#BackToBusiness: Wakefit’s Chaitanya Ramalingegowda on the strategy that needs to be followed to bounce back

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December 7, 2020 10:01 AM

How brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, director and co-founder, Wakefit.coChaitanya Ramalingegowda, director and co-founder, Wakefit.co

As brands try to find a sign of semblance post a period of uncertainty, it has become more important than ever to understand and evolve as per changing consumer expectations. From selling goods online to incorporating consumer feedback are some of the ways brands are trying to remain relevant. Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder and director, Wakefit talks about how brands and agencies can engage with their consumers–

On the playbook, brands and agencies need to adopt in the new normal

The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced the world to many versions of the ‘new normal’. The habits that we have picked up during these times are likely to stay much longer, even after the current crisis is resolved. As we navigate these times and capitalize on the thriving online shopping landscape, here are some observations that can help brands succeed in the ‘new normal’:

  • Always try and add value to the lives of consumers

Given the tectonic shifts in our ecosystem, underlined by a prolonged sense of uncertainty, many consumers are rethinking their purchase habits. Concerns about salary cuts, getting laid off, or worse, huge medical bills if someone in the family gets infected, are likely to make more consumers tighten their purse strings. In such a scenario, brands can survive – and thrive – only when they are able to truly demonstrate the value they are adding to the consumer’s life. As a direct-to-consumer sleep and home solutions brand, we, at Wakefit.co, see this as an opportunity to evolve – to address new customer pain points – and adapt – to meet new customer expectations. We recently ventured into the home solutions space offering ergonomically designed study desks, dining tables, bookshelves, wardrobes, TV units, sofas, shoe racks and a whole range of other home solutions products. The emphasis, over the last few months, has increasingly been on transforming homes into a more wholesome space that is conducive to multiple functions.

  • Invest in content-led campaigns that engage audiences

The year 2020 has forced everyone, including brands and marketers, to pause and reconsider their strategies. Take consumption of content, for instance. The use of OTT platforms has surged during the lockdown and the trend continues even now after the lockdown has been eased. Digital as an industry is growing around 25-30% CAGR, and all reports indicate that the trend is only going to increase in the near future.

A lot of focus, therefore, has shifted to the way content creators build and narrate stories to audiences. Content needs to be relatable, emotional and stir audiences to act. Brands can make the most of this trend by creating meaningful content that will help them engage with their community and inspire trust in the brand. Creative content curation has to take centrestage to drive viral campaigns and conversations.

  • Embrace innovation & agility

Change is the only constant – more so in a world fighting a global pandemic. The way people work, live, and engage with brands is ever-evolving. It’s important for brands to understand these changes quickly and be intuitive in offering a value proposition that resonates with audiences. The pandemic has been a testament to the fact that brands that have delivered on the promise of convenience, safety and affordability and adapted quickly post the lockdown have survived and thrived.

On the gradual return of the business – how much of it is restored and the new trends which can be spotted compared to pre-Covid times

By virtue of more consumers spending longer hours at home and increased e-commerce adoption, Wakefit.co has registered a steady upsurge in demand over the last few months. In fact, we surpassed the pre-Covid demand in June and since then it’s been an upward journey. The festive season, which typically accounts for a large share of annual revenue for online brands, brought us good tidings in the form of burgeoning demand for our sleep and home solutions range. We recorded a 223% increase in revenues during the festive period this year, as compared to the festive sale last year. We also saw a 104% rise in website traffic during the same period, indicating greater adoption for e-commerce buying.

In terms of new trends, one of the biggest shifts we are seeing is the emergence of Tier 2 and 3 as key markets for online brands. We saw 43% of traffic from Tier 2 and 3 segments this festive season, up from 37% last year. Another trend we are seeing is how fragmented pieces of the sleep economy like mattresses, beds, furniture, bed linen, ambient products, sleep tech and more, are getting consolidated under one umbrella.

On how brands can create at-home meaningful experiences for consumers

The key is to know your consumer and listen to them keenly. Brands that are tuned in to the changing consumer mindsets and behaviours will be in a position to create meaningful experiences for their consumers.

On the contribution of online versus offline outlets and how brands can make the most of the shift towards digital

Gone are the days when retail stores were the only option to indulge in a good shopping experience. From the experience of gaining the first movers’ advantage as a digital first D2C brand in the sleep solutions space, I assert that India’s D2C market is ripe for disruption. As long as brands manage to keep the price points affordable, offer high-quality products and engage meaningfully with its audiences, the tier 2 and tier 3 markets are likely to be at the forefront of driving growth in India’s online shopping segment. In fact, according to a recent report, D2C brands could be looking at a $100 billion addressable consumer opportunity in India by 2025.

On how the home solutions category has evolved and the steps to be undertaken by brands to connect with Tier 2, 3, 4 markets and beyond

The online home solutions space in India currently accounts for less than 3% share in the overall home solutions market that is pegged at $17 billion. The online market is estimated to touch $700 million by 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 80-85%, as per data by RedSeer Consulting.

The evolution of the home solutions category has been phenomenal over the last six months or so. The pandemic has given rise to the work-from-home culture, increasing demand for workspaces at home. According to Wakefit.co’s Dream Home survey, 39% of people spend most of the time at their workspaces at home and 32% have installed a workstation for themselves. The definition of home itself has expanded during this time, as work, play, relaxation and other activities have also started being brought home. Our survey shows that a whopping 90% respondents have now been investing in multifunctional furniture during the pandemic. Our data shows that ergonomic home solutions, including furniture, bed spaces, work desks and more have become important priorities for consumers.

In terms of connecting with Tier 2, 3, 4 markets and beyond, there’s immense scope for brands to widen their reach and leverage the potential of these largely untapped markets. Almost 43% of Wakefit.co’s traffic came from tier 2 and tier 3 markets during this festive season. Markets such as Pune, Mysuru, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and others have been contributing heavily to our demand in the last year or so. Our target is to drive 50% demand from these markets in the next few years.

Read Also: #BackToBusiness: SoCheers’ Siddharth Devnani on the strategy that needs to be followed to bounce back

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