Earlier today, I spoke to a packed audience of retailers (omni channel and offline retailers) at the Chennai Retail Summit held by Retail Association of India (RAI) at ITC Grand Chola. I spoke on Winning the Connected Consumer, The Digital Way and you can see my slides below.
E-Commerce Product Photographers & Studios in Mumbai
According to recent statistics, more than 800 million people from Asia are expected to buy products online, and the number of digital buyers in India is estimated to reach more than 112 million, so online sellers are increasing rapidly in numbers. One of the biggest challenges that the retailers face is, “how to convince their potential buyers through captivating product images?”
To satisfy their customers, the sellers must find a perfect way to showcase their products. That’s why e-commerce product photographers play a vital role in selling a product. Here is the list of top photographers who will help in capturing your e-commerce products to perfection.
Radiance Vision offers bountiful services to their clients. They have their e-commerce photography studio with experienced photographers and editors. They also provide photographer and videographer services for other stuff like events, TV commercials, corporate films, animation film, etc.
Faisal Miya Photuwale is a Mumbai-based fashion photographer, who has an experience of 5+ years in the field of photography. The studio has a team of 19 photographers, and they have done more than 350 photo shoots that include fashion catalogs, portfolios, product shoots, glamor, wedding photography, and wedding videos.
He likes experimenting new concepts in different genres and has won many accolades. He has worked with various well-known actors, models, and designers like Rohit Verma, Karan Malhotra, etc.
When Amit Desai was a kid, he loved to paint, play music, create art & read literature. Once he grew up, he completed his Bachelors in Commerce (Honors) and Masters in Finance from Mumbai University. He is passionate about photography; thus, he made his passion his profession.
He is one of finest photographers when it comes to candid photo journalistic wedding photography. He says, “I love the thrill and the excitement of capturing ‘the moment’ in my frame.” His knowledge about colors, lights, and tones helps him to give better outputs that satisfy his clients.
Pashminu Mansukhani is a Mumbai-based photographer, who specializes in industrial and corporate photography. Pashminu always had a great passion towards photography. Understanding his passion, he fine-tuned his talents to become a professional photographer. He has done photography in diverse genres like events, real estate projects, and industrial site projects, etc.
Pashminu has worked with more than 100 major clients like Sony India Pvt. Ltd, NELCO Ltd, Godrej & Boyce Ltd, Castrol India Ltd, Aditya Birla Group Ltd, Indiamart Intermesh Ltd, Hitachi Lifts India Ltd, Calyx Chemicals & Pharma Ltd, etc.
As the name suggests, photographers of True shades photography will observe and retain the lights and shades of subjects. Arshid Bhimji is the founder of True shades photography. He started his career as a compositor in the VFX industry. Gradually, he began his career in wedding photography. Right now, he is primarily doing wedding, fashion, and product photography.
True shades have a team of 16 specialists, and they have completed about 210 projects with 196 clients. Almost all of their customers are delighted with True shades photography.
Are you looking for a photographer who clicks creative and attention-grabbing product photos? If yes, Pixelmania photography should be your ultimate choice. They are doing photography services for more than 12 years. They provide high-quality product photography at affordable prices. They also provide other value added services like catalog design and printing, ad design, all web based designs, and website development.
Contact them at +91 99209 66691.
Are you looking for photographers from other cities? Check the top e-Commerce product photographers in Bengaluru and Chennai.
While some might say that digital has opened the doors to online players and has blurred the existence of local retail stores, new research says that the relationship between digital marketing & in-store shopping is far more interconnected than that. Foot traffic & word-of-mouth which were the assets of offline retailers before digital & mobile entered the lives of people, are not anymore the only assets which can be relied on.
Local retailers, in general, believe that online marketing works only for e-commerce websites. But, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it actually gets consumers into local stores.
Connecting offline retailers to the mobile users
We are living in “always-on search world”, where people are always able to search. When they want to buy things or when they do have a query, they turn to their smartphones. Consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.
Impact of mobile on the store visit
There was a time when people would have to get to their computers. But now, searches on the desktop have dropped as mobile is always in reach. It is found that 21 percent of in-store shopping in urban India is influenced by digital and 18 percent is influenced by mobile. If you have a physical store, then mobile search is the new threshold to your store.
Store visits after online research
Most offline retailers in India are not aware of various mobile marketing techniques which they think are only for e-commerce players. This has led to them not making efficient use of the web to provide necessary information to the customer. Whereas, according to research customers are likely to go to an offline store when they find the store they are looking for listed in search results. It is found that 3 out of 4 shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.
