ecommerce marketing

YouTube Brandcast India 2019 – Some key learnings for marketers

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 11 April , 2019
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    • 5 min read

2019 marks the 11th year since YouTube’s entry into the Indian market. To help marketers and creators understand the massive impact YouTube has made in India and its importance in the digital ecosystem today, Youtube hosted the 2019 Brandcast in India.

YouTube currently has over 265M users in the country and this number is expected to reach 500M by 2020. This incredible number is in relation to the increase in the total number of internet users in India that has grown from 15M just five years ago to 100s of millions of users today. Its ability to provide a personalised media experience and offer content in various languages has made YouTube one of India’s most-used platforms.

YouTube has become a platform for all types of content

Over the last 11 years, YouTube has become a platform for storytellers and creators to share content in different languages and reach an engaged audience in rural areas and big cities alike. It has become a success story for numerous YouTubers like ‘Mostly Sane’ who uses YouTube to discuss social issues such as mental health (the channel is currently at 3M subscribers) and more recently Priyanka Chopra, who chose YouTube to extend her audience reach with hew new show ‘If I could do just one thing’.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, says it is the preferred social platform for creators and businesses alike due to its ability to reach out to a large audience pool in a personalised way. When Pepsi ran an ad campaign on YouTube, it saw a 14% increase in sales and 3.3x return in ad spend. Alternatively, Hyundai’s ad campaign had a massive audience reach of 221M. The ability to scale and impact on YouTube can result in business leading results. Currently, vernacular content is taking centre stage and has helped increase engagement across all channels.

How is the media landscape evolving?

Mark Patterson of Group M discussed the video revolution in India and how it has changed the way brands communicate with their customers. Group M is a media advertising company that has had a presence in Asia for more than 2 decades and is responsible for 1 in 2 ads in India.

Mark highlighted the evolution of the media landscape and how mobile video has become a secret weapon for many marketers. One of the main reasons for this is the change in the way users consume content and seek entertainment. They look for three things: convenience, customisation and choice. Statistics show that 60-70% of people in India consume content on mobile video every day.

The digital spends in India remain comparatively low when compared to China where 64% of ad spends is digital while this is only at 18% in India. However, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world at a 14% GDP and digital ad spends is expected to catch up soon.

Mark Patterson also discussed the three main themes on the why and how of digital advertising in India and how YouTube affects these themes.

1. Driving results across through the funnel
YouTube has allowed marketers to have a mass reach and gain more awareness of their brand with tools such as YouTube Masthead.

2. Unlocking creativity
YouTube allows for personalised messaging that has helped deliver performance. This has resulted in a 20% uplift inconsideration, a 31% increase in awareness and a 900% increase in search queries.

3. Cross channel planning
While this is still a fairly new concept for most media agencies. Group M has taken a step in this direction by integrating YouTube reach data with Group M planning tools. This has helped them optimise maximum reach across multiple devices.

How a Youtube Masthead helped achieve incredible results for Sundaram Mutual- Case Study

It is no secret that Youtube has become the secret weapon for many marketers to reach their target audience. To take advantage of the immense reach that Youtube offers, Social Beat collaborated with our client Sundaram Mutual to create a masthead ad to promote their new fund. This campaign generated incredible results, proving the effectiveness of Youtube as a medium to reach out to the target market.  

The objective:

Sundaram was launching an open-ended equity scheme and wanted to create awareness around their product within a short period of time. Digital marketing has been proven to provide finance companies with the reach they require so Youtube was the obvious choice when it came to achieving the objective.

How was the campaign executed?

Mastheads are usually charged on a daily basis so we used the 24 hour period we had as effectively as we could. To enable maximum viewership we ran the campaign over the weekend. For the entirety of the day any individual that accessed Youtube through their desktop, tablet or mobile device saw the masthead ad at the top of their pages. This helped us increase our subscriber base and drive traffic to the website.

The results

The 20-second Sundaram masthead achieved phenomenal results. Sundaram’s subscriber base grew from 356 to an outstanding 56,000! It has increased since then and is currently standing at 57,000 and growing every day. The video also generated 14 million views in a span of 24 hours.

