Ananya Pathak

"We spend 4.5% of total media buying budget on 'Sales'": Grofers' Prashant Verma

A quick chat with Grofers' VP Marketing on sidelines of its ongoing Grand Orange Bag Days sale.

Indian online grocery delivery service Grofers is currently hosting the third edition of its semi-annual sale – Grand Orange Bag Days (GOBD) . The Gurugram based six-year-old brand released two 30-second films announcing the sale that is live between January 18 and 26, 2020.

Over a call, Prashant Verma, vice president marketing, Grofers, tells us what goes into a sale of this magnitude. In his career span of around 16 years, Verma has worked with Colgate- Palmolive as sales manager, with ICICI Bank as manager, corporate and investment banking, with Leo Burnett as brand strategist and as a senior brand strategist at MullenLowe Lintas. Joining Grofers in 2015 as a lead – brand marketing, he took over the role of director of marketing in 2016, before finally taking up his current role.

Prashant Verma, vice president marketing, Grofers
Prashant Verma, vice president marketing, Grofers

He today heads the entire marketing functions at Grofers – which includes driving acquisition and realise retention.

Apart from GOBD, Grofers has a regular sale in the first week of every month - 'Housefull Sale'. Verma says this sale is based on the insight that it's at this time of the month that people shop for groceries and stock them for the entire month.

So, what goes into a sale like this one? Verma says that the idea of a sale at Grofers is different than that of other platforms. “Ours is already a discount platform. We believe in everyday low prices as a part of strategy and our brand communication is a creative manifestation of the same.”

“We want consumers to think twice if they believe that supermarkets offer the best sale. Sales are about discounts. When we at Grofers conceptualise our sale – GOBD – we don't only consider discounts. Our idea is to help consumers save on their needs and also to make shopping a delightful experience for them,” he elaborates.

Grofers is targeting to sell over 10 crore items for a GMV of ₹500 crore during the third edition of the GOBD sale. The ongoing sale targets to bring 10 lakh new customers to the world of online grocery.

In its previous GOBD sale (10-18 August, 2019), Grofers offered 100 per cent cashback which consumers could redeem in up to 10 subsequent orders. “From a business and brand standpoint, we locked in customers for the next 10 orders, and from a customer's perspective, we ensured that they are delighted with discounts over the next 10 orders,” Verma points out.

In its ongoing sale, the brand is offering 100 per cent guaranteed 'inaam' (gifts) with every order. These gifts can range from a car, a scooty, a washing machine, a smartphone, to crockery and dinner sets. “This idea came to us from the insight that most people we checked with hadn't won anything by luck. What could be more exciting for them than a guaranteed inaam?”

Okay, but how do you decide who gets what 'inaam'? “That's based on probability. After every order, there is a scratch card (based on the algorithm) coming in, which decides it. We do not have a say in it – it's completely automated,” he clarifies. Over 30L guaranteed inaams are to be won through the third edition of GOBD.

Verma shares that four and a half per cent of Grofers' total media buying budget goes into sales advertising. Speaking of his media buying plan, he tells us that TV, radio, digital and outdoor are basically used to generate awareness and consideration for the brand. “We look at print as a more practical and conversion centric medium. We use the former as story telling mediums – lighthearted and quirky. Print and digital are mediums to showcase the products and prices.” These are Phase One advertising mediums for the ongoing sale.

In Phase Two, the brand will go for radio, social and consumer advertorials to build credibility. “Apart from the brand call-out, we will also use actual customer testimonials – we have around 25-30 lakh shoppers during the sale. We use that to build credibility for the brand,” he shares.

Verma says his target audience are value conscious couples within the age bracket of 25-35 years, who live with their families. He mentions that the brand needs to crack the 50+ year old bracket, people who aren't tech savvy. He says, “The brand would like to focus on them – those who act as gatekeepers - in the coming time. The marketing activities for them would be very different given that apart from awareness, the brand will also need to focus on educating them.”

What worries him the most as a marketer in the online grocery space? Verma answers that the online market size is huge. “We have grown around 800 per cent in the past three years. In terms of growth, we are sitting at business topline, but there still is massive room to grow. What worries us is that we should grow even faster.”

Online food and grocery retail, which comprises players like Bigbasket, Reliance Fresh, Flipkart and Amazon, currently accounts for just 0.2 per cent of the overall market. It is expected to touch $10.5 billion or 1.2 per cent of the overall market by 2023.

Before signing off, Verma mentions that the only competition he sees is that from supermarkets, because online grocery brands doing well help strengthen the category.

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