You Cannot Buy Customers With Heavy Discounts: Uma Talreja, Shoppers Stop

Talreja, Customer Care Associate, Chief of Marketing & Customer Officer of Shoppers Stop Limited on how the brand’s strengths lie in being a formidable retail player with solid partner relationships and a strong customer base

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Sep 25, 2018 8:56 AM Updated: Sep 25, 2018 8:56 AM

At a time when e-commerce seems to be the order of the day, Uma Talreja, Customer Care Associate, Chief of Marketing & Customer Officer, Shoppers Stop Limited tells us how the brand’s greatest strengths lie in being a formidable retail player with solid partner relationships and a strong customer base.

Wardrobe Refresh is your first marketing campaign with you having recently joined Shoppers Stop. Tell us about your marketing strategy. What are the focus areas going to be, with the rollout of this campaign?

It is in fact about two months since I joined Shoppers Stop, so these are still early days to talk strategy. I joined the company just before the festive season and my plan is to look at what we can do to leverage customer sentiment during this season. So yes, my first Wardrobe Refresh campaign represents everything that Shoppers’ Stop stands for, while also bringing in an element of newness to our communication. I have also closely studied our customer profiles over the time that I have been here and what I have found is that our core audience is still very strong, and almost 75% of revenue still comes from the loyalty base, the First Citizen customer base. One of the missing audiences in Shoppers Stop today, considering the brand mix we have is the youth. So, the campaign is really talking about how you can refresh your wardrobe in time for the festive season, but is also youthful in its appeal. It specifically talks to people who are fashion forward. We also have various brands partnering with us for the Wardrobe Refresh, so are looking forward to a good response from customers.

Aside from the campaign, what else do you have lined up for the brand?

One of the things we have looked at is restructuring the team into verticals across the marketing function such as communications, loyalty, digital, etc. We have looked at how we can bring a lot of things together in terms of work streams. So, content as a stream should cut across everything that we do and that is the first change we are making. We are looking at analytics not just as a value-added service but also in terms of retail and merchandising. We want to make sure that we integrate what we have and that we consolidate work streams and spends, while also strengthening individual roles. That way, everyone is empowered to create real value. This is especially important this year because when we actually scale up in a year or two, we need to be well prepared to take on the larger market.

In terms of scaling up, can you tell us more about the brand’s expansion plans?

At this point we are expanding our stores gradually, but I am sure that will change in the future because the market is big for different formats and variations. We have a wealth of opportunities in fact because we retail so many categories. So I don’t have specifics to tell you in terms of scaling up, but Shoppers Stop has several strengths whether it is in our partner relationships or in our consumer base. These strengths will really help us grow, and we plan to leverage them.

Shoppers Stop typically adopts a range of ATL and BTL activations, and interactive marketing to drive brand awareness. Will you continue with this strategy, or will that change?

You know, a lot of times you do tend to use a marketing mix that is consistent in order to reach consumers at various touch points even more so now, with the growth of Digital. For this campaign, we definitely are using TV because that gives you the benefit of reach. Going forward I see a lot more focus on data and digital. We already do a lot of online marketing, through our own website shoppersstop.com. Another thing we want to focus on is content marketing because we actually have a lot to say to our customers that can help them. Moreover, people are looking for that kind of information and given the number of brands we have, we can fill that information gap. Today, with both TV and OTT coming together as platforms, there is enough opportunity to leverage content creatively and differently. Currently, about 10 to 12 per cent of our ad spends are devoted to Digital and e-commerce. That number will definitely increase to about 25 per cent.

As one of India’s first departmental stores, how are you handling stiff competition from e-commerce fashion/lifestyle portals like Myntra? How do you compete with their heavy discounts?

Yes of course, customers choose to shop online and that is no longer a revelation. E-commerce is convenient, a compelling proposition and it is price sensitive. The more important question we need to ask is what motivates a customer’s choice when it comes to shopping. At the end of the day, if we want to show our appreciation and loyalty to our customers, then we need to dig deeper to know what they are looking for and create an experience that leaves them delighted. We in fact have a strategic partnership with Amazon, something we entered into just around a year ago. So Shoppers Stop is available both on Amazon and our own site, Shoppersstop.com. Between these, our online strategy is pretty robust. Though this is just a starting point for us, there is plenty of room to grow. We have several advantages as a brand also because we are an offline player. You cannot buy customers with heavy discounts! In fact, many online players are actually looking at physical retail. So really, we just have to play to our strengths when it comes to competition.

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