Social commerce firms such as Meesho and DealShare, which rely on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook to sell their wares, are focusing on vernacular content to target customers in Tier 2 and 3 geographies, as the covid-19 crisis has forced customers to try new online channels for purchasing goods.
Vineeta Singh, chief executive, SUGAR Cosmetics, said customers in Tier 2 and 3 markets prefer shopping through offline retail and require hand-holding from shop assistants.
According to the brand, 90% of its sales in these markets come from stores, which promote their products in the local language.
“While entering Tier 2 and 3 geographies, we realized that for a premium metro-centered brand, offline retail was the best channel to establish a presence. But with covid-19, we are seeing a shift towards online, with only 25% of our sales coming from offline, compared to 50% in pre-covid times,” Singh said at the India Internet Day 2020 Summit, held by TiE, a non-profit.
During the pandemic, the other interesting trend was that in-shop assistants in Tier 2 and 3 cities were turning digital agents for customers to procure products. “Interestingly we saw in-shop assistants trying out different shades of lipsticks through ‘try on’ features on our website and sending pictures to customers, not just for advising them but also helping in digitally procuring cosmetics,” she said.
“For a typical vernacular user, language is what they are struggling with. Users in Tier 2 and 3 cities also fail to understand complex user interfaces,” said Sachin Jaiswal, co-founder and CEO, Niki.ai, an AI platform, which uses voice assistants to help consumers transact online.