21 April 2021 19:59

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00

The Ecommerce opportunity for FMCG brands

FMCG products have long watched ecommerce from the sidelines, but with ecommerce sales set to hit $1.7 trillion in 2015, there is the rapid realization that it is as important to FMCG as it is to categories like travel or electronics. There is however still little understanding of what the true impact of ecommerce is on mass distributed brands that have been available on the high street for years and are practically institutions themselves. There is a lack of clarity on how brands sell to consumers online – whether directly or via etailers. Clearly, there is more to ecommerce than simply giving consumers a place to enter in a credit card number.

For FMCG brands, the growth of ecommerce comes from not just a shift – but also the opportunity to grow incrementally. In just two years after its launch, Dollar Shave Club has cornered an 8.8% of the US razor blades market.

Their clever use of media and technology to solve a consumer problem means that this ecommerce startup has upended the status quo of a category that hadn’t seen significant evolution in decades. For mass products, ecommerce represents a dual growth opportunity: capitalizing both on consumer shift as well as the ability to deliver a new service.

While it is an area of immense innovation, selling direct to consumers is not without its challenges. Not only does it open up a distribution and packaging challenge, brands have to invest in the technical backend to manage secure transactions and consumer data. The larger conceptual problem however, is that for most products, consumers go to one destination – virtual or real – to see which shampoo they want and don’t visit each shampoo maker individually.

The alternative – selling through etailers is also a wrinkle in the logistics chain FMCG manufacturers have perfected.

Etailers such as Amazon generally operate on an inventory light model and place small, if frequent orders. This upends the efficiency manufacturers are able to achieve at a scaled operation. Besides, why bother with the tiny number of people who buy shampoo online when there are millions who flock to the supermarket? How then, do mass market brands seize the opportunity that ecommerce presents?

Rethinking the role of Ecommerce

For FMCG brands to focus on ecommerce just as a distribution channel is to use a meat cleaver to slice a shallot. Consumers increasingly rely on ecommerce, irrespective of how they make the actual purchase: via clicks, bricks, or a mix.

Using MEC Momentum, a proprietary approach for understanding how people make purchase decisions, we can quantify how ecommerce fits into the non-linear journeys that consumers make on the path to purchase. MEC Momentum uses a custom designed quantitative questionnaire that gives a detailed picture of what buyers think and do in a specific category, and which communications and behaviors influence them. Momentum data makes it clear that the true potential of ecommerce is not just in the immediate transaction it facilitates, but it is just as important as primary destinations during consumer decision making. The distinction between ecommerce and mcommerce has effectively disappeared, and the explosion of mobile usage means that consumers now carry these decision tools with them at all times, right up to the moment they are walking into a store.

Consumers expect brands to provide them with the information they need to make a purchase at any time and in any place. While the raw number of mobile transactions remains small, the impact of mobile on consumer purchases is undeniable.

In some categories, MEC Momentum surveys revealed that as many as 25% of buyers compared prices while in store using mobile phones.

FMCG Purchases and Ecommerce-Beyond the Transaction

We looked at all the FMCG Momentum studies conducted in Europe, and we found that while almost all of these sales were offline, on average 12% of shoppers conducted an ecommerce action to make their decisions once they were in active shopping mode. With high involvement products such as moisturizer, we found that as many as 20% of Spanish shoppers performed at least one ecommerce action such as looking up price, product information or reviews online.

Consumers are looking for information everywhere – on brand sites, social networks, and from retailers. With major retailers, there is the benefit of the transferred equity of the merchant: amongst pain medication buyers in the UK, pharmacist websites were ranked as one of the most influential touchpoints – ahead of brand websites and even physical pharmacist recommendations. Within FMCG, the health and beauty category, unsurprisingly, is one where online reviews are the most important – for a product like hair dye, 8% of buyers relied on online reviews.

The Halo Effect of Ecommerce

A world where a majority of shampoo is purchased online is some days away. However, it is increasingly clear that there is a halo effect of ecommerce on offline sales. Consumers use ecommerce in many ways to make a purchase decision.

While the transaction may be completed in store, consumers rely on ecommerce to decide what to buy by looking up product information, price, reviews etc. The chart below shows that depending upon category, the halo effect of ecommerce is as much as 10x the number of direct sales. Even in the category with the smallest halo effect – soft drinks in Italy – ecommerce influenced nearly twice as many sales as it directly facilitated.