To achieve these incredible results, we adopted a digital-first marketing strategy to reach the target audience. We were also able to track and measure our results to scale the brand to new heights.

You can read more about our Youtube ad campaign with Sundaram Mutual here.

What do brands need to consider to increase ROI

Ben Jones, Creative Director at Google says that 30% of ROI is driven by media elements and targeting data. The other 70% comes from creative. There are three elements that affect ROI in digital:

1. The consumer’s attention

Many people assume that with all the content out there, the consumer’s attention span is decreasing but this is not true because people today prefer long-form content to short-form content. What has changed is how quickly consumers reject and accept the content they consume. The content needs to be longer, richer, deeper and grab the attention of the viewer faster.

2. Understanding customers better

Another way a brand can improve ROI is by understanding the customers better with more personalised messaging. They should change content according to the target audience and in a way that will allow the brand to relate to the customer better. Statistics show that customisation of the ads specific to the target market can result in a 10% lift in ad recall.

3. The content needs to be mobile optimised

Research has shown that In India 60-70% of content is consumed via the mobile device. Therefore, when creating content, brands need to keep in mind that the shots framed and the stories told are optimised for the mobile user. It is important for agencies to rethink their digital content strategies this way so they are able to get the brand message to the target audience better.

To help agencies adopt the above strategies in their content plan, a new Rethink Council has been created to identify how brands can rethink their marketing and targeting to measure and maximise creativity to connect to the customer.

YouTube Brandcast India 2019 ended with an insightful discussion with world-renowned director Zoya Akhtar. She highlighted the importance of the role YouTube played in her recent film ‘Gully Boy’ and how she was able to discover and do in-depth research for the movie through YouTube. YouTube also played a huge role in promoting the supporting content for the movie such as trailers and interviews.

YouTube has played a crucial role in the evolution of digital media in India and YouTube Brandcast 2019 highlighted the importance of the digital platform and how it has changed the way people consume content in India.


Facebook to replace relevance score with 3 new metrics

  • Pooja Manoj
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  • 14 March , 2019
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    • 2 min read

As a ground-breaking development, Facebook is replacing its relevance score -the ad metric that measures the success of your ad campaign with more measurable metrics. Facebook is retiring this score at the end of April and is replacing it with three different granular metrics such as:

Quality ranking: A metric that measures the quality of your ad as compared to other ads intended for the same target audience.

Engagement ranking: A metric that compares your expected engagement rate to other ads targeted for the same audience.

Conversion ranking: A metric that compares your expected conversion rates to ads with the same target audience and optimisation goals.

The relevance score is a metric that tells you whether your ad is relevant to the audience it is going out to. The new metrics that are being rolled out are similar to the relevance score but are a more detailed analysis.

According to Facebook’s official announcement, ”When used together, ad relevance diagnostics will help advertisers understand whether changes to creative assets, audience targeting or the post-click experience might improve performance."

Importance of these metrics:

Whenever you run an ad on Facebook, it takes a look at your campaign goal and your target audience to understand what your audience is likely to do after seeing your ad. In other words, the relevance score is based on the expected action of your audience.

https:/www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2019/03/13/facebook-sunsets-relevance-scor

How are granular metrics more beneficial than relevance score?

Since the relevance score is based on expected performance, it is indeed a vague parameter to measure the success of your ad. It is one of the primary reasons why Facebook has replaced the relevance score with three granular metrics. The greatest advantage of granular metrics is that they give you a more in-depth and focussed view of your ad’s performance. According to Facebook, these metrics will help advertisers offer the best user experience for their audience. Facebook advertisers can get better insights to produce engaging videos to drive traffic and revenue.

Apart from relevance score, Facebook is planning to shut down six other metrics such as saved offers, cost per offers saved, messaging replies, cost per messaging replies, mobile app purchase and web purchase.

