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GP Batteries charges ahead with digital initiative

Online shopping is popular nowadays, but to shop for batteries online is probably the last thing you will do. In an unlikely move Hong Kong’s battery giant, GP Batteries, decided to go to the digital space to attract the ever increasing online shoppers in the region. In July 2012 the company adopted the e-commerce route by launching its online store.

Despite initial scepticism, the move proved profitable for the brand; within three months of the launch of the site, GP broken even in terms of revenue.  “When we first launched the site, some of our colleagues were sceptical but the sales results speak for itself,” says Trevor Tang, director of GP Online Business.  The average order size from its website is around 1000 HKD and the smallest order is at

Trevor Tang, director, GP Online Business

least at 600 HKD.

Taking the comprehensive digital route

So what did GP Batteries do right? The company adopted an integrated approach that included social media, SEO and QR codes for driving traffic to its online store. GP initially targeted major local forums to engage with consumers on its product offerings. Then, GP invited technology bloggers to review their products.

According to Tang, the results from this strategic approach was phenomenal, since discussions on forums and blog reviews helped to increase website traffic by 330 percent. The company tapped into forums and technology blogs in a big way as the digital team at GP found that the top ten sources of traffic for the online store included forums and blogs.

Using social media to address key product concerns

It is undeniable that social media is the place to go for product reviews and developments. So GP Batteries tied up with Meltwater, the company providing social media solutions, to get the right insights from the various discussions taking place in the blogs and forums. “We were curious to learn about direct feedback on our products so we could improve. In the past, we had no idea what our users thought of us,” explains Tang. The company implemented the social media monitoring services from Meltwater, which offered the desired insights. “We can now learn about feedback on a global scale, and be notified on a daily basis,” he adds.

For example, through Meltwater’s social media intelligence, GP learned that a battery explosion incident had happened a couple of months ago which still draws public concern on product safety.  To address this issue, GP set up a question and answer session where the consumers could ask specific product questions and get the right solution from GP’s engineers. This created for GP a direct communication channel with the consumers. This also allowed the company to gauge the consumers  state of mind and their connection with the various products from GP. The company was able to leverage on this  since the competitor brands were unable to provide a similar service which connected the users to their in-house engineers.

Driving the traffic

After making the consumer connect via social media, GP used QR codes to drive traffic to its website. QR codes printed at the back of the product package when scanned by the consumers pulled them to the online site which not only gave them extensive product information  but also encouraged them to pick up different options to meet their various power needs. According to Tang the QR code worked particularly well in pulling in overseas consumers.

To be successful in e-commerce within a short span of time is never easy. But for GP Batteries the investments paid off because the company had put equal stress on social media and QR codes to attract consumers. The company went online and promoted ts brand through online advertising, but listened and engaged with consumers over social media. Tang claims that the company got a ten-fold  return on investment from social media compared with its efforts on online advertising. So this proves that today for brands going online does not only mean having a website, but to create an effective social media presence to connect with consumers in a useful way for brand recall.

 

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