Digital Marketing by Real Estate Developers in Bangalore

The real estate industry in India and Bangalore in particular is growing rapidly with real estate companies establishing new developments in and around the city. Real estate developers are also using digital marketing to update their clients and potential clients on the new projects and any exciting news that they may have.

From opting for a responsive website to having engaging social media content across channels, real estate developers are including digital marketing as part of their marketing and sales strategy. Keeping this in mind, we have put together a detailed report on the digital marketing strategies of some of the top real estate developers in Bangalore.

Mantri Developers

With developments ranging from residential to retail, from commercial to hospitality sectors, Mantri Developers are one of the few real estate businesses that have provided high-quality properties that match the current trends and future needs.

Website:

Mantri Developers have a descriptive website that covers details of all their projects elaborately.

Key features:

  1. Live chat
  2. Email Sign-up and Newsletter Subscription
  3. Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
46.2K 0:02:57 3.8 49.58%

 

UX Audit: From a user’s perspective, this website has a lot of useful information.  However, a more organized and spacious layout would connect better with the users and improve their experience.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 40 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 47/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 59/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 3k followers. They do 4 to 5 tweets per week and have many promoted tweets too. The tweets are good from the users’ perspective. However, the engagement is low.

mantriblr- Twitter

Facebook: They also have an active page with only organic posts and around 20k followers. Although they have tried interactive posts like the one shown below,  the engagement is quite low. However, they can try to boost their posts to make it reach masses.

Mantri-fb

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 4k followers. No recent updates are there in the page, but the older posts have good engagement. They respond to the comments on posts, which gives really good impression to the audiences.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account with 164 subscribers. They post one or two videos every month which has good engagement.

Their Google+ and Instagram Pages are not active.

Content Marketing:

They have a WordPress blog, but the last post was in August 2013. Blogs can give them a lot of traffic, so they should start posting at least one blog per month.

 

Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Mantri-Developers

Prestige Developers

Prestige Developers is a real estate company that has triumphantly built a lot of residential, commercial, retail, leisure & hospitality based properties.

Website:

Prestige Developers have a common website, which covers detail of all their projects across all the cities they are serving currently. Their website is mobile responsive.

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
147.7K 0:02:56 2.89 54%

 

UX Audit: The elite images rolling in the banner connects the user to the luxury of the brand. The main menu could have been more prominent, instead of being placed against the sliding banners, but that apart, the site has very nice organization of the project information – presented state-wise and sorted by price.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 42 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 63/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 88/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 2.5k followers. They do 10 to 12 tweets per week and have no promoted tweets. The tweets are mostly about their projects or on reasons to buy property. And the engagement on tweets is decent.

Prestige Group-Twitter

Facebook: This is also an active page with around 4 lac followers. All posts are organic and the engagement is low. They have almost same posts on Facebook as the ones they have posted on Twitter.

       Prestige Group-fb    

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 3.5k followers. The page is active and engagement is also decent but they are posting same content on all the channels. They should differentiate the content as the audiences are different in different channels of Social Media.

YouTube: They have a YouTube account with 867 subscribers but it is not active. The last post was posted a year ago.

Their Google+ is not an active account, and they don’t have Instagram Page.

Content Marketing:

They don’t have any blog linked to their website. Blogs are a very good source of traffic and link building, so they should start a blog and link it to their website.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Prestige-Group

Tata Housing

Tata Housing is one of India’s leading real estate developers. It is a closely held public limited company and is a subsidiary of TATA Sons.

Website:

They have a website that covers details of all their current projects. Website has many tools like EMI calculator, Property finder, etc. and has a payment option as well.

Key Features:

  1.   Enquiry form
  2.   Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
144K 0:01:47 2.72 65.56%

 

UX Audit: The website comes with a clean layout and a very neat color scheme. One of the hugely useful utility – Search, is well planned here. User experience could be enhanced by placing the search in the primary top portion of the layout – so that it is easily discoverable. Every internal page corresponding to a project, has a different color scheme suited to the image. Even though the common practice is to maintain color consistency across pages, from the UX perspective this is indeed appealing.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 39 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 80/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 82/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 14.5k followers. They do 3 to 4 tweets per week and don’t have promoted tweets. They have a diverse set of tweets ranging from customer testimonials to the initiatives they have taken in general. The engagement on tweets is good.

Tata Housing-Twitter

Facebook: This is also an active page with around 2 lac followers. All posts are organic and the engagement is good. They have interesting posts like the one shown below:

Tata Housing-fb

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 12.5k followers. The page is active, and the engagement is also good. Content is exactly same as what they have posted on Twitter.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account with 1187 subscribers. They post 1 video every month mostly about their new projects.

Their Google+ is active with around 600 followers, and their Instagram account is not active.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is linked to their website. The blog is not active as last post was on 6th Jan 2016.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Tata-Housing

Sobha Developers

Founded in 1976, Sobha Group is one of the largest real estate organisations in India and the Middle East. Today, they have presence in 24 cities and 13 states across India and throughout the Middle East.

Website:

They have a website that covers detail of their current project in all the cities they are serving in India, and they have an option to go directly to Dubai site.

Key features:

  1. Email Newsletter Subscription present
  2. Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
226.8K 0:03:10 3.3 59.85%

 

UX Audit: The submenus on the main menu are very interesting, with an image and well placed submenu items. Even for mobile, the menu is optimized well. The banner is the most informing entity of their website. It covers all the deals, promotions, new launches, etc. Usually extensive sliding banners don’t work, from user perspective. However, since the information below the banner is very minimal, the user has a better opportunity to focus on the extensive banner.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 32 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 67/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 75/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 2k followers. They do 5 to 6 tweets per day, which is a lot as compared to their competitors. They have a diverse set of tweets ranging from their new projects to the general industry based news. Despite these, engagement is low on tweets.

Sobha Ltd.-Twitter

Facebook: They have an active page with around 5.5 lac followers. All posts are organic, and the engagement is good. They have interesting posts like customer testimonial which is shown below:

    Sobha Ltd-fb.       

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 15k followers. The page is active and engagement is also good. Content is almost same as what they have posted on Facebook.

YouTube: They have a YouTube account with 466 subscribers but it is not very active. The last post was 8 months back.

Their Google+ is active with around 515 followers, and their Instagram account is not active.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is not active. They do not have any mention to their blog on their website.

Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-sobha

Century Real Estate

Century Real Estate prides itself on being an integrated, full-service landholdings development company that offers the best real estate & property developers in Bengaluru.

Website:

They have a descriptive website, which covers detail of their current project in all the cities they are serving in India.  

Key features:

  1. Live chat
  2. Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
20.5K 0:04:48 3 46.54%

 

UX Audit: The elevation overview image used in the banner is very attractive. It gives a very detailed idea of the luxury and environment of the residential project. The location sorter-tab is a good utility to filter residential projects in specific areas. The slide-in enquiry form looks neat and works comfortably.

The section ‘Bangalore – the place to be’, is well aligned with the idea of living in a place overlooking green luxury – the strength of their residential project.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 27 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 69/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 70/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account, but the followers are very less; it is around 50 only. They do 5 to 6 tweets per week, but the engagement is very low. Some of the tweets are interesting which give emphasis on Call-To-Action as the one mentioned below:

Century Real Estate -Twitter

Facebook: They have an active page with around 47k followers. Some posts are organic, and some are boosted, and the engagement is good overall. They have interactive posts like the one shown below:

       Century Real-fb    

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 1.2k followers. They don’t have any post on their  page till now.