The three granular metrics will be rolled out by Facebook from April 30, 2019. It is highly important for advertisers to keep a tab of these metrics as they help with specialised insights about ad performance. This is indeed crucial for advertisers to strategise high-quality ad campaigns and improve their optimisation initiatives for better brand visibility and revenue.


Digital marketing for Jewellery: A complete guide

  • Nandita Raman
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  • 4 March , 2019
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    • 6 min read

A good digital marketing strategy is one that empowers your brand, but a great digital marketing strategy is one that empowers your consumer. This saying is particularly true if you belong to the jewellery industry – where the customer is queen! Today, digital marketing for jewellery brands is no longer an option – it is a necessity to drive store visits, increase brand awareness and elevate the image of your brand. Read on for fool-proof digital marketing tips to mark your territory in the online space.

Building your brand image

Building a household brand name is every marketer’s prime objective and the first step to that is by creating a strong online presence. Jewellery brands need to focus on the following digital marketing techniques that double up as a powerful foundation for future digital strategies:

A great website:

Whether you have an online store or a showroom, a great website is key to attract more customers and significantly increase your revenue. Opt for a crisp and clean design that helps tell your brand story. Apart from being aesthetically appealing, great design also provides unmatched user experience, creating a seamless transition from an inquisitive lead to a loyal consumer. However, a remarkable design needs to be backed up with great content that keeps your audience engaged. You also need multiple web pages on the homepage that provide in-depth information about your brand and landing pages that behave as e-commerce portals that highlight a particular line of products.

Featured below is the landing page design incorporated for Gehna – an online boutique that specializes in authentic hand-crafted jewellery. The page has a clean layout and enticing images for a pleasant user experience. As you can see, the product is described in a clear-cut manner with no distractions and a relevant CTA.

Search Engine Optimisation:

In today’s digital age, almost every process – right from buying a bracelet that matches your attire to deciding which type of jewellery should be worn for various occasions – begins with a simple Google search. Ensure your brand appears on the first page of the World’s most-used search engine by creating an ultimate SEO checklist accompanied by various link-building techniques and SEO plugins for WordPress. A detailed keyword research and competitor analysis to know what your target audience is searching for is a good way to understand what type of content works.

Engaging content:

The one thing that the Internet is known for is tons of valuable information that helps you make an informed decision – and blogging is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques to deliver that. Websites that feature a blog page have 434% more indexed pages on Google which means they are recognised and ranked easily, increasing the probability of appearing on the first page. Jewellery brands need to leverage the reach of informative blogs and go the extra mile with creative infographics, embedded videos and intriguing images that keep viewers hooked. The blogs can cover all aspects of buying jewellery – from tips to keep in mind while choosing a diamond to bridal jewellery looks for the contemporary bride.

Social Media:

Everyone who is anyone is on social media! Reach the very palm of your target audience with a strong social media presence that draws them towards your brand. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are great digital marketing platforms to increase the exposure of your jewellery brand. Opt for innovative social media campaigns to create awareness about your brand, promote your products and engage with your followers.

Featured below is a Valentine’s Day campaign we ran for Malabar Gold and Diamonds. We created a series of grid posts on Instagram that utilise the entire screen space on the feed. This drove a lot of engagement on the page that led to a whopping 1500 new followers!

Videos:

Videos are a great way to tell a million stories in each frame. Connect with your audience and push them further down the marketing funnel with compelling videos that convert. Begin by creating a YouTube channel and attract subscribers through optimised videos that show up on the user’s feed based on the keywords entered. Digital marketing for jewellery brands through videos comes with a lot of creative freedom due to the luxurious and fun aspect of the product. Keeping your target audience in mind, you can create thought-provoking snippets through video campaigns that are guaranteed to draw in more subscribers and build your brand image online.

Influencer Marketing

Nothing is more powerful than an influential source suggesting your brand to a potential consumer. Leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing through social influencers who have a strong following. Keeping the creative space of the jewellery sector in mind, marketers have a huge potential to tap through bloggers and lifestyle influencers. You can also collaborate with influencer marketing platforms, like influencer.in, to hand-pick influencers who resonate with your brand and reach your target audience in a seamless and hassle-free manner.