The retailers need to realize that consumers shop digitally before going into the store and they should make sure they provide all the information that customers are looking for online. Thus, retailers should have the right digital marketers as this will help to drive more customers to visit the stores.
Online Advertising Techniques To Create Online Presence
What most offline retailers lack is the right guidance how digital marketing can be leveraged to bring sales. There are many different ways in which the visits to their local store can be boosted.
This is the most effective method to reach out to as many customers as possible as shown by recent statistics. Many big companies engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because PPC ads work in a way that brings best customer attention with minimal expenditure.
Brand Search Advertising reinforces the brand name, increases brand value and brings about brand awareness. These ads are so effective because they give the customer all the information he/she needs to know about the brand within a few lines. This way the customer does not spend a lot of time reading the ad, but manages to get the required information.
Also, ads can be shown to the people who search for the products using relevant terms. For example, one who is looking for a laptop store close to his location can be targeted using relevant search terms like laptop store near me, laptop stores in Chennai, which people normally use.
Another advantage of the PPC ads is that they can be targeted to the desired audience of a particular location, preferably places around their stores using Radius targeting. This way the ads are shown only to the people who might be interested in the product or service and more likely visit the store.
Since the retailer is charged each time these ads are clicked, showing these ads to a targeted audience will result in an increased conversion rate which will in turn result in an increased ROI. Where they appear is chosen by the retailer, but its ranking is decided by Google based on a number of factors.
Organic Search Listings
This is the most traditional method by which offline retailers can show up on a customer’s search field below top PPC ads without having to pay a penny. A link to the retailer’s website automatically shows on the customer’s screen when he/she searches for something relevant to the products offered by the local store.
Where the retailer’s website is listed is again decided by Google based on the relevance of content and other factors. What the retailer should ensure is to provide the right and relevant content on the website of the store so that it shows up higher in the organic search listings. Hence, by this way the store can get a few more customers to visit its website by making sure it has a user -friendly website.
Google Business Local Listings
An important feature that drags customers to stores near their current location is the store locator available on Google. Using this feature the customers can know exactly how far the store is located from their present location and they can head straight to the store with the navigation feature of Google maps. Hence it is essential that all stores add their location on Google using Business map locator.
When a customer searches for something like textile stores, a list of textile stores nearby his/her location shows up with the address information of each store. By clicking on any of these stores in the list the customer can know exactly how far the store is and how long will it take to get there with the help of Google maps. Hence, if a customer knows that a store is close by to his/her location, then it drives the customer to visit the store.
In order to track the source of the leads that we receive through the above advertising methods, it’s recommended to generate unique phone numbers for each advertising channel. This way we can measure the effectiveness of each channel.
Digital bridges the gap between customers and stores
Today the consumer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. Retailers that provide relevant, local information online will increase both reach and sales. While helping to drive customer in-store it will also help to enhance the customer’s experience once he/she has entered the store. Mobile has reshaped the way the people shop, that is in a good way and retailers who make use of this in the right way will see themselves moving ahead.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in association with the Retailers Association of India, recently published a report that highlights the trends in Indian retail. As the world’s leading advisor on retail strategy, BCG has evaluated India’s high-value opportunities in the retail market. Partnering with RAI, the unified voice of Indian Retailers, the report aims at formulating solutions to key challenges faced in the market. The following is a brief summary on the findings.
Retail in India has taken a remarkable transformation over the last two decades. Rising income levels, urbanization, and changing consumer behaviour has given an optimistic outlook to the retail sector, promising an undoubted growth in the future. The digital medium has influenced retail with a powerful strike, reshaping customer behaviour and expectations. To summarize, retail business are in a constant need to retrospect their strengths, reinvent their offerings across the purchase pathway, and rewrite their approach of retail economics.
Based on research and some stringent analysis of data, the report captured key trends across the following broad categories.
1). Certainty of Growth
A promising growth forecast is one of the primary findings made from the study. The Indian retail sector is projected to double from $600 Billion to $1 Trillion, by 2020. This rapid growth will be determined by factors such as Income Growth, Urbanization, Nuclearization, and Attitudinal Shifts. Modern trade is also expected to grow 3 times, with Rapid Consumer Evolution, Supply-side Evolution, and Positive Regulatory Environment, being the drivers that will materialize this growth. As a key implication from this finding, Indian retailers should sharply identify the emerging opportunities and customer segments and be clear about what to not go after. Retailers should also re-adjust propositions to remain relevant and also allow room for experimentation, though it might not always turn out to be successful.