Ecommerce Halo Effect

Understanding the online buyer at a Category Level

The power of MEC Momentum is that it allows us to get to specific product level detail instead of mass agglomerations. To surface some of these insights we decided to focus on a product as far removed from endemic to ecommerce as possible: ketchup.

It’s inexpensive, widely available, and difficult to ship. And yet, a survey of British ketchup buyers found that 8% had bought the product online. However, this is not the subset of consumers that sauce makers need to consider. Focusing just on offline buyers from a media influence perspective, we find that online shopping was as influential as digital ads – and both more so than newspapers or magazines. It’s hardly surprising, given that 55% of offline ketchup buyers say they love the internet and can’t imagine life without it. TV love? Lagging behind at only 40%.

More fundamentally though, we wanted to test if there was something fundamentally different about the way the two groups, online and offline buyers, make ketchup related decisions. Looking at the most common category considerations such as taste, ingredients, price etc. - we find that they rank nearly identically.

This tells us that the online buyers aren’t an idiosyncratic subset, but are representative of British ketchup buyers overall. We found this trend was present in every single product and across all the European markets.

Managing the Digital Shelf- Retailer presence management is Critical

For mass market brands, the presence on retailer websites takes on a whole new dimension and is as important as their own websites. Product detail pages are an invaluable opportunity to develop a presence in a shopper context and provide content to those who seek it most. Peer reviews on product pages are vital for shoppers and also have a more immediate impact: the SEO bump. Effective visibility of product pages is extremely important – especially since consumers search for problems (“clean wine stains”) and not solutions (“Ariel 3in1 PODS”). And if as Forrester says, more product searches start on Amazon than on Google, why aren’t brands focusing on SEM and SEO within retailer websites?

These pages are very important to shoppers, and brands need to think of them as companions to brand websites. Given the effort spent developing brand sites, it is tempting to continue viewing traffic to them as success metric. But if success is ultimately getting product off the shelf, virtual or real, driving traffic to a product detail page would be just as significant to the bottom line. Retailers and third party technology companies are developing solutions that allows brands to tap into this and manage their presence on retailer sites more efficiently.

Shopper considerations are Identical

The Holy Grail- Measurement

Brands are understandably concerned about the costs of executing an ecommerce strategy. For this, we need to rethink attribution modeling for in-store sales and evolve it to include digital and ecommerce influence.

The KPI for a successful ecommerce strategy cannot be simply how many click-to-buy purchases it led to, but how it is one of the many elements of a larger communications strategy, inextricably linked to the entire consumer contact map.

We have the beginnings of this - Google, for instance, has recently started to include store visits in its Estimated Total Conversions measure for AdWords campaigns. There isn’t a default measurement system because what ecommerce means for each category is very different, as we have seen. However, the time is now right for brands to start to test and learn what ecommerce means for them and be prepared when the retailers and tech companies start calling.

Game theory tells us that to gain value in an evolving marketplace, both sides need to make many small, coordinated moves. The retailers have made theirs… and now it’s up to the brands to respond.



RED FM had approached the High Court in Delhi and has got an interim relief today.

RED FM has been allowed to take part in the mock auctions for the third phase of FM auctions to be held 22nd and 23rd July ’15.

Official statement from RED FM on the High Court verdict:

The Honourable Delhi High Court’s decision to allow Red FM to participate in mock auctions and take cognizance of our pleas to allow us to participate in the mock auctions has strengthened our belief in the judicial system.

We have always maintained that our business is a professionally managed entity and it’s unfair to penalize a well-run, successful business and its employees. We also strongly believe that not allowing us to participate the phase 3 auctions is an attack on media freedom.

The next date of hearing in court has been scheduled on Friday, 24th July.

From time immemorial, those of royal descent have romanced the extravagant world of vintage cars, haute designers, spectacular jewelry and all things opulent. Known for their love of beauty and style, their lifestyles cast a spell across the world.