Featured below is an influencer marketing campaign implemented by leading online designer jewellery brand Voylla. The brand collaborated with top beauty and fashion influencers including Jhanvi Bhatt, Mrinali Das and Anusha, to name a few. Each influencer shared posts on Instagram wearing exquisite pieces of jewellery from Voylla and connected with their followers in the language and tone that reflected the image of the brand. The campaign greatly contributed to increasing the reach and visibility of Voylla with higher conversions.

GMB listings for store visits

Digital marketing for jewellery brands does not necessarily cater to online stores alone! You can drive visits to your brick-and-mortar store by posting your store on Google My Business Listings. Not only will your store show up on a Google Search and drive traffic to your website, but users can also get directions to your showroom and read reviews to get a genuine understanding of your business. As per a MOZ report on factors that help a page rank, GMB listings contribute to 14.7% of the overall influential factors, making it a vital aspect in digital marketing for jewellery brands. Read our blog on the 13 ways to leverage local SEO and Google Maps for your business for more insights.

Since most numbers of searches today are local in nature, an informative GMB listing, like the one featured below for Gehna, will drive more store visits and higher revenue. As you can see, the GMB listing showcases the address, working hours, contact details, directions to the store and images to make it more convenient than ever for consumers to pay a visit.  They can also visit the website directly and place an order!

Online ads for higher sales

Digital ads play a huge role in helping you reach your target audience and drive more business for your brand. From Facebook ads and Google ads to newer formats like YouTube and Instagram, you can choose your marketing platform based on your objective and the type of audience you are planning to target. Furthermore, if you are selling your product on Amazon, you can also run ads on Amazon and drive more relevant traffic to your e-commerce store. You can also opt for shopping ads that ensure 8 to 10X return on ad spends. Shopping ads run on a combination of optimisation, monitoring and bidding, with a keen focus on increasing average order values.

We ran shopping ads for Voylla – a contemporary jewellery brand with an e-commerce website. We used optimized images, titles and product descriptions that help the ad show up as a Google Search ad. As you can see in the image below, a simple Google search for “gold plated men's ring” shows up a series of shopping ads, out of which the Voylla ad is placed as per the position it was bid for.

When it comes to digital marketing for jewellery brands, it is safe to say that the world is your oyster due to the wide range of creative campaigns and ads you can incorporate in your strategies. You can also read our detailed blog on digital marketing for real estate, finance industry, insurance companies and FMCG giants. It is time to leverage the power of going digital and grow your business!


Social Beat Earns a Shopping Advertising Specialisation Badge

  • Divya Premkumar
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  • 23 January , 2019
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    • 2 min read

We are excited to announce that Social Beat has earned the Google Premier Partner Shopping Ads Skills for Google Ads/Pay Per Click Advertising. Our newly acquired Google Premier Partner badge for Shopping Ads certifies that we have demonstrated expertise and sustained client performance in shopping advertising.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Unlike traditional text ads that focus on the keywords you choose, Google Shopping ads determine when your product listing ads show up. Google considers the feed, the site and the bids that determine what search queries show your ads.

The success of Google Shopping ads depends on three elements:

  • The optimisation and creation of the feed
  • Continuous monitoring and optimisation that can make a good campaign great
  • Successful bidding that can double returns on ad spends

We have successfully incorporated these elements and leveraged the use of Google Shopping Ads to sustain client performance in shopping advertising.

Best Practices

Premier Google Partners are required to demonstrate that they are maximising their clients’ performance by implementing Google’s recommended best practices in client accounts using Shopping Ads.

As a Google Premier Partner in Shopping Ads, Social Beat can help us place our client’s products on Google Search, set up inventory on the Merchant Center and create Google Shopping campaigns.

Spends

The new badge is designed to recognise Partners who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers.

Social Beat works with Google Sales Representatives to promote new and effective Google strategies to our clients. As a Google Premier Partner, we use proven techniques to help our clients increase their digital ROI. We aim to deliver the best results to our clients using Google’s strategies such as Mobile Innovation and Search Mobile and Display Innovation.