In our view, digital will increasingly drive offline retail sales as well. It is already easy to track phone calls to the store or to track the number of people looking for store directions. Retailers will become more sophisticated (along with measurement tools from platforms like Google, Facebook, etc.) to attribute offline sales to a specific digital marketing effort.
3). Challenge of Capability
Omni-channel business is becoming increasing relevant. Customers expect a seamless experience and do not tend to distinguish between online and physical channels, while shopping. Traditional strengths are insufficient here. In addition to being omni-channel, a well conceptualized talent management strategy is critical. It has been noticed that retail businesses suffer from high attrition rates and limited capabilities in the middle and top management, as a result of inadequate specialized training and experience in the sector. Supply chain also needs an evolution, as the market is viral with long lead response times and infrastructure challenges. It’s high time that Indian retail businesses develop a comprehensive omni-channel offering and adopt a targeted approach to employee training, appraisal, and retention. It is also very vital for businesses to build a demand-driven supply chain that is equipped with a real time flow of information.
4). Importance of Economics
Several economic challenges plague Indian modern trade. Please find them listed below. On the demand side:
– The level of processing is not high enough, as the Indian consumer gets used to modern trade.
– Pricing and promotions are poorly executed , not leveraging on customer willingness and purchasing power. On the supply side:
– Inflating costs of real estate and rentals.
– Increasing costs due to low bargaining power with suppliers due to limited scale.
– High cost incurring supply chain due to poor connectivity, excess and deficit inventory.
– As an immediate implicative measure, the throughput problem should be address first. The other cost and margin issue will fall subsequently.
5). Need for Transformation
Fundamental transformation is the need of the hour. Businesses should avail the growth opportunity and serve digitally empowered consumers. As mentioned earlier, they should also build capabilities in quality omni-channel experience, talent management, and supply chain optimizations. This requires working on four pillars simultaneously. They are as follows.
Fund the journey – Generate quick cash from existing operations by relooking at the core of the business.
Win the medium term – Identify the winning consumer proposition formula for the next 6-8 years.
Take measured bets – Invest in emerging but important trends.
Enable the transformation – Invest in people and technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and morale.
The latter part of the report is its most credible engine, bringing perspectives from over 20 CEOs of top retailers in India. Some of the most thought-sparking lines have been quoted below.
“In times when the economy is tight, we face the brunt of lower discretionary spend. But right now, we are feeling very positive about the future and our industry.” – Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant
“There is some form of a lack of supplier assistance to modern trade: somewhere they will have to accept that this is the way forward.” – Randall Guttery, CEO, Reliance Retail
The future of retail will compose of 3Ds: Daulat (wealth sharing within the retail ecosystem), Depth (in channels and category execution) and Digital (significant part of the operating model).” – Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger
At the beginning of 2015, we had spoken about how social media analytics is going to change in 2015, especially for ecommerce companies. Since then we have seen significant strides in multiple aspects. Each of the social media channels, their targeting and analytics has become a lot more powerful. In terms of integrated CRMs to build a single view of the customer we have seen lots of new products such as BetaOut which have made advanced personalization tools available to even SMEs and mid-sized businesses. In terms of content creation and using analytics, there are tools like BuzzSumo which help understand what kind of content is trending and being shared.
Introduction to the ISB Programme
2016 is going to be an even more exciting year for such advancements & we hope to see a lot more interesting tools being launched. With so many advancements, one needs to be abreast with the new trends and how to effectively integrate it into a singular approach. In this context, we came across the programme on Marketing & Analytics for Ecommerce Industry by Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. We have a list of digital marketing courses in India and this programme is an essential addition to it. This is a 5 day programme and ideal for CMOs, Digital Marketing Strategists, Ecommerce entrepreneurs. With faculty from ISB & Emory University, the programme is designed to give a strategic and hands-on perspective of cutting edge topics in eCommerce & mCommerce marketing.