Set against a fascinating backdrop of the lifestyles, motivations, hopes, aspirations, insecurities and the mysteries that shroud the Indian royalty of the 1940s, Zee TV’s magnum opus period drama ‘EK Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani’ will premiere on 27th July and air at 9:30 PM every Monday to Friday.  The show is a classic romance that explores the dynamics of all that transpired behind the four walls of imperial palaces in an era of Indian history that has not been explored so far on Indian television.

The show has a stellar ensemble cast that includes the strikingly attractive Dhrashti Dhami, who makes a comeback on television as the leading lady Gayatri. The handsome Siddhant Karnik will play the male lead, Ranaji  Indravadan Singh Deo, the intense and brooding prince of the royal family of Amerkot. Joining the duo is none other than the noted Bollywood actor who entertained the audiences with her films through the 80’s, the charming Anita Raj. Television's favourite Dadi Sa, the powerhouse of talent - veteran actor Surekha Sikri  and the remarkably talented, National award-winning actor Darshan Zariwala will also join this ensemble playing pivotal roles. Playing other interesting parts will be the enchanting Moon Bannerjee and popular actor Akshay Anand. While all these actors have made a distinct mark for themselves through interesting characters they have portrayed over the years, they now come together under one roof to create history on Indian television.

Leaving no stone unturned in taking its audiences back in time to the 1940s, Zee TV,  in conjunction with the producers of the show – Sphere Origins and Nilanjana Purkayastha, is pushing the envelope with regards to production values, meticulous research and attention to detail. Bringing the pre-Independence era to life is a team of set and costume designers, engineers, architects and more than 500 workers, who have been toiling away relentlessly, day and night to replicate the look and feel of the period. The grand palace constructed on the outskirts of Mumbai is one of the most expensive sets in the history of Indian television. The palace has a façade inspired from the famous Baroda Palace and is also, currently, the only waterproof set for a TV show. Brimming with elegance, classic charm and grandeur, the palaces, jewelry and costumes pay a tribute to royal families who lived lives of unparalleled grandeur and luxury. Carpets weighing over 2.5 tonnes, chandeliers, antiques, vintage cars have specially been sourced and carved wooden furniture is being crafted to replicate the designs prevalent in those times.  Jewelry and royal poshaks for the cast have been sourced from traditional kaarigars of UP, Delhi and Rajasthan.  Coaches and trainers have been brought on board to train the cast in horse-riding, polo and the finer nuances of diction, body language and mannerisms of the people from that era. The cast and crew has also shot extensively in the palaces of Rajasthan.

Zee TV Business Head Mr. Pradeep Hejmadi said, “Even when it comes to genres such as history and mythology, a most fascinating period that remains unexplored by Indian television is the pre-Independence era. This vibrant period of India’s history that saw a great upheaval also saw intense drama unfold in the lives of the royalty of the princely states. Behind  empty walls of grandeur and fake displays of splendor was hidden the truth of erosion of wealth, insecurities, succumbing to British dominion, depression and bankruptcy. Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani is a story of love set against this most interesting canvas. It aims to give viewers an up close and personal view of the lifestyles and some of the most closely guarded secrets of the rich and royal of the 1940s. It is a work of fiction that draws inspiration from the lives of the royalty of that period. This  magnum opus period romance comes in at 9:30 PM, while Qubool Hai now moves to 7:30 PM, further fortifying the early primetime band.”

Producers Sunjoy and Comall Wadhwa of Sphere Origins further add, “The idea has been to look back at a glorious period of history for inspiration and churn out a timeless masterpiece that will entertain and enthrall TV audiences. The most daunting task at hand has been the re-creation of the pre-Independence era and the majestic lifestyles of the kings and queens of the princely states. Enormous research has gone to ensure authentic representation of the era and to create magic on screen. We have on board an ensemble of extremely impressive actors who beautifully fit the parts they are playing.  The show will definitely turn out to be a clutter-breaker and hopefully, the biggest fiction show of the year.”

Stay tuned to Ek Tha Raja EK Thi Rani, starting 27th July, every Monday to Friday at 9:30 PM, only on ZEE TV!

CNN-IBN is all set to voice the issues of the metro viewers and bring them to the forefront with its brand new show ‘In Your City’ launched on 21st July, 2015.

