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It’s mid-September already, which means that the festive season will be upon us within a month. Festivals like Dusshehra, Durga Pooja and Diwali will be celebrated with enthusiasm all over the country. The annual festive season also means another thing – shopping frenzy. It is a historical fact in India that retail sales tend to spike up during the festive season, specifically during October-November. People buy gifts for their friends and family, corporate enterprises look for gift bags and baskets for their employees and clients, wishlists are opened and shopping carts are emptied. The actual days of the festival are supposedly auspicious for buying substantial things, so don’t be surprised by the fact that

People buy gifts for their friends and family, corporate enterprises look for gift bags and baskets for their employees and clients, wishlists are opened and shopping carts are emptied. The actual days of the festival are supposedly auspicious for buying substantial things, so don’t be surprised by the fact that car sales saw a double digit rise in sales during the previous year’s festive season. All this frenzy is compounded by the fact that the festive season is also a season of sales and discounts.

The general trend in the Indian retail market, both offline and online, is that the last quarter of the year witnesses the most sales, partly due to the festive season. For years, sellers have used this fact to their advantage by strategically using sales, discounts and offers to boost revenue. But the current situation is that none can match the sheer spectacle that companies like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal generate to promote their Big Billion Day ventures. The Big Three of the Indian online retail market are already gearing up for the festive season this year. Snapdeal has even undergone a major branding overhaul and unveiled a new logo, which should directly impact its festive season campaign.  

With this level of competition to look forward to, it is high time to start planning an effective marketing campaign as an online retail seller. Let’s find out how this can be done.

Launching an Effective Marketing Campaign for the Festive Season

1. Campaign with a Story

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Remember the classic ad campaigns from the 90s, like Dhara and Amul? Or even the Cadbury Dairy Milk ads that still dominate TV during Raksha Bandhan and Diwali? What is it about these campaigns that really attaches them to public memory? The idea behind an effective selling ad campaign is to be able to tell a story. Holidays and festivals are emotional times, and it is your responsibility to create associative links between your brand and these emotions. Think of a narrative can be visualised – it can be a full-fledged story or just a catchphrase or a hashtag that can insert itself in a festive situation.

2. Craft some Offers

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Offers, sales and discounts are all abuzz during the festive season, so if you aren’t offering a discount, your competitors are for sure. Although this is true, what really matters during the season is the longevity of your campaign. You want to sustain sales throughout the season, with spikes on specific days you are especially focusing on. To do so, you must be very careful while crafting your offers. Firstly, make sure that your campaign creates an anticipation for the sale. Secondly, study the previous seasons’ data to see the shopping trends that dominate the market. For example, the first three weeks of October is considered to be the prime sale season.

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This year, both Flipkart and Amazon are zeroing in on the first week of October to conduct their big billion sales. This graph from 2014 shows the spikes in the sales of Amazon, eBay and Flipkart during the festive season. Rather than putting blanket discounts on all your products, study the sales history of your products and strategize the big seller discounts during the peak periods.

3. Create a Consistent Campaign Experience

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Your festive ad campaign will rarely be restricted to a particular medium, be it print, tv or the internet. Even on the internet, there is no dearth of specific social media channels to choose from. You might subscribe to some of them or all, depending upon the target market you are looking for. For example, social media networks like Snapchat generally see a younger urban demographic than something like Facebook.

Whatever the specifics of the media that you might be using, the bottomline is consistency. Branding involves a lot of visual design, including colours, fonts, logos, hashtags and keywords. Design inconsistencies and variations on different channels prevent the campaign from being consolidated as one. This is perhaps the most important aspect when it comes to the marketing campaign – that its strength is in the consolidation of numbers from various different channels.

4. Monitor and Optimize

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Online selling during the festive season really requires you to put your nose to the grindstone to become successful. Once you have finalised the campaign material and disseminated it through various channels, the real job begins. You have to track, document and monitor the behaviour of the campaign in the market ecosystem. A campaign is like a fully functioning organism with different parts operating in tandem. Flipkart had a first-hand experience of this one year ago in 2015 when it launched its first Big Billion Day Sale. After launching an aggressive marketing campaign, the likes of which were never seen before in the Indian retail market, the company had to face a lot of grievances from customers and sellers alike after the actual sale took place, due to the lack of strong logistical systems to back up the marketing campaign. 

Therefore, it is necessary to always be vigilant about the status of the market and keep an eye on the numbers. Visualise your Diwali sales data by preemptively focusing on particular dates where you wish to optimise sales. Promote those days through your campaign by offering the most lucrative discounts on those dates. But at the same time, be sensitive to the market fluctuations, and keep backup plans ready for both best and worst case scenarios.

This is what we have on how to launch an effective sales campaign this festive season. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts and we are always happy to help!

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