Website/app analytics and social media analytics is also a key element of the programme and that is absolutely essential for ecommerce startups. By using tools like Google Analytics or Omniture for websites or MixPanel for apps, companies can get a lot of structured data in terms of which channels of acquisition are working, what content & messaging is getting better results and as to which demographics of users are converting. At the same there is a lot of unstructured data because still a lot of startups don’t have a single view of the consumer – there are emailing tools like MailChimp, On Site engagement tools like WebEngage, Intercom & HelloBar and ofcourse the ecommerce platforms like Magento, WooCommerce. All these tools don’t talk to each other yet and tools like BetaOut are trying to fix the issue. There are also a lot of conversations & comments across social media channels and it can be challenging to manage this and to decipher meaningful insights because it’s unstructured data.
Cost effective Customer Acquisition & Customer Retention is the only way to make it sustainable
Experimenting with different channels, messaging & audiences is an essential way to optimize customer acquisition cost. Granular targeting & advertising has never been easier to accomplish and each of the tools – be it Facebook, Google Search, Twitter or even Native Advertising, the tools are getting better at segmenting the audience and their interests. To add to this complexity users have multiple touch points with an app or ecommerce site – across multiple devices, multiple locations and gaps during their interactions. So attribution becomes a challenge as the last touch point cannot be attributed just to the last touch point. Zarget or Improvely are great tools to set this right where it captures each touchpoint of the user so that attribution can be made appropriately. This allows for optimization of marketing spends in the right channel. With immense competition in ecommerce with each company vying to retain the customer, retention strategies and personalized messaging is key to success.
Optimising your website and especially optimizing the product pages is critical to effective cost per acquisition (CPA). As Neil Patel points out in the above article, product pages is where visitors become customers and that should be the page that needs to be made persuasive, not just the homepage. Tools such as Zarget, CrazyEgg and Inspectlet help you understand how users are behaving on the site and how it can be optimized to get better conversions at lower costs.
The programme at ISB has a key component to understand how this structured & unstructured data can be used to get actionable insights on acquisition, retention and conversion optimisation. Usage of many of the advanced tools will also be covered. The ISB Programme is from 4th to 8th Jan at Hyderabad and would be a great opportunity to get practical insights into the above aspects and to also cross learn from other specialists who will be attending the programme too.
You cannot acquire a customer for life. In ecommerce, loyalty is a thing of the past. Many startups and new businesses struggle to find the right balance between customer acquisition & retention. This is especially true for the ecommerce industry. In the quest to growth hack to the next level, ecommerce businesses go all out to acquire new customers sometimes at unsustainable costs.
Over a longer term, online retailers might want to discontinue the channels that have a consistently higher cost of acquisition (CoA). But customer acquisition cost alone is not the right metric to evaluate the performance of an acquisition channel. Ecommerce businesses should instead be including average customer lifecycle value for customers from a particular channel as an important metric for strategic decision-making. This article can help ecommerce businesses garner a better perspective to guide their business decisions.
Customer Lifecycle Value (CLV)
In simple terms, customer lifecycle value is the projected value a customer generates over the entire lifetime of their interaction with the brand. Focusing on CLV can help a company determine optimize the marketing spends, allowing it to focus on more profitable customers.
CLV as a metric assumes greater significance when put together with CAC. The CLV:CAC ratio is a powerful metric to define the Return on Investment (ROI). Focus on both the levers can help you devise a winning strategy.
Let’s take a look at the comparative illustration of 3 customers from different acquisition channels (A, B & C) assuming 1 year as the time period under consideration:
How to calculate the Customer Lifetime Value
First step would be to segregate the customer acquisition and purchase data on the basis of marketing channels. Once this is done, there are 2 principal models of calculating the customer lifecycle value:
Under this model, the gross profit from all historic purchases of individual customers is summed up & divided by the total number of customers. This gives the average CLV for each acquisition channel.
This is an advanced method built upon the historic model. Predictive model uses the past customer behavioral pattern to predict the lifetime value of customers. This factors taken into account by this model are as follows:
Number of visits per month (N)
Average customer basket size per visit (B)
Average profit margin per customer (m)
Historical customer retention rate (r)
Discount rate for future cash flows (d)
Average customer lifespan (l)
Assuming next 10 years as the time period (T) for consideration, let us look at the formula that can help you arrive the lifetime value.
Average customer value per month (v) = N*B
Total customer value per year = S = v*12
Total lifetime spend of the customer = L = S*10
Average gross margin per customer lifespan = G = L*m
The final CLV value obtained can be plugged in the ROI ratio (CLV:CoA). Greater the ratio, the better the impact on the company’s growth strategy. The ROI ratio can be used as a good measure to evaluate the performance of the marketing channels and accordingly optimize the budget allocation.
