New Delhi: A heavy focus on digital marketing — videos, vernacular content and influencer engagement — is what has been driving the festive sales push of all big e-commerce firms this year. With a clear focus on leveraging the growing demand in tier II and III towns, online companies have been using content and entertainment to woo customers during the festive sale period.

“It is no surprise that the digital platforms are cannibalizing mass media advertising spends owing to the level of smartphones and data penetration. Different categories of online firms will use the media money on various digital assets depending on their individual brand planning and that’s what we are witnessing," said Sandeep Goyal, media veteran and chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency.

E-commerce firms, which have been spending big money on mass media channels such as television, have been shifting their advertising spend to digital especially after the launch of Reliance Jio.

Flipkart, for instance, has partnered with a band of regional and local influencers and a diverse portfolio of offline brands, to engage with consumers at every touch point. The objective is to capture the next 200 million consumers, hailing from smaller cities with a need of easy discovery as they navigate the benefits of e-commerce.

The e-commerce firm is leveraging food, fashion and travel to promote its sale. It has partnered with SpiceJet through branded aircrafts with an intention to reach out to seven million consumers. It has also introduced branded whopper burgers in partnership with quick service restaurant chain Burger King.

“Our idea is to be where our consumers are and they are not just accessible through mainstream media channels anymore," admitted Vikas Gupta, head of marketing at Flipkart. “We have amped our efforts to democratize commerce by not just facilitating buyers from across the country but also onboard sellers from diversified sectors onto our platform. We also introduced the Hindi interface which will attract a whole new set of consumers, especially from smaller cities, onto the platform."

Despite a slump in consumer spending and a general slowdown, festival advertising is expected to grow at 10-12% over 2018 to touch as much as 20,000 crore this year with online firms being one of the leading advertisers.

Giving its sale a twist, Paytm Mall has been promoting its festive sale as a ‘Mahacashback Carnival’ to reach out to more than 400 million internet users largely using digital marketing.

“Our audience is 18-28 years and their consumption habits clearly indicate they are digital consuming content on mobile and we would want to heavily focus our efforts on digital platforms like Facebook, video platforms, content portals and Paytm app for online," said Srinivas Mothey, senior vice-president, Paytm Mall.

Most promotions will happen on the Paytm app along with specific user profile targeting on content destinations such as Digit, 91mobiles, NDTV Gadgets, Hotstar, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Inshorts and more apps/destinations where younger audience consume content.

Meanwhile, online furniture platform Pepperfry is also relying heavily on engaging digital videos across platforms to promote its Furniture Mania Sale.

“The special feature of this sale is that, we have worked with our merchant partners specially to get new designs and products specifically for the festive season and these will be a part of the Furniture Mania Sale. We will be promoting this new sale concept with short films on various online video platforms," said Kashyap Vadapalli, chief marketing officer, Pepperfry.

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