YouTube: They have a YouTube account with only 13 subscribers and it is not very active. They post once in around 3 months.

Their Google+ is not active, and they don’t have Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They have an active blog which is linked to their website. And they have newsletter sign-up option for their blog.

Real-Estate-Infographic-V2--Century-Housing

Puravankara Group

The Puravankara Group commenced operations in Mumbai and has established significant presence in the metropolitan cities of Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mysore and overseas in Dubai, Colombo and Saudi-Arabia.

Website:

They have a website with categories for cities they are serving in India and then cities have description of their current projects.  

Key Features:

  1. Live chat
  2. Email Newsletter Subscription present
  3. Mobile Responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
91.4K 0:01:44 2.2 67.51%

 

UX Audit: They have a very interesting drop down menu with all their residential projects listed. The supporting icons plus location information makes way of navigating to residential options more convenient.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 35 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 53/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 48/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account but the followers are very less, it is around 360. They do 5 to 6 tweets per week but engagement is low. Most of the tweets are themed around investment like the one shown below:

Puravankara-Twitter

Facebook: They have an active page with around 37k followers. The posts are organic and have decent engagement.

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 4k followers. They don’t have any post on their page till now.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account with around 400 subscribers.

Their Google+ is not active, and they don’t have Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog, but it is not active. It  is also not linked to their website. The last post was in 2014.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Puruvankara

Ozone Group

Ozone Group one of the top builders in Bangalore & Chennai among the real estate construction companies.

Website:

They have a website with description of their projects on the banner images, which is very visual and catches the attention.

Key Features:

  1. Enquiry Form
  2. Email Newsletter Subscription is Present
  3. Mobile Responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
72.2K 0:01:23 1.76 72.22%

 

UX Audit: The information architecture of this page is very well-planned. Banner information with different projects and their status, makes it a valuable source of information. The website has a very well-built footer with latest news, enquiry form, and contact us.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 35 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 69/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 85/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 1.5k followers. They do 2 to 3 tweets per week, but engagement is low. Most of the tweets are informative, like the one shown below:

Ozone Group-Twitter

Facebook: They have an active page with around 1 Lac followers. The posts are organic and have decent engagement. They have many images posted for different occasions.

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 800 followers. They have posts related to their achievements and activities on their page.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account, but the subscribers are less. They have almost one video upload every week.

Their Google+ is not active, but the Instagram account is active with similar posts as Facebook.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is active, and it is linked to their website. Content is mostly about their projects.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Ozone-Group

Total Environment

Architect led design company in real estate development, Total Environment creates luxury apartments and villas for sale in India.

Website:

They have a website with very less content. They have put images of all their projects and every image has a small description of the project.

Key Features:

  1. Enquiry Form
  2. Mobile Responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
10.7 K 0:04:42 11.86 22.30%

 

UX Audit: The image slider is very different from the usual websites. It focused on every facility that the residence provides, thereby giving the user an entire perspective of what they’re signing up for.

On the con-side, there is no evident attractive information about their residential projects; the user might lose out on the purpose of the page

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 21 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 91/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 96/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have a Twitter account with only 100 followers. The account is not active, last tweet was in April.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 15k followers. The posts are organic and have good engagement. They have interesting posts like the one shown below:

Total Environment-fb

LinkedIn: They have a LinkedIn business page with around 2k followers. They have very few posts that are about job openings only.

YouTube: They don’t have an YouTube account.

Both their Google+ and Instagram are not active.

Content Marketing:

They do not have a blog.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Total-Environment

Nitesh Estates

Nitesh Estates is the luxury real estate brand, which has developed state-of-the-art homes, hotels, office buildings and shopping malls in India.

Website:

They have descriptive and visually appealing website, which tells about their projects and promotional activities in detail.

Key Features:

  1. Email Newsletter Subscription is present
  2. Mobile Responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
17K 0:04:30 3.9 29.11%

 

UX Audit:

  1. Convenient categorization of content along the home page.
  2. Nice clear images of the property, enhances the look of the page.
  3. The content of the page really communicates trust via sections like ‘Ambassador banner’ and ‘Commitment to Excellence’.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 31 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 52/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 65/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 9k followers. They do 5 to 6 tweets per week, but engagement is low. They have tried engaging in campaigns like the one shown below:

Nitesh Estates-Twitter

Facebook: They have an active page with around 42k followers. The posts are organic and have decent engagement. They have many posts that talk about the facilities they have in their projects like the one shown below:

Nitesh Estates-fb

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 3k followers. They have posts related to their projects and the engagement is good on their page.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account with around 1.2k subscribers. They have almost 2 to 3 video uploads every 2-3 months.

Their Google+ is not active but the Instagram account is active with similar posts as Facebook.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is active and it  is on their website. Content is very diverse ranging from general topics of real estate to specific topics like tour of their property.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Nitesh-estates

Brigade Group

Brigade Group is a  real estate and property developer in Bangalore & the rest of South India since 1986.

Website:

They have very colorful website, which tells about their projects across various cities. Their website is Mobile responsive.

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
99.7K 0:01:55 2.22 58.56%

 

UX Audit: Quick Finder turns out to be an excellent feature and well-placed to a user’s visibility. Categorizing their properties based on  Commercial, Retail and Hospitality is very thoughtful. However the second half of the website could have maintained a more prominent and vibrant color theme like the first half of the site.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 40 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 55/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 69/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an Twitter account with around 150 followers. The account is not active, and the last tweet was in 2015.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 13k followers. The posts are organic and engagement is low. They have tried interactive posts but still the engagement is low as the one shown below:

Brigade Group-fb

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 9k followers. They have posts related to their projects and the engagement is decent on their page.

YouTube: They don’t have YouTube account.

Their Google+ is not active, and they don’t have an Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog, which is on their website. It is not active; last post was in December 2015.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Brigade-Group

DRA Group

3 decades of delivering Quality Homes has made DRA a name synonymous with quality apartment constructions in Bangalore.

Website:

They have a website with good description of their ongoing as well as upcoming projects.

Key Features:

  1. Enquiry Form
  2. Mobile responsiveness

UX Audit: Each of the individual projects has a set of features that can viewed by a simple click, and all changes being reflected in a single space. This is a very simple navigation.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 19 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 39/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 47/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 300 followers. They do 4 to 5 tweets per week but engagement is low. Most of the recent tweets are about their new project.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 25k followers. The posts are organic and have decent engagement. They have most recent posts only about their new project.

LinkedIn: They have an LinkedIn business page with around 80 followers. They have no posts till now.

YouTube: They don’t have a YouTube account.

Their Google+ is not active and they don’t have Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They don’t have a blog.

  Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-DRA-Group

Casa Grande

Casa Grande defines designs and develops quality livings spaces and operates in niche residential segments like luxury villas and apartments in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Cochin. The company also sells plotted development spaces. Projects in the pipeline are to the tune of around 2500 crores in the luxury apartments and villas category across these 4 geographies.

Website:

They have a website which is visually appealing with big banner images, info-graphics and video testimonials from clients.

