Online food delivery in India has only recovered to half its pre-lockdown peak, according to Swiggy, which this week announced it is having to lay off more staff despite its sophisticated customer engagement strategy.

Some 350 jobs will go, Financial Express reported, on top of the 1,100 the start-up announced back in May when it also moved into grocery delivery and relaunched its task-based service Swiggy Go as Swiggy Genie to deliver essentials like medicines.

But 80% of its business remains in online food ordering and delivery, where it has spent several years responding to consumer needs and developing scale and efficiencies while expanding its geographical presence and customer numbers.

In a recent MMA webinar, Umesh Krishna K, director – brand marketing and head of media for Swiggy, claimed the company has penetrated every household in India.

“That means we sit on a huge stack of first-party data in terms of behaviour or navigation; it is integral to the way we work,” he said. “Personalisation of communication and timing are of utmost importance.” (For more details, read WARC’s report: Understanding customers through data is critical, especially under pressure.)

Swiggy has worked hard at integrating communication. For example, it deploys a brand marketing campaign to give consumers a perspective of a category and how Swiggy can help. The best-responding audience’s data goes to the remarketing team, which drives more focused communication to ensure conversions.

When it comes to deployment, it is all storytelling. “I could have a commercial that appeals to a senior family member and another that appeals to a younger one,” he explained. “To communicate a theme, we may sequence stories or have a mix of stories.”

However it’s done, correct deployment on the marketing stack ensures that the message gets through to the intended audience.

Swiggy also tracks changing attitudes and uses the data to predict how they would be a month, a quarter, a year later.

Krishna shared that some general category foods have altered their strategy drastically after the COVID-19 pandemic. The consumer’s triggers and anxieties have changed drastically too – not just from the economic point of view.

Sourced from Financial Express; additional content by WARC staff