COVID has increased digital adoption across customers. UPI’s, Payment Wallets has witnessed a phenomenal growth in India. Customers have started purchasing groceries online over Big Basket, Grofers, Amazon, etc. The trust among consumers for digital brands have increased. This is a behaviour change that we have seen, and it’s here to stay. Dhananjay Yadav, Associate Vice President – Customer Acquisition and Product Growth, HomeLane tells us his strategies for growth to keep the customer hooked to the digital-first brands!
What excites you the most about digital innovations for customer acquisition?
Attribution, Placements and the use of the new format across creatives. As we are moving mobile first, the newer formats of creatives such as Vertical Videos, 3D Creatives, and Gamification of Creatives have witnessed CTR and engagement rates across different platforms. We have seen optimization of ads/campaigns across different placements to provide the best Cost Per Acquisition. For example – In Google Discovery Campaigns, we can now target Google owned Display Placement, Google Feed, YouTube Feed and Gmail Sponsored Promotions. All through a single campaign, which increased the reach significantly and while reducing the cost of customer acquisition.
The most exciting advancements have been across attribution. Today, we are better able to run Brand and Performance tests together, and ascertain the overall impact of Media Mix to better allocate budgets and keep the CAC% under that target.
There has been much talk about marketers needing to choose content over simply commercials. What is your advisory on customer acquisition strategies? What are you learning from your exposure to Indian retail?
Over the past 7-8 years, we have witnessed a shift from simply commercials to content. As individuals have become more and more digital savvy, content has become the king to educate and acquire customers. We have also seen considerable increase in budgets in creation of content. During 2010’s, when the Telecom Organisations were at their peak, it was all about commercials that would attract new customers. With the increase in penetration of data across the nation, we have seen e-retailers growing across the board. For these e-retailers, content is one of the biggest focus areas.
What are the most exciting advancements in ad tech and martech? How can retailers/businesses in India benefit from the top next-generation martech solutions?
The most exciting advancements have been across attribution. Now, we are better able to attribute Brand and Performance metrics together, and the overall impact in-terms of growth metrics. Over the past few years and especially post-covid, we have seen an increase in adoption of both audio streaming services and OTT’s, which shifted the audience from Radio, Cable TV’s and DTH. Across both Audio Streaming and OTT’s, it is easier to measure the campaign impact. Hence, investment on Brand Performance across Platforms like Spotify and Netflix has seen an increase compared to just brand spends across Radio and Television.
How would you characterise the key Indian consumer sets for retailers? How has the consumer mind-set evolved over the years, especially given the pandemic?
Covid has increased digital adoption across customers. UPI’s, Payment Wallets has witnessed a phenomenal growth in India. Customers have started purchasing groceries online over Big Basket, Grofers, Amazon, etc. The trust among consumers for digital brands have increased.
This can be seen across boards. They are purchasing furniture on Furlenco, Urban Ladder while even for high ticket size items such as Home Interiors, they prefer digital brands like Homelane, and Livspace. This is a behaviour change that we have seen, and it’s here to stay.
When it comes to customer retention, how do you specifically handle it or what is your mantra that you closely follow?
In terms of customer retention, on the basis of their previous purchase history, we have the data around what the customers are likely to buy next. On the basis of their purchase, we recommend customers with relevant products that they might be interested to purchase next. For example – if a couple has recently got Home Interiors done, and have moved to a new home. Within a couple of months, they might be also interested in Home Office Furniture. So, we would push home office furniture. If the customer has got Home Interiors done from you which is a high involvement item. There is a trust that develops with the brand, and they’re always willing to listen to the new offerings.
The challenges related to your function that you foresee coming this year for businesses and how do you look to cross the hurdles this year?
The challenges in our case are mostly external such as real estate players delaying the possession dates. All because of the lockdowns across different cities, the migration of blue collar workers might be a challenge. But like in the first phase of the pandemic, the adaption to E-commerce Home Interior Players increased considerably as soon as the lockdown was lifted. We are expecting the same again. During these times, people like to research more about such services and their dream homes and this is where they land on E-Commerce Home Interior Providers. This is why we invest a significant amount of Marketing efforts on building content.
What was the strategy or technology push you brought forward to stay closer to the customers during the pandemic?
The biggest technology that helped us in growing even during the pandemic was online/virtual meetings. We shifted our major focus to providing the best customer experience on online/virtual meetings. On the basis of the floorplan, our designers can take customers through their Home Interiors Online while customers can give their feedback sitting at the comfort of their homes.
Customer experience plays a very big role for any organisation. How do you ensure that the experience they get from your business is holistic and cut out for them?
We make sure that at every touch point, we have the best customer service. We focus a lot on mystery shops across all our Showrooms and Online Meeting. Also, a customer NPS is after meeting the customers. If for some reason a customer NPS is low, our customer care team immediately reaches out to them to understand their complaints.