Key Features:

  1. Live Chat
  2. Email Newsletter Subscription is present
  3. Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
76K 0:05:29 3.21 43.02%

 

UX Audit: The semi-parallax look adds a luxurious feel to the general theme of Casa Grande. The well laid-out contact information at the top of the page facilitates easy contact. The feature that shows the number of completed, ongoing, and upcoming projects. Clean color theme of the website and well organized layout is a great advantage.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 22 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 69/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 76/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 2k followers. They do 4 to 5 tweets per week, but engagement is low. Most of the tweets are same as the ones posted on Facebook.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 1.2 Lac followers. The posts both organic as well as sponsored posts have decent engagement. They have some engaging posts like the one shown below:

Casa Grande-fb

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 490 followers. They have posts related to their offers but the engagement is very low on their page.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account but the subscribers are around 200 only. They have almost two video uploads every month.

Their Google+ is active but engagement is low, and they don’t have a Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is active and it  is linked to their website. They post almost twice per month which is good as compared to their competitors.

 Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Casa-Grande

Asset Builders

Website:

They have a website with description of their projects and  lot of content related to their mission/ vision. They have videos of testimonials by their clients.

Key Features:

  1. Live Chat
  2. Email Newsletter Subscription is present
  3. Mobile Responsiveness

UX Audit:

  1. A long scroll page with all information laid out in a very appealing manner.
  2. A very different set of visual elements like project details in tabs, featured works in the slider, and various testimonials from client builds trust as a brand from the user perspective.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 24 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 43/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 54/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 150 followers. They do 4 to 5 tweets per month which is low as compared to competitors. The engagement is low on their posts.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 8k followers. The posts are organic and have decent engagement. They post once a week mostly.

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 100 followers. They have posts related to their achievements and activities on their page but the engagement is low.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account but the subscribers are less. The last video they uploaded was 9 months back.

Their Google+ is active, but they don’t have Instagram account.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog tab on their website but after clicking it is re-directed to their home page only.

  Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Asset-Property

Mahindra Lifespaces

Mahindra Lifespaces is one of the most reputed real estate property developers and they provide a one stop solution for NRI investment in India.

Website:

They have a website which is very colorful and interactive.

Key Features:

  1. Enquiry Form
  2. Mobile Responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
56.6K 0:02:19 1.76 65.56%

 

UX Audit: Using green as a theme is very impressive to an audience in real-estate. The simple and clean design appeals to the user’s experience. Sticky enquire and book now buttons, really serve the purpose of contacting, comfortably.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 41 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 66/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 79/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have an active Twitter account with around 1k followers. They do 2 to 3 tweets per week but engagement is low.

Facebook: They have an active page with around 1 Lac followers. They have both organic as well as sponsored post and have decent engagement. They have some video posts that are quite interactive.

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 22k followers. They have posts related to their projects mostly and the engagement is decent.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account but the subscribers are less. They have almost 2 to 3 video uploads every month.

Their Google+ is not active and the Instagram account is active but engagement is low.

Content Marketing:

They have a blog which is active and it  is on their website. Content is diverse which ranges from general real estate topics to specific topics like their projects.

Real-Estate-Infographic-V2--Mahindra-Life-Spaces

Godrej Properties

Godrej Properties has been instrumental in the construction of Residential, commercial and township projects across 12 major cities in India & continues to be.

Website:

They have a website with all the information needed but it is very simple in terms of design. They have all the information on the banner images which is very visual.

Key Features:

  1. Enquiry Form
  2. Mobile responsiveness

Website Insights:

Total visits Avg time on site Page views Bounce rate
209.2K 0:01:20 2.05 72.01%

 

UX Audit:

  1. A very simple design layout without any cluttering elements, garners user attention.
  2. The information in menus is very well organized, promoting navigational convenience.
  3. Their ‘Book Online’ feature is a well built utility.

SEO:

Moz Rank: They have a Moz Rank 46 for Domain Authority.

Website Speed:

  1. For Mobile Site their speed is 41/100.
  2. For Desktop Site their speed is 57/100.  

Social Media Presence:

Twitter: They have multiple Twitter accounts according to projects.

Facebook: They have multiple Facebook accounts according to projects.

LinkedIn: They have an active LinkedIn business page with around 33k followers. They have posts related to their activities and the engagement is good.

YouTube: They have an active YouTube account with around 550 subscribers. They have almost one video upload every week.

Their Google+ is active and in Instagram account they don’t have any posts.

Content Marketing:

They have a multiple blogs for various summits and projects.

Real-Estate-Infographic-V2-Godrej-Property

 

~Other contributors to this blog post are Allan William, Pournima Balasubramanian, Nandita Raman, Rohit Uttamchandani, Srilakshmi Indrasenan, and Akila Priyadarshini.

Retail 2020: Trends In India

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.

The Scenario
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.

Trends
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.

Certainty of Growth

2). Reality of Digital
The E-commerce market in India is expected to quadruple to $70 Billion, over the next 5 years. With the rapid increase of smartphone users, competitive costs for connectivity, and expanded reach, internet users are expected to reach a mark of ~600 Million. Customers are attracted to superior value propositions like broader assortment, higher discounts and greater convenience. Indian retailers should conceptualize digital strategies with clarity and leverage on social media to create brand awareness. They are also expected to deploy a seamless and connected customer journey, as shoppers migrate across channels. It will also be a lot more seamless for e-retailers to sell across multiple offline & e-commerce market places.

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.

Reality of Digital

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.

Challenge of Capability

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.

Importance of Economics

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.

Need for Transformation

Leadership Perspectives
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

The full report can be found at http://www.bcgindia.com/documents/file181823.pdf.

Social Media Web 3.0 – The Game Grows Bigger

Social Web 3.0

Social Web 3.0, a digital marketing conclave was organised by Madras Management Association on 23rd November at Hotel My Fortune, Chennai. The event was attended by industry bigwigs such as Maneesha Khanna, Director of Marketing, PepsiCo and Bhaskar Ramesh, Head of Industries – FMCG, Google India amongst the other notable ones.

The event started with an insightful keynote address by Hari Menon, CO-Founder & CEO, Big Basket on digital influence and analytics-driven future, which set the stage for the rest of the day. Vikas Chawla, Co-Founder & CEO of Social Beat spoke about how content & influencer marketing is changing the social media game. It was an interactive session with a series of questions on how brands can leverage content marketing to achieve business goals and what would be the ideal advertising-marketing mix.

Here are some insights on Content and Influencer Marketing discussed during the session:

If Content is king, there are too many kings out there.
Here are some tips to stand-out and leverage on relevant content to achieve business goals.

Tips for effective content strategy

Influencer marketing is becoming an integral part of marketing budgets and here’s why:

Why Influencer Marketing

Digital media endorsement by an influencer can work wonders for your brand, only if you pick the right one.
Here are some metrics you need to consider before choosing the influencers for your campaign.

Shortlisting Influencers

The next session was a case study by Maneesha Khanna, on #CrashTheIPL campaign that involved consumer generated video content. The idea behind this talk was to understand how videos have become the way forward for FMCG brands to easily connect with the audience. The success of #CrashTheIPL campaign could be contributed to the strong cross channel promotion – yet another game changer in the advertising space. Hence, brand managers should also explore highly integrated digital + TV campaigns, as both of these channels are here to stay.

Apart from these expert sessions and case studies, there were also discussions on various trending topics in the digital & social space. Social Media 3.0 also witnessed a bunch of digital enthusiasts who actively participated in Twitter & Instagram contests conducted during the event.

Were you a part of this digital media conclave and have more stories to tell?
Write to us about your experience in the ‘Comments’ section.

