Festive Push: With Marketing Blitz, E-comm Giants Hope To Beat Slowdown

When Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer (CEO), Flipkart, walked up to the stage at the auditorium in the online marketplace giant’s sprawling Bengaluru campus to address the biggest townhall meeting a few days back, he reassured his employees that its festive season bonanza ‘Big Billion Day’ (BBD) would be a massive success despite the talk around softening demand.

Rather than slugging it out with each other, e-commerce giants, including Amazon India, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, and others, are all fighting one common enemy — slowdown — during the festive season. With deep discounting under much scrutiny from the government as well as trader bodies, e-commerce companies are scouting for new ways to attract customers to their platforms.

From wrapping aircraft with advertisement of Big Billion Day sales to booking a whole stadium, e-commerce giants are going on a massive marketing spree.

“This year, it is not going to be all about who gives the bigger discount but who gives a better service. Ecommerce firms know that if they go overboard with discounting, they would be at loggerheads with the government and traders who have been talking about predatory pricing for long. So, what companies believe is that a higher recall through mega marketing campaigns and better in-app services are the only way to get numbers during the sale days,” said a senior vice-president with one of the biggest e-commerce firms.

While there would be discounts as high as 70 percent on products, the number of products on which discounts would be available are going to be far less. “So, if a company is selling around 100 million different products and brands during sales, discounts would be on hardly 30 million products. Majority of the discounts would be on items which are from private labels owned by these players. Discounts this year around are mostly brand and seller led.

E-commerce companies are following this so that they don’t violate government rules,” added the source.

Taking over a stadium

Amazon’s Great Indian Festival Sale this year will be flagged off at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi. Apart from the dates of the annual sale, Amazon is also expected to reveal something called the Amazon Festive Yatra expected to be built around the concept of a travelling Yatra or procession to different cities.

In addition to putting up hoardings announcing the sale, the company is focusing on the theme of “Indianness” and is likely to build its advertising strategy around appealing to the Indian sensibilities.

On its landing page, the Great Indian Festival sale is looking at new launches for consumer focused brands like One Plus, One Plus TV, Samsung, Forest Essentials, Japanese retail brand Miniso, Maggi and Fossil.

The firm has been teasing some parts of the upcoming sale through its Twitter feed, and is promising that the sale and promotions around it this year will be the “biggest ever”.

Offline discounts

Paytm Mall, which is bullish on its omni-channel model, is planning on working with offline stores to offer discounts and benefits not only online but during brick and mortar shopping experience as well.During its ‘Mahacashback Carnival’, the firm is launching ‘Shop till you drop’ with deals and cash backs.

“Our carnival will be unveiled in more than 15,000 stores across top cities with brands like Big Bazaar, Central, Lifestyle, Croma and malls along with Mega shopping. There will be offers and cash backs across brands like LG, US polo, Aeropostale, Redtape, Khadims, and many more. Further, customers will get the Paytm First premium entertainment package with every purchase when they shop with Paytm,” a Paytm Mall spokesperson said.

Promotion in the air

According to sources, Flipkart has tied up with SpiceJet to hold a massive ‘marketing in the air’ campaign.

“More than 10 aircraft would be wrapped in Flipkart BBD decals and around 70 planes would have BBD tags and stickers on passenger seats. The move would help Flipkart reach out easily to around 7 million people, informing them about the sale,” said a source close to the company.

Sources said Flipkart’s BBD will target the platter as well. Flipkart has got into a tie-up with Burger King. Under this, the burger giant would be launching a special ‘Big Billion Day’ Whopper in 50 cities and 225 stores.

Flipkart also launching a host of offers in partnership with other apps including Ola, Oyo, Urban Clap, PhonePe and Zomato, among others.

Festive push

  • From wrapping aircraft with ads to booking a whole stadium, e-commerce giants going on a massive marketing spree
  • Discounts could touch 70% but number of discounted products likely to be far less
  • A majority of discounts likely to be on items that are from private labels owned by players such as Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall―Business Standard
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