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Bisleri's Anjana Ghosh reveals why the beverage brand floated its own e-comm platform

The mineral water brand has plans to go full throttle in its digital expansion.

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MUMBAI: Last year when the pandemic-induced lockdown struck Indians, Bisleri launched the Bisleri@Doorstep initiative to fulfil the increasing demand for safe and pure mineral water. Soon after, it unveiled Shop.Bisleri.com an online platform where a consumer can easily access a range of Bisleri products and subscribe to get hassle-free uninterrupted supplies.

Indiantelevision.com’s Anupama Sajeet spoke to Bisleri International director – marketing & business development Anjana Ghosh to know more about the bottled water conglomerate’s drive to go digital after decades of being recognised as an on-the-go retail product and what it hopes to accomplish through it. Ghosh also shared insights on the company’s long-term expansion plans and efforts to minimise the impact of plastic waste on the environment.

Edited excerpts:

On transitioning from an OOH retail product to launching online d2c website.

We recognised that it was critical to understand operating issues at the ground level, sense changes in consumer behaviour, and refine our approach. As noted last year during the pandemic, there was a spike in home consumption, and we used five and ten litre jars which are easy to carry. The pandemic helped us penetrate new channels like chemists, milk booths, and grocery stores as these were the only stores allowed to be open. At that moment, consumers were constrained by restrictions and limited operating hours. 

Now there is an increased affinity for online shopping, even for essential products. Consumers understand that it is a safer and more convenient way to shop. Last year was a valuable period for us to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by consumers. This is how Bisleri@Doorstep was born.

On Bisleri’s expansion plans in the country.

We have a very well-distributed supply-chain model of being closer to market with over 150 plants and a robust, sustained production across India with over 4,500 active distributors.

We are currently active across 40 top cities and have tied up with leading online delivery partners to scale up our servicing ability across the cities and ensure consumers have easy access to the full range of our products. In some cities, we tied up with a logistics partner to ensure our e-comm deliveries happen in 3 hours, reducing the time from 24 hours. In many cases, these partners helped us improve our service levels significantly. We are now expanding to tier-2 cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Ludhiana etc.

We have developed a cost-effective hyperlocal model called the Mohalla Distribution model, leveraging synergies with trade partners. We are also transforming our route to market, factoring in all the learnings of the pandemic and the future challenges.

On the customer response to Bisleri@Doorstep.

We are proud to say that Bisleri is the first brand in the category to launch an e-commerce platform. Bisleri@Doorstep was launched to provide consumers access to our complete range of products and is turning out to be a big hit with the consumers. The digital campaign Ab Ghar Ayegi Bisleri was very well received as well on social media platforms. We advise people to stay in the safety of their homes while we deliver to them at the doorstep. So far, we have had 20 lakh users who visited the website, and our numbers are increasing at a steady rate.

We are also moving towards marketing automation and have finalised a partner who will help us integrate consumer data from various touchpoints into one central data platform. We are gathering insights on consumer preferences and evaluating differentiated products in health & hygiene categories. This platform will create various consumer profiles and enable us to target consumers through personalised communication in the media of their preference.  

We are witnessing almost 2.5 times more traction since the beginning of the new fiscal with our consumer engagement initiatives.

On dealing with ‘Say No to Plastic’ as a brand & the Bottles for Change initiative.

Treating plastic as waste is not the solution; if used and disposed responsibly, plastic is not harmful to the environment. Used plastic segregation that starts from home is a very basic but crucial part of the recycling process. There are many misconceptions among the masses as they fail to understand the proper ways of clean plastic segregation.

Bottles for Change: Designed and implemented by Bisleri International, it aims to bring about a habit change in society by cleaning the plastic after its use, segregating and sending it for recycling. As a part of the program, we conduct plastic recycling awareness and collection drives in schools, colleges, corporate offices, malls, events, etc. This is done through a four-step process via which we provide effective tools to recycle plastic and provide a non-hazardous and hygienic work environment to our plastic agents.

Bisleri has partnered with three NGOs in Mumbai - Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangh, Sampurna Earth and Garbage Concern Welfare Society. The plastic collected by Bottles for Change is crushed into fine flakes, which are then used to create non-edible products such as furniture, cloth fabric, shoes, handbags, and many more. The motive of this model is to ‘Be the Change You Want to See’.

Through our initiative we have reached out to more than five million people in the last four years and have helped in recycling more than 6,500 tonnes of used plastic. 

On the new campaign Samajhdaar Bisleri Peete Hain.

Our Samajhdaar Bisleri Peete Hai campaign was launched to reinforce consumers’ trust and raise awareness on the difference between the original Bisleri and all other bottled water which are called Bisleri in the market. Today’s consumer is aware, educated and diligent. However, when it comes to water, they don’t mind compromising and settling for unknown, unprocessed variants of mineral water. The campaign is an effort to initiate and provoke the consumer to be vigilant and choose a trusted mineral water brand, check the Quality parameters, the manufacturing process and not just settle for any bottled water.

On the new launches in categories other than bottled water.

Apart from packaged mineral water, we also have our range of fizzy fruit drinks. These were developed keeping in mind the evolving consumer preferences and are a healthier option with real fruit juices. We introduced three brands – Fonzo, Limonata & Spyci. We have a few more product launches lined up for the future. 

On measures taken by Bisleri to ensure safety of its employees during this pandemic.

We have made sure that the production and packaging remain completely contactless and have installed ozone tunnels to disinfect our employees in our facilities apart from additional safety protocols.

We have also taken additional Covid insurance for our employees and housed staff closer to the plant to prevent exposure. We have put safety protocols in place for our delivery staff, like sanitizing vehicles and providing protective gear to them, in addition to other measures.

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