Most definitive guide to managing comments on social media

Managing-Social-Media-Comments-Guide

Social media is two-way communication

Social media is a powerful tool for businesses and helps them stay connected to, and build a strong relationship with, their target audience. The best part of social media is that it’s not just limited to one-way brand communication – it allows customers to get in touch with and interact with brands as well,  giving brands (who are active listeners on social media) invaluable customer feedback, which they can plug back into their products and services to build better consumer experiences.

However, this two-way communication, if not managed properly can be more of a bane than a boon and can end up causing considerable damage to the brand’s reputation.

The guide to social media response management

Research shows that 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions. Also, BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2014 says that 85% of consumers read up to 10 online reviews before they can trust a brand. Hence the effectiveness with which you manage your comments could have a great impact on your business.

Here’s a detailed guide to social media comments management – monitoring, responding and managing comments on your social media profiles. Since the guide is a little over 3000-word beast, we’ve split it into sections to make it easier for you to navigate and read through.

  1. Infographic – Social media response management
  2. Tools for social media listening and monitoring
  3. Managing Negative Comments on Social Media
  4. Managing Positive Comments on social media
  5. Managing inappropriate comments and trolls
  6. The perils of automated social media responses
  7. Social media response management metrics
  8. The Social Media Response Management Team
  9. Tools for managing social media comments at scale

 

Infographic – Social media response management

Managing-Social-Media-Comments-Infographic


Tools for social media listening and monitoring
You should always be keeping a close watch on your brand mentions on social media and anywhere else on the web. Apart from this, it is also important to keep track of industry conversations to stay updated on what your competitors are doing.Here are 5 social media monitoring tools that will help you listen on and and keep track of your brand mentions:Entry-level toolsThese are free tools most suited for bootstrapped startups and small businesses:HootsuiteHootsuite is one of the best free social media management tools available. It allows you to monitor Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress blogs and a plethora of other networks and sites, depending on the plan you have. The free plan allows you to manage up to three social profiles.Hootsuite allows you to create streams to search for specific keywords and hashtags to keep your finger on the pulse of the social world. You can respond to these comments and mentions from within the platform itself.Tools-for-Social-Media-Listening-Hootsuite

Google Alerts

Google alerts is a free tool to monitor mentions of your brand anywhere on the web. You can setup alerts for various queries – your brand name, competitors, industry specific keywords etc. and Google Alerts will send you emails notifying you whenever any of these keywords you specified was mentioned online.

You can even set the frequency of notifications to get notifications for every mention, or as a daily or weekly digest.

Tools-for-Social-Media-Listening-Google-Alerts

Mid-level tools

These are paid tools and are best suited for SMEs and mid-sized businesses.

Mention

Mention allows you to monitor in real-time any mentions of your brand not just on social networks but anywhere on the web. Like Hootsuite, it also allows you to connect your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to your alerts and react instantly from within the application itself.

Mention has some interesting setup features which allow you to include specific keyword matches and also exclude keywords that may be irrelevant to your brand. This helps get rid of the noise coming from homonyms and spam. Another interesting feature is that it also flags comments from Twitter or Facebook users who are influential so you can take them up on priority.

Pricing starts at 29 Euros/month

Tools-for-Social-Media-Monitoring-Mention

Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a social media listening and analytics solution that helps you discover the conversations around your brand on the web and turn data insights into actionable business decisions.

Brandwatch has a pro package for small and medium brands and an enterprise package for larger brands

Tools-for-Social-Media-Monitoring-Brandwatch

High-end tools

These are enterprise level solutions and would work best for big brands with a well-established brand presence

Meltwater

Meltwater is a media monitoring and media intelligence platform used by big global companies like HSBC, HP and Nike. It monitors your media content from all over the web, scans billions of conversations and helps you filter out what’s relevant and important, with meaningful metrics.

It also helps you get to the right audience by finding and building relationships with key influencers.

Tools-for-Social-Media-Monitoring-Meltwater

 

Managing Negative Comments on Social Media

Managing negative comments is one of the most critical parts of social media comment management as it involves responding to customers who are at best unhappy and at worst frustrated or livid with your product or service.Here are twelve steps to effectively deal with and respond to negative comments and reviews on social media:

Do not ignore/delete

Deleting a genuine negative comment (trolls are an exception) is never a good thing to do on social media as it straightaway raises questions on the brand’s integrity. It may also stoke the customer’s anger and frustration and cause him to post a flurry of negative comments on various platforms, which may eventually boil over into an uncontrollable crisis-like situation. There are also good chances that the comment may have already been seen and possibly even saved as a screenshot by other customers.

Below is an example of what could happen if a you ignore a comment on your social media pages:

Ignoring-negative-comments-on-social-media

Respond ASAP

It is best to respond as quickly as possible to negative comments. Irate customers generally lack patience and expect quick resolution of issues. Undue delays could only make matters worse. The ideal time could vary from up to 24 hours for sectors such as real estate to 30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.

Here’s an example of a quick reply from Flipkart within an hour of the comment being posted:

negative-social-media-comments-quick-response

Apologize first & acknowledge the error

Always begin the comment with a polite and courteous apology. This gives the brand a human face and also shows any other readers that the brand does not shy away from accepting errors when they do happen that once in a while.

Here’s another example from Flipkart:

negative-social-media-comments-acknowledge-error

Ask for more info, where required

Sometimes, frustrated customers may not give all the info that may be required to help sort out the issue. In such cases, it is best to politely request them for the info and, where possible, also tell them why this info is required to help quickly resolve the issue.

Here’s an example of Amazon asking for more info:

negative-social-media-comments-ask-for-information

Be transparent

As a brand, it is important to be absolutely transparent and not make it seem to the customer that the brand is trying to cover up for the error

Give an explanation, where required

If there is a genuine reason for the issue, do not hesitate to communicate the same to the customer. However, ensure that the explanation is succinct and to the point. Irate customers are definitely not in the frame of mind to read stories. Also, ensure that the tone doesn’t seem like the brand is giving an excuse for the error.

Be absolutely honest – it pays

Lying about a fact or trying to hide facts is the worst mistake a brand can make. In the social world, lies get caught quickly and can cause the issue to snowball into a bigger one. Being honest on the other hand strengthens the brand reputation and builds trust, especially when the comment thread is viewed by other users.

Make it fun and interactive

Sometimes, making the conversation fun and interactive can go a long way in not only resolving the issue but also ensuring customer delight. Here’s an excellent example:

Fun-interactive-way-to-manage-negative-social-media-comment

Reassure them

For issues that might take a while to get resolved, it is best to notify them of action being taken as well as be proactive in giving them constant updates of the progress. This would help reassure them that their issue is being looked into and will definitely get resolved in due course

Offer an incentive, where applicable

One of the best ways to quickly turn an unhappy customer to a happy one is to offer an incentive. For ecommerce businesses, for example, this could be a coupon code for their next purchase, a reduction in price on the current one or even a complete waiver of the cost, where the situation seems appropriate.

Go private, if necessary

It may be prudent to take the conversation private in some cases. This could be either because of platform limitations, such as the 140 character limit on twitter or cases where the situation demands that the issue be taken out of the spotlight.

Here’s a good example of Hilton hotels taking the matter offline:

negative-social-media-comments-take-it-private

However, in such cases, once the issue is resolved in private, it is a best practice to close the issue on the social media comment thread as well, so other users know that the brand has responded and sorted out the issue.