Factors boosting customer lifecycle value
For the CLV model to work, the data set under consideration has to be long enough to provide. CLV is not just for evaluating the marketing channels and campaigns, it can be a great lever to look at the overall business strategy for ecommerce businesses. There is nothing wrong in looking out for new customers. But, it’s important to look at the value brought by ten new customers acquired vis-a-vis ten retained customers. From the cost perspective, it mostly turns out cheaper to retain existing customers. With the wide array of choices thrown open to the consumers with just a click of a mouse, brand loyalty and customer retention becomes more important.
A quick look at Nielsen’s Global Loyalty Sentiment Report provides good insights into the consumer sentiments that result in switching retailer & brand-hopping.
The 5 factors listed above- price, quality, service, selection and features; can together drive the lifetime value of your customers. Doubling the CLV of existing customers is equivalent to doubling the customer base. Here’s some handy tips that can help online retailers increase the CLV:
Loyalty programs has been used by offline retailers for a long time to create long term loyalty and drive repeat purchases.
Do not charge for product returns. It does put in a load on the operations side but brings in the baggage of good experience and more future purchases.
Size Fittings is one of the major reasons for product returns. Interactive tools for size fittings can go a long way in aiding customers to find the right size for categories like footwear, apparels, etc.
Ecommerce is all about providing easy access to products and services from the comfort of the home. Similarly, customers expect an excellent 24*7 support to aid them for their queries and complaints.
Wider range of custom delivery options is required. Ecommerce players like Amazon provide different delivery options that allow you to get the product delivered even in 1 day. Other possibilities can be incorporated like the option for nominating friends, etc. to be delivered the product in the absence of the customer.
Being in touch is important. Sending post purchase emails and festival wishes can be a way to continue to have relevant mind space. We usually recommend using Mailchimp or Sendgrid for sending out emailers and tracking its results.
Do not fail to surprise them. Sending a small reward or gift along with their purchased product can win their heart and create a long term goodwill for your ecommerce brand.
Don’t stop marketing on unprofitable customers but start actively engaging with profitable customers
In the rapid-growth ecommerce boom, it’s easy to get lost in the race for acquiring new customers. Brands go upto the extent of acquiring new customers at 10x the historical averages. They fail to remember that retaining your existing customer can cost lesser and would pay in the longer run to get hold of these low-hanging fruits.
For any marketing and strategic assistance with your ecommerce business, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].
Instagram allows companies to tell a visual story, to develop brands and to be engaged with customers. But just 28% of marketers currently use Instagram for their businesses. Popularity of Instagram in Google Trends shows a really fast growth for the last years.
So it’s time to start with Instagram marketing. Here is a list of top 10 tools to help your business to build, manage and grow a strong presence on Instagram.
Iconosquare is one of the leading analytical tools for Instagram. It allows you to manage your Instagram activity, analyze your performance and engage your customers. With this tool, you can track which top hashtags are being used on Instagram, get detailed dashboards with graphics on engagement with users and use comprehensive tools including functionality to create contests.
Is Instagram a part of your social media marketing? Schedugram, a startup in Australia, is an excellent tool for Instagram users and social media managers to manage multiple Instagram accounts. Instagram was designed as a mobile tool, but Schedugram gives the opportunity to post pics from your desktop or laptop. It allows you to schedule your posts and post photos as well as videos. You can also edit your pictures, including cropping, adding filters, adding light and saturation properties and other cool effects before posting.
Repost app is a good tool to make customers feel involved and appreciated. This application allows brands to demonstrate their user-generated content. Search a photo you like and easily repost it. You can find your customers by hashtags and follow them. Appreciate your customers by mentioning them on your page, to earn customer loyalty.
Like2buy is “Instagram’s missing link”, a tool to sell products on Instagram. This app gives an opportunity to drive traffic and revenue from Instagram. Like2buy transform images into gallery of products, available for purchase with a click. User should clicks on the link and it will take them to a page of the brand’s featured products.
Tapshop also helps your Instagram followers in shopping. With Tapshop, you can make any image in your brand gallery shoppable by adding a product or category page link. Once your fans find a custom page of their desirable products, they will get an email with direct links to your product pages.
Wispond is Instagram Hashtag Contest App. Gather Instagram photos and showcase them in a voting gallery on your Facebook page, website or mobile. Invite followers to submit their photos from Instagram and vote on their favourite ones. Add Instagram contests into your marketing plan to give your channels a viral impulse.
