A STUDY ON DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES AT COUTLOOT
A Project Submitted to
University of Mumbai for partial completion of the
Degree of Master in Commerce
Under the Faculty of Commerce
Sanika Dhananjay Achrekar Under the Guidance of
Dr Mrs Vinita Pimpale R A Podar College of Commerce & Economics
Matunga(East) Mumbai 400019
A STUDY ON DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES AT COUTLOOT
A Project Submitted to
University of Mumbai for partial completion of the
Degree of Master in Commerce
Under the Faculty of Commerce
Sanika Dhananjay AchrekarUnder the Guidance of
Dr Mrs Vinita PimpaleR A Podar College of Commerce & Economics
Matunga(East) Mumbai 400019
The project report is pursued as a part of M.Com( Maters in Commerce) at R.A. Podar College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai. It is under taken as an internship at Coutloot, Mumbai. The project report is done under expert supervision and guidance of Dr Mrs Vinita Pimpale. The project is about the study of different online marketing methods used by various sectors.
At Coutloot, I started as an intern in the department of Marketing. Initially, I was made to do research about the start up and the process of their work.
The main aim was to expand their marketing base and to generate leads. I was provided with database of influential people and had to make calls and update the database. My main objective was to get influencers or celebrities to promote their start-up company. Later, I was asked to create content for the E-mailers and social media websites.
Thus, it gave me an opportunity to learn about the services offered by Coutloot and their functioning, which made the task easier. My task was divided as follows:
KNOWLEDGE OF SERVICE:
This included the theoretical knowledge about the field and services which are to be marketed.
GETTING INFLUENCERS ON BOARD:
The company needed influencers or people with high social media following to promote their company. We were asked to create database and call the influencers to promote brand. My department head was associated with handling paid influencers and celebrities. I also accompanied the department head so that I can learn how to deal with customers. This enhanced our interpersonal skills and confidence level.
I was asked to make research reports on the subject of social media marketing like Fcebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter.
This included content writing for social media websites, blogs, e-mailers. It included creating content for promoting the brand on daily basis.
To gain some work experience, I opted for this internship in the department of digital and social media marketing. I chose to work with Coutloot, which is a start-up company. It is a company focusing on re-selling of old and new items to the customers on their platform. It mainly included products such as women’s fashion, men’s fashion, tickets, cosmetics, accessories, shoes and to name a few. I chose a start-up company as I wanted to explore the tremendous growth of digital marketing and it is expected to grow more.
Due to this internship, I got to learn each aspect of digital marketing such as business development process, blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, content writing, internet marketing.
The company asked me to do their competitive research and the research of our target segments digital habits. The research helped us to identify the sectors in which digital marketing is necessary. One has to identify various sectors in the market that actually have the need of digital marketing services. And then our task is to approach them before our competitors.
Digital marketing is followed by almost every start-up company to promote or create an awareness of their brand. There are steps which are followed by the company. They are followed again and again and it is a never ending process. The marketing team should be strong to deliver what a consumer is expecting. The team is interconnected and only one campaign can get ready.
An extensive literature review is done on the concepts and theories related to advertising and digital marketing by researchers. The researcher has collected secondary data from reputed journals, magazines, newspapers, internet websites and archives.
It was an amazing experience working virtually and on field. I learnt many aspects of digital marketing, corporate world, teamwork etc. The project contains the task which has been done by me during my internship as well as what I have learnt from it.
Coutloot.com is an ecommerce website and a marketplace for women and men to buy and sell pre-loved branded fashion. Any ordinary person can sell on their platform. The sellers can sell their clothing and accessories to the buyers who use their app/ website. It was founded in September 2015.
Coutloot was selected by Facebook for its developer-focused FbStart programme, which helps early staged start-ups to build and grow their mobile applications.
Coutloot has received access to $40,000 worth of credit and services from Facebook and other platforms.
Recently, the start-up received an investment of $1 Million as a part of its ongoing pre- series A funding round. Jadevalue Fintech, the investment arm of Chinese unicorn CashBUS, led the investment round.
Operating only from Mumbai, Coutloot has extended its operations to 14 cities and achieved more than 5,00,000 plus downloads.
The sellers get paid to clear out their wardrobes and the buyers get products from brands at a heavy discount.