Keep your cool – Be polite at all times

Irritated customers may get emotional and be downright rude, but it is imperative that you, as a brand representative, must keep your cool, not take things personally and reply with an absolutely calm state of mind.

Update and close

Always ensure that the comment thread has been updated once the issue is resolved, so that the same is visible to other customers glancing through the thread, while in the process of making a purchase decision.

On a closing note, each case of a negative comment would be different and would require a different handling of the situation. It is important that the team handling social media response management is trained to be able to judge correctly and rightly use their discretion in dealing with customer issues.

 

Managing Positive Comments on social media

Thankfully the two-way communication on social media is not only about negative comments. There are happy customers out there as well who are so overjoyed by your product or service that they revert with positive feedback of their experience.It is just as important, if not more, to reply to these positive comments, as it is to reply to negative comments. This could help turn those fans into loyal brand evangelists which could work wonders for your business.

Here are some key points to keep in mind while responding to positive comments and reviews:

Thank them

The bare minimum that is required while responding to a positive social media comment or review is to thank the customer for the feedback to acknowledge and appreciate the effort

Avoid canned, template-like responses

Canned template-like responses, like a standard “Thank you for feedback. We really appreciate your effort”, take away the brand’s human side and do not build a relationship with the customer.  These are best avoided.

Personalize

The response to every positive review must be personalized – addressing the customer by their name is a bare minimum. The more personalized the response is the more elated the customer would feel and this increases the chances of not only turning them into loyal customers but also evangelists for the brand.

positive-social-media-comments

Encourage them to visit again

Always encourage your customers to come back and bring their friends along as well. This helps build a long-term relationship with them.

Here’s an example of Raintree hotels, a popular hotel chain, interacting with a fan, who had left a comment on their post on Mangalorean cuisine:

positive-social-media-comments-example

Relay the feedback

If the comment or review mentions names of staff the customer was particularly impressed with, do mention that you will relay the feedback to staff member concerned. And do actually relay the feedback – you will make the staff member’s day as well!

Request reviews on other platforms

Where applicable, it might make sense to request the customer to leave a review on other platforms as well. For example, for the hospitality sector this could be Zomato or TripAdvisor while for local businesses, it could be a review on the Google Local Business page.

Leverage the feedback

Positive customer feedback can be showcased as testimonials on your website as well as promoted across your social media channels. This is the best way to leverage these reviews and make the most of them to help build consumer trust in your brand.

Here’s an excellent example:

Leverage-positive-social-media-comments

 

Managing inappropriate comments and trolls

The world is filled with different kinds of people and so is the social universe. You will invariably come across that one-off customer who just wants to create an issue where none honestly exists, or who is plain interested in causing trouble.It is best to verify their claims first and once it is confirmed that they are baseless, the best response strategy would be to ignore the troll, as engaging in conversation with them would only encourage them to troll further – these are people who generally enjoy the attention they get this way. The comment could be deleted at a later point in time, once the troll has moved elsewhere to seek attention.

On occasions though, at the discretion of the team in charge of managing social media comments, it may be appropriate to craft a tactical response to silence the troll and put him in place by stating the inaccuracies in his facts. This helps maintain transparency and may deter other trolls as well.

 

The perils of automated social media responses
Although auto-responders can help manage social media comments at scale and reduce the response time by a huge margin, when they go wrong they can go wrong terribly. Though automated response management tools are getting better at analyzing comments and responding appropriately, they still can’t make sense of things the way humans do. They can’t add a human touch to the response either.

Here are some examples of automated social media response bloopers:

automated-social-media-response-bloopers-Vodafone

 

automated-social-media-response-bloopers-Dominos

 

Social media response management metrics

You can’t manage what you cannot measure. Here are three key metrics to help you figure out how you’re faring when it comes to managing comments on your social media channels.Average First Response Time

The average response time can be calculated by taking the average of all the individual response times for each post. These can be calculated as the time difference between the first response to the customer comment and the time the comment was posted

The ideal response time would vary from industry to industry – ranging from about 24 hours for industries like real estate to 15-30 minutes for sectors such as ecommerce.

Average Time to Resolution

The average time to resolution is the time taken from the opening of a comment thread to the time the issue is resolved and the thread is closed. This will depend on the type and gravity of the issue and may vary from a few hours to a few days or even weeks in some cases. In these cases, it is important to keep the customer constantly updated on the progress.

Average number of replies to resolution

This is the total number of interactions it takes to resolve the issue. This number should ideally be one. However, this is seldom the case and the average tends to be a lot of higher.

 

The Social Media Response Management Team
Given the importance that managing social media comments has on your business in the long-term, it is extremely important to have a designated trained team in place for response management.Role of the response management team:This team will have to be trained to

  • Use one or more of the social media listening tools mentioned above to constantly keep track of any comments, feedback or brand mentions
  • Confidently evaluate the brand comments/mentions and respond appropriately
  • Use, where required, one of the tools listed below to manage comments and mentions at scale.

Outsourcing social media response management:

If you do not have an in-house team for managing comments and you don’t want to take the trouble of hiring and training, you can always explore the option of outsourcing this to an agency specialized in social media or in customer response management. The agency would normally listen for mentions and respond to comments and consult you for any customer response information they may need from your end. They would also normally send you reports covering response metrics to evaluate your performance as well as sentiment metrics to evaluate how people feel about your brand.

 

Tools for managing social media comments at scale

For big brands, especially in sectors such as ecommerce, where customer engagement is high, the number of mentions, comments and reviews across channels and platforms may become difficult to keep track of, and reply to, without a software solution in place.Thankfully, there are quite a few online customer support softwares and help-desk solutions to help you streamline your social media response management process and keep your customers happy.

Here’s a list of the 5 best customer support softwares you could choose from. All of them offer a free trial – so you can try a couple of them that you think would work best for you and evaluate which one you could go ahead with.

Desk

Tools-for-customer-response-management-Desk

Desk.com is Salesforce’s customer support software solution. It is mainly targeted to small and medium businesses but is also powerful and comprehensive for large enterprises. It can be integrated with over 50 applications including Mailchimp, Cyfe, Shopify and Trello

Pricing:

The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 30/month, billed annually.

Zendesk

Tools-for-customer-response-management-Zendesk

Founded in 2007, Zendesk is probably the largest cloud-based customer service platform available with over 50,000 companies as clients. It can be integrated with most content management systems, customer relationship management tools, and web apps – the number of apps that can be integrated with its API exceeds 300.

Pricing:

Its base plan starts at USD 1 per agent per month (billed annually), while the regular plan costs USD 25/month (billed annually),

Freshdesk

Online-customer-service-software-Freshdesk

Founded in 2010, Freshdesk has scaled up quickly to become a major player in the space, with over 40,000 customers.

Apart from being able to be integrated with 70+ popular applications, Freshdesk is also tightly integrated with Google Apps including Analytics, Contacts, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, and Gmail. These enable a slew of additional capabilities including the ability to schedule customer calls, attach large files to tickets, and much more.

Pricing:

Freshdesk is the only tool on this list that offers a freemium solution – with a free forever plan for up to 3 agents.

Kayako

Online-customer-service-software-Kayako

Founded back in 2001, Kayako was one of the original pioneers of the multichannel helpdesk and the first to bring the helpdesk to the cloud. Apart from its cloud-based customer support solution, Kayako also offers a downloadable on-premise, self-hosted solution for Windows users.

