Creating A Brand Image In A Price Sensitive Market - Where The Consumer Loyalty Is Towards The Price & Not The Brand

Shripal Gandhi, Founder & CEO, Swipe Technologies With over a decade of industry expertise in diverse verticals under his belt, Shripal has successfully taken Swipe from being a nascent organization to the apex market leader in several states in the country, with its vertically integrated play of hardware, software, apps, vas and own enhanced android, FreedomOS

In a developing country like India,the most important factor that affects the consumer is value for money deals. Majority of the consumers are highly price sensitive who responds negatively to higher than average prices and prefer to shop with budget-friendly brands. It can't be always assumed that such customers have low income or their budget is low. Price sensitivity is less related to customer's income and more about their personal beliefs and upbringing. Price, promotions and brand perceptions are the most determining factors that help consumers to arrive at a perception of value. Today's generation is a lot more attracted towards the newest technology available within the budget rather than just the brand as compared to the previous generation who were brand loyal. Aggressive marketing and entry of many low range brands have created a lot of pressure amongst the competing brands to reduce their selling price.

But, finding a productive path forward, keen retailers are capitalizing on the fact that price matters more to shoppers than ever before. Some ways market leaders are shaping their price strategies to win customers' hearts are:

1. Know Your Niche
Brands should know their target audiences to whom they are going to cater. All products are not for everyone. And that is the catch that needs to be understood at the beginning. An indepth research on Demographics and Psychographics can be helpful for the brands to understand their consumers. This is really helpful to design the product and campaign which can appeal to that specific target audience.

2. Specifications Counts
Trying to focus on quality over quantity is what matters and impresses your consumers. Consumers have a tendency to compare things which are worth the money rather than just spending on comparatively cheaper durables. The features available in your product should be worth the price tag which has been put for the product. Also, look and feel of the product to
immensely match the desire of the target audience. The balance between price and quality, if not managed properly, can result in a huge loss of brand equity, which is very tough to bounce back from.

3. Channel Matters
Retailers cannot offer uniform pricing across their in-store and online channels. In nearly every sector, shoppers assume online prices will usually be less expensive than in store prices. Also, digital promotions are not necessarily the best way to reach your shoppers. Brand can use various analytics to understand the insights and choose the right channel to grab customer's attention. Brands really need to pick the battle which they think they can win.

4. Engage Your Customers
Keep in touch with your target market on a frequent and consistent basis. Informing them about the brand's new developments makes the consumers more connected and involved with the brand. This makes them feel that they are important to you and a part of the brand's family. This can be done using Facebook Live, frequent meet ups, and pop up events with fans & customers.

5. Delivering Brand Promise
Your brand promise sets you apart from your competition and tells consumers what to expect. Message should be delivered in such way that your target audience knows what you offer. If the brand decides to offer branded merchandise as a promotional item, it should deliver the brand promise. The quality of products should be checked even if they are getting manufactured at low costs.

6. Promotional Activities
Providing consumers with incentives and privileges drives them to your brand rather than the competitors. These can include free trials, free holidays, free chopper rides, free gifts, special pricing or any contests where they could win vouchers. It also increases the brand awareness amongst consumers. Sometimes, it can be hand-delivering the products to customers by the management personally.

7. After Sales Service
It plays an important role in customer satisfaction and customer retention. It generates loyal customers and increases a brand value. Try obtaining feedback from the consumers, like how was their service, if the product is working, or how is their experience. By letting consumers know that you care about their experience and you are listening to them makes them believe in the brand and established brand engagement for a longer duration. I really believe, one can build the brand purely on the merit of service alone.

8. Go Beyond Business
It's all about going a step ahead and building a personal relationship with the consumers and wishing them on birthdays, festivals, New Year, special occasions, thanking them, reminding them about upcoming sale seasons, new promotions, and other aspects. These small efforts make consumers feel that you care about them apart from the business transactions with them.

9. Stay Relevant
Keeping a close eye on what the competitor is doing and what the current trends are in your industry is very important. Marketing and communication strategy needs to be channelized in such a way that it is relevant and according to the current market trend. Doing things in a non-traditional way can be an interesting way to stand out of from the clutter. It can be the way products are packaged, the way they are launched, the way they are promoted, or the way they are sold.

At the end of the day, buying is a very emotional phenomenon. The key is appeal to as many senses as we can of the consumers, while building the brand.