How Pickaboo Uses A Data-driven Digital Strategy To Place Ads, Recommend Products And Drive Result

How Pickaboo Uses A Data-driven Digital Strategy To Place Ads, Recommend Products And Drive Result

An Interview With Morin Talukder, Additional GM, Digital Marketing and Product Development, Pickaboo

Since his appointment as Additional GM, Digital Marketing, and Product development, at Pickaboo, Morin Talukder has been instrumental in spearheading a digital strategy that has helped attract and retain users taking advantage of data and customer service, grow its business and position Pickaboo as one of the leaders in eCommerce space.

In this thought-provoking interview, Future Startup’s Ruhul Kader sits down with Morin Talukder to pick his brain about Pikaboo’s digital strategy, how Pickaboo use data-driven approach to designing strategy, campaign and building meaningful interaction with its users, how digital marketing works at Pickaboo, major platforms Pikaboo uses to reach out to its customers, and his lessons on digital marketing and what marketers and brand managers can learn from Pickaboo’s digital success.

Future Startup

Let us begin with your work as an Additional General Manager of Digital Marketing and Product development at Pickaboo, can you give us an insight into the things you do at Pickaboo? And also how do you approach your work?

Morin Talukder

When Pickaboo began in 2016, we were one of the latecomers. The industry already had companies like Daraz, Ajkerdeal, and Kiksha, who had a few years of experience under their belt. It was already an uphill battle for us and we had to be strategic.

The first thing we tried to do was differentiate ourselves by offering new products and introducing innovations. However, it was not as simple as it sounds.

First off, we had to find a footing in the market. We started our journey with usual customer acquisition campaign, literally, building awareness in the market. We wanted customers to know about Pickaboo. This was our objective for the first 6 months or so.

We started slowly at first devising a strategy about how we want to approach digital and engage with our customers on digital platforms. We have had tried to develop a deeper understanding of our customers by collecting as much data as possible and then use that insight to show relevant products and offers to them.

We have perfected this over the years. Sometimes when a customer sees 6 or 7 different products but doesn’t purchase any of them, we take note of that and stop showing them similar products. We try to identify their needs and then promote products accordingly.

For example, if you were looking at an iPhone 7, we would show you a Galaxy S8 and other products of similar range. We have found that this works and people often end up purchasing it.

We try not to bother our customers with unnecessary ads that they don’t want to see rather recommend products that they might find useful.

Whenever a purchase is made, we also send our customers suggestions of relevant additional products/ accessories that they could buy to go with their product through Facebook and Google.

We started slowly at first devising a strategy about how we want to approach digital and engage with our customers on digital platforms. We have had tried to develop a deeper understanding of our customers by collecting as much data as possible and then use that insight to show relevant products and offers to them.

Rather than placing banners on Google, we put specific product ads relevant to customers interest. The conversion from this campaign has been consistently better.

This was not only helping us bring back customers to Pickaboo but also serve our customers better through communication as well.

For example, if you have bought an iPhone today, there’s a 90% chance that you will buy an iPhone in your next phone purchase. If you are a Samsung user and you’re more inclined to game, there’s a chance that you’ll move to OnePlus or iPhone next time. That is performance driven information.

Our data suggest that around 40% people who use Samsung stick to Samsung during their next phone purchase. The rest 60% switch to different brands or go back to iOS.

We collect this information about users, albeit anonymous data, through cookies and other means. When people browse our website we get to know how they navigate the site, products they view and so on that help us better serve our customers through better communication.

Say you have added a product to the cart, but you haven’t completed the checkout. When a customer does that it means he/she is interested in the product. That person hadn’t come to the website to know about it; he/she had come to buy it. So in 6 hours time, we would be showing you an ad with a discount or free delivery on that same product.

How do we identify? We know the contents you have viewed, products you have added to cart but did not complete the purchase. All the users who have done this but didn’t complete it are the target groups. That’s how we narrow down our data: “add to cart” and “successful checkout”. It’s not even necessary for them to be registered. It’s simple: you come to Pickaboo and we will know what kind of buyer you are.

Every time we remarket to our users, we show products that they could upgrade after they had bought a product of similar category. And this remarketing usually takes place about 6 months later of a purchase. We have found this to be highly effective.

80% of the things that we do at Pickaboo are data-driven. And 20% is based on assumptions and gut-feel.

When we run campaigns for new users acquisition, we mostly run them based on certain assumptions. We have something called a funnel, how to bring customers into Pickaboo, and we try to follow that. I look after a couple of departments such as digital marketing, product development, and customer service. We have a call center and a team of customer support which I’m responsible for.