Pricing:

The base plan starts at USD 24/month, billed annually.

Happyfox:

Online-customer-service-software-Happyfox

Happyfox is not as big a company as the ones listed above, but it is quite popular for its absolute ease of setup and no-nonsense user interface.

Pricing:

The cheapest paid plan starts at USD 19/agent/month, billed annually.

 

Is there anything else about managing comments on social media that you’d like to know or have any questions on? Do reach out to us in the comments below. Have any experiences to share? We’d love to hear from you!

Top Platforms to discover Influencers for your Brand

With the quick rise in demand for Influencer Marketing, there is a need for tools and platforms to aid brands identify the right influencers and engage them. Many platforms have cropped up that either aid you to identify the influencers yourself via a DIY tool or connect you to the right influencers for your brand based on your requirements. Some of them are free while others are either freemium or paid platforms. Let us take a look at the top platforms to discover Influencers for your brand and help you connect and engage them in your marketing campaigns.

Top-10-Influencers-Infographic-Content

1. Klout

Klout is one of the most well-known tools in the Influencer Discovery and Engagement space. Launched way back in 2008, it analyzes the social network presence of an individual to arrive at Klout score. Last year, the tool was updated to serve as a content curation and content discovery platform for users.

Main features:

  • Research, segment and manage influencer lists
  • Quick overview of the social influencer of your brand’s potential influencers
  • Perks program feature to engage influencers (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Amplify reach via native ads (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Keyword search for influencers, though the functionality is not as advanced as others

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a paid tool that offers content marketing plus influencer identification on a single dashboard. Quite useful for content marketing by brands, it allows you insights into what type of content works best in your industry / target audience. There are multiple subscription plans available based on requirements of your brand, with the basic plan starting at $79 per month.

Main features:

  • Topic Search for the most popular content being shared
  • Research and track influencers based on keywords & hashtags
  • Influencers search has an option to segregate influencers based on different profiles like bloggers, journalists, etc.
  • Option to export data(csv/xls) for deeper analysis

3. Kred

Kred is a paid tool for influencer measurement that helps you to identify and engage with influencers based on its Kred Scores. The metrics behind the Kred Scores is more complex in comparison to Klout. The platform provides two types of score- the main Kred Influence Score and the Kred Outreach Score.

Main Features:

  • A more comprehensive scoring system that takes into account all aspectsofinfluencer activities on Twitter to arrive at the synopsis of an Influencer’s influence
    • Kred Influence Score based on followers, retweets, mentions and replies for a profile
    • Kred Outreach Score based on the frequency of the tweet/retweets, replies and mentions
  • Community level influencer filtering like sports, technology, marketing, etc.
  • Additional services like Rewards Service and Email Marketing to engage influencers

4. FollowerWonk

A simple tool from the house of Moz, FollowerWonk is a search engine & analytics tool that focuses exclusively on Twitter for Influencer discovery and tracking. Rich engagement metrics and competitor influencers following are some great insights provided by the tool.

Main features:

  • Twitter Profile Search based on parameters like bio, location, name & url to help you identify influencers based on your requirement
  • Breakdown followers based on Follower count, tweet count and authority
  • Audience Comparison Tool that allows comparison of profiles to check audience overlap and mutually exclusive audience vis-à-vis your competitors
  • Visual infographics and interactive charts for your tweets, followers and RTs
  • Export reports for future reference

5. Keyhole

Keyhole is a freemium Hashtag tracking tool to discover content & influencers associated with an event or campaign on social media. It can pull-out influencer profiles, conversations and top trending content using a particular hashtag.

Main features:

  • Currently available across Twitter & Instagram
  • Detailed insights such as top influencers, recent conversation sources, top links/sites & top posts
  • Easy exporting of any data to your clipboard
  • Additional features like Audience Intelligence Reports for paid subscription users

6. Influencer

Influencer.in is one of the leading influencer marketing platforms with more than 5000 influencers listed on the platform. The platform offers brand influencers across a wide range of categories such as lifestyle, fashion, sports, travel, healthcare, technology, etc.

Main features:

  • Tracking and identifying the right influencers for your brand
  • Campaign ideation and Influencer engagement
  • Customized Campaign Analytics and Tracking reports
  • Content marketing and amplification
  • Strong influencer network for the Indian market

7. Topsy

Topsy is an interesting tool that allows you to track the influencers who are sharing a specific piece of content – it can be your competitors article, link or a tweet. It allows you to pull out all users who share a content relevant to your industry and automatically filter the most influential sharers. It supports upto 10 different languages that includes English, French, German and Spanish.

 

Top 10 live chat softwares for your website

Live Chat is an efficient communication medium for proactively engaging customers and converting them into leads. This can be done at ease with the help of well trained agents using some of the many Live Chat tools avalable. However, deciding which one to pick be a bit confusing. Hence, we have put together a list of the 10 best live chat softwares for your website that can help boost sales and service your customers.

Before we go into the details and the USPs of each of the live chat softwares available, here’s a quick comparison of the features these platforms have to offer and their pricing:

Top live chat options Social Beat

 

SNAP ENGAGE

USP: Social Discovery to help better understand the customer

Facebook ,Twitter and LinkedIn icons are bound with the chat option and if the agent feels that he/she can connect with the potential customer through social networking sites the customer can give a friend request or follow the customer directly from the chat area. This feature is called as ‘social discovery’, which is a unique feature and it also helps the agent to know about the customers better and further chats can be made more customisable. The details of the customers can be seen only after accepting the chat requests. Apart fom this, Snap Engage also allows the agents to remotely control the user’s browser and help them navigate to the right pages quickly. Also, tthere are blogs written in their website which helps the agent to enhance his/her skill to be a star agent. Unlimited access to sites is provided by Snap Engage. CRM and help desk can be integrated.

PRICING

The basic price is $60 in which 4 agents can be employed.

ZOPIM

USP: Competitive Pricing

Zopim is an affordable, easy to use Live Chat option. When you engage with a customer, a separate pop up doesn’t appear on the screen for every customer, instead all the windows and controls are integrated with the dash board they offer, unlike many other chat options. Automated chats are possible so that you can reach out to customers, before they complete their conversation. Integrating with Zen Desk can help in multi-channel support like emails and social media. Chat history is available by which it becomes easy for the agent to know the customer.

PRICING

Free version is available and the basic version costs for $11 (single agent) per month.

OLARK

USP: Customizable GUI 

The customisable graphical user interface GUI makes Olark stand out from the rest. When it is Christmas time, it gets updated to the Christmas theme. Every celebration can be more fun with the GUI it offers. The logo of the organisation can also be incorporated in the paid versions of Olark. After every chat, rating can be given for the chat from which instant feedback of the conversation through live chat can be noted. Another noteworthy component of Olark is ‘savethecart’ feature by which the agent can know what is the product that is stored in the cart and based upon this the chat can be done and targeting becomes easy.

PRICING

The basic version costs $15 (single agent) whereas the free version limits in the number of chats.

VELARO CHAT

USP: Geo targeting and content targeting

The geographical location of the website visitor can be tracked along with the content what they are looking for so that even the greeting by the agent can be of the language which the viewer  follows which gives a personal connect to the user and the user is more likely to buy the product. Keeping track of the content can also help in product that can be promoted through chat as a follow up.  Unlimited access to sites and can be managed centrally. There are three versions like other chats that include basic business, smart business and enterprise Omni.

