We spoke to Nilesh Gupta, managing partner, Vijay Sales, about how the team looked to advertising and media planning to solve this problem.
Vijay Sales, an offline retail chain, recently released an ad series (a set of three TVCs) to take on the sales challenge in the era of online shopping. The campaign, conceptualised and created by Network Advertising, brings alive the consumer frustration with e-commerce purchases when it comes to consumer durables.
The ad films take on the inherent weaknesses of the internet and highlight the advantages of real-world people who can provide real answers to consumers. The narrative of these commercials is an attempt to seize the conversation away from e-commerce companies.
Until now, Vijay Sales was bullish on cinema halls and advertised heavily in movie theatres. So, we asked Gupta what the reasoning behind releasing the TVCs was.
Nilesh Gupta, managing partner, Vijay Sales, says, “Our first ad was a brand building activity, which we had done showing that we are a 50-years-old brand. After that, we wanted to launch something new and the creative agency proposed we have this new ad series banking on the online wave.”
“When this proposal came in, we thought it's a very good idea to highlight all these issues as customers can correlate to them and say even s/he too had faced the same problem, so it's better to go offline,” he adds.
Vijay Sales, historically, has been advertising very heavily through the print medium. And when the brand's first TVC was created, no serious thought was given to explore cinema as a platform to advertise. In fact, the offline store advertised on CNBC and a few host channels. However, the brand soon realised that advertising only on one or two channels won't work and that advertising on GECs was an expensive deal since Vijay Sales has presence only in Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“Interestingly, after watching our first ad campaign, a few movie theatre chains - such as Carnival Cinemas, PVR Cinemas and Cinepolis - approached us. And after seeing their proposals, our first thought was that we have actually hit the jackpot. So, cinema happened to us just by chance because it was not a pre-planned effort at all,” shares Gupta.
“I won't deny the fact that online retail stores have taken away some of our customers, but it has helped us to increase our market,” says Gupta.
He adds, “What's happening is that even if a customer, who has been with us for so many years, asks - You must be facing tough competition from online retailers; how are you coping with that? - I just tell them that although e-commerce has created an online shopping wave, not 100 per cent of businesses have gone to e-retail. As far as electronic goods are concerned, only a marginal portion of customers are moving towards online shopping.”
Vijay Sales doesn't expect the new campaign to translate into sales; rather, it aims for brand recall in the minds of customers. Although the offline store recently entered the e-retail segment by launching vijaysales.com, the actual transaction ratio, as compared to offline sales, is almost negligible. Vijay Sales acknowledges Flipkart and Amazon as the market leaders and accepts that the brand is unable to compete with these e-retail giants and the price point at which they are merchandising.
However, the brand believes that the market is very big and there is room for everybody - online retailers, offline retailers and mom and pop stores. “Online has helped grow the overall market. In Vijay Sales philosophy, we don't consider anybody as competitors. They all help grow the market size,” says Gupta.
Until now, Vijay Sales hasn't done anything much in terms of online advertising. However, for the next phase, the brand is planning to opt for digital as a platform. And while it will continue to advertise on print platforms, the brand has reduced the print budget.
“We have an annual deal with most of the movie theatres which is 15-20 per cent of the total annual ad budget,” informs Gupta.