We have a creative team that develops our marketing and communication materials. As for digital marketing, I look after areas like who should see and buy the products we put out. I’m more into media buying and execution of things.

For us, marketing is not only about promotion, it is an approach to doing things. We relentlessly work on coming up with ideas and products that can make lives of our users easier.

For instance, we thought of making it into something like Amazon Prime. That’s where we came up with the idea of the membership program.

Then we introduced reward points for our regular customers which help us to retain customers and improve our overall retention.

Now launching a mere membership program is not enough. We realized from the beginning that we have to give reasons to our customers to seek membership at Pickaboo. We offer a lot of perks to our members including discounts, free delivery, special offers and early access to events and offers and so on.

Then we realized that many of our customers want to get their orders delivered on the same day which eventually led to introducing our same day delivery service FastPick. If you order a product within 12 pm and choose FastPick, you will get it delivered to you the same day.

These are a couple of things we have explored so far. And we plan to continue the experiments. Currently, we are working on a few innovative products to ease online payment process for our customers.

We try not to bother our customers with unnecessary ads that they don’t want to see rather recommend products that they might find useful.

Future Startup

How big is your digital marketing team?

Morin Talukder

We are a small team. I look after the digital media buying, communication-related works, customer service team and product development.

We have a small creative team that looks after the overall communication.

Future Startup

How big is your customer support team? How does your customer service work?

Morin Talukder

We have around 36 people in our customer service team so far. We are a customer-first company which makes our customer service team one of the most important teams in the company.

The goal for the customer service team is to make the lives of our customers easier and solve any problem or complain that our customers face or have related to our service or product.

The first priority of the entire CS team is to solve the customer’s problems. We take this very seriously and it continues to serve us well.

We are the only the E-Commerce company in Bangladesh that has review option open on Facebook. We are very confident about the service we are providing and we are more than happy to accept any negative comments that we might get.

When we screw up we work hard to make it up to our customers and then we ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistake twice. That’s part of marketing for us because your satisfied customers are your best promoters.

At the same time, customer service often gives us interesting ideas to engage with our customers because they come to interact with the customers daily and understand their needs better.

During my time in the UK, I worked at a couple of companies after graduation where I learned a tremendous amount about running a business. The most important lesson for me was that customer always comes first.

Making sure that your customers are happy with your services is what most of these companies used to invest heftily. It was a completely different experience for me because, in Bangladesh, customer service is not essentially a popular idea among businesses.

When I returned to Bangladesh, I essentially returned to an old world of shitty customer service experience. That’s when I decided that if I ever get a chance, I would make sure that my customers always win.

I started a small online business called ehatbazaar.com which I ran for a year, before deciding that it just wasn’t meant to be for the long-run.

eCommerce was an already showing a sign of growth and I used to order gifts from platforms like Ekhoni.com which is now Bagdoom.

Then when I joined Pickaboo, I found my place. Shahrear Bhai, our Chief executive Officer and I, we have a great mutual understanding. We understand that there is a demand for customer service and if we can simply ensure that we would stay ahead of the everyone else in the market.

For us, marketing is not only about promotion, it is an approach to doing things. We relentlessly work on coming up with ideas and products that can make lives of our users easier. For instance, we thought of making it into something like Amazon Prime. That’s where we came up with the idea of the membership program. Then we introduced reward points for our regular customers which help us to retain customers and improve our overall retention. Now launching a mere membership program is not enough. We realized from the beginning that we have to give reasons to our customers to seek membership at Pickaboo. We offer a lot of perks to our members including discounts, free delivery, special offers and early access to events and offers and so on.

Future Startup

What are the things you are doing in digital? What major channels do you use regularly to reach out to your customers?

Morin Talukder

For now, we are mostly using Facebook and Google. 99% of our budget is spent on these two platforms. We put a lot of emphasis on the search in Google than display ads.

We are also focusing more on how to bring in customers and cater them what they would like to see as products.

Rather than banner ads, we are focusing on the dynamic ads.

As I mentioned earlier, we develop deep customer insight based on data based on which our website shows you products that you take interest in. These are mostly mid-range products and not so high end, mainly to bring in the customers.

In the beginning, we had also worked with a few local ad networks in a small-scale. Now, we mostly use Google, because it is easier to use the data.

The goal for the customer service team is to make the lives of our customers easier and solve any problem or complain that our customers face or have related to our service or product. The first priority of the entire CS team is to solve the customer’s problems. We take this very seriously and it continues to serve us well.

