About This Episode
In this episode of EngageCast, we speak to Gaurav Bhawnani, who heads Growth and Retention at Licious.
Gaurav Bhawnani heads retention and revenue at Licious, an online (web & app) meat platform established in 2015. It is one of the front runners in India’s $ 30 billion meat market. Gaurav is a marketing professional with 6+ years of experience in industries ranging from revenue, category management, P&L management, and more. He firmly believes in the school of ‘first principles thinking.’
In This Episode
Gaurav divulges key insights about scaling user retention and growth marketing, and how online meat brand Licious is reshaping consumer behavior in India. Other key points include:
- Diving deep into growth and retention strategies for consumer businesses
- Understanding user engagement on web and mobile
- Creating habit-forming digital experiences
- Maximizing the product value for consumers to ramp up brand loyalty
- Differentiating your product marketing strategy
Here are our top 3 picks from this episode!
Defining the perfect acquisition strategy with retention in mind
Priyam: Whether to have a heavy acquisition strategy or retention-heavy strategy, what has worked out for you guys? What matters when you are building a sustainable growth channel?
Gaurav: I think every company struggles with this question. If they should take the hypergrowth route on the acquisition piece, or should they continuing building the retention part! With Licious, it comes as a conscious call; it also has a lot to do with the brand conceptualization. We always knew that, unless we solve the product quality, we will not be able to give the customers what they want.
We only sell the quality which we eat ourselves. We don’t sell anything subpar in any manner. That feeds into the retention-heavy strategy. All the numbers which you would have heard of, we focussed on it since the beginning. I don’t think it’s acquisition versus retention. What we say internally is retention starts at acquisition. So we have always been oriented towards building a retention-heavy strategy, not just on the marketing front but also as a company culture.
From sourcing to the final delivery, everything has been built to keep the customer sticky overall. I will take the car analogy here; While the acquisition is the engine, the fuel is actually pumped by the retention. That’s how I would like to sum it up.
Priyam: That was wonderfully put, Gaurav. The car analogy that you mentioned, it was lovely. So you guys are focussed on creating a product that would speak for itself.
Solving for geographies in a customer-oriented market
Priyam: I was just wondering; you talked about geographies as you grow. One fascinating problem came into my mind: let’s take a hypothetical example. It’s a new region where you guys are present for less than six months, but you don’t see the traction that you have predicted. So is there some Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in place which helps you to sort out the kinks and ensure that the train of growth is running at full speed?
Gaurav: Sure, yeah! There is a process in place. We have to put in a certain amount of time and month for the first 2-3 months to get the ball rolling. There is a Standard Operating Procedure in terms of how much time should we give to the market, how much to spend, what channels to focus on initially, and later when the market has matured. While each market is different about culture, demographics, preferences, and taste, but it’s food at the end of the day, the choices keep on changing. The learning has come from Bangalore and Hyderabad; now, we are standardizing the processes in other cities. We are currently present in 6 towns i.e. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Chandigarh.
Deploying the right channels of communication to engage with the users
Priyam: Incidently, I was reading about Licious, and I came across the famed recommendation engine that Licious has. You guys have been able to forecast the demand for products, which has helped Licious to reduce wastage and reduce over-stocking. A lot of data points are consumed, and the engine gets smarter with each data-point, I wanted to find out whether something similar is happening with user engagement. What are the platforms being used at Licious to engage with the users?
Gaurav: If we talk about the channels first, we heavily rely on our platforms. Push notifications are one of the key channels right now. We have a high-frequency engagement use case by virtue of the category. That’s a benefit that we have, which is why we are heavily indexed on push notifications.
At the same time, we also have the right mix of other channels, such as social media and SMS. If we look at the context, a combination of push notifications and paid social media helps us bring the right engagement. Paid social gives you enough reach, outside of your current target base as well. Push notification is cost-friendly, and it gives you access to interact with your registered users. These are two main channels that we heavily rely on, followed by SMS and Emails.
Priyam: Awesome! Push notifications do give you first-hand leverage to converse with your already engaged users, followed by the transactional channels, i.e. SMS and Emails.
The conversation with Gaurav Bhawnani from Licious has provided us with tremendous insights on user engagement, channeling retention, tackling the issues of venturing into new geographies, and solving for rapid growth.