Contact us to get your Adwords campaign started or to optimise an existing campaign for better ROI.


10 Best E-commerce platforms for your online store

  • Rohit Uttamchandani
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  • 19 January , 2019
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    • 8 min read

Updated in Feb, 2019

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 or you could take a digital marketing course or buy a book on digital marketing to familiarize yourself.

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 e-commerce website – one can either use managed (hosted) e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce or open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) like WooCommerce or 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:

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.

WooCommerce:

WooCommerce is a Wordpress platform used for building ecommerce websites and now almost 22% of the top 1 million ecommerce websites are hosted on it, making it the most popular 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

Magento:

With nearly 13% of the world’s top 1 million ecommerce sites (in 2015 21%  of the websites) are built on the Magento platform*, it is a 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

osCommerce:

osCommerce is 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 1 Million ecommerce websites using Open Source technologies - Source - Builtwith.com

Drupal Commerce:

Drupal used to be a popular 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

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 close to 7,75,000 sites using Shopify*, it is the most popular hosted ecommerce platform, coming second only to WooCommerce.

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**: Basic - $29/month, Professional- $79/month, Unlimited - $299/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 - $249.95/month

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**: Personal - $29/month, Professional - $79/month, Business - $299/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**: Custom Pricing based on requests

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**: Essential – Rs. 3500/month, Premium – Rs. 7000/month, Platinum – Rs. 12,000/month

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 WooCommerce would most definitely work best. This, however, is based on our experince and we would love to hear what your experience says.

As the 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 e-commerce 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 e-commerce websites.

*Statistics from builtwith.com
** All price data is from the respective websites as on 5th January, 2019


Best payment gateways in India for your E-Commerce website

  • Varun
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  • 9 September , 2018
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    • 6 min read

No matter how great your business idea is or how efficiently your e-commerce store may look and function, achieving your ROI goals 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 or merchant to use internet transactions via credit or debit cards, securely. A bad payment gateway results in bad payment options, ultimately leading to a decline in the total sales. Your server can also pose a challenge in having a smooth payment gateway.  To counter this, we usually use Bluehost or Amazon Web Services.

Here are the best payment gateways in India which can aid your e-commerce business.

Instamojo

Instamojo powers more than over 2,20,000 small businesses in India is one of the largest multi payments networks in India. One thing that sets them apart is the 2 mins set up and it is completely free. Set up Instamojo for free today!

Here are some key highlight and features about Instamojo:

  • No Setup Fees
  • No Annual Maintenance cost
  • Simple API’s
  • Start collecting payments instantaneously.
  • Collect Payments using links via Whatsapp/Facebook/Twitter/SMS
  • Free Online store to sell items
  • On-Demand Payments App for Android phones to collect & track your payments

CC Avenue

Launched in 2001, CC Avenue is one of the oldest as well as one of the biggest payment gateway providers in India. CC Avenue offers 200+ payment options including major credit cards like Visa, Mastercard, Amex, DIner's CLub, etc. It also includes other payment options like Multiple Currency Processing, Retry Availability & Customization, Audit, Analytics and a large window for active users. If your website is already live, you can integrate the CC Avenue payment gateway for free.

Citrus Pay

Incepted by Satyen Kothari and Jitendra Gupta, Citrus makes 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 a bureaucratic process, one would have expected a company like Citrus Pay to have simplified the process.

Direcpay

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 e-commerce 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 Pay

Google pay (formerly Google Wallet) is an online payment and system and digital wallet platform. It allows in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on all mobile devices. As of May 218, Google Pay also supports boarding passes and event tickets. Google Pay work on NFC or Near Field Communication to initiate transactions and transfer funds to the retailer. All you need to do is download the Google Pay app, take a picture of your debit or credit card or enter the information manually. As most of the digital audience has gone mobile, Google Pay is a prudent gateway for an e-commerce business.