Future Startup

Do you have a process for launching a campaign or a new product? And then what are some of the key metrics that you look at to measure the performance of a campaign?

Morin Talukder

Let me give an example for you. We launched a campaign last month for Xiaomi Redmi 5 plus. We maintain a standard process for introducing a new product on our platform. It starts with product scrutinization – we use it ourselves first. Every product goes through a process before launching on our platform.

Once we are sure about the quality of a product, then we determine the right customers for it before introducing a campaign.

For instance, for a Xiaomi phone, we focus on device users as target group since it’s easier to gauge their usage preferences. Since Xiaomi is a mid-range product, we understand that our target customer has to be someone who is already using a mid-range product like Symphony, Meizu, Samsung J series for say a year and looking for an upgrade.

Secondly, we consider geolocation, the concentration of customers, gender, age, and usage behavior when targeting customers.

When you do things with this level of understanding, the result takes care of itself.

Now, there is an ample amount of prediction involved in the process. And we are not always right in predicting about our customers and we regularly fall short. For example, we were lost when trying to gauge customers for our cosmetic products, since we had zero experience with it. But we continue to experiment.

We run campaigns just to learn better about our customers. We look at what sort of websites, creative angles and offers attract users more and what didn’t. We call it a speed testing: by launching campaigns we learn about customer’s preference for various variables. After understanding all these, we launch the ad.

One thing we adhere to all the time is launching multiple ads; we call those dynamic ads. For example, the title would be “Buy Xiaomi Redmi 5 plus” “Redmi 5 plus at (a certain price) per month”. These would be the lines we use and Facebook/Google would show them one by one in a series. We usually keep 3-5 together and then choose the best performing 2 out of those. It is more like an A/B testing and then taking the best performing options.

For us, communication is not an isolated thing. You run an ad and then you are done – that’s not how we approach things at Pickaboo. We follow-up. We meet commitments when we make one and so on.

On the measurement end, we start every campaign with certain objectives and KPI. We closely follow the results for 2 days out of the 7-day campaign.

Depending on the results, we change strategy, change targeting and change creative lines as well. It’s a rinse and repeat sort of process. Once a campaign is done, we weigh it against our objectives to see the performance.

Future Startup

How do you design an effective marketing strategy? How do you do that at Pickaboo?

Morin Talukder

I already mentioned parts of our strategy design process and how we approach marketing in general at Pickaboo which should give you an understanding of how we approach things.

For yearly strategy, we run surveys to get the market data for sales prospecting the following year. Using that data, we determine the market size for the year and what percentage of that market I should be expecting to acquire.

Then we break it down into monthly targets. We get a percentage of growth every month so that we could achieve our yearly goal. Then we devise strategy keeping that in mind.

We keep track of all the new products we launch and the strategy. To keep the momentum we do different exciting new things. For instance, we try to launch a new product every month. And there are regular things that we do as well.

One thing we adhere to all the time is launching multiple ads; we call those dynamic ads. For example, the title would be “Buy Xiaomi Redmi 5 plus” “Redmi 5 plus at (a certain price) per month”. These would be the lines we use and Facebook/Google would show them one by one in a series. We usually keep 3-5 together and then choose the best performing 2 out of those. It is more like an A/B testing and then taking the best performing options. For us, communication is not an isolated thing. You run an ad and then you are done – that’s not how we approach things at Pickaboo. We follow-up. We meet commitments when we make one and so on.

Future Startup

The most important thing about digital, it seems to me, that needs to be understood is that it is a mindset not only a medium because it changes how we do things. We do same things pretty differently when we are on digital platforms because it allows certain liberty and freedom that traditional mediums such as TV don’t offer. In case of a TVC, for example, the expectation is that the audience will seat through the video which is played at intervals of a drama that they can’t watch if they miss it during a particular airing time thus people often watch an ad for the sake of watching the drama. However, digital offers a very different reality. We consume YouTube differently, Facebook is all about instant gratification and live, Netflix does not run any ads and allows you to binge-watch an entire drama one season at once and so on. And then there are ad blockers and others. These behaviors are now moving to the real world from digital such as our attention span continues to dwindle; we dislike ads and want more freedom in how we consume entertainment and another thing for that matter. Do you see this as a challenge? How do you deal with these challenges at Pickaboo?

Morin Talukder

We understand the convenience our customers want and we know how much they can get annoyed if they face a popup every time they visit our website. Hence we limit the popups to 2 times a week to a single user and maintain a frequency how many times you should see an ad.

If they are getting annoyed and just closing the window without seeing anything, it’s a waste of my money.

