The panel discussion on ‘The Future of Commerce & Consumption’ at the Medianews4u Futurescope Conclave 2022 delved deep into what’s going to change from a brand and marketer’s perspective.
The inaugural edition of the day-long event was hosted in Bengaluru on 15th July.
The session was moderated by Mandeep Malhotra, Chief Growth Strategist, Shrishti Media & Investments. The panellists were Chandru Kalro, Managing Director, TTK Prestige; Smita Murarka, Chief Marketing Officer, Duroflex; Geeta Lobo, Chief Client Officer, Ipsos India; and Anshul Sharan, Co-Founder & CEO, Elever.
On Malhotra’s question on what is going to change from a brand’s and marketers’ perspective, Kalro said, “From cars to the way you do business, everything is turning hybrid these days. The introduction of GST has demolished the state boundaries. The distribution channel models are being further demolished. Today, if you have a distribution strategy that is five years old, then you are outdated.”
While online sales has improved significantly, TTK Prestige underlined its commitment to distributors through the pandemic. This will continue beyond, underlined the CEO.
“We don’t want to ditch our distributors. We are present online but we want to do the fulfilment through them,” he noted.
Kalro added, “The way to reach out to the customers has also undergone changes. Reaching the customer where they are going has become paramount in any marketer’s mind. Everything is going to constantly change at a much faster pace, and for everyone who is working through this, the need to upscale, rescale, and re-invent almost on a yearly basis has become critical.”
Murarka said that the last two years have been transformative for Duroflex as a brand.
“’When business went to zero, we were speaking to consumers everyday on things like the importance of sleep. We went beyond the product,” she explained.
“We have doubled our business during the pandemic. India as a market today is a marketer’s paradise, because most of the categories are underserved in terms of the right product offerings/services. If you take the category we belong to, making the customer spend is a task. It’s not that the consumer doesn’t have the potential to pay, it’s because brands have not made sense to the consumers,” observed the CMO.
From a consumer perspective, they are more demanding today, added Murarka. According to her, in the next five years, it will be very important to make the business stable enough and technically savvy, to keep the foundation strong.
Post Covid, 30pc of Duroflex’s sales is from D2C, while 100pc of sales was from trade before the pandemic, revealed Murarka.
On the opportunity ahead, she said, “Even Bollywood stars buy unbranded mattresses; there is a huge opportunity for growth; the largest share of the market is still for unbranded mattresses.”
“We are going to have the largest concentration of the youth population soon, and that helps us to understand the complexity we are all coping with. Youth stand for change. They are curious and are willing to change and adapt, which will make the environment complex. Twenty five percent of our population have been born into a time where their grammar is about connectivity, the way they respond and process information is going to change,” said Ipsos’ Lobo.
On the complexity of analysing data, she noted, “There is a huge amount of data accessible today. Are we able to parse through that data and take out what’s actionable? AI, ML notwithstanding, a human element is still required to make sense of it.”
Sharan noted that today’s customers are interested in knowing whether there are products or services that suit their needs and are not keen on one-size-fits-all products.
Looming Challenges: Value vs Valuations
Deep discounting and irrational business models, specifically in the online space, were brought into focus by moderator Malhotra.
TTK Prestige’s Kalro observed, “Someday, this valuation vs value game has to equalise in favour of value. People are willing to pay a premium for food delivery. Why are Amazon and Flipkart not charging you for delivery? If the seller is not going to make money, how is the business sustainable?”
Watch the video here: