Like most Indians, I wished to buy some new furniture this Diwali. My search moved from online to offline comparing products across multiple sites to talking to local furniture shops if they could design an exact replica of an online furniture. Meanwhile I happened to take my mother’s advice. “Are you not buying from the Internet,” she asked when I began listing the pros and cons of online vs offline buying.
And this is a generation that used to make their furniture by having carpenters come over. How has the notion changed now? The answer lies within the idiot box. “They keep showing ads how online furniture buying has become easy like booking a cab or ordering food,” my mother explained.
The online furniture market, which is around $130 million currently, is expected to reach $700 million by 2020 according to market estimates. Last year the online furniture market saw a 200-300% rise in sales during the festive season. This year the expectation has been the same, “We are expecting about 300% growth this year,” said Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO, Pepperfry to Financial Express . “Since the past few years, we have seen furniture sales going up considerably during this time,” he remarked.
The highly fragmented furniture market in India right now is dominated by three players – Urban Ladder, FabFurnish and Pepperfry. From increasing the merchant on-boarding and expanding the logistics capability, all of these players invested aggressively in marketing and promotions during the festive season.
Urban Ladder – The Homecoming
Storytelling via video was the common thread on digital during this year’s Diwali campaign among all the three players. “Diwali is a time when a lot of people look for home improvement and furnishing options and being top of mind during this time has a significant impact. Content marketing helps connect with customers about the larger brand thought instead of focus on sales alone,” Nikhil Ramparakash, VP – Marketing at Urban Ladder said.
Brand communication at Urban Ladder has always been about stories. Along with its unique selection of stylish, contemporary, and chic furniture, the online furniture store has been building its image as an enabler of beautiful homes, one story at a time. Read also – How #ULStory Video Strategy Is Driving Urban Ladder’s Vision To Make A Million Beautiful Homes.
This Diwali the brand chose to tell a bigger story on digital – an emotionally charged one that can tug your heart strings especially during this festive season of Diwali. Urban Ladder rolled out a 7.16 minute long film called ‘The Homecoming’ in which the furniture brand plays a key role in bringing two generations of a family to stay together.
It is a story about how a son and his wife go out of their way to make the stay of their parents comfortable and as per their style and preferences. Urban Ladder plays the role of a catalyst in the video, while showcasing all its products without looking like a 7-minute long advertisement.
The film has received more than 900K views on YouTube and has been well appreciated by viewers for the story and the execution. “We have invested in a digital film, ‘The Homecoming’ this year, which has been very successful and has struck the right cord with the audience,” informed Nikhil.
FabFurnish – #MrsIndiaKaGhar
This year FabFurnish made a conscious effort to provide the best assortment of inspiring festive-driven content, said Ankita Dabas Kohli, Co-Founder at FabFurnish.
Following the trend of rolling out Diwali campaigns to get Indian shoppers, the home furnishing ecommerce firm came out with a new ad. The brand sought to establish FabFurnish as your homemaker, your partner who helps make your home through the story of ‘Mrs India’ – the modern Indian woman who wants the best for her family and friends.
The new ad lets a viewer take a peek into the beautiful home created by Mrs India, while showcasing the product range from Fab Furnish.
The ad was promoted extensively through multiple channels including social platforms, affiliates, on the website and through e-mailers and mobile application.
On the digital front, a quiz contest served to bring about fan engagement. The Fab Furnish Twitter handle ensured video views by asking questions related to the ad. One had to follow the page on Twitter and use the hashtag in their responses, for a chance to grab vouchers worth INR 5000.
In addition to this, Ankita informed that the brand conceptualized a particular theme which was a smart mix of both intriguing and informative content—‘Festive makeover series’. “Starting from the living room, we communicated to our customers, different ways of ramping up their entire home for the festivities and clubbed the same with tips from top interior designers.”
— FabFurnish (@FabFurnish) November 8, 2015
The content was promoted extensively on the digital platform. The theme was an instinct hit—“we saw an impressive increase in the number of followers and a shoot in the engagement level.”
‘Mrs India ka Ghar’ is a neat positioning by the brand. The ad film is watchable despite it being an ad showcasing nearly every product category from Fab Furnish. The storytelling angle probably did the trick. While ‘Mrs India’ takes us through her home, we hardly realize that products are being shown or demonstrated to us!
From here on the brand is going to only focus heavily on video content. “In the coming months, you shall see a couple of well-known faces associating with the brand too,” she added.
Pepperfry – Iss Diwali kuch badal ke dekhiye
Pepperfry, another leading specialised player in this segment has been quite aggressive on promotions during this Diwali. The brand that is expecting a 300% growth in sales this year, rolled out its first campaign ‘Why wait for Diwali’ early September.
The campaign launched as a precursor to Diwali comprised a series of four humorous films around a central theme to convince furniture buyers waiting for Diwali discounts, to buy then, as Pepperfry offered great value at all times of the year.
Later right before Diwali, the brand started offering up to 51% discount in its Mega Diwali Sale. Simultaneously the brand also rolled out a campaign that made Diwali shopping a ‘feel-good’ thing. Named around the action-oriented thought “Iss Diwali kuch badal ke dekhiye”, the campaign kicked off a fresh set of two TVCs laced with human emotions.
The treatment given to each of the campaigns is aligned with its objective. While ‘Why wait for Diwali’ ads were downright hilarious ones, the ads in the new Diwali campaign managed to tug at your heart strings. (Pepperfry is yet to respond to Lighthouse Insights on their digital initiatives for this story.)
Not just digital, online furniture brands like other eCommerce companies have invested substantially on other platforms with TV being the dominant channel. Read also – Inside The Digital Strategy Of Amazon, Flipkart And Snapdeal During This Festive Period
Nonetheless the pie for digital has gone bigger with videos dominating consumer and brand preferences. Now only if these brands would reveal amount invested in the marketing efforts and the gains made during the festival season.