Create, share and discover fun photo-video stories along with your favourite music! Flipagram allows you to make slideshows, musical videos, stop-motion effects and more, with millions of free music clips for your Instagram page. You can demonstrate how one of your products can be used in different ways or create a slideshow with interesting photos with your team. The more pictures you have, the better the effect.
Piclab is a tool that allows you to add text to your pictures. If you want to have written information on our images this is a perfect programm to do it. Choose from different fonts, shapes, put stunning filters and photo effects, and add a collection of textures, borders, patterns, and more to your photos.
Hyperlapse is owned by Instagram and creates beautiful time lapse movies. Capture video, choose the acceleration (from 2 to 12 times) and the program will do the rest for you. The video helps in making a nice video that is easy to share with your followers.
Instagram for Business is one of the best places for businesses to find tools to grow their brands. The Instagram for Business blog has tips, brand spotlights, case studies, and news from Instagram. Use Instagram’s visual language to create your visual story and drive business growth.
Instagram is a powerful tool to connect with consumers and build a community. The key is to stay authentic to your brand and create content and engage with your customers. This will ensure that users not only “follow you” on Instagram, but also become your brand advocates.
Irrespective of how great your business idea is or how your e-commerce store may look and function, achieving your ROI goals majorly depends on the ease of transaction experienced by a customer. A payment gateway is a powerful way to ensure hassle-free payments and to reassure the visitors of your e-commerce store about your trustworthiness.
In short, a payment gateway is an e-commerce element that allows a customer/merchant to use internet transactions via credit/debit cards, securely. A bad payment gateway results in bad payment options, ultimately leading to a decline in the total sales. The server can also be a challenge in having a smooth payment gateway and we usually use Bluehost or Amazon Web Services.
The following is a list of best payment gateways that can aid your e-commerce business, depending on your requirements.
CC Avenue is one of the biggest payment gateway providers in India, with over 85% e-commerce business that currently run on the engine. The platform includes 100+ payment options, Multiple Currency Processing, Retry Availability & Customization, Audit, Analytics and a large window for active users. If the website is already live, one can integrate the CC Avenue payment gateway for free.
Incepted by Satyen Kothari and Jitendra Gupta, Citrus is a 4 year old venture that claims to to make online payment quick and effective. We have signed up with Citrus Pay for our product, Influencer, but were quite disappointed with the onboarding process. Citrus Pay has a long list of documents and they first need a scanned copy of the documents and then a hard copy, all of them attested. This is actually more cumbersome than CCAVenue, which would send a hard copy of the documents. While it would be fine for an SBI to have such bureaucratic process, one would have expected a new company to have simplified the process.
Direcpay is an arm of the Times Group. It is essentially the safest payment gateway in India. The PCI DSS certified and Norton Secure gateway offers easy integration to ecommerce business, a simple registration and a flexible payment process, besides providing EMI options. However, Direcpay requires 5 days for account activation, after the documents are verified by concerned authorities.
Google Wallet is a simplified platform to send and receive money. The Google Wallet Card which is linked to a user’s account can also be used a retail businesses. Since most of the world’s population is already addicted to the Big G, the ease of online payment can be left unexplained. Merged in 2011 with Google Wallet, Google Checkout allows users to use their mobile devices to pay for products (at agreed-upon locations) and enables the sale/transfer of funds through an automated process. In addition, customers can use Google Checkout to send and receive money through Gmail attachments. As most of the digital audience have gone mobile, Google Wallet can be a prudent gateway for an e-commerce business.
Processing close to 8 million payments every day, PayPal is one of the most widely used payment gateways in the world. Request and transfer of payments are very easy, as the platform has over 137 million active accounts across 193 markets, compatible with 26 currencies around the world. PayPal also offers perks like uploading of cheques through your smartphone’s camera and completion of transaction without having to exit the website. PayPal is a natural choice for Indian e-commerce businesses that have a large number of international customers.
Marking an impressive conversion rate of 12% and world-wide presence, PayU is one of the fastest growing payment gateways in India. With noteworthy customer service, PayU has roped in e-commerce biggies like Jabong and Snapdeal into their clientele. The platform offers four pricing packages that vary in covering aspects like Risk Management System, Multi Currency Gateway, Mobile optimised payment page, IVR Payment, Store Card Feature and Payment Analytics.
