The company has a much focused business plan right from the beginning. The idea was to build the best consumer experience. Even if the idea was not very innovative it is the execution that matters. With an increased disposable income in India, rising internet penetration, and willingness for retailers to use internet as a channel for customer acquisition, there was a very large untapped market. Thus, the target customer segment for the company was obvious i. e. those who are young, earning, and not averse to consumption of life style products such as restaurants, spas, food courts, cafes, body art, tattoos, gyms, salon etc.
The services were targeted at people in the age group of 18-40 years. This includes students, first time jobbers, to the mid and top level management. A tattoo deal has wide acceptance among the younger age groups, whereas an attractive travel package to Bhutan or Kuala Lumpur draws the attention of those who are slightly older. On the merchant side, the primary target of the company was the unorganized retail players in the lifestyle segment who has the service offering but not enough scale to market their product. Snapdeal offered scale to these players through group buying mechanism.
It is used as a channel to not only acquire new customers but also to liquidate perishable distress inventory. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They charge a marketing fee of 20 – 30% from the merchant, on every voucher sold through the platform. It is a free of cost service to the end customer. The whole deal is a win-win situation for all. Snapdeal is not loosing anything as it does not have to carry any inventory. The consumers have to pay only a small token at the time of booking deal and rest of the payment is to be made only if the deal materializes.
So the loss to consumer is insignificant in case he chooses not to go for the deal after buying it. For merchants, it is providing an alternative marketing channel. One of the biggest contributing factors to success of Snapdeal was use of social media as an effective tool for marketing. The company’s social networking strategy was to target “the top-end of the pyramid, early-adopters of e-commerce. ” This gave them good traction. According to the sources, the percentage of Face book followers that actually convert to users is in “significant double-digits.
” Group buying sites such as Snapdeal are trying to bring customers together socially in order to harness the bargaining power of groups and using social networking sites for promotion acted as a best fit in the scheme of things. There were lots of synergies between the customers that Snapdeal was targeting and the members of social networking sites such as age group, mind set, ease of access to internet etc. Thus, the presence on Face book, Twitter and Blog has been important contributors towards attracting customers to the portal.
It went a step ahead in leveraging social media platforms differentiated themselves from a dozen other e commerce sites by using it as a tool of brand management. Through these platforms, the portal engaged its customers through discussions, contests, activities, etc. In the words of Mr. Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal, “In marketing, the biggest challenge is to keep audience hooked to the site. This is done by uploading engagement posts, keeping the conversation alive and catering to the issues faced by customers at the outlet and resolving their queries.
” Indian consumers have this peculiar way of thinking that companies which do above the line (ATL) advertisements are “genuine”. Snapdeal quickly realized this fact and further fortified its position in the minds of consumers by resorting to traditional marketing media such as TV. They partnered with MTV Roadies and also featured in one its shows. The day the show was aired. There were 2 million visitors and 1, 50,000 new subscribers. They became the 1st non travel e commerce website to do TV advertisement. Right now it adds 1.
5 million subscribers per month and by the end of the year, is aiming at 15 million subscribers. The TV ads boosted the visibility of Snapdeal and brought good number of customers and this is because when awareness meets availability, consumers act. Snapdeal has also tied up with Fever 104 to offer some deals related to the IPL team, Delhi Daredevils. Customer Satisfaction and Complaints Redressal Most of the e commerce players lost the advantage of being the early movers in this space as they adopted short cuts and neglected customers. But Snapdeal is in no hurry. It fully recognizes the needs of its customers.
Customer satisfaction is the primary goal. The company tries to ensure that each and every customer has a seamless experience after buying goods and services from the website. They also request feedback from customers. They have a no questions asked refund policy in case any of the customers is unhappy for whatever reason. They have QA & Audit teams in place across cities whose primary job is to ensure that the customer experience is superior. They also train the merchant staff so that customers do not face any hassles while redeeming the deal at the merchant locations.
Snapdeal rigorously pre-screens every merchant and even trains them weekly on things like customer feedback. All said and done, the business is not so easy. It is characterized by fierce competition, low customer retention, lack of customer loyalty, low quality of deals, short lived promotion. Company has tried to keep the consumers connected through daily SMSes about new deals. This has worked well enough but in future such SMSes will not be possible as TRAI has put restrictions on marketing massages.