E-commerce players have taken their war to print. Print publications are abuzz with the likes of Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal announcing their respective 'festive season' sales by hijacking the front pages of leading dailies. Snapdeal is at it again, trolling Flipkart and, this time, Amazon too.
Amazon India announced its sale in Hindustan Times and its business publication Mint, along with The Times of India. It also made a splash in the Hindi dailies Amar Ujala and NavBharat Times to promote 'The Great Indian Festive Sale'.
Meanwhile, Snapdeal chose creativity over sheer volume and released a clever ad by taking a dig at both its rivals - Flipkart and Amazon. The full-page ad, executed by FCB-Ulka, appeared in The Times of India's third page. It read ' You don't need a BILLION offers to amaze you. You just need to snap the best ones. For the best offers this Diwali, shop only on Snapdeal'.
The three e-commerce players have also executed television and social media campaigns to promote their sales.
This is not the first time that Snapdeal has trolled Flipkart. Recall the latter's #Acchakiya campaign which was trolled by Snapdeal in June this year? Flipkart executed this campaign to promote the three-day sale on its platform using lines such as 'Bada TV nahi khareeda, Accha Kiya' and 'Blue bag nahi khareeda, Accha kiya'. Snapdeal tactfully designed a counter campaign 'Accha kiya bata dia - #YahanSeKharido'. Announcing it over social media, the company also strategically placed its billboards right below and above Flipkart's, amusing consumers and instigating trolls on social media.
Meanwhile, Flipkart received flak over the 'The Big Billion Day' sale which it conducted on October 6 last year. While there was a massive marketing promotion involved, the delivery mechanism, over-priced products and inferior consumer experiences created discontent among many.
This year, Flipkart has carefully spread the sale over a period of five days, allotting categories for different days. The sale is also app-only, limiting a vast number of users accessing desktops. This has been reflected in Flipkart's creatives as well which shows an app with the sale announcement stating the dates and the corresponding product category for each day. The 'Big Billion Days' branding occupies only a portion of the first half of the creative.
Amazon's ad has a bright orange background with three big circles carrying a variety of products across electronics, home and kitchen and mobiles categories.
"People aren't dumb (sometimes, in advertising, we like to believe they are). They smell rubbish when they see it. At the end of the day, people will flock to the product (e-comm site in this case) that gives them the best deals," he says.
Meanwhile, K Vaitheeswaran, currently an e-commerce consultant and founder of Indiaplaza, thinks that the Snapdeal campaign might get noticed for creativity, but it will not help achieve the platform its sales.
"If you have got a product to sell with great pricing and delivery mechanism, then you don't waste time releasing cheeky ads. The cost of advertising is very high and the primary purpose of buying a spot in a leading publication cannot be to release a clever campaign," he comments.
According to him, as far as customer experience is concerned, Amazon is the best and Snapdeal "the worst."
He predicts that while Flipkart will certainly perform better than last year, because it is far more prepared, it will receive comparatively lesser amount of orders. "They have kept the sale app-only, eliminating a significant number of transacting consumers," he says.
"A lot of customers will shift to Amazon this year, as its delivery, selection and prices are better. All these players have got selection, prices, traffic and funding to advertise; the battle will be won based on superior customer experiences," he concludes.