When a consumer thinks of buying something online nowadays, what are the first names that could pop into his head? Flipkart? Amazon? Snapdeal? These may be the first names but there are a lot more e-shops and virtual malls taking shape eyeing their share of the huge Indian e-commerce pie.
AskMeBazaar, though not completely new, is one of the latest additions to consumers’ recall lists. Previously getitBazaar, it was rebranded to AskMeBazaar in January this year, following a rebranding strategy of their corporate entity to ‘askme’ for their entire consumer facing offerings.
In tune with their aim of being India’s leading SME Bazaar to help small and medium businesses to sell products across India, the name was changed to have a better connect and more direct relationship to what is offered by the company.
Talking about the change at the launch in February, Kiran Murthi, CEO of askmebazaar, said, “This change in branding is a logical step in our growth and gives us an umbrella under which we can continue to expand our products and services during our next phase of development. The new name is an extension of our endeavour to connect sellers and buyers on the platform, which offers a common distribution, logistics, payment, and settlement infrastructure to all our sellers.”
Anyone following media ads would have noticed the recent spurt of askmebazaar ads featuring Kangana Ranaut. They are into advertising heavily now. It piqued our curiosity, so we decided to ask the man himself.
Kiran spoke to IOS exclusively about their new marketing strategy.
Why the sudden acceleration and shift to heavy advertising?
We have been in the business of providing a platform for SMEs for the past 28 years. Previously, and currently also, we have online and offline printed directories of small and medium entrepreneurs listing their various services and products. Over the years, we have built a strong seller base of almost 60 lakh sellers across the length and breadth of our country.
Over the last two years, we realized that the concept of directories is not so romantic anymore and consumers have different avenues for making their purchases. We wanted to be where the consumer is, so we decided to add on some products to our activities.
We wanted to take the whole bazaar shopping experience online and continue working with SMEs by digitally enabling them to provide the bazaar experience to consumers. We already had contacts with respect to call centre handling, websites, mobile apps, telecom services etc. so it was just a matter to fine-tuning and incorporating these towards our purpose. We operate with our own logistics network, distributed between around 120 distributors around the country, who pick up products from sellers and deliver them to consumers too.
Scaling up to make our services familiar with both sellers and consumers, we had to advertise and let people know that we have arrived.
Kangana Ranaut is portrayed in your ads in various interesting shopping situations. What is the thought-process behind zeroing in on a Bollywood celebrity?
Well, Kangana is someone who has been portraying very daring roles, while not shying away from being herself. When we thought of a shopping queen, she is the one who came to mind, so we thought why not.
How do you expect to beat competitors like the established players- Flipkart, Amazon etc.?
We don’t see them as competitors; in fact we can be their potential partners. Our aim is very SME centric. We want to help them be where the consumer is. Today consumers may not go to their shops in the bazaars. But we want to help them go to where the consumer is. If they are not technologically equipped, we want to help them in this aspect. And so on.
We don’t even make money for each listing like the other marketplaces. Our idea is to be a mass-based digital platform for both sellers and consumers.
While advertising as such, on any scale, need not guarantee success, it is sure to imprint the name in consumers’ minds. While advertising can increase traffic to a site, impeccable service and good product choices, coupled with convenient and interesting online shopping experience is what will ultimately keep consumers hooked and booked. All of which askmebazaar takes care of!