How OLX reinvented the classifieds category in India

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Amarjit Batra, CEO,OLX India

Amarjit Batra, CEO,OLX India

Today OLX is a brand that has emerged out of a category that Indians never thought would succeed. Speaking at Pitch CMO Summit 2014, Delhi, Amarjit Batra, CEO,OLX India, shared his insights on ‘Reinvention of Classifieds Category- OLX Brand Story’.

“OLX is a four years young brand, and it started marketing itself about three years ago. OLX is not an Indian company as most people think. It is a global brand born in Argentina. India has emerged as one of the biggest markets for the brand. Today OLX is equally popular in our countries like Pakistan and other foreign lands including Latin America, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and so on” Batra said.

Classifieds in India were not new; they already existed in the offline market. Most of the classifieds were vertical players and the classified ads included jobs, matrimonial, real estate and so on. As opposed to this, other countries classifieds were horizontal. “Hence this consumer-to-consumer (C2C) market never existed in India. That’s one of the reasons that people who tried it before didn’t succeed. For instance, in USA you see people selling a garage online. So the concept of selling from home already existed. The year 2008 was the time when we started getting active and at the same time internet was going mainstream. We understood the market globally. We researched the Indian market, understood consumer mindset and behaviour. It requires a lot of courage to go after something that never existed. We had to do something unconventional.” said Batra.

Amarjit Batra & Ravina Raj Kohli, Sr Advisor, BAG Network and Former President, Star

Amarjit Batra & Ravina Raj Kohli, Sr Advisor, BAG Network and Former President, Star

The idea was if you do not have a unique model, do something to make it look unique. Think in the direction where no one is thinking, which is a challenging task indeed.

Reinvention strategy that they followed talked about four areas:

  • Eliminate: Eliminate anythingfrom the industry which is not producing results. So atOLX, we eliminated B2C focus, content feeds, i.e. lifting content from other portals and call centres to copy listing.
  • Reduce: Reduce things that are being done excessively. OLX reduced dependency on digital marketing, real estate, and job listing.
  • Raise: Raise the areas which are doing well and take them to the next level. OLX raised the focus on ‘for sale’,focus on User Generated Content (UGC) by making people post their ads themselves. Investments in offline marketing were the otherarea they worked on.
  • Create: Do something that has never been done. They created razor sharp focus on C2C.

Working on the above mentioned areas,OLX did some good campaigns. ‘Ghar Baithe Kamao’ and‘Extra Samaan Matlab Extra Paisa’ are some of the popular campaigns. Today ‘OLXPe Bech De’ has become synonymous to selling. Batra also mentioned that being the first mover has given them an edge over others.

Talking about the latest campaign ‘Cell phoneKo Banao SellPhone’, Batra said, “It celebrated the joy of selling, joy of being a woman, and the joy of taking decisions”.

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