A strong social media presence which also includes engaging with customers using WhatsApp has become the new norm in retailing. In the COVID world, the power of social media is being actively used by budding new brands in roping in new customers and pampering the existing ones. No matter how big or small a brand is today, having a robust social media strategy is imperative for growth and survival. No brand today can skip having an online presence on various social media platforms and this is something that any retail guru would vouch for. A look around and we notice innumerable brands online that are working towards building themselves using social media and after having tested the waters, taking an offline plunge. Having a strong social media strategy in place, these brands are creating a ripple in retail, the effect of which has forced many big brands to pay more attention to their social media presence.
The story of Huda Beauty, that built itself completely using Instagram and is today one of the most sought-after beauty brands in the world, is known to all. Similarly, The Souled Store – with its quirky range of products/merchandise – managed to build a strong customer base online through their own website and is today eyeing prime offline retail space across key metro cities in India. There are innumerable such brands that have gone ahead to redefine retailing purely using social media, engaging with customers, and working towards being a part of their digital lives.
One Click at a Time
Having a brick-and-mortar store is the ultimate dream of any entrepreneur who wants to be a part of the retail world. However, that’s not all they want. Budding entrepreneurs today are busy building their customer base online before taking the offline plunge. A look at some of their Instagram handles and one cannot but help wonder the miracles they manage to achieve in terms of having a strong customer base that could give tough competition to some established brands. Working on their niche, they have thousands and sometimes even lakhs of patrons who are not just one-time customers but who also double as brand promoters and endorse the brand out of sheer goodwill. For instance, the Instagram handle That Adorbs Hijab, a super niche venture by Batul Iqbal – who is in her early 20s – has close to 29,000 followers from across the globe. She has two niche launches in the category of headscarf and prayer mats, one is a tie-up with a UK-based brand as well. Having started off just 3 years back, she has built herself one step at a time and all by herself.
Talking about her store, Batul Iqbal says, “I started off 3 years ago with uploading pictures of hijabs on a new Instagram account I made for this business. I started off with limited stock and just one picture of each product as a post and uploaded them which to my surprise got sold within 24 hours. I then called for more and more hijabs, each time more in quantity than the previous ones. I also took part in exhibitions in Mumbai and then started traveling to different cities for the same. I now have the most number of hijabs than I have ever had and it is going smoothly at a good pace. I also sell Hijab pins; magnetic pins to hold the hijab together is something I launched in India and now almost all hijab brands are selling it too.” With just 20-30 orders a month, Batul sells in 3 digits numbers, and her stock holding capacity has more than tripled over the years. With a full-edged website, professional photoshoots, content that is engaging, rewards programs, brand collaborations etc. the young lady is doing that any well-established brand does today.
Another example of a good social media presence is PatilKaki. PatilKaki is a Mumbai-based food brand that is reaching out to customers with scrumptious delicacies in the category of local snacks. The brand took the online retail plunge during the lockdown and this period proved to be a boon for the eatery, requiring them to explore new territories. Vinit Patil, Founder of, PatilKaki talks about this journey, saying, “The brand has been in existence since 2016 but its e-commerce inception was in June 2020, when we were all home sitting at the peak of the lockdown. Starting off with a website and a small marketing budget, we began to see a few customers. It took us a while to convince people to try our products. Soon, a few initial orders poured in and that was enough of a reason for us to continue. But the story doesn’t end here. We then started getting great reviews which gave us a newfound purpose to serve our lovely customers and live up to our name. If it wasn’t for the reviews and the love people had for our products, we would have called it quits.”
“Sometimes, courage is not in doing the dif cult things but is in doing the simple things well. And essentially what we are trying to achieve with PatilKaki is that we want people to have the best homemade snacks experience in the comfort of their homes, something different, something that they have never experienced before. We also give a 100 percent money-back guarantee (No Questions Asked) on not liking our products. This helps us in being consumer-centric,” he adds. Patil says that his brand went from zero orders a day in June 2020 to orders in double digits every day by Diwali 2020. “As of March 2021, there are days when the number of orders goes well into 3 digits orders. Marketing ads help well to get us a good reach but transparency and attachment we have to our customers and vice versa enables a strong word of mouth as well.”
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