The ripple effects of the COVID 19 crisis have led to an economic slowdown. Consumers have limited budgets and want to only cater to their immediate needs. This has resulted in the increased demand for used/ pre-owned goods. Many consumers, especially the millennials and GenZ, have been looking at ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Reusing goods as many times as possible, instead of disposing of them and then buying new ones, is one of the greenest practices there is. With the customer preferences and pattern shifting, we have seen a considerable demand which is helping to build “recommerce” market. This has led to changes in the marketing strategies and the role of the CMO’s across industries.
Vineet Sehgal, CMO – Quikr on the increased interest in used/pre-owned market and much more…….
How has been Quikr’s journey so far?
While we started as a conventional playbook based classifieds platform, over time, we have gone deeper into high demand categories. Today people can meet, buy, bargain, sell and discover what they are looking for in 15+ categories cutting across real estate to automobiles and services to pre-owned goods and jobs too. Quikr has also become a platform for small and large businesses to advertise and get business from not just metros but even non-metros. Today, we cater to a diverse set of consumer needs from 1,200 cities with 20 million monthly users. The cross-category benefit of our platform has a unique advantage where people looking for something in one category end up using services from another multiple adjacent categories. Overall, we are very happy about the trends we are seeing in our various verticals, and we believe our competitive position is becoming more and stronger.
What are the challenges you have faced as a company during this crisis?
While there was a lot of uncertainty in the industry when the world was first hit by Covid-19, we did see a muted response for a few weeks in the beginning as customers were looking more for essentials than other products. Our traffic numbers had also dropped initially as our business customers were taking things one day at a time. Due to the lockdown, our C2C trade and logistics for Assured services were temporarily paused. Our jobs vertical had seen a temporary blip in the overall applications for blue-collar job roles since both candidates as well as recruiters were skeptical about hiring needs. But now with people learning to live with it, all that is changing back towards normal and, classified marketplaces like Quikr are beginning to see positive signs of growth. We have seen a massive jump in the traffic across key categories like Real Estate, Auto, Goods, etc. and have easily surpassed our pre-covid levels.
The pandemic has changed the way we live and communicate. How did Quikr capitalize this during the crisis? What were the marketing initiatives taken to reach out to the consumers?
As a company, Quikr is committed to customer-first & safety-first measures, and prioritizes a safe shopping experience. For our customers, right from placing an order to delivery and installation at home, we implemented stringent measures including warehouse and stock sanitization, contactless online payment options, and low contact deliveries. We also assessed market trends based on consumer buying patterns and associated triggers to drive initiatives that were relevant, topical, and needed by consumers at that very moment. For example: We scaled up focus on WFH related products which gave us an added advantage of getting consumer eyeballs. Some of the vertical-level initiatives are listed below –
In QuikrBazaar, we saw consumer interest rise sharply for WFH products such as laptops, office furniture like study tables, and home furniture like sofas. We focused on this segment, by scaling up our offering to provide a safe end-to-end shopping experience especially at retail stores including safe, sanitized, and secure deliveries.
In the Real Estate segment, we saw a surge in the demand for rental homes with people looking to upgrade their home space since they are spending more time at home now than before.
In the auto segment, we saw the rising interest in pre-owned cars & bikes, as consumers now prefer to own one over using shared/public transport.
In the services segment, we saw a surge in demand for painting/ interior services as consumers are more homebound since the pandemic.
In QuikrJobs, the job applications on our platform are at an all-time high, especially the festive season as it generated demand for warehouse and delivery executive roles.
Did you see a new set of consumers during this crisis? What has been Quikr’s TG?
When the unexpected pandemic first hit, consumer spending majorly shifted towards essentials like grocery, staples, and healthcare. Therefore, we at Quikr, Launched stillopen.in to help identify the nearest grocery stores, hospitals & pharmacies, Covid-19 centres, and other stores classified as essentials in real-time for consumers across 23 cities.
In an attempt to help doctors and healthcare professionals, we along with Action Covid-19 team (ACT), launched helphospitals.in, to help identify medical equipment that is needed on an urgent basis and connected hospitals/doctors with relevant suppliers who could fulfill it.
If this lockdown has taught us anything, it is to put second-hand first and considering the environmental benefits associated with reusing products, this concept is gaining popularity too. So as consumers made a shift towards affordable options, we studied their interest in considering pre-owned and refurbished products over new products. In fact, each phase of the recent lockdown saw a surge in the interest for different kinds of pre-owned products which gave us an understanding of the consumer mind-set.
How did you keep positive personally and your employees?
At Quikr, a week prior to the lockdown, we started sanitizing our offices, educating our folks internally on the safety protocols, and prepared ourselves to work from home by setting up tools and laptops for a seamless transition. On the personal front, I ensured to follow safety protocols at all times and most importantly, avoided going into panic mode.
Now that the lockdown is over, what would your brand strategy and communication be in the new normal? Where do you see Quikr in the next three years?
We are focused on transactions in some verticals such as QuikrBazaar whilst staying more focused on classifieds in other categories such as Jobs, Real Estate, and Services. Our jobs, real estate, and services businesses have already turned profitable at a vertical level after COVID hit. Traffic on QuikrBazaar and its retail growth have already surpassed pre-COVID levels. Looking forward, our goal is to continue to grow from there as we stay focused on managing our revenues as well as costs closely.