Juspay

Juspay was founded in 2012 with an aim to redefine online payments by providing 1-click payments for the web and mobile. However, like the other mentions on this list, Juspay is not a payment gateway, although it does work with any gateway or aggregator with no interference in Merchant-PG relations. Juspay processes more than 4 million transactions monthly for a number of notable merchants like MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Amazon, Snapdeal, BookMyShow, MobiKwik, Freecharge, etc.

BillDesk

Billdesk was incepted in 2000 in Mumbai and provides payment gateway solutions to customers and merchants in e-commerce, retail, financial services, etc. While the setup is free, merchants have to pay a commission charge on each transaction and the amount differs across modes of payment.

PayPal

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 200 million active accounts across 200 markets, compatible with 100 currencies around the world. PayPal also offers perks like uploading cheques through your smartphone’s camera and completion of transactions without having to exit the website. PayPal is a natural choice for Indian e-commerce businesses that have a large number of international customers.

PayU India

Marking an impressive conversion rate of 12% and worldwide presence, PayU is one of the biggest 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.

PayUBiz

PayUBiz is a part of Naspers and is a $25 billion media and internet company that is listed in the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. This payment gateway is used by over 70 e-commerce companies including Jabong, Snapdeal, Ola, Bookmyshow, Cleartrip, Zomato, etc.

MobiKwik

MobiKwik is another popular payment gateway in India and it offers services for online debit and credit cards and other internet baking processing transactions. It takes only two days to set up an account with MobiKwik and they are compatible with Android, iOS and Windows platforms. In addition, MobiKwik is also a mobile phone and digital wallet. You can check out our blog on the top 10 mobile wallets in India.

PayTM

PayTM currently holds the top position for India's most popular payment gateway. It is a semi-closed wallet, approved by the RBI and offer payment solutions to over 7 million merchants. PayTM is available for download across all major platforms and allows its customers to make payments from debit and credit cards, bank accounts and digital credit. PayTM Cash is India's largest digital wallet with over 15 million active users.

Razorpay

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.

Cashfree

Incepted in 2015, Cashfree is the country's only bulk payouts and payment company. With Cashfree, businesses and merchants can collect and disburse payments. This is done through an extensive range of payment options including debit and credit cards, net banking as well as through popular mobile wallets like PayTM, Airtel, MobiKwik, etc. Cashfree also supports PayPal, IMPS, UPI and NEFT transactions. The payment gateway also boasts the lowest transaction charges in the country - 1.95%

Here's a quick glance at the pricing:

Payment Gateway Setup Fee (INR) Commission Per Transaction Popularity (In India)
Instamojo Free 2% + Rs.3 High
CC Avenue  Free - 40,000 2% + Rs.3  High
Citrus Pay Free Custom Moderate
DirecPay Free Custom Moderate
Google Pay Free Credit fee - 2.9%, Debit, bank transfer - Free Low
Paypal Free 2.2% - 2.9% + $0.30 Moderate
PayU India 4,900 – 29,900 0.75% - 2.90% High
PayUBiz 4,900 2.95% - 3.70% High
PayTM Free 1.99% + taxes High
MobiKwik On request 1.90% (+GST)  - 2.90% High
Juspay Free Custom Low
BillDesk Free Custom Moderate
Razorpay Free 2% - 3% High
Cashfree Free 1.95% - 3.5% +Rs.7 Moderate

 

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 with payment gateway providers in India. Let us know if we have missed out anything, or which one is the best according to you.


Lead conversions via a survey-oriented strategy for Specsmakers

  • Ayesha Rafeeq
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  • 5 March , 2018
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    • 1 min read

One of the key challenges of digital marketing is the herculean task of understanding your target audience and engaging them with relatable content that will ultimately convert them from a lead to a consumer. Social Beat worked in collaboration with South India’s leading optical retail chain – Specsmakers – and broke the benchmark of retail sales and conversions via digital leads.

We implemented the onion peel strategy to understand the buying behaviour of their audience and used the results in our content and social media campaigns to boost conversions. As part of the strategy, we reached out to the existing and potential customers of Specsmakers and asked them a set of questions to get insights into their consumer behaviour. Based on their replies, we broadly divided the audience into primary and secondary circles and targeted them with content they could relate to.