Razorpay is a relatively new member to the payments ecosystem in India and is backed by notable Silicon Valley investors and mentors. Founded by an IIT Roorkee alumni, Razorpay aims to revolutionize the online payments process through secure and easy-to-integrate APIs, which makes it easy for businesses to integrate and process transactions. It is an India-focused company that offers 24*7 customer support and a simplified experience to the customers.
Your choice between the above mentioned payment gateways may vary depending on your e-commerce business field, size, and location. Though all of them have the capacity to adapt to various requirements, we would like you to share your personal experiences about payment gateway providers in India. Let us know if we have missed out anything, or which one is the best according to you.
If your brand has visually appealing products or a unique story to tell, there cannot be a better stage than Instagram. From luxury brands to media houses to automotives, each have carved a niche of their own and are leveraging Instagram for their businesses. In fact, automotive brands are the most engaged and well-represented. Lot of marketers contemplate whether Instagram can be an effective social media platform for their brand? Even if many marketers want to leverage Instagram for their business, they lack a quick guide that has the tips to build a successful presence on Instagram.
According to a McKinsey study,
75% luxury shoppers carry smartphones
86% brands among the Interbrand 100 have an Instagram account
45% of these shoppers’ purchase decisions are influenced by digital content
A quick look at the above stats convey the fact that 50% of the sales funnel can be readily delivered to potential customers even before they step into your store. This raises an important question: does the might of premium luxury brand correlate to the might on digital platforms like Instagram?
Luxury & retail brands are way ahead of the pack: A Case Study
Hermes, that promotes a lifestyle rather than products, have leveraged videos, short poetic films on Instagram that strikes profound luxurious experiences. For brands like Gucci & Louis Vuitton, the majority of posts revolve around showcasing new collections and designs and getting engagement for the same. In many cases, they have also leveraged digital influencers to promote the products by tagging them and showcasing shots taken by them. Tiffany is another brand that a strong following on Instagram that is just not nominal. The strength of relationship can be gauged from the fact that the engagement on follower base is the highest among the brands mentioned. Let us look at some top tips to help build a strong Instagram presence.
Top 6 tips for deriving maximum returns from your Instagram presence:
1. Long captions aren’t a big NO!
Including hashtags, the average caption length on Instagram is 135-140 characters which marks a significant focus from brands to avoid long captions. But there is no apparent proof of lower engagement rates for posts with lengthier captions as long as it adds to the visual story of the post.
2. Hashtags rule the roost!
Hashtags allow access to specific interest groups and they are a great way to mark content that are discoverable organically. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used, and studies show that posts with at least one hashtag get ~12% more engagement. Then, there’s no reason to shy away from using them.
3. Caption content is a NECESSARY integral!
@mentions generally results in more engagement underlying the fact that though the caption length may be immaterial, caption content definitely matters.
4. Geo-tagging boosts engagement
The posts tagged with location gets ~30% more engagement when compared to their orphan counterparts because there are multiple apps and 3rd party discovery tools that allows location-based searches and content discovery.
5. Videos ≠ Photos
It’s good to mix the content form and it’s true for any channel. On its own, videos are a great form of content but cannot replace photos on Instagram. Hence, it’s suggested to focus on photos as the central pillar of your Instagram strategy.
6. Call-to-Actions are important
A simple CTA like “select the design you like most” or “Tag your friend who would like this” would be ideal to help boost the number of comments and tags your post gets. The virality of your post has an exponential relationship with the number of comments and tags you get.
Instagram is cool, but it isn’t for our business!
Does this quote have any resemblance to your boardroom discussions on your marketing strategy? The apprehensions are misplaced.
If your brand doesn’t have glamorous models to endorse your product or a Louis Vuitton bag to display, then does your brand have a place on Instagram? The answer is YES. There are ample examples of brands who lack stunning images but have succeeded in creating an engaged audience on sheer basis of their creative prowess and evoking original content.
From Google to conglomerates like GE to tractor manufacturers like John Deere, most brands are fast coming on Instagram and have many have quickly built an engaging community around their brand. In fact, General Electric is one of the biggest B2B companies on Instagram with ~180000 followers.
Intel definitely needs a mention considering the impressive posts that showcase their products and common problems to solve using technology. This gains good traction as it’s not just hard-selling Intel’s products. In recent times, Instagram has emerged as an effective platform for the hospitality industry with players like Raintree Hotels leveraging geo-location tracking to get walk-ins & bookings.
