'Trust, transparency & technology are what consumers are looking at today'
The panellists at the Convosight e4m webinar exchanged views on how electronic brands have been innovating in customer reach-out channels in a post-COVID scenario
As part of the Convosight e4m webinar, chaired by Tamanna Dhamija, Co-Founder, Convosight, speakers Amit Tiwari, Vice President Marketing, Havells India, Sanjay Chitkara, Vice President, LG Electronics, Ranjivjit Singh, Ex-CMO, Samsung, HP & Microsoft and Vaibhav Mishra, Community Head, Tech Guru India explore the topic 'How are Electronics brands innovating in Customer reach out channels post-COVID'
Setting the background to the conversations that have happened in the lockdown, Tamanna Dhamija, Co-Founder, Convosight says that there has been a 2x increase in conversations related to computer peripherals since May 2020, which is led by discussions around wireless. "Wireless as a discussion point has gone up in the past 4 months and people talking about this are content creators and ones working from home," she added, saying Mouse, headsets and also speakers have become an interesting part of conversations today. With the shift of the average age of buying a laptop to 6 years, Dell has seen a constant increase in the share of brand voice amongst all other brands in this period. Refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and washing machines and the home good segment has seen and is still seeing a spike, although price is still the biggest consideration factor for the home goods segment.
Giving his thoughts on the same, Ranjivjit Singh, Ex-CMO, Samsung, HP & Microsoft is of view that at this time, consumer electronics have become the center in terms of utility and improving the quality of life because of the different kinds of roles people have to play. "The super-premium segment has got constricted as well as the entry-level segment has got hit due to various restrictions. But the premium and mid-segment are where consumers are finding a lot of value. When it comes to laptops or refrigerators, consumers are now thinking if they should be spending less on these items or investing in them for the future. They are now thinking long term and improving their quality of life. This is a very significant change in the approach towards consumer electronics," he said adding that India always struggled with computer penetration, earlier due to fixed lines. However, due to internet connectivity, it has become a great help for people and there is a big difference in terms of the buying method. People in India have always wanted to be served with human interaction, which has become restrained, but that's where digital has played a big role.
A lot of healthy cooking conversations have spiked as well as non-oven cakes became the most searched term in the lockdown. Amit Tiwari, Vice President Marketing, Havells India points out that there has been a lot of reverse migration in the last 4-5 months. "Because of WFH, people have shifted to their own hometowns and realised that they don't have all the necessary appliances as they did in their own space."
Data has also shown that Wi-Fi connection has taken flight in tier 2 and tier 3 markets and increased by more than 300 percent. "A lot of recipe bloggers, even the smallest have led to an increase in viewership and DIY is widely used. 'How to use and maintain an appliance' are other big searches that have been found in this period. No one is dependent on a service guy at this point, since it is a day-to day-need. 'Work For Home' is one of the biggest concepts that people have learnt in the 4-5 months,' Tiwari added.
Now that conversations have moved to digital, understanding where to tap for insights has also become extremely crucial. Commenting on this, Singh says, "People want to know the experience of the product before they buy it. This is a general buying requirement in India across all categories and not just on e-commerce. People see through celebrity endorsements and understand that it might not be as credible. Therefore, credibility and authenticity are very important in that voice. What people really want is to hear more people like themselves talk about the problem they want to solve. The one danger that brands need to watch out for is brand preference, since the choice factor can become quite different from regular times, based on availability, price or on the recommendation. There's no better place than communities and groups where like-minded people get together and pick up what's really good for them and compare."
According to a survey conducted by LG Electronics, they found that the new normal was actually normal and that nothing had changed as the consumer was still buying offline, even though there was an increase in buying online. '"There was a 20-22% increase in our online sales. Our TV and mobile sales are very high, but our home appliances category barely contributes 6-7% of our total sales, out of our entire online consumers which were 38%. The Microwave oven was a dying category and we would see a de-growth of 25-30% every year. It was either taken over by an induction cooker or another appliance, but there has suddenly been a hike. We are now observing a 170-200% hike in the sale of the microwave oven category in LG electronics since the last 4-5 months. Dishwashers too have a huge demand and we finish our stocks real quick," said Sanjay Chitkara, Vice President, LG Electronics who adds that the brand has witnessed the biggest hike withTV sales. "We tried to find out what people were worried about and around 97% were worried about their mental health, safety and hygiene. During this period there was no new content for DTH channels." States like UP, Patna, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand saw maximum sales in the full HD TV categories which then shifted to smart TVs. There was huge spending in electronic gifting during marriages in Northern and Eastern India, even with the premise of social distancing.
However, most of the cancelled weddings are now happening in November and December and Chitkara is confident that this is the golden period for the electronics industry. "I don't know how we will register growth over this period in the next year. I've never seen a price increase in TV sales, but this time we have been increasing the prices due to the huge demand and lack of supply.
Speaking of the importance of communities and groups, Vaibhav Mishra, Community Head, Tech Guru India says, "In groups, people inquire about TVs which can perform multiple tasks like video calling, video gaming etc, similar to those of a computer. For mobile phones, when the government started online sales, there have been questions from people on what sort of mobiles they should buy and what are the other good features they can get. With home appliances, I've seen queries related to dish-washers, microwaves and front load washing machines post covid. These questions are from people who are social media savvy and want authentic and credible content since most of the YouTubers and other content creators are paid promoters."
People are looking for honest reviews of products from people who are actually using it. It's possible for people in these communities to also share their real feedback with brands, so as to help them improve and understand the real intent of the consumers organically.
Adding to this, Dhamija states that there are 1.8 billion people who engage in groups a month on Facebook. "70 million people create groups on Facebook across all categories. YouTube and Instagram have become very important content dissemination channels, but groups are where they actually come and ask for recommendations."
Once you start targeting communities, everybody becomes your audience. Your consumer decision journeys are now trying to change into consumer digital journeys. Trust, Transparency and Technology are what consumers are looking at today", added Tiwari of Havells.
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Tags Amit tiwari Electronics Sanjay chitkara Ranjivit singh e4m webinar Tamanna Dhamija Convosight Vaibhav Mishra