PRICING

The basic price is $29.95 and free version is available with limited features

OGG CHAT

USP: Integration with G-talk and Instant Messenger

Ogg Chat can be integrated with G-Talk and Instant messenger. Separate desired departments can be created and operators can be added to the chat. Every operator can include a schedule chart to keep a track on the pending schedule. Some data are available that can be used to analyse like brief chat history but however real time monitoring of the viewers, usage of canned messages is a considerable setback.

PRICING

The basic version of the product costs $9.95 and all plans include a 14-day free trial

LIVE HELP NOW

USP: Real time translation

Internationalisation is possible as it offers real time translation feature. Languages are translated instantly which makes it easy to use in non-English speaking nations. The admin interface isn’t much cluttered. It is a simple, user friendly admin which the consumer may like to use. Prioritising the mails become easy with the email management system that is offered. All the information about the clients can be viewed in one click, but a separate window opens up every time which may be tough to view for a series of clients.

PRICING

A 30 day free trial is available with constraints and the basic version of LiveHelpNow chat costs $21 per month

KAYAKO

USP: Quick response through the Mobile application

Users find the mobile application very useful as the agents can respond to the queries from any place. However, the user interface doesn’t support any other language other than English which is seen as a drawback. Live Chat tickets can be administered through e-mail. Service Level Agreements are complex when compared to other chat options. Kayako allows the user to create a macro which enables automatic response to some of the basic and repeated queries as it reduces the response time of the agent.

PRICING: The basic version of the Kayako Live Chat costs $24 and three versions of Kayako are called as Case, Fusion and Engage

CASENGO

USP: Ease of file sharing

Casengo has one inbox for all the chats, emails and social media posts. The cloud based application allows the responders to post their answers in a quicker phase than other options. The customers of online retailers and other small businesses have the response in a very fast time period.  Most of the live chats, attachments can be sent only through downloadable links, where as the file itself can be sent as an attachment, however sending multiple attachments is not an easy task using Casengo.

PRICING:

The basic version costs $9.65 (9Euros), Free version can be used in which enables only the chat option

COMM100LIVECHAT

USP: Guaranteed 100 percent uptime

Comm100livechat, as the name suggests this live chat claims to produce 100 percent uptime. A typing indicator allows agents to see what their customers are typing before they submit their message. With ‘MaximumOn’ technology, the software also ensures that your live chat program runs continuously without interruptions, despite failures at both server and data center levels. Chats can also be extended onto mobile platforms; including on iOS and Android devices.A drag-and-drop file transfer feature allows agents to share a file that provides all the requested information. However, no real time translation is available and no co-browsing option is available.

PRICING

The basic version of the live chat costs $29 and there are different versions based on the Shared Server and dedicated Server

WEBSITE ALIVE CHAT

USP: An all in one live chat with email integration

If your business is a small firm and is looking for a one stop solution that integrates e-mail with your live chat options, website live chat can serve your business. It supports till 20 multiple chats with quick tabs to enable swift performance.  The user interface helps to edit the interface without coding. Internal operator chat that helps to interact internally when a query hard to manage by an agent can be used to clear his doubts.

PRICING

The basic version of the live chat costs $20 and there are different versions available with different pricing.

 

10 Best E-commerce platforms for your online store

With the global & Indian ecommerce market growing at a rapid pace, we are seeing a lot of new trends. When starting out a new ecommerce venture, there are a lot of elements that need to be figured out – right from the ecommerce platform (which this post explains in detail), payment gateway to integrate with your ecommerce site, product photography, social media strategy, customer acquisition, customer retention, search engine optimisation & a whole lot more. There are a whole lot of specialists out there who can help you with each of these elements. There are a lot of digital marketing courses and if you are looking at getting a holistic view on digital marketing & analytics for ecommerce then ISB Hyderabad has an interesting programme.

The first step when starting out is the ecommerce platform and the number of such platforms and content management systems available has grown over the years. In such a scenario, figuring out which platform to use when you’re looking to build your online store can be a fairly confusing task – especially if you aren’t from a technical/ecommerce background.  This post intends to make your research work easier by helping you choose the platform best suited for your needs.

Managed e-commerce platforms vs. Content Management Systems (CMS)
There are two options available for building an ecommerce website – one can either use managed (hosted) ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce or open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) like Magento.

As the name indicates, a hosted ecommerce platform is hosted on a server that you will not have access to, while CMS-based websites are self-hosted on server space (such as Bluehost) you will have to purchase. Which option to choose will depend a lot on your specific needs as well as your level of technical involvement. Below is a list of benefits of both which could help you make a choice between the two based on your business’ current requirements:

Benefits of using Hosted ecommerce platforms

  • Lower development and maintenance – There is no coding expertise required, thereby eliminating the need for a development team. Also, the hosting is shared, which lowers the server costs.
  • Better technical support – Most online store creators have a strong tech-support team to assist users with any issues that may arise.
  • Less complex to work with – The back-end for most of these platforms is user-friendly and is built for ease of use keeping in mind users with limited technical knowledge.

Benefits of using a CMS

  • Better functionality – Multitude of plugins, add-ons and themes available for content management systems allow the addition of advanced functionalities that would not be possible in the case of self-hosted platforms.
  • Better customizability – Content management systems allow the freedom of adding/modifying features as well as building a customized design unique to one’s brand. They also allow for constant improvements and enhancements to the user experience on the site, which plays a major role in today’s highly competitive ecommerce space.
  • Can support large stores and sophisticated websites – Content Management Systems, being self-hosted do not have a limit to the number of products or categories allowed, so they can handle much larger stores as well as sophisticated websites.

The server can also be an important aspect of how your ecommerce site is built and we usually use the Linux based servers being provided by Bluehost or Amazon Web Services. We usually refrain from using Windows based servers.

You could use this flowchart below (Click on the flowchart to enlarge) to help you arrive at a decision on whether you should go ahead with a hosted ecommerce platform or with a CMS, based on your requirements:

Hosted-ecommerce-platforms-vs-open-source-Content-Management-Systems

Once you’ve made your choice on going ahead with either of the two platforms, here is a list of the 5 best options you could explore in each niche:

 

5 Best Content Management Systems
If you’ve decided that a CMS is what will suit your needs best, then below are the 5 best ecommerce CMS available in the market at the moment. The most important factors which will come into consideration when zeroing in on the CMS would be the availability of extensions, availability of support, functionality, customizability and the cost of development and maintenance. All of them are open source and have free community versions and paid enterprise versions.

 

Top 100,000 websites using Ecommerce technologie
Top 100,000 websites using Ecommerce technologies – Source: Builtwith.com

 

Magento:
With nearly 21% of the world’s top 100,000 ecommerce sites built on the Magento platform*, it is by far the most popular and one of the best ecommerce CMS’ being used today. Its biggest advantages are the large number of plugins and extensions available which allow the addition of any new functionality, the ease of availability of experienced developers as well as a lower overall development and maintenance cost.