Coutloot charges a certain amount of commission, which is applicable on every product. The commission also includes delivery of the product to the buyer. Vendors are allowed to sell their products on a wholesale basis. The commission applicable for them is different as compared to other buyers.
HOW COUTLOOT WORKS
Coutloot is a re-commerce website. Re-commerce is a process of selling previously owned, new or used products such as electronics, clothes, books through online platforms.
Apps such as Coutloot are mobile friendly and easy to access. Unlike other re-commerce apps such as OLX or Quickr, where the user has to post an ad by themselves and deal with customers, Coutloot provides the services from the start to the end to the sellers.
Coutloot works in the following way:
DOWNLOAD OF THE APPLICATION:
The seller has to download the mobile application of Coutloot. An account is made to carry on the selling of products.
LISTING/SELLING OF PRODUCTS:
The sellers should click pictures of the products and list them on the app with a description. It is easy and quick so one wouldn’t have to spend their time filling out long descriptions.
Listing of the products would help to know more about the product, pricing, the condition or the state of it.
The pictures should be clear enough to see the details.
BUYING THE PRODUCT:
Authentic and new products are updated on daily basis. Brands such as H&M, Mango, Zara, Forever21 and many more are available on the Coutloot at discounted prices.
This includes the products from celebrity closets and influencer closets as well. Coutloot contacts different celebrities who sell with them on their platform. The services offered to such celebrities are done from Coutloot’s side.
The buyer can chat with seller if not satisfied with the images or can even negotiate for pricing.
PICKING UP PRODUCTS:
Once the product is sold, the seller has the option to directly ship it to the buyer. Or the product is picked up from Coutloot’s picking up service. The pickup of the product is done according to the seller’s time. The seller has to mention the date and time of the pickup.
Once the product is picked up, the quality check of the commodity is done by the inventory team. Here it is decided whether the product is in a proper condition to be sent to the buyer.
If the product is in a good condition, it is approved and sent for delivery.
If the product has any kind of default, it is sent back to the seller. And it is marked as unapproved.
The Coutloot app offers different types of payment methods to their customers.
Cash on Delivery also known as CoD is commonly used in India. They offer payment through Debit and Credit cards. They offer special discounts on card payment as it is cost saving.
After the quality check of the product, the delivery is carried out. The delivery of the product depends upon the location of the buyer.
Express delivery is offered where some amount of extra charges are paid. The delivery in this type would be received between 3 to 5 working days.
Whereas, the regular or normal delivering of products, take 7 to 10 working days.
LAUNCH OF FIRESELL ON COUTLOOT
In the beginning of the year, Coutloot launched Firesell on their app to enable sellers to list their products without typing.
Firesell is an AI and Image Recognition based selling module. Coutloot launched Firesell on their app, which provides smooth work for thei consumers.
Firesell helps the users to post their listings without typing anything at all. This is a convenient option for the users as the products get rejected due to in appropriate description. The users have to click the picture of the product and upload it.
The uploaded picture has an algorithm which is automatically scanned and the accurate description and title of the product.
It also scans the brands of the product. This helps the buyers to know that the product is legit and there is transparency in the trade.
Coutloot can easily track its inventory with the help of automatic title. They have an advantage as other recommerce websites such as Quickr, OLX lack this feature.
Lauching of Firesell is like magic for consumers as it gets difficult to think about the accurate description for products.
Since the launch of Firesell, there has been 150% of increase in the daily listing of the products. It is a new step in technological aspects as well.The users have reviewed the feature as a positive aspect of using the app, as it is very easy to sell and saves a lot of time. It takes 30 seconds to list the item.
MAJOR BRANDS AT COUTLOOT
WOMEN ; MEN CLOTHING:
There are major brands which sellers sell on Coutloot platform. The buyers have demands for almost each brand as they are at a heavily discounted price and due to different offers offered to them on a daily basis.
Here are some brands which Coutloot sell to prefer on their app:
Initially, Coutloot dealt with women and men clothing. But as they progressed, electronics have been introduced. Most of the electronics include used or new mobile phones, iPods, headphones and to name a few. Women styling items are in high demand as well. Here are some brands which are on Coutloot:
During the cricket season, this summer, Coutloot introduced reselling of IPL tickets.
