PR as a catalyst for growth among E-commerce brands
10 Dec 2023, By Theja Ram - Content Director & Senior Manager Servicing
E-commerce in India is a massive market. In 2023 alone, the industry reached $60 Bn in revenue with a 22% growth rate. Home to 780 million internet users and 350 million digital payments users, India is a big growth market for e-commerce brands.
With growing impetus from the government and its policies to curb industry monopoly, many e-commerce businesses are quickly mushrooming in the country. In fact, 96% of businesses witnessed higher growth after pivoting to e-commerce sales. While the opportunities are endless, the existing market dominance by giants like Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra and Ajio etc present unique challenges to ecommerce businesses.
In an industry where brand recall contributes greatly to their bottom line, PR is an indispensable tool in any e-commerce brand’s arsenal as it is key to building brand reputation, top-of-mind recall and boosting their online presence. With holistic PR strategies, these brands can penetrate the diverse markets in India and gain a competitive advantage.
Reputation and recall lead to rewards: Ensuring the brand’s messages and values are communicated to their target audience is critical for e-commerce companies. While marketing and advertising campaigns contribute to building top-of-mind recall, catering to a digital customer requires brands action towards building recall across a variety of media channels — be it online or social media. The digital-savvy customer of today wants to know if brands they buy from are credible. PR is the best route to establish such credibility. It presents a great opportunity in helping e-commerce businesses build their reputation by creating a steady digital footprint. Consistent PR activities ensure the brand’s name is on customers’ minds and the search engines they use. PR is indispensable in creating unique messaging and narratives that’s distributed to an e-commerce company’s target audience. Unless a company can communicate what it’s doing to its consumers quickly and effectively, customers are unlikely to take them seriously. Additionally, PR is essential to navigating crises and upholding the brand’s reputation in turbulent times. It is a necessary tool in communicating to stakeholders, with transparency, ensuring the trust and credibility built over time do not falter.
A tailor-made PR strategy: The annual online sales — be it Holi, Independence Day, the festive season or Black Friday, are massive revenue drivers for e-commerce companies. But these short periods of high revenue cannot be the only areas of growth in sales. Attracting customers off season is necessary in ensuring brands are on their customer’s minds. It’s easily done by staying in the news and remaining relevant in their customers’ minds. This is where PR plays a major role. From building narratives that are in sync with customer interests to positioning e-commerce brands as market leaders, a well-thought-out PR strategy builds up the brand’s image steadily with consistency.
Digital strategies for digital businesses: For brands relying on the driving force of online sales, digital PR strategies are crucial for holistic brand building. Given the growing popularity of social media and new-age platforms like podcasts among millennials and Gen Z, e-commerce brands must leverage these platforms to ensure their messages reach diverse audiences. It puts these companies on the map by being where their customers are, and communicating with them through nuanced messaging. For example: Interviews conducted by social media influencers are a great way for spokespeople of e-commerce companies to spread their message to customers. New-age media interviews on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook ensure brands reach a wider set of audience through timely, newsworthy and relevant issues.
Building thought-leadership: Customer trust hangs delicately in the balance, and once eroded, rebuilding it becomes a challenging task. The most effective way to build and maintain trust is by being featured in the media that customers trust the most, including newspapers, digital publications, and television channels. This significantly enhances credibility and establishes a brand as a thought leader in the e-commerce industry.
Ecommerce brands are poised for an era of growth in India with a growing middle class and increase in disposable income. In an industry with thousands of players, staying relevant, and being recognised can make or break the business. PR is an essential aspect in achieving this growth owing to its critical role in helping brands build their image, position themselves as market leaders and stay on their customers’ minds through meaningful narratives. It’s time e-commerce brands turn to PR, as it can be a competitive differentiator and as it’s well known — early adopters stand to benefit greatly.