What do you do with your dead time while travelling to or back from office? You read a book, listen to music or perhaps catch up with friends and relatives. With e-commerce growing in India in breakneck speed, retailers are carefully watching a new and a potentially lucrative behaviour of people: shopping while travelling to and back from the office, or 'commuter commerce', as it has been branded.
How big is commuter commerce? According to the 2015 Internet Trends report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, over 40 per cent of India's online retail happens over mobile phones, which is way ahead of China, the UK and the US, and most of the big players in the space get over 70 per cent of their business from the mobile platform. Our smartphones and tablets have become serious shopping tools, says industry watchers, so much so that some of the well-known retail brands are moving to app-only models, jettisoning browser-based search altogether. Net-net we are seeing more engaged browsing, as the quality of mobile sites and the speed improves. "Engaged browsing" as in people spending a considerable amount of time on a site or app rather than just checking a price or visiting momentarily.
This trend presents a great opportunity for e-commerce website ShopClues, which has launched a new campaign borrowing for a politically-loaded jargon that has now become part of popular lingo. Its 'ghar wapsi' campaign aims to own the 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm time slot by promoting the idea of 'commuter commerce', offering customers category-specific surprise offers that change every day.
This is the second consumer-oriented campaign by ShopClues. "We did the first television campaign around Diwali last year, Sab kuch wholesale ke rate pe. That was the first time we introduced consumers to ShopClues as a brand and highlighted our core strengths - selection and value. This is the the second consumer campaign by ShopClues. We wanted to have a clutter breaking ad. So while the first ad was about asking people to come to our site, the second ad is about promoting our mobile platform," says Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder and chief business officer, ShopClues.com.
The television commercial (TVC) illustrates the excitement that bargain hunting can infuse in a mundane activity - travelling in public transport. It features office-goers rushing out of their offices at 6.00 pm, jostling their way into the transport of their choice, and logging on to their phones immediately to check out daily deals on ShopClues. "The campaign is based on the insight that the most preferred time slot for consumers shopping online is during commute hours. So we decided to tap the 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm time band to target deal-seeking consumers. The idea is to capture the audience during their time of commute back home. People are already spending a lot time on the mobile phone while travelling. We are only leveraging that behaviour," points out Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous Brands, the creative agency for the TVC.
About 65 per cent of ShopClues' traffic and 50 per cent of its orders come form its mobile platform. Of this 40 per cent comes via its app. Also, the repeat purchases on the app is higher than the website. That said, ShopClues will not do away with its mobile website. "We are mass-market oriented. Our target is the consumers who is using an entry-level smartphone. While the app install rate is high, the uninstall rate is equally high. So both the mobile browser and the desktop are important to us," says Aggarwal.
The current promotion focuses on fashion, sports, general merchandise and all the popular categories. "Our visitor traffic is about 50 million a month. We have 2,600 categories and around 200,000 merchants listed on the platform. We are processing two million orders a month, of which two-thirds are from Tier-II and Tier-III cities," says Aggarwal.
The total spend on the campaign is around Rs 40 crore.
The 'ghar wapsi' campaign was launched on July 15 and would continue through August. "Since the theme revolves around commute hours, we have done the outdoor accordingly and placed hoardings at strategic locations. We have also placed ads on the Delhi metro, in cabs etc. It is supported by an integrated marketing campaign where we are also giving discounts and daily deals." But isn't the term 'ghar wapsi' negative in its connotation, what with its origin in the political battlefield? Quite on the contrary. The company claims its mobile app downloads have gone up four times and its website has registered 40 to 50 per cent increase in traffic since the launch of the campaign.