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'What we learned by selling onions at 1 rupee per kilo': a startup's growth hack

Guest Author
23rd Sep 2015
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Onions are something which we Indians love, whether in curries or in the raw form. Of late, their prices have been touching stratospheric levels, adding to the woes of every household. Being a consumer-first company we at Ninjacart believe that there is no greater joy than serving people what they need the most. That was when we decided to come up with this campaign of onions at Re one for a kg. Through this offer, our aim was to ease the consumer’s inconvenience caused due to the unexpected rise in onion prices. Here's how we did it and what we learned in the process:

Preparations for the big sale

This was the most challenging campaign and right from marketing to ops everyone was involved in ensuring that the campaign is executed to perfection. Our entire team spent a few sleepless nights to drive this initiative. Except for developers, everyone was either in operations or in customer support.

Selecting the 'right' onions
Selecting the 'right' onions

For the big day, we had procured close to 10 tonnes of Grade A (high quality) onion from a big distributor in Pune. We as a company believe in delivering handpicked grocery. So after procuring onions, a good amount of time and effort was spent to ensure that only the right quality was delivered to the customers. Special packing and delivery in a eco-friendly ninjacart carry bag of one kg onions was done with a thank-you note to our customers. The most important part of this entire exercise was distribution of the the packed onions to kirana shops we have tied up with. Kirana shops form a vital part of business model. Our model is very different from other players in the same space. We work closely with local kirana stores, help them in improving their quality, stock outs etc. We enable them to take their offline businesses online.

Ninjacart Founding Team
Ninjacart Founding Team

The campaign days

Our campaign started on Friday, September 4, at 5 pm and went on for two more days. During this period, we acquired more than 20,000 customers and fulfilled more than 2,800 orders each day.


ninjacart_tweet

This campaign helped us gain a lot of traction across platforms and got us trending on app stores and various social media platforms. A lot of our delighted customers tweeted about how good their experience was and we were also mentioned in some prominent Bengaluru startup groups. Overall, the campaign was a big hit and we were able to achieve a lot more than our expectations. Best part was that we were able to satisfy and serve the majority of our customers.What we learned from the campaign

A. Let us compare this marketing activity with any other big activity like putting up hoardings across the city. Putting up hoardings in major places for a week would easily cost more than Rs 40 lakh (a very conservative number; prices would be definitely higher at prime locations). This would give us some eye balls, but would never become viral and is very short term. The impact is less mainly because with all other marketing communications, people generally talk about what their product can do and not necessarily about what people need directly.


ninjacart_trending

In comparison, we launched a very simple campaign of selling onions at Re one. The campaign worked wonders because here we were directly addressing a basic need of the consumers, as a result of which we achieved good numbers and the campaign became viral too.- In just three days, we acquired more than 20,000 customers

- Our Playstore organic search increased by 13 times in that week

- Play Store ranking improved drastically

- We were trending on App store as well Play Store

- Our CAC was less than Rs 100/-

B. For pulling off this campaign, we knew delivery would be a challenge. To overcome it, we collaborated with multiple third-party delivery players. We created a delivery grid system (internally we call it ‘black box’). With the help of this grid we were able to connect with various delivery networks to find the best available option at that instant. This helped us fulfil the majority of our orders within two hours.


yourstory-trending-ninjacart

To ensure we satisfy all the orders we accepted, we created a system that automated delivery slots. The shops were closed for accepting any new orders whenever the demand went higher than the maximum capacity. This was done to ensure we served whatever orders we got in the best possible manner.C. This was our first big campaign and an interesting observation is that because of this campaign lot of other channels' conversions have improved significantly. When we conducted a lot of BTL activities before this campaign, we saw lukewarm response. Today, many people stop by and ask: "Are you the same guys who sold onions at Re 1?"

This kind of response reaffirms our faith that our campaign was successful in reaching out to people.

About the Author: This post has been authored by the Ninjacart team.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


Related read: The Bigbasket of groceries is set to get bigger


 

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