We also maintain the number of ads per page to a minimum so that it does hamper user experience. This is one of the ways we are addressing this challenge.

At the same time, as I mentioned, we develop a deeper understanding of customers and try to be useful to them with ads. It is more like a recommendation than mere ads.

Future Startup

Do you collaborate with any independent agency?

Morin Talukder

Almost all of our communication-related works, from creative to media buying, are done in-house. Our campaigns are also designed by the Pickaboo team.

Having said that, we do collaborate with an external partner when we see there are a need and an opportunity for a win-win collaboration.

We understand the convenience our customers want and we know how much they can get annoyed if they face a popup every time they visit our website. Hence we limit the popups to 2 times a week to a single user and maintain a frequency how many times you should see an ad. If they are getting annoyed and just closing the window without seeing anything, it’s a waste of my money.

Future Startup

How big is your creative team?

Morin Talukder

We have a two-member team in the creative department and one person who looks after the communication. That’s a team of 4 people. We have a team who actively works with us for campaigns.

I run all the campaigns for electronics media so I work directly with the business development team, giving them all the necessary criteria as well as taking their concern into consideration while running a campaign.

I then pass on the plans from them to the communication team who then visualize the necessary content. This content is passed on to the creative team, they develop it and then I run the campaign. Every campaign we do is the result of the collaboration of these three departments.

Future Startup

In Bangladesh, digital marketing has been largely focused on Facebook, most companies allocate lion’s share of their marketing budget on Facebook promotion. But what happened over the time is that Facebook has turned out to be expensive and if you don’t pay, your organic reach remains quite nominal. The recent algorithm changes make the situation even worse for brands. What is your take on this? Do you see this as a challenge?

Morin Talukder

Of course, this is a challenge. But we have found out a way to overcome it. When I was in the UK, I hardly remember seeing any ads from Apple or Vodafone. These companies believe in service and product. They spend money on their consumers and high impact communications instead of spending money all the time.

This is the path we want to walk. Our first priority is offering best service to our customers and build a lasting connection with our customers. In many ways, we are a reseller. My only product is the service we give.

We know that Facebook is going to be even more expensive and soon things will be more organic reach driven and content driven. We have already started adjusting to that.

We started building a personalized connection with customers. For example, for our members birthdays, we send them a wish along with 500 club points and so on. These are the things we do and we believe these will help us in overcoming whatever challenge posed by algorithm change by a platform.

Future Startup

A few digital marketing trends that you see will go big in the coming days?

Morin Talukder

Personalized communication is going to be a big thing. That’s one. Today, with the help of technology it is feasible to cater to your target audience with personalized communication. And it is effective.

I still feel video ads will survive for years to come. We found that video ads are good for bringing in new customers and building awareness.

Advertisement

Native ad @FS

Native ad @FS

“The sponsored native content format allows your brand to tell a little story about your work, brand and company — sometimes directly selling the product or service, other times offering relevant information in your field (ready for some retirement planning or a wonderful tour of lifetime?), still others conveying a feel-good pro bono message (content about how much a company cares) which is often can’t be done through a banner ad.” Learn more about Future Startup native ad here.

Future Startup

What tips would you give to other marketers and brand managers, particularly those who are working in digital?

Morin Talukder

Firstly, we should pay more attention to result instead of doing fleshy things. We should focus on conversion and achieve the objective. It has to be something actionable. Working on something actionable can bring in more value to your brand. It matters most if you’re handling a small brand and if you’re starting out.

At the same time, I think people should pay attention to serious metrics over vanity metrics.

I feel that there should be a community for digital marketing space and more learning opportunities. We have lots of seminars, but 80% of the things said are of high-level conversation. There are not enough learning opportunities available.

We should have facilities like Google has in India – their own training facilities. In Bangladesh, we probably have a small Facebook marketing related certification course endorsed by Facebook. There need to be more awareness and learning opportunities.

We started building a personalized connection with customers. For example, for our members birthdays, we send them a wish along with 500 club points and so on. These are the things we do and we believe these will help us in overcoming whatever challenge posed by algorithm change by a platform.

Note

1) Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Shabiba Benta Habib

2) Further reading on future of communication here.

We Recommend

Type to Search

See all results
Shares
No Subscription? You are Missing Out!

No Subscription? You are Missing Out!

Join the tech and business leaders of Bangladesh who rely on Future Startup’s original reporting and in-depth analysis on business and tech industry of the country. 

Please Confirm Your Email Address By Clicking The Link We Sent To Your Inbox.