The Indian consumer market, comprising a vast middle class and a large affluent class, spent over Rs 22.6 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2022. Although spending declined in 2020 due to the pandemic and lockdowns, consumer confidence is on the rise now and spending across the country has made a rapid recovery.
Pandemic-influenced spending is also strongly moving towards online shopping. In 2020, India had the world’s second-largest internet population, clocking over 749 million internet users. Of these, 99.3 percent (744 million) accessed the internet via their mobile phones! Statista predicts this figure to reach over 1.5 billion by 2040.
Backed by positive consumer sentiment, Indian consumers are now assertive about the way they consume products, messages, brands, ads, and social media reach outs. With the festive season around the corner, it’s pertinent that brands take cognizance of consumer preferences and work on giving better shopping experiences and value to their customers. Consumer companies can become more dynamic and agile if they include increasingly granular consumer behavioral data. For this, they need to understand the pulse of consumer behavior.
What Indian Consumers Want
Indian consumers prefer more personalized experiences this holiday season, but brands are falling short of fulfilling those expectations. As expected, brands that are able to deliver personalized experiences are reaping the benefits with higher RoI on marketing and customer engagement efforts.
Indian consumers display different preferences for different sectors when it comes to receiving alerts and messages.
In entertainment, SMS is the fastest-growing channel for Indians to get subscription renewal reminders and alerts about new movies, TV shows or music releases. And over 54 percent of Indians claim they do not get messages about new movies, TV shows, or music releases that they like.
In retailing, more than 56 percent of Indian shoppers say they do not get frequent updates from shopping brands about their preferred products. The report found that consumers are 2.7x more likely to open holiday season emails when subject lines are personalized based on customer behavior.
Shoppers are 3.27x more likely to click on push notifications that are personalized based on the customer journey for their holiday shopping needs. And consumers are 3.86x more likely to interact with personalized mobile in-app messages and website banners. WhatsApp (14.2 percent) is the fastest-growing channel to get shipping updates and alerts for holiday shopping.
For subscription renewals and alerts, over 24 percent like to get mobile push notifications, followed by mobile in-app messages and website banners.
From the BFSI sector communication, Indians prefer mobile in-app messages (33.6 percent) and website banners as the preferred channel for the stock market and investment updates. The same channels are the favorites (21.8 percent) when it comes to getting information on loan offers and updates.
Post-Covid, travel has also become a big spend for Indians during the holiday season. For travel-related shopping, email is the fastest-growing channel to get messages about their journey and stay, but social media (37.8 percent) is still used the most to get general travel-related information.
Consumer companies can model winning strategies on tech-enabled insights so that they are aware of consumer expectations and preferences and their consumers are continuously refreshed on brand updates.
Companies can design seamless and omnichannel shopping experiences for customers by adopting some new-age strategies:
Gathering Insights About Consumer Preferences: First-party information like browsing patterns or purchase history is useful to understand what customers like, what they want, and how often they need to be nudged. With this, brands can create segments/ cohorts of customers based on their affinity, making it easier to send relevant communication to drive upsells or subscription renewals.
Investing in AI and Automation: Messaging is the foundation for building relevant experiences for customers. Brands need to automatically invest in AI to optimize messaging with rigorous A/B and multivariate testing. AI can help brands compare results of A/B and multivariate testing with a ‘control group’ and pick the most optimized variation.
Engaging the Customer with CEPs: AI-based CEPs give the answers to the three Ws of customer engagement: the ‘Who’ gives answers to which customer cohorts have to be engaged or retained, the ‘What’ reveals what kind of communication has to be sent to each cohort and the ‘When’ points out to which is the best time to send this communication and on which digital channel.
CEPs help marketers and product owners create, manage, and deliver critical transactional alerts across multiple channels sans engineering bandwidth or support. When supported by a web personalization suite that allows brands to build personalized website experiences, consumer companies can stay ahead in the consumer engagement game to win over their loyalty.