For example, a majority of their potential and existing consumers drive their own vehicles and are working professionals. So, the social media campaigns that rolled out were related to generic topics like road safety and UV exposure to screens targeting the primary and secondary audience.

This survey-oriented strategy has helped us target their audience better, generate a higher number of leads from the online space and increase the number of average walk-ins to the showroom. The online leads generated enabled an 8% conversions over a span of 4 months. With these promising results, it is safe to say that showcasing content that the target audience finds engaging is one of the best lead generation strategies in the evolving space of digital marketing.


FB vs Amazon Selling – What should you choose?

  • Srinidhi Maheshwari
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  • 3 July , 2017
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    • 3 min read

E-commerce has revolutionized the way we shop! It has become the go-to destination for all our shopping needs. E-commerce sites provide better prices and more variety, making it a convenient option for shoppers.

Many people browse through popular e-Commerce stores and search engines to find whatever they are looking for. Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, Facebook etc. are such platforms that enable buyers to shop from!

With Facebook also offering various ways to promote your e-commerce store, the biggest debate now is FB or Amazon – What should you choose?

Selling through Facebook

Facebook, though popularly known as an online social media and social networking service, has introduced a feature called - Facebook Shop. The shop section tab can be added to your Business Page and it lets you display and sell the products directly from your business page. It's suitable for sellers, retail, and eCommerce advertisers who want to reach out to a large audience, who are the potential customers on Facebook.

Some of the top advantages are:

Free of Cost

It's free to use, and Facebook does not take any percentage of what you earn through your shop section.

Directly upload Product image and information

Choose the best products and upload them along with the pricing.

Sell directly from your Page

Once your products are uploaded, your customers can browse and buy them on any device without having to leave your Page.

Manage orders

It allows you to mark orders as shipped, cancel orders and refund orders without leaving your Page.

Insights

Facebook shares details such as how many views and/or message sends you've received for each product.

However, you can only sell physical products that must comply with Facebook’s content guidelines.

Additionally, you can also run product ads on Facebook. Advertisers can upload entire product catalogs and then use Advanced Facebook Ads targeting techniques to reach the right customers who would be interested in those products.

Selling on Amazon

Amazon, on the other hand, is an eCommerce website that allows anyone registered to sell their products with good user-experience and top-notch customer service. Acquiring a customer might be difficult, especially if you have just begun your journey of selling online. So it is a good idea to go to a platform that has already established themselves.

Selling on amazon is relatively simple. All you need to do is register on the platform and follow their set of guidelines.

Amazon wins at e-commerce as it has a lot of advantages such as:

Personalization

It uses a majority of its homepage to feature personalized, recommended products to its members.

Customer Service

Amazon takes care of customer issues and complaints in a timely and appropriate manner that has a huge positive impact at the end of the day.

Prime Perks 

The biggest advantage Amazon provides is its Amazon Prime offering. It provides members with unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of items on Amazon, as well as access to the - Amazon Instant Video, which is the company’s streaming service and also allows the users to borrow books from the Kindle Owners’ Landing Library.

Review Cornucopia

Consumers research products online and look at ratings and reviews from their peers, as the opinions of other consumers are highly trusted. Thus, to increase sales, retailers take steps to increase the engagement with their reviews, such as offering incentives or sending friendly reminders via email to shoppers who made a recent purchase.

Amazon and Facebook have a couple of differences mentioned below:

Advertising of the products that are up for sale 

Products on Amazon is advertised by using Amazon Sponsored Products. Retailers get free impressions for the product offers and pay only when the ad is clicked. However, on Facebook, you will have to run ads and promote it and measure the ROI.

Learn how to boost a product, and learn about other ways of advertising on Facebook.

Delivery of products

Amazon picks products from the retailers and delivers it straight to the customer, whereas a seller on Facebook has to take care of the shipping & delivery on his own.

Fee

Amazon deducts a fee only after the retailer makes a sale and receives timely payments, whereas Facebook does not charge any percentage of what the retailer earns from the Shop section.

