Benita Chacko

“Wanted to bring humourous in-store conversations to life”: Croma’s Shibashish Roy on festive ad burst

Amid growing pressure from high decibel e-comm sales, offline retail chain Croma highlights in-store shopping experience in festive ads.

Croma's festive ad campaign ‘Things Happen @ Croma’, highlights how consumer preferences are evolving rapidly across India. The series of short commercials, that were launched this week, stems from deep insights the brand has gained while interacting with consumers in their stores.

The lockdown gave people much-needed time at their home with their family. Many used this time to learn new skills and develop new abilities and some of them have sustained beyond the lockdown into this year as well. For their festive campaign, they have focussed on these changes people have brought about and sustained and how they can help them better it.

At the same time, it attempts to capture these stories using quirky characters and humorous in-store situations. These short commercials not only highlight Croma’s key brand propositions - helping customers choose the right product for their needs; its extensive range of products and accessories in-store and online; as well as its lifetime service assurance, but also showcases new and emerging consumers like Gamer Girls and Influencer Moms.

“We have always been known to give the right advice and we have always been a comfortable place for customers to shop. They feel warm towards the brand and so they have frank discussions with us. So we heard some hilarious interactions from our store associates and that’s what we brought into the campaign,” said Shibashish Roy, Chief Business Officer – eCommerce & Marketing, Croma.

For example, their film for smart TVs shows a young couple wanting to buy a separate TV as their content preferences are different from their parents and they do not wish to share the screen anymore. This ad comes from a candid conversation in a store.

Conceptualised and executed by Native Films, ‘Things Happen @ Croma’ campaign kicks-off with a TVC that focuses on the smartphone category, which continues to be among the top two selling categories during the festive season, alongside TVs. It weaves the story of a ‘no-nonsense’ daughter who is out to get the perfect smartphone for her influencer mother, so that she can create content worth ‘shares, likes and comments’ on her profile. It uses this youngster’s dilemma to showcase Croma staff’s expertise in making the right recommendation from among the wide range of smartphones available at Croma stores. It is the child who does the talking here.

“Kids are actually making the decision for their parents on the kind of phone to be purchased. Though it is their parents’ phone, they are also using it to play games, click pictures, etc. So the kids do the talking in the store. We heard from our friends, families, and store associates that this is happening and decided,” Roy said.

In a series of commercials, the campaign further focuses on gaming laptops, smart televisions and other smart appliances.

The festive period is a crucial time for the sale of electronics and consumer durable products as many consider it an auspicious time to make such purchases. Many brands in this category launch innovative campaigns to attract consumers.

“Croma said they wanted to bring out the celebratory occasion and feeling of happiness among customers during festive season shopping and we had to match it with an ad film which conveyed that ambience and mood. Thus out of this simple insight was born an interesting and engaging TVC,” said Prithvi Raj Luthra, Founder, Native Films.

While highlighting their brand proposition of offering the right advice and providing lifetime service, the campaign also subtly gives an edge to Croma’s retail and online stores versus its competitors.

Croma faces competition from a wide array of rivals. There are direct rivals like Vijay Sales and Reliance Digital. Then there are the local variants that exist across the country. There are online giants like Flipkart and Amazon. They also face competition in every category. For example, in the smartphone category, they face competition from mobile stores like Poorvika mobiles or Sangeetha mobiles. These also vary according to geographical regions. Moreover, brands themselves try to sell their products directly through their stores or online channels. For example, Dell laptops or Dyson have their own channels apart from selling through Croma.

“In such a crowded market, the first thing is pricing. Everybody tries to compete on price and we decided that we will be in the game because that delivers significant value to the customer. So we are competitively priced. But what sets us apart is the right advice and lifetime assurance. For low cost items you will buy it from anywhere. But for expensive products you will go to somebody you trust,” he said.

How does Roy devise a marketing strategy keeping so many diverse competitors in mind?

“We just focus on the basics. Firstly, we have a very consistent approach. Whether it's our social presence, our advertising, our website, our store decor or our holdings, it has an integrated approach, so that the customer gets the sense that he’s dealing with the same brand all across. Secondly, we are playing up the fact that we are present on multiple channels- online as well as stores. That's clutter breaking because very few rivals can claim that. Thirdly we are focusing on Croma as the brand. We are trying to make it clear to the consumer, what is the difference between buying a Samsung phone from their own website versus us.”

While Croma may not offer the kind of pricing that online aggregators like Flipkart and Amazon offer during festive sales, they offer consumers advantages with better warranty and after-sales service. “Every consumer doesn't come in only for the pricing advantage. That is only one of the criteria. While our pricing is very competitive, we offer better warranty than any player in the market. Then we keep layering on it with better service.”

The ad also reminds consumers of their online presence by adding a ‘.com’ at the end. “Our online business has been very nascent. We have a renewed focus on it. Last year we did have a decent growth in the business but this year we have a renewed focus to make it even bigger. The way we approach online, the customer never has to choose between Croma the store and online. We will be where the customer is. We want to make sure that we don't promote one channel over the other, we leave it to the customer,” he added.