Measurement: The final frontier
Whether your brand is new on Instagram or have built a strong presence, measurement is an essential part of the strategy to optimize the efforts and extract maximum returns on your investment. Some of the metrics that can help you in this direction are:
The total engagement is the sum of likes and comments garnered by your posts. This gives basic insights on how well your strategy has worked to keep your audience active.
Engagement per Post
When some posts get impressive engagement while others fall flat, this metric can work as a good measure to optimize the content being pushed on the basis of what is working well with your audience.
In a given time period, the total engagement gained divided by the total followers shows engagement as a %age of followers; which can be used to study the period-on-period impact of your strategy.
This is only applicable in case of unique hashtag campaigns with affinity to our brand. In such cases, it’s a fair measure of how ‘viral’ your campaign has been.
This is an important metric to track the popularity of your Instagram account. The higher the number of followers, the better the chances are of gaining engagements on your post, thus boosting the other metrics discussed here.
It’s the rate of growth of followers, period-on-period; that can act as an essential measure to track the best performing campaigns and content types.
In case you would like any other information to be included that can be helpful for marketing businesses by leverage Instagram, please do let us know your thoughts as a comment to the post. We shall be more than happy to explore your feedback.
As the growing digital population is all set to rock India’s economy and business landscape, it has become vital for businesses to go online as well. A budding entrepreneur who is looking at selling his products online can create his own e-commerce website or sell products on other online marketplaces such as Flipkart, eBay, Amazon, etc.
After registering with these online marketplaces that allow you to sell products for a commission, managing different dashboards, stock list & inventories becomes difficult. In order to simplify the online selling process, tools have been developed to integrate all of these into one single dashboard.
Tools like Browntape, ecomdash, boostmysale, etc provide one common dashboard to manage all your orders and inventories across e-commerce platforms. Let’s take a look at what each of these softwares have to offer:
Selling across multiple ecommerce marketplaces in India
If Indian market is your main business focus, the below mentioned tools are some of the key players in providing inventory and order management solutions:
Unicommerce, recently acquired by Snapdeal has an inventory management software for e-commerce, integrated with some of the world’s leading online marketplaces and cart solutions.
It helps in complete order fulfillment life-cycle through real-time maintenance of inventory, orders and shipping process. One can also view key metrics and insights with respect to sales and performance using a single dashboard.
Browntape lets you sell your products across 8 platforms which includes eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Rediff Shopping, Tradus, Naaptol, shopclues, etc.
It provides a centralised inventory management system that keeps track of the stocks and orders that come in on a real-time basis. One can also print out the shipping labels and send out automated emails to the customer about purchase order status.
This easy to use e-commerce solutions provider integrates inventories, sales and other management factors in one single window. It not only streamlines and automates the processes but also provides insights on scaling up your business and visibility. With real-time inventory and sales figures, Boost My Sale helps in quick decision making and growing the business without having to worry about everyday challenges in sales & supply chain management.
Selling across multiple ecommerce marketplaces globally
Businesses that operate on a large scale and have tie-ups with global online marketplaces can make use of these tools for hassle-free sales and operations:
ecomdash is yet another inventory management & order fulfillment software for multi-channel e-commerce sellers. It provides a single view of all e-commerce operations using a single dashboard. Sales, shipping & inventory management is all automated and also lets us monitor sales & supply chain through effective data management.
Orderhive is a multichannel order & inventory management system that is integrated with leading marketplaces and businesses. It cuts down on the additional infrastructure and maintenance cost for online sellers through its simplified back-end process management. It also provides customised offerings to suit your business needs, in terms of having a dedicated server (such as Bluehost) and managing it efficiently.
It’s a cloud based inventory management application that consolidates and processes orders from multiple marketplaces. It removes the clutter out of multichannel selling and gives real-time updates on competitor’s pricing as well. It also analyses shipping rates and gets the most cost-efficient rates from leading delivery companies to process the orders.
Online selling across various marketplaces means having to oversee and manage different channels and processes. As and when the business grows in terms of more online marketplaces and product orders, resorting to such tools & solutions providers becomes inevitable. They greatly help in streamlining processes, reducing the infrastructure cost and provide great insights, which might otherwise go unnoticed in a daily tracking routine.
Do try out the trial versions or subscribe for the above mentioned tools for your business and share your experience with us in the ‘Comments’ section. And in case we have missed out on other important channel & inventory management tools, do write to us.