afaqs!

OLX turns to buyer's needs

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 09, 2015
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In its latest TV campaign, Olx shifts focus to the significant other of the online marketplace -- the buyer. Quikr's recent films flirted with the concept too.

It is not possible to clap with one hand. Highlighting this truism, OLX, one of the biggest players in the segment, has decided to acknowledge the buyer in its communication. It has moved away from the usual seller-centric campaigns.

OLX's 'Naughty Kid' TVC

OLX's 'Snoring Husband' TVC

Amarjit Singh Batra

Shayondeep Pal

"If you notice, our campaigns have subtly mentioned the buyer always. We noticed that in the online space, we have always had a lot of buyers. But since we wanted to get more sellers, we communicated the seller's proposition," explained Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India.

The brand has released two films - #PatiParmeshwarNOT and #SushilBachcha. In the first, a wife is seen complaining about her husband's snoring habits in a hopeless voice. She pleads with the viewers to sell a sofa on OLX because she desperately needs one. The second film shows a couple talking about their child's inquisitive nature, without referring to his destructive ways. They turn to the viewers in their search for unused appliances that can replace the ones destroyed in their home.

This is the brand's way of saying that, whatever be the product, there is always a buyer on OLX. According to Shayondeep Pal, group creative director, Lowe Lintas, the campaign is a seller's campaign disguised as a buyer's campaign. "We chose to speak through the buyer and her unique needs, thus encouraging a sceptical seller who is unsure about selling her stuff on OLX," says Pal.

The site claims to get 1.5 Billion page views a month. Though there is no way to measure the number of transactions - OLX is only the middleman between the buyer and seller - the site has grown exponentially in the last few years. According to Batra, OLX is still expanding and is investing more in brand building in new markets as well as reinforcing its position in existing markets.

OLX communication is a result of its research findings and insights. OLX's Consumer Research on Used-goods and Selling Trends (CRUST) showed that there are unused goods with a combined value of Rs 22,000 crore lying around in urban India. Again, the site traffic gave the brand the insight that many people who were selling their goods would find buyers within few hours, or even minutes at times. "We married these two findings to get more sellers to the site. But we decided that, this time, we could make the buyers do the talking. So in a way, our target audience for the campaign remains the seller," adds Batra.

The use of the buyer's voice is also an attempt on the part of the brand to sensitise the seller that they sell or list products that are of good quality. By giving a face to the buyer, the brand makes the exchange more personal. OLX is also trying to grow the market for used products. While a lot of people are aware of OLX, Quikr and the like, many have not used it for fear of being ridiculed or not finding a buyer or not being offered a decent price. The current campaign tries to talk to the potential seller by urging them to take action.

But growing the market has not just been OLX's priority, as can be seen by other players' sudden interest in buyers. Competing brand Quikr.com tried to position itself as the perfect matchmaker between buyer and seller in its earlier campaigns. Online information directory AskMe.com brought out campaigns asking viewers to shun the sell brigade and 'incentivised' it by offering them discounts while buying on the site. Can this approach help OLX retain its position in the market?

Tinu Cherian

K Vaitheeswaran

"I think it is a paradigm shift by OLX. So far it wanted more people to advertise their products. Now that it looks as if this part has gained enough momentum, OLX wants more people to buy from them, without which the online market place is incomplete," points out Tinu Cherian, head of digital media PR at an IT services company.

K Vaitheeswaran, e-commerce consultant and founder of Indiaplaza, India's first e-commerce website, explains that the number of buyers in the ecommerce model is usually greater than the number of sellers. So by focusing on the buyers, OLX is trying to grow the market. "Quikr had previously done a campaign showing both the buyer and seller. But focusing on both made it a bit confusing. Here, OLX focuses only on the buyer," says Vaitheeswaran.

He adds that the industry has not seen any communication about the quality of products, which leaves a great positioning for brands to talk about. Unlike a Flipkart or Snapdeal, where the product quality is brand dependent, in a used-product market there is no way of knowing the condition of the product. However, he points out that since the players (OLX and Quikr) do not actually sell the product, it is probably a difficult positioning to take.

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