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Mr. Gareth Flood, Cluster Marketing Manager, Shell Lubricants, India

Gareth Flood, Cluster Marketing Manager, Shell Lubricants, India

Q)Please throw some light on the various product portfolios of Shell Lubricants.

With reference to the product portfolio of Shell Lubricants, Shell has a 50:50 of what is sold to B2B, as well as B2C customers. In its B2C range, Shell Lubricants products are divided into three big streams, namely for bikes, automobiles and truck owners. Also, in B2B, the company hasover 20 sub-segments, such as construction equipment, auto components and power.From the kind of solutions, we provide, we have close to 15 different product categories – engine oils, hydraulic oils, turbine oils, transmission oils, and greases, among others, across 450 SKUs. We always prefer to position them as a portfolio of solutions, rather than separate categories. As we move forward, our offerings will shift more from products to services – providing for end-to-end needs from lube consultancy and training, to lube requirement and procurement. For heavy-duty vehicles, bikes and cars Shell Lubricants offers the wide range of products named Shell Rimula, Shell Advance and Shell Helix respectively.

Q)Please share your views on the Trends in E-commerce: Future of Marketing strategies.

People are immensely passionate for and possessive of their vehicles. The consumer psyche is transforming from a “You buy you do” to an “I buy you do” approach. Changing consumer trends and behavior has propelled Shell’s transition towards online and e-commerce platforms following rise in digital literacy. Therefore, India’s B2C e-commerce growth for Oil and Lubricants is 4X Y-o-Y which has become an alternative channel of business for Shell Lubricants. With an objective of expanding access to its products across geographies by moving towards new age platforms, the company has undertaken several E-commerce initiatives in line with organizational apex business strategy, to explore an alternative route-to-market, and exploit the growing popularity of e-commerce. The leadership has taken a conscious effort to invest on its online digital e-commerce business channel, fully cognizant of the possibility of channel conflict with the traditional offline channel which contributes to more than 99% of Shell’s business. This decision is taken solely to ensure Shell’s market readiness and viability in a rapidly digitizing India in the lubes sector.

Third-party ecommerce platform adoption has accelerated customer awareness, brand and product exposure, and sales. E-commerce for Shell saw a 247% YOY growth in volume in 2017, with a market leading e-commerce share. Shell Lubricants is gradually expanding its presence across various online platforms that includes:

  • Amazon: Shell is the market leader in premium lubricants
  • Flipkart: After a first-mover advantage, Shell is the only lubes brand retailing on Flipkart
  • PaytmMall: Presence on India’s largest mobile payment service

Marketing strategies in the lubricants industry have undergone a massive change with the focus of shifting from sales driven, commodity type marketing strategy to a brand pull, fast moving consumer good product type strategy. With this shift in brand perception, successful and convenient distribution networks and service delivery will remains critical to customer satisfaction. Brand preference of consumers is also undergoing a massive change with brand image playing a key role in affecting a customer’s decision to buy a lubricant. With increasing number of players in the market, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to reach a wider segment of customers.

Q)What is the impact of Electric Vehicles on the product range of the company in mid-term as well as in long term?

We are fully committed towards providing energy efficiency and carbon footprints through our offerings to our end consumers. Therefore, as a company, we are not afraid of electrification, and want to fully embrace it, because it’s in line with our vision to provide carbon free and energy-efficient solutions. In a situation, where everything could be electrified, we see our revenue streams coming from somewhere else. Although electric motors don’t require engine oils and lubricants, Shell is in the business of reducing friction in moving parts, and not just offering engine lubrication. We majorly believe that the implication of EVs in the economy will open several doors and will provide us numerous opportunities as well. If we think ourselves as a friction reducer with the motive of helping every machine to run more efficiently, today, I may pursue it through lubrication, but tomorrow, I may do it through data analytics. For instance, I could be installing sensors in all parts of an electric vehicle, which could be connected to a central motherboard, which is able to monitor what part of the car (motor) is malfunctioning, its diagnosis, cooling, etc., which would in turn direct the driver to change his driving pattern to run the EV more efficiently. We could be getting into the business of data analytics, telematics, sensors, AI, and machine-learning. Also, in terms of EVs, there is need for products like transmission fluids to run the vehicle in more effective and efficient manner so as to increase its productivity.

Q)What are the upcoming marketing initiatives of the company?

Every product or idea that has ever been sold just has one thing in focus – audience. And in this era of accelerated marketing techniques, we need to know how best to connect with them. Yes, the top down method of marketing has helped a lot, but several other cost-effective marketing techniques like Grassroots marketing has worked wonders and runs on establishing a strong consumer connect.Shell Lubricants saw a fantastic year in terms of its marketing initiatives in 2017 and is geared up for even more concentrated and exciting consumer centric campaigns in 2018.

Westrongly believe that there is potential for lubrication to deliver significant vehicular value by helping reduce costs and improve equipment productivity. We have planned several campaigns/initiatives which are in the pipeline for 2018, the details of which will be disclosed in due course of time.

We are currently serving 60% of the market and have a concentrated focus on expanding the same.We pride ourselves on providing the best quality products and services and leading the way to a market upgrading itself to premium solutions. The same lies in our marketing strategies with our focus on consumer centricitytherefore not only reducing the cost of the lubricant but also reducing the total cost of ownership. Leveraging our global expertise while incorporating it with the latest technology offerings has always been one of our prime strengths across all our marketing initiatives. In fact, we are currently in the process of developing BS VI ready products while partnering with key OEMs to identify market needs.

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