Online and offline retail fronts need to leverage data science such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to create a truly ‘happy’ Diwali for themselves as well as customers
For companies in India, Diwali is the Big Indian Festive Season with eye-popping discounts, and the reason behind this sudden push in the marketplace is a no-brainer — consumers buy more during the festive period. Here are some ‘must-do’ things that will not just boost your sales but also help you win happy customers.
1. Leverage social listening: Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product or any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is analysing that information for actionable insights. It helps companies in:
• Customer engagement and research: Social listening can give you important insights into what your customers expect from you and how well you are delivering on those expectations
• Identify strategic wins or missteps in real-time: Which of your posts are getting the highest engagement combined with the best social sentiment?
• Discover how people perceive you in comparison to your competitors: Since you will be listening not only to what people are saying about you on social media, but also what they are saying about your competitors, you will get important real-time insights about where you fit in the customer perceptions of your industry
• Uncover pain points in your industry that you can be the first to address: By monitoring important keywords related to your industry, you can start to uncover conversations people are having about products, services and features that aren’t working for them
2. Creative campaigns: Brands often use this season to promote their sales by coming up with the most creative and innovative ad campaigns. With the fierce competition, it is only natural for them to strive hard to gather the attention of their customers.
• Offers with a twist: While everyone else, including the big players, will be doing a ‘special festive sale’, you do the same but with a ‘twist’. Yes — think different. Offer your usual discounts and some special ones for the chosen few. For example, ‘This Diwali, we announce a special discount for all shoppers who have their birthdays on the same date’ or ‘Additional 20% off for shoppers who have all the letters of our brand name in their name (like Myntra offers the discount to ‘RhYdhiMA TaNdon’)’. This type of innovation combined with festive offers will not only help you carve a niche for your brand but also increase brand recall for plain ‘quirkiness’.
• Social media contests: The more creative the contest, the more promise it holds for your brand recall and image. For instance, you can define a person — male, early 30s, married, has a kid, is fond of gadgets and sports, budget — Rs 2,000-3,500. The participants have to sift through your online store to find a perfect gift for him. The answer that wins maximum votes (likes, RTs) becomes the winner.
• Surprise gift with each purchase: Pack-in a special surprise in each delivery you make this festive season. This could be an additional/ exclusive discount voucher for the next purchase or even a small ‘Thank You’ gift like a funky keychain.
3. Leverage predictive analytics or artificial intelligence: In some ways, Diwali is similar to the Black Friday /Cyber Monday discounts in North America after the Thanksgiving weekend. What is not similar between best practices in predictive analytics adopted by global companies and the marketing practices adopted by players in India.
• Predictive analytics for predictive discounting based on consumer clickstream behaviour, historical behaviour, social media data appends, rather than reactive behaviour of following competitors. Here analytics can help in creating a proactive approach for recommendations based on statistical association analysis, time spent on website, cookie behaviour and mode of accessing website rather than just giving a flat discount. Imagine this: if Ratan Tata wanted to go to Flipkart and get a mobile phone, he would get the same search interface and the same discount as a college student from Mumbai. Can we use analytics for better personalisation?
• Artificial intelligence for better catalogue management than create a clutter of products for overwhelming users with a very shoddy user experience. After all, as per mythology, goddess Laxmi chooses to enter places which are shining with cleanliness and zero junk. The e-commerce company with the best interface and the least junk results in search will be a company for Laxmi to favour.
• Better campaign analytics for emails, phones and other channels for outreach marketing. Which channel should the customer be incentivised in and in what way? Customers should see a UniChannel regardless of where they are coming from in terms of interface.
Having a ‘happy’ Diwali is a serious business that needs deep data analysis and if companies in India adopt global data science practices it can only lead to win-win scenarios for customers and corporations as well as stakeholders in the logistics and delivery supply chain.
The author is co-founder and EVP, Absolutdata Analytics