Cosmetics are also sold on Coutloot.
SCOPE OF COUTLOOT
Coutloot has received investment of $40,000 through Facebook from their FB start-up programme. Facebook has been of an immense help to this ecommerce platform. India is a booming industry for ecommerce.
In 2015, the ecommerce business was $16 billion. In 2020, e- commerce business in India is expected to reach over $200 billion. Due to evolution in start-ups, the entire ecommerce sector in India is expected to grow rapidly in the near future.
The scope of Coutloot is to sell pre-owned, used or new clothing through online path. Most of us aware of ecommerce websites such as Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon. But Coutloot is a re-commerce website where anyone can easily sell their slightly owned items without the fear of getting their items rejected, as the buyer is fully aware about the condition of the product.
As it a start-up, many other professional help is necessary to carry on the running of the business. Professional help from Lawyers, Accountants, Consultants, Cashiers, Engineers is required to provide fast service to the clients.
Marketing is one the major necessity of any ecommerce based platform. Hence, there are upcoming varieties of marketing in the market. Marketing through social media platforms, digital marketing, email marketing, online marketing, sms marketing. The lower operating cost helps to invest in marketing sectors.
Ideas are promoted through the medium of internet on Coutloot. Various campaigns are by launched by them on their app. This includes engaging their users, which benefits both i.e the users as well as their own platform.
Coutloot has direct control over their content, which enables them to have communications with their online visitors. This allows them to keep a track of visitors on their websites and downloads to the app, which can be compared from time to time and are improvised.
Customer service is one of the most important aspect of any business as they are ones engaging with users and their grievances. The customer service is trained in order to resolve issues of users. Most of the users face the issue of technical difficulty of the app, which is then resolved by the tech team. This helps to stay connected with the users.
The feedback can facilitate the company to provide customized or individualized offer of services to the users.
Swot analysis is a study of the strengths, weaknesses, operations, threats of any ecommerce organization. The understanding of the internal and external factors decides the impact of the business’s success.
Swot analysis helps to predict the future of the any ecommerce platform. It takes into account the strengths and weaknesses which determines the growth of the website.
Swot analysis helps a company to enhance their economic growth, increase business opportunities, and helps to increase profits.
The Swot analysis of Coutloot, according to me is as follows:
The location of Coutloot acts as the strength. Mumbai being the financial capital of India, is rich in resources and labours. It is connected to almost each part of the country. The location is global.
As it is an online website, it time saver and no efforts are needed.
Easy arrangement of products
Affordable- daily deals and discounts
Already functioning to 14 cities of India including all metropolitan cities.No physical company setting up needed.
Faster buying techniques
Firesell module for users
Updated with latest trends and ongoing fashion looks by influencers and celebrities
Digital marketing saves a huge amount of money as compared to the traditional way of marketing as it is cheaper and efficient.
Promotion is easier, as it in online based.
Less risk involved.
Simple way to exchange information for the sellers to the buyers.High presence on social media platforms
Young and tech savvy employees
Availability of funds
Longer delivery time
High commission rates:
Coutloot charges 30% commission on selling price to seller whereas, the competitors charge 15%. Thus, market is distributed to other re-commerce platforms.
High shipping fees
No idea of quality of product to the buyer
Dependency on the co-founders to make the decisions
Poor marketing team
Inter conflicts amongst department heads
Bad reviews on the app
Difficulty in searching particular product
Lack of variety
A challenge to the population who is still not using internet, or regions where delivery is not possible. For example, extreme hilly regions, rural areas
Unable to help users with their issues
Improvement in new technology
Growth in business developing process
Increased investment opportunities
Targeted and sales ready traffic
Employment opportunities for the youth
Better customer service
Strict quality check on the products
Changes in government regulation, laws, trade restrictions
Just another start-up reputation
Lack in marketing techniques
Using same old methods to promote products
Unable to engage users in using the app
STATEMENT AND MISSION OF COUTLOOT
Coutloot was started in September 2015. It’s been three years since they have started their re-commerce platform. Started by young entrepreneurs of the generation, Coutloot is something which every young person wants to be a part of or feels associated with their business. The everyday problem of old clothes has a unique solution.
