‘Social media will draw customers to our stores’

| Updated on: Feb 25, 2014

Future Value Chief marketing officer talks about digital strategy

Future Value Retail Ltd, which runs mega retail chains such as Big Bazaar and Fashion at Big Bazaar, is moving away from the traditional medium to advertise.

It is increasing looking at Face Book, Twitter and the Internet for connecting with its target customers. Akshay Mehrotra, Chief Marketing Officer, says he does not have a “grand digital marketing strategy” for reaching to the audience, but has been taking small digital stepswhich are increasing the footfall in the stores. Excerpts of an interview:

Which are the Internet platforms being used for reaching your customers — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or your own website?

We are increasingly using social tools to drive customers to our stores. If on a particular dayPinterest is trending for neon colour trousers, then we celebrate neon colour in our stores that week. In a way we are adapting to the changessocial media is bringing in the market.

Soon we would be launching a campaign on Twitter in which we would be using a tool for junk e-mails. If customers have junk mails, we will ask them to send it to us and they will get free coupons, which can be redeemed in our stores.

Forward all the junk e-mail and Big Bazaar and other stores will pay the customers for that. Using those coupons, the customers can walk in to our stores, shop and get discounts on purchases.

Our connection to the customer is happening through an online media, but the transaction is happening offline — an innovative step for us.

Do you have similar programmes for household goods also?

Online classified websites offer second-hand products to customers, but in many cases, it does not get converted into sales.

Therefore, we are in the process of building a webpage on our sitefor a junk exchange programme.

Customers have to upload pictures of their second-hand goods and household junk, for which they will get an assured value in the form of coupons.

We don’t care if those products work or do not work, because for us it is junk. But we will pay the customers for that junk and it will clear space in their housesso that they can buy new things.

Local kabadiwalas (junk merchants) will offer ₹200 for an old computer, but we will give ₹3,000, just come to our stores and shop.

That is the idea to increase footfalls. We are ready to take a small cut in our profits if it attracts customers to our stores.

What is your strategy for converting those customerswho are averse to transacting online?

One particular group, which we call hybrid customers, is interested in our products on the Web, but do not want to transact online. For such customers, the company takes special efforts through Big Bazaar Direct.

These customers select the products online on our site but make the cash payment and get the delivery from our franchises, who could be the local grocer.

Even Walmart is using this strategy in the UK by shipping the products to a town grocer, form where it gets distributed to the end consumer.

Are you adopting any special strategy for connecting with homemakers and college studentswho come to your stores in large numbers?

Last year, when we conducted the Indian kitchen festival for promoting our kitchen products, we asked homemakers to cook dishes suggested by us using our products.

They were also encouraged to cook those dishes, which they had never cooked before. For example, we asked them to cook Fettuccine pasta using our induction cooker.

We ran a campaign in our stores, but we also asked them to try it out online.

About 1,100 women sent us their videos of pastas from tier two and three cities. It is a huge learning that women in India are keen to experiment with cooking in a big way.

There are two million women twitter users in India, therefore social media is the way ahead for the company.

For college youths, we have chosen to engage with themwhen the college opens before the winter break and before their final exams.

In November 2013, we had campaign called ‘Got Style Get Famous’ in which a stylish student could meet cricketer Shikhar Dhawan.

About 16,000 such students sent us their pictures in their fashionable clothes; many went to our stores bought clothes and then uploaded the pictures on our Facebook page.

The lucky winner got a one year modelling contract from an agency.

Published on February 26, 2014

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