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Parle Agro’s online sales grow 300% in a month, beverage segment expected to lead revenue

In a conversation with, Nadia Chauhan, JMD and CMO, Parle Agro, talks about the growth strategy of the company and how lockdown and the Covid 19 pandemic have thrown all projections out of the window

Though e-commerce has always been a part of Parle Agro’s sales channels, it did not offer significant growth opportunities for the company until now.

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Nadia Chauhan

In a conversation with, Nadia Chauhan, JMD and CMO, Parle Agro, said the company has seen its e-commerce sales jumping by 300%.

“Online retail has emerged as the next best and effective mode of business. Our online sales through e-commerce grew by 300% compared to the same last month. It has definitely provided business agility.”

“We foresee high potential for beverages on the e-commerce platform and hence have spearheaded a strategy of partnering with national and niche players to strengthen our business while creating significant business opportunities for our ecommerce partners as well.”

With the objective of scaling up its online business, it has tied up with numerous e-commerce players in the country. It has partnered with leading e-commerce platforms such as BigBasket, Grofers, Milk Basket, Flipkart Supermart and Swiggy, and tie-ups with Amazon, Zomato, Supr Daily and Grocio, to name a few, are on the anvil.

The company is not looking at e-commerce as a platform to leverage only during Covid-19, but as an important channel that will contribute significantly towards sales in the near future. 

At present, the overall beverage category in India contributes a low single digit number towards the overall business of e-commerce players. By collaborating with multiple ecommerce platforms across the country, the company is aiming to help increase the contribution of beverages to the overall e-commerce business from the current minor share to a healthy 15% contribution.

“We have plans to introduce special SKUs and brands for this segment to cater to distinctive consumer needs. While strengthening our own leadership in the category, we will help e-commerce platforms capitalise on the beverage business,” Chauhan added.

It is often argued that well-established brands with an online presence should develop their own e-commerce setup, which obviously allows one to have more control over its online revenue. And Parle Agro has enough brands to run its own platform and directly connect with the consumers rather than going through partner platforms.

Chauhan answered this saying that the company’s current focus in the online space is to maximise sales and distribution via collaborations with e-commerce platforms.

“Our partnership with e-commerce platforms is with a long-term vision. We hope to not only create business for our brands, but foster viable opportunities for our partners too and thus help create value for all. Developing strong partnerships has always been the core of our organisation,” she added.

With restrictions in mobility from mid-March and a few retail stores that were operational back then, e-commerce emerged as the go-to place for consumers to get what they need, Chauhan said.

She said the lockdown not only made e-commerce the ideal channel for consumers to purchase what they want, but it also accelerated the e-commerce category in a massive way.

Consumers and households that don’t normally adopt online platforms to buy groceries have suddenly started utilising them. So, the usage of e-commerce has gone up tremendously and will continue to increase, she added.

The pandemic came at the onset of summer, a time when beverage brands are the most active, thus tempering with the communication strategies as well.

The company has put its summer campaigns on hold as its main consumption points, kirana stores and modern retail outlets, were not accessible to consumers due to the lockdown.

Nonetheless, as it has expanded its online presence and tied up with e-commerce platforms to ensure the consumers still had access to their favourite beverages in the lockdown, it has designed special creatives for digital and social media to let the patrons know that Frooti, Appy, Appy Fizz and its other beverage brands can be ordered online and delivered to their homes, said Chauhan.

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