The half hour show will focus on six metro cities, i.e., Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

The show will not only bring top headlines from these cities but will also highlight the major issues concerning these metros. When it comes to introducing new formats and programming, CNN-IBN has always been a leader in the genre. ‘In your City’ is also such an initiative aimed at the metro viewers of the channel.

Catch ‘In Your City’ every Monday to Friday @ 7 PM from 21st July, 2015 exclusively on CNN-IBN.

More Than Half of Marketers Say Their Demand Generation Strategies Don’t Measure Up and Are Less Than Effective, Reveals New CMO Council Study

Lack of Consensus on What Is Really a Valued Lead

Call it a lead, opportunity or prospect. No matter what the term, sales organizations can never get enough new business contacts from their marketing groups. The question is how wisely they are used and whether that new point of customer access is qualified, primed and ready to write orders.

A detailed study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and the Content ROI Center finds that most companies are struggling to originate compelling thought leadership content that engages the right customer decision makers and produces quality lead flow that can advance sales performance. Not only do marketers lack unanimity on what constitutes an actual sales lead, but they also are not teaming effectively with sales and business development groups. In most cases, these internal stakeholders lack synergy and alignment on demand generation strategies, themes and advocacy agendas.

Entitled “Lead Flow That Helps You Grow,” the North America-based research was conducted in partnership with NetLine Corporation, a leader in content syndication for lead generation. Key findings from a survey of more than 200 marketing leaders across many industry sectors in North America in Q2 of 2015 reveal that:

• Only 12 percent of marketers believe they have high-performance content marketing engines that are strategically programmed to target the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content. They are also not using multiple distribution and syndication channels for maximum reach, impact and return.

• Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder interests.

• Just 21 percent of marketers say they are total partners with their sales and business development counterparts when it comes to developing the strategy and measuring the effectiveness of demand generation programs.

• Some 22 percent of marketers believe sales teams are too often a roadblock and detractor and are rarely a contributor to the content marketing value chain.

“Generating demand and ensuring the consistent flow of high-quality, actionable leads is paramount to the success of today’s business-to-business marketer,” notes Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. “Sales enablement and pipeline performance remain key mandates as organizations look to fine-tune their content marketing practices to be high-performance growth engines.”

While 75 percent of marketers view the number of downloads or registrations as the most important measure of content marketing success, they admit to many key failings that impact this metric. The top five include:

• Not developing customized content for target audiences (48 percent of respondents)

• Not allocating sufficient budget to create engaging and authoritative content (48 percent)

• Not producing content that is relevant or meaningful to different audiences (44 percent)

• Not reaching the right decision makers across the organization (43 percent)

• Not leveraging the right distribution channels and syndication opportunities to maximize reach (39 percent)

“The quantity and quality of audience-appropriate content directly correlates to the number of leads that will end up in the sales pipeline,” explains Robert Alvin, CEO and Founder of NetLine Corporation. “Content demand generation programs start with the asset but must ensure proper consumption. Syndication and distribution to target audience groups with measurable results is indispensable for a successful content strategy.”

According to 46 percent of the 600-plus marketing decision makers taking part in the CMO Council’s “State of Marketing 2014” study, their greatest accomplishment in the past year was the realignment of marketing to better support sales and improve selling cycles. Nearly one in three marketers admits that maintaining a high-quality sales pipeline is one of their top senior management mandates for the coming year, and half say that lead generation and qualification is the area of business need that will receive the most resources. But despite the improvements in processes, goals and intentions to optimize lead generation and yield, only one in four marketers believes they have made strides in implementing demand-generation systems to better target, acquire, qualify and convert business.

The report also includes the findings of an online survey of 213 respondents (46 percent from companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenue) who provided responses to a wide range of questions, including:

• How would you rate your organization’s content marketing performance relative to the caliber and incidence of lead flow?

• Do you have formalized content marketing strategies and protocols in place?

• How well are you managing and optimizing content marketing processes and practices?

• What are the primary content marketing tactics and programs used by your company?

• Are you fully leveraging all of your content marketing assets, formats and channels to maximum effect? If not, why not?

• How are you tracking and measuring end-to-end content marketing performance?

• Where are there deficiencies, and how are they being addressed?

• How are you currently packaging, promoting and syndicating marketing content?

• Which areas of content marketing generate the most lead flow, and what system do you have in place to nurture and convert these leads?


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