashion space.

Edited Excerpts:
What were the reasons behind picking Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor as the new brand ambassadors for the company?

Flipkart kidults have become ubiquitous in today's world. From the miniature world that we created in 2013, the kidults have now entered every sphere of our lives. This new phase of the timeless journey brings the stories of amazement and awe as the kidults now run into some of the biggest fashion icons in our industry. Why was this done? While this device continues to entertain consumers, it was clearly visible from our researches that Bollywood celebrities are the biggest source of fashion inspiration in the country. Hence, for our fashion campaign, it was natural to take it to the next level and surprise the audience once again, while maintaining the buzz and the love that the people have for the brand and the device. And our kidults, as they always do, have effortlessly migrated around everything that we adults experience. 

In our latest campaign, kidults welcome Bollywood celebs Ranbir and Shraddha into their world, thereby creating yet another visual spectacle for us to enjoy. 

Your kidults campaign was a hit among audience and experts. Very rarely we have seen any campaign idea sustaining for such a long time. How was the idea born and what do you do to make it different every time kids come on screen?

The concept of kidult was created to land the point that online shopping was as easy as child's play with Flipkart. Kidult device has stood the test of time and has been performing amazingly for us. As stated earlier, kidults migrate effortlessly around everything that we adults experience and there are so many stories and experiences to tell which we adults experience from the eyes of kidults and hence there is always a new side to the appearance of kidults on screen. 
Which marketing strategy works best for Flipkart? What is Flipkart doing differently from its competitors?

As a technology-first company, we have always believed that digital channels play a big and differentiating role for us. In India, marketers have started realising the potential of digital marketing in the last 4-5 years. And while Flipkart has been a pioneer in the digital marketing space, we have only started to scratch the surface. Personalisation in marketing will be a huge game-changer in the future. For the fashion category, personalisation in marketing is key and we have already taken huge steps in our ongoing campaign to leverage it. In marketing, it’s a win-win situation for both customers and brands as customers are not shown irrelevant ads and brands receive better ROI on media monies.

How are new technologies improving the way customers shop?

New technologies are playing a significant role for Flipkart in improving customer experience. Right from installing the Flipkart app to the customer receiving the ordered product, every step has been improved to provide a seamless experience to customers.

Flipkart partnered with Google's engineering team to create the world's first ultra-light web-app which provides app experience to customers without them installing an app on their phones. Flipkart is using AI initiatives to improve the discovery of products on its platform as well as suggesting customers the right combination of products to provide the best value to them. Every step in the delivery of products can be tracked closely by customers till the time they receive the ordered product. When it comes to fashion, Flipkart is already on a personalization journey, where customers get a fashion experience as per their browsing and purchase patterns.

What kind of growth have you witnessed in the fashion category? What consumer trends do you think have led to this?

The retail market is going to go from Rs 20 billion in 2017 to Rs 60 billion in 2021 and fashion’s contribution is going to increase from 20% to 33%. The fashion business is growing at a CAGR of 60% from 2018 to 2021, which is the highest growth among all business verticals in retail. Online fashion penetration in fashion business is going to increase from 6% to 18% from 2018 to 2021. This makes fashion one of the most important categories for Flipkart. Currently, it contributes 40% of new customer acquisition and 71% of repeat customers on Flipkart. Fashion also contributes 40% of units on Flipkart.

Consumers, especially from tier-2 and tier-3 towns, are looking fashion which is popular, aspirational, rich in variety and affordable at the same time. Flipkart Fashion operates on these tenets and is able to provide what consumers are looking for and it is the category which is leading growth for us.

What geographical or demographic shifts have you witnessed in online shopping in the past one year?
Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities are leading the growth of transacting customers and new customers for Flipkart as opposed to metros. This pattern is led by fashion category where the majority of transacting and new customers are from tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

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