Pros:

  • Robust platform with a high level of functionality and customizability
  • Large number of marketplace extensions available
  • Highly active community for assistance with tutorials and troubleshooting options
  • More SEO-friendly as compared to most other platforms
  • It is highly-scalable – no need would arise to upgrade to another platform while scaling up in future
  • Easy Integration with emailing platforms such as Mailchimp so that you can stay in touch with your customers

Cons:

  • It requires sufficient server space to operate efficiently at high speeds. Smaller servers may cause speed and other related issues
  • Might be too complex for businesses that are too small

 

WooCommerce:
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin used for building ecommerce websites on the WordPress platform. A large number of WordPress themes have the WooCommerce functionality built-in. The plugin provides almost all the features that are available in the other open-sources CMS’ listed here. WooCommerce might work out more user-friendly and cost-effective for smaller businesses as well as for those familiar with WordPress.

Pros:

  • Easy setup – WordPress requires very little time to get familiar
  • Runs on Wordpess – so does not have powerful servers requirements
  • Good number of lower-priced add-ons and themes available
  • Huge WordPress support community
  • Easy Integration with emailing platforms such as Mailchimp so that you can stay in touch with your customers

Cons:

  • Might not work for mid and large size businesses or for businesses looking to scale up soon

osCommerce:
osCommerce is a fairly popular platform as well, with about 11% of the top 100,000 sites built on open source technologies using osCommerce. Being one of the earliest open-source platforms available, it has a huge support base and a very active forum, though some users find that updates to the platform have not kept up with the times.

Pros:

  • Easy installation and an easy-to-use interface
  • Active forum with a large support base
  • Large number of plugins and add-ons allowing the addition of most functionalities

Cons:

  • Some users find that the software updates and designs have not kept up with times and remain slightly outdated

 

Top 100,000 ecommerce websites using Open Source technologies
Top 100,000 ecommerce websites using Open Source technologies – Source – Builtwith.com

 

Drupal Commerce:
Drupal is the second most-used open source website content management system after WordPress and Drupal commerce is the plugin for ecommerce sites built on this platform. Its seamless integration with Drupal makes creating a blog or forum much more convenient than most other ecommerce content management systems.

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with the Drupal CMS framework gives it an edge over other platforms when it comes to blog integration and content marketing
  • Allows for easy implementation of SEO strategy

Cons:

  • The support community/forum is not as large or active as Magento or osCommerce.

 

Opencart:
Opencart is another open source CMS for ecommerce. Though it has one of the easiest to use backends, its support systems are not as comprehensive as compared to the other platforms listed.

Pros:

  • Easy to use back-end
  • Feature rich with large number of plug-ins
  • CSS can be edited from within the admin

Cons:

  • Some users report difficulty in installation of some themes
  • Support documentation is not comprehensive enough

 

Magento vs Woocommerce vs Drupal Commerce vs Opencart vs osCommerce
Magento vs Woocommerce vs Drupal Commerce vs Opencart vs osCommerce

 

5 Best hosted ecommerce platforms
If you’ve decided that an online store creator would better suit your business, then below are the 5 best platforms available for you to choose from. Two of these – Zepo and Kartrocket have been chosen with the Indian market in mind, as being mostly domestic players, they might have a better understanding and feel of the local market.

Shopify:
Shopify is one of the first names that comes to mind when one thinks of an online commerce platform. With 74,418 sites using Shopify*, it is one of the most popular as well.

Pros:

  • Large number of add-ons as well as beautiful and professional templates to choose from for a beautiful storefront
  • 24/7 customer support – Can be reached by phone, online live chat or email.
  • SEO Compliant

Cons:

  • May work out slightly more expensive as compared to other platforms
  • The back-end UX is slightly complex to understand in the beginning

Pricing**: Starter – $14/month, Basic – $29/month, Professional- $79/month, Unlimited – $179/month.

 

BigCommerce:
Bigcommerce is another popular platform, with 17% of the top 100,000 sites using hosted ecommerce solutions; and 51,977 sites overall*, being built on Bigcommerce.

Pros:

  • A large knowledge base – The Bigcommerce university provides extensive help resources
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons:

  • Some users claim that customer support is a little unreliable at times

Pricing**: Silver – $29.95/month, Gold – $79.95/month, Platinum – $199.95/month

 

Volusion:
Volusion also has nearly as big a share of the top 100,000 sites using hosted ecommerce solutions – nearly 17%*; with over 90% of its market share is in the United States

Pros:

  • Wide variety of features
  • Personalized service from account specialists
  • Easy to use interface

Cons:

  • Volution stores use a mobile site as against a responsive design
  • Add-on store is not as large as Shopify or BigCommerce
  • No Blog setup available

Pricing**: Mini – $15/month, Gold – $35/month, Platinum – $75/month, Pro – $135/month

 

Zepo:
Mumbai-based Zepo supports more than 1200 ecommerce stores at the moment and has also raised an undisclosed amount of funding in December 2014 to drive its expansion plans.

Pros:

  • Local brand – local support as well as a better understanding and feel of local market
  • An easy interface, especially for newbies
  • Hosted on Rackspace servers – so you can expect a better speed as compared to most platforms.

Cons:

  • Limited Images per product on the lower priced plans

Pricing**: Basic – Rs. 949/month, Starter – Rs. 1899/month, Pro – Rs. 2849/month, Unlimited – Rs. 4749/month

 

Kartrocket:
Delhi-based KartRocket has powered over 1900 stores via its platform and snapped up close to $2 million investment in January 2015 to fund its expansion as well as develop innovative and India-focused product solutions

Pros:

  • Good choice of storefront templates
  • Usability – Clean backend interface
  • Local brand – better understanding and feel of local market

Cons:

  • Comparatively new player in the market as compared to the others above

Pricing**: Studio – Free (5% Transaction fee), Starter – Rs. 1500/month, Pro – Rs. 3000/month, Unlimited – Rs. 7000/month

 

Top 100000 websites using Hosted Solution technologies - Builtwith.com
Top 100000 websites using Hosted Solution technologies – Builtwith.com

 

 

Conclusion
Every platform and CMS has its plus and minus points and choosing the right one depends on your business model and requirements. If you are going in for a hosted platform, Shopify or Zepo (if you prefer a local player) might be the best options, while if you are looking for a Content Mangement System, then Magento would most definitely work best. This, however, is based on our experince and we would love to hear what your experience says.

As a last word, switching platforms or content management systems after a store is up and running is not really a straightforward process and can truly be a nightmare. So, make sure you take a prudent and informed decision with a good amount of foresight.

If you’re a retailer looking to get onto the ecommerce bandwagon, please feel free to contact us and we would be glad to assist you.

Once you’ve zeroed in on the right platform for your ecommerce business and need to decide on the best payments solution you could use, you can check out our blog on the top payment gateways for ecommerce websites.

*Statistics from builtwith.com
** All price data is from the respective websites as on 12th January, 2015

Infographic: Indian National Congress on Twitter

Indian National Congress on Twitter Indian National Congress on Twitter

In the last in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by the Indian National Congress party.

Just in case you missed our earlier two infographics in the series, you can read the one on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here and the other on Arvind Kejriwal‘s Twitter campaign here.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.

 

Infographic – Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter

Arvind Kejriwal img-responsive center-block

In the second in a series of three infographics, we analyse the presence on, and effective use of Twitter by Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi CM and the head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Just in case you missed it, you can read the first Infographic on the effectiveness of Narendra Modi‘s Twitter campaign here.

Watch this space for our next infographic on how the Indian National Congess is faring on this social platform, in the run up to the elections.

Do share your views below, on how Twitter and other social media is changing the way election campaigning is done in India.