Why e-commerce firms advertise offline?

Interesting piece in ToI.

Given the huge online space (and I think cheaper as well), one wonders why e-commerce companies advertise in traditional places like newspapers, TV etc.?

The question, however, is why do these pure-bred online firms ad vertise offline? For starters, for a high impact campaign, print is stil a must in India. Newspapers, espe cially in vernacular, continue to be robust and show an increase in rea dership. C V L Srinivas, chief ex ecutive of GroupM, believes tha print continues to play a big role in driving sales for e-commerce clients. In India, brands cannot rely solely on digital media to create high impact in a short span of time especially when reaching out to mass audiences. They need a certain amount of air cover from traditional media, he argues. Since the window of opportunity for such discounts is small as these are limited-period sales, print advertising is key. And the e-commerce brands vied for attention via jacket ads as they are fighting for the same share of wallet during Diwali sales.

But the bigger reason why shopping portals are massive users of offline advertising, especially print and television, has to do with how the consumer behaves on these two media platforms. According to Anupriya Acharya, group chief executive, Zenith Optimedia, a consumer is in a “lean-back” mode while reading a newspaper or watching television. That is because he has set aside a time for television or newspaper consumption. In a lean-back state, he is more attuned or amenable to brand awareness or brand messaging.

On the other hand, on digital media, a consumer is in a more “lean-forward” state. While on the laptop or mobile, he is more purpo seful and active. He is either talking on the phone or checking ma l, using an app or gaming. This state of mind does not lend itself well to product or brand awareness, Acharya claims. Little surprise, then, that even the online brands want to catch the consumer offline when he’s open to emo ional connect through a television commercial or reading its fine print in a newspaper.

Hmm. lean back vs lean forward state…

Further, newspapers are more credible:

Incidentally , newspapers are also chosen for their credibility. Print ads are seen as being more credible since they appear in the pages of brands that have been bu lt over the years. The printed word enjoys greater trust.

Besides, a newspaper, with its daily print cycle, stands for immediacy. The ad has appeared today , so you feel you have to buy today. What better vehicle than a newspaper then to advertise your shortduration sale. Last but not the least, newspapers also offer a better shopping environment. The sale ads of the e-commerce brands appear side by side with ads from other retailers promoting their brands.

Idi Srinivas Murthy , senior vice-president of marketing at Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, which runs Snapdeal, says that while it bought packet ads in newspapers, it advertised the Snapdeal sale in digital media, too. Digital works best in conjunction with print. Digital properties were used to drive the message home in Tier II and Tier II markets that comprise the smaller towns as consumers here are very active users of smartphones, he claims. For these consumers, mobile is their window to the world.

The advertising blitzkrieg seems to be working for the shopping portals. Recently , Mint reported hat Flipkart claims to have sold one million products and clocked six million visits to its app in the first 10 hours of the second edition of the Big Billion Days sale. The sale attracted buyers in Bengaluru, Delhi and Chennai among the metros and Ludhiana, Lucknow and Bhopal among the non-metros.Snapdeal, too, said that it saw 17 times growth in GMV (gross merchandise value, or the cost of goods sold on the platform) during its Electronics Monday sale, which had discounts on smartphones, laptops, other electronics and home appliances.

For now, it looks like a win-win or all. And the newspapers are not complaining.

Nice bit.

One Response to “Why e-commerce firms advertise offline?”

  1. in search of myself Says:

    Hi ! I have recently signed up for your blog and I quite like reading your posts..
    With regards to this article, I had read the exact same article a month back in Mint. Didn’t know it’s a practice to publish previously published articles !

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