After raising finances from FB start up programme, backed up by Facebook, Jasmeet Thind, co-founder had to say, “We at Coutloot are constantly striving to make pre-loved and pre-owned fashion reselling a first-of-its-kind experience in India. Although our primary objective is to tackle the problems of scale and quality service in this space, we are presently focusing on enhancing user engagement and growing the user base. FbStart programme will be an immense boost to us at this phase of our evolution. Receiving mentorship from the pioneer of social networking will bring a huge opportunity for us to lead the fashion re-commerce revolution in India within the next couple of years.”
And another co-founder stated,” We are aiming for aggressive and comprehensive expansion and with this funding boost, and we’ll aim to expand our footprint not only in terms of geography but by diversifying our operations into other categories within the C2C model as well.”
As their tagline say, “Buy and Sell anything around you in 30 seconds”, it is truly possible to achieve. This is mainly because of the Firesell solution module which has been activated in their apps, which helps the users to upload pictures and title within 20 seconds.
Initially, Coutloot was founded by 3 members. Later, fourth member was joined to their team. After introducing the Firesell solution, the tech co-founder Vinit Jain commented, “We’re building Coutloot for young India and it hates waiting or typing long descriptions of products to list. Based on the consumer feedback received and the vision of creating India’s largest consumer-to-consumer app, we decided to introduce relevant features which are powered by new age technology. Post the launch of this feature, we’ve seen a 150%increase in our daily listings, in fact, a lot of users have admitted to being hooked onto the selling feature because of the way it’s packaged and rolled out, with a lot of attention to minute detail. We’re essentially creating the segment and after fashion we’re looking at our aggressive entry in other relevant categories consumed by millennials. This is just the beginning of exciting times to follow.”
OBJECTIVES OF COUTLOOT
Coutloot has built a good customer base. Young adults indulge in business activities on Coutloot as they are cheap and easy compared to other re-commerce platforms. The customer- service team at Coutloot knows the needs of their customers. They know their preferences and specific needs. Coutloot has a cutomer service available to them through various modes such as calling and messaging. A good relationship with customers helps to promote the brand value, which is what they are exactly trying to build.
BUILDING BRAND IMAGE
A brand of the image is built when there are positive responses from customers to others. The marketing here is by the customers through word to word, where they share their shopping or selling experience with their friends, relatives or reviews on Coutloot’s social media pages. This enhances the brand image in the minds of other people. Coutloot is on the way of building their brand image.
PROVIDING QUALITY PRODUCTS
Coutloot has an inventory team where each item is checked and approved by them. This includes checking the product carefully, if it’s an electronic product, then checking if it works properly. If these conditions are not met, Coutloot rejects them and sends them back to the seller. Quality is something which any consumer expects while purchasing the product. This has to be one of the most priority aspect of any e-commerce platform.
CONVENIENCE IN SHOPPING
Coutloot has created an easy user based website. It can be easily accessible by everyone and the website is easy to use. Unlike physical stores, the user can sell their products any time to the buyers. The Firesell solutions introduced by Coutloot enables the users to upload their listings within 20 seconds.
BUILIDNG ONLINE REPUTATION
Coutloot has created enough user base to promote their brand online. The main motive of Coutloot is to increase their online presence through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Even the reviews on their app are to be considered while promoting the brand image. Coutloot follows up their reviews on daily basis. Even one bad review should be taken seriously, as the others users can see it. It affects the brand image. The reviews by users or their queries are taken seriously as they are the ones who promote the brand through word of mouth. It is necessary to monitor the company’s social media handles, responding to users and their issues. Publicly addressing issues of the users shows that the company cares for each and every sort of reaction.
INCREASING TRAFFIC ON THE WEBSITE
The main objective is to increase the traffic on the ecommerce website. Every ecommerce website wishes to increase traffic on their platform. Even when users check the websites, without the intention to buy products, helps. It creates an environment of marketing. The user would eventually see the products, the quality of the products, the discounts given by the website. This helps to create an image in the minds of users.
Coutloot has started to advertise through social media websites like Facebook. The paid advertisements help to increase the traffic on the websites. The advertising is taken seriously which would benefit them in future.
IMPROVEMENT IN PRODUCTIVITY
Advanced ordering and billing related software allows the users to make purchases easily. Providing CoD in rural areas is a challenge as the shipping charges are high or there are no servies at all