Saumya Tewari

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

The online marketplace, having learnt its lesson from last year's fiasco, executed a much more balanced campaign to promote 'The Big Billion Days'.

After its 'Big Billion Day' sale was panned last year, the poster boy of Indian e-commerce, Flipkart, has clearly learnt its lessons. For starters, it increased the number of sale days to five and re-christened it 'The Big Billion Days' (TBBD).

Scheduled from October 13 to 17, the sale was also promoted in a much more balanced way using a 360-degree approach. Shoumyan Biswas, head of brand marketing, Flipkart, informs that its focus areas this year were creating engaging content, shopper targetting, investing in innovation and non-metros.

Speaking about how the experience from last year helped, Biswas says, "We were not governed by any of the choices wanting to be another 'Black Friday Sale'. It was important to create the biggest sale event this country has ever seen, providing the best consumer experience. This year, we tried ensuring best consumer experiences, included non-metro consumers, moved away from conventional advertising and invested in innovation."

Flipkart took a three-pronged approach - create content to generate excitement, then announce the sale and sustain conversation around The Big Billion Days. The e-commerce giant started the ground work for the same around four months ago, along with its creative partners Chapter 5, Web Chutney and The Viral Fever.

Building Excitement

In a bid to break clutter amidst sale announcements by multiple e-commerce players, Flipkart, with its media and brand partners, shot Vox-pop videos with the heads of partner brands as a testimony to their preparation around TBBD. These included Phillips, Asus, Eveready, Prestige and Lenovo, among others.

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

This was played across multiple TV channels - across news, entertainment and DTH networks.

Online content creator The Viral Fever created a video titled 'How to Train your Dad in Online Shopping' for Flipkart. It has garnered close to 2.5 lakh views on YouTube. The brand message was subtly weaved in the video content piece.

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

After doing the ground work, the e-commerce major rolled out television, print and OOH campaigns to announce the sale. The tagline used to promote the event was 'Abhi nahin, toh kabhi nahin', aptly describing the frenzy associated with festive season sales.

"We ran unconventional sale ads drawing inspiration from basic human insights when people stop you saying 'Abhi Nahin'. In life, we are used to accepting 'abhi nahin'; but, sometimes, an event so extraordinary and unprecedented happens that one says 'abhi nahin, toh kabhi nahin'. We wanted 'The Billion Days' to be positioned as that event," Biswas states.

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

Apart from television, Flipkart extensively used print medium across cities to promote the sale. The company advertised heavily in regional newspapers and television channels, covering cities like Bengal and Karnataka, by translating the creatives in to local languages.

"As we are becoming bigger, the contribution from non-metro markets is becoming bigger too," Biswas informs, indicating the need to go app-only as consumers from these markets are mobile-first TG.

Investment in Innovation

Flipkart installed digital hoardings at key locations in Mumbai and Delhi with real-time updates of social feeds and business numbers to build connect and thank consumers for showing interest in the event.

On Facebook and Twitter, the company created rich media innovations such as maneuverable take-over of the screen with multiple creatives lined up. It also implemented a massive innovation on multiple sites via VDX - with site take-over and multiple creatives and videos.

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

Along with Web Chutney, Flipkart launched on Instagram 'The Big Billion Hunt', wherein 'hunters' (participants) explored the house of the protagonist Tarun and found for him his Big Billion Kit items. The hunt used 32 different Instagram accounts to create a complete house with various locations, and relatable navigation symbols which helped 'hunters' move between rooms and look for items. The campaign added nearly 400 new followers to Flipkart's Instagram account. The agency claims that #TheBigBillionHunt was trending at No. 1 in India for about two and a half hours on the launch day, and received 3,432 tweets and a reach of 3,371,505.

Flipkart: Big Lessons Learnt

Flipkart also partnered with ISL ( Indian Super League) executing an augmented reality integration in a football match on the TBBD launch day, across channels, in five different languages. In addition, there were in-studio integration with FK box, on-ground countdown timer, contextual on-air banners and segments.

"Pre and post purchase experience were the centre of decision-making throughout 'The Big Billion Days'. Not just delivery mechanism, but the back-end of our platform was well invested to carry out the sale and ensure superior customer experience," says Biswas.

To customers' surprise, on October 16, the co-founder and CEO of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal, along with Punit Soni, chief product officer, Flipkart, went out delivering orders in Bengaluru. The writing on the wall is clear - the only way to win a sale battle is to ensure that the customer is happy.

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