Vijay Kumar Mikkilineni, Marketing Head, TCL India

Qualification: PGDM Marketing & Human Resource

Experience:10 years +

Companies worked: Skyworth India – National Marketing Manager India, initial set of employee launched brands in India

Sony India: Brand channel business development India – Sony center, Sony Exclusive, Brand store under distributor developing own channel in India. Started as Regional Retail Auditor and then to Hyderabad Marketing Manager and to Brand Channel Business development in charge.

 

The biggest change in the current market is the variety of options and shopping avenues available to the consumers that allow them to explore more and make an informed decision. The bargaining power is collectively higher for the consumers as the brands in the consumer durable industry are replaceable due to the supplementary nature of products offered. This means that the consumers cannot be won over by mere brand loyalty, which used to be a defining feature a few years back. The decisions are now based on an overall experience that a consumer can get from a particular purchase that will be foundational for repeat purchases from the brand in the same category or across different categories.

The discussion will be based on identifying the value propositions being experimented with in the consumer durable industry for a long-term association with the consumer. Towards the end of the article, a few tried and tested methods of capturing consumer demand with favourable implications will be highlighted, focusing on the ever-growing need for dynamism.

Understanding Consumer Behaviour

As the world has seen a digital shift in recent years, communication channels have also witnessed change. Everything happens in the virtual space, from attending meetings to work allocations and concerts to foraying for shopping. The adoption rate of the digital ecosystem, especially for payments, has gone through the roof. Post-pandemic hyper adoption of digital services has led companies to build robust digital platforms to enable effective communication with their existing and prospective customers.

However, retention of customers is a huge challenge, but the same can be overcome by offering such services that truly facilitate their shopping experience while also providing post-sales support. Companies are using the data captured from customer interaction on their platforms that spill the beans on customers’ thought processes before making the final purchase. An analysis of the knowledge from these preferences allows brands to align with the actual demand in the market and cater to it accordingly.

Digital Marketing Strategies

The digital presence of a brand is crucial for it to be considered by consumers as the initial prospect. But a slender presence does no good to the brand, or even harms the brand’s image. The tone and voice of the digital presence should match the core values of the brand being represented. It is ideal to have an in-house team of experts to manage the social media handles as they have internalised the brand’s vision. They help initiate the consumer journey through entry into the consideration set.

Running campaigns to attract consumers for specific offerings by either intriguing them with thought-provoking notions or engaging them through participative surveys gives the brands an edge over their competitors. Various parameters can also target marketing campaigns to reach the relevant customers, while the analytics tool can be used to gauge the effectiveness of respective campaigns in achieving the goal.

Creating Triggers for Consumer Decision

The way consumers make decisions in the digital ecosystem depends significantly on the perceived value of the outcome. For the brands to stand the test at the end of the customer decision journey, they need to plug the gap between the perceived and inherent value of the product offered. They can do so by first-of-all assuring the best quality of products. Secondly, the after-sale services need to be top-notch. Any feedback or complaints from the customers should be appropriately documented and addressed in real-time, as these form a part of the overall customer experience.

With an increase in online shopping traffic and a subsequently increased need to manage support services, digital media helps bypass human involvement for customer education for requisite technical know-how. Then there are artificial intelligence bots that address FAQs and standard customer queries without the need for subjective case analysis unless the same is escalated. This fundamental-level automation also helps construct effective engines through machine learning that might generate intuitive results in the future based on comprehensive historical data.

Drawing Insights from Market Trends

The existing trends in the marketplace suggest that consumer choices are driven by the need to upgrade themselves to keep pace with the world. If there is a new technology in the market, everyone wants to try it as there is a debilitating level of FOMO in society. This leads to impulsive purchases and fast-changing trends resulting from the shorter life of durables. But this is precisely where a good brand distinguishes itself from an average one.

The prevalence of concept stores is creating a buzz in the consumer durables market segment. People who want to be sure of their purchases like to see how much value can be derived from a product through an in-depth understanding of its features. People can now decide the feel of a device in their homes or workplaces even before the purchase through the use of VR/AR technologies. The brands have to spend less on physical storefronts and instead invest in such innovative displays that help them offer customised services as per the customer’s specific needs.

Summing Up

The age of digital innovation has disrupted the business-as-usual and has embarked upon the horizon of possibilities for creating mutual value among suppliers and buyers. Customers’ research is an input for the companies, while investment by companies is an invaluable service for the customers. So, the growth of companies has to come from bringing more value to customers invariably. Building successful brands through feedback loops is the key to sustainable business.

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