Have an e-commerce store? Which strategy are you using? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

 


5 Social Media Strategies To Boost Your E-Commerce Business

  • Pooja Patil
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  • 13 May , 2017
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    • 7 min read

The e-commerce market is getting competitive by the day, and e-commerce businesses need to find unique ways to build relationships with their customers to create a loyal customer base.

For any e-commerce business, website traffic is the most important segment, and yet it is the most challenging one.

Social media is playing a very powerful role today in the evolution of online shopping. It provides a platform for conversations, reviews, information and expression. An e-commerce business can leverage on the opportunities provided by the social media platforms for their own benefit. According to an article by Magento, 93% consumers turn to social media to help them make buying choices, while 90% say they trust recommendations from their peers.

Several strategies have been listed by digital marketers on how e-commerce businesses can use social media to drive traffic to their website. Listed below are five powerful tactics you can use to embrace the reach of social media for higher benefits.

Smart Targeting and Dynamic Product Ads

Leaving your ad open out there in front of the masses is not such a great idea. Once you have figured out your prospective customer base, you can use targeting options provided by social media sites like Facebook to target your ads to the relevant customer base. Facebook provides you with numerous targeting options based on location, demographics, Interests, device type, etc. It also provides you with features like custom audiences, lookalike audiences and retargeting. Using these targeting options, you will be able to reach your potential customers and engage them more effectively. Smart Targeting will help you increase your ROI on Advertising to a great extent. Dynamic Product Ads can be used to retarget customers who have earlier shown interest in your products or services. To drive more sales across devices, dynamic product ads now provide a lot of flexibility and variety in functionality to e-commerce advertisers.

A classic example would be that of Cathay Pacific Airways. They used dynamic product ads for travel, to reach people who had earlier performed a search on their website. The ads featured an image of the destination city that people searched for to inspire them to act. The ads also included a "book now" button that linked directly to the booking process on the Cathay Pacific website.

Another example is that of eBay. eBay is successfully using dynamic product ads and retargeting to motivate their customers based on the customer's interest. They connect with their customers by showing them personalised and relevant products in their ads.

Facebook Carousel ads are also a great way of showcasing e-commerce website products. They not only help to showcase the products in detail but, when used creatively, also help drive traffic to the e-commerce websites.

Using Influencers

Influencer marketing is the new buzz word and has currently penetrated in the marketing mix of many industries. Mostly food, travel and fashion are the three major industries where influencer marketing is really going up the ladder. Influencer marketing is a newer and organised term for the old-fashioned word of mouth marketing. The way people work through the buying process has changed due to the advent of the internet and social media. People now have become more efficient in their search process, and they look for comprehensive and authentic information online. While associating an influencer with your business, it is important to consider the influencer’s likability, credibility and trustworthiness. Remember that Influencers act as brand ambassadors for the audience and thus the information they put out there should be in sync with what the business stands for.

Influencers can be used in numerous ways: For product launches, reviews, engagement, campaigns, events and so on.

A very good example of this is the Influencer campaigns done by Nykaa.com. Nykaa is an e-commerce store that deals with skincare, beauty and makeup products. Nykaa.com engages with various beauty bloggers and influencers and weaves campaigns with them.  Beauty and fashion are two areas where people rely heavily on reviews and opinions of influencers. Nykaa leverages this very well.

Using Product Videos

The majority of online shoppers have agreed to the fact that not being able to physically touch and feel the products on e-commerce websites is their least favourite part of shopping online. This is especially true in the case of fashion and beauty industry. Product images from different angles and views may not completely explain a product's functionality or provide a proper overview of the product. Videos are the new preferred form of media and e-commerce businesses should leverage on the high acceptance of videos among customers. Ecommerce businesses can use videos to bridge the gap between offline and online shopping experiences. Product videos can help in providing a holistic buying experience to the customer and also provide a clear overview of the different scenarios in which a product can be used. This makes it more appealing to online buyers. Product videos can not only be used on product pages but also on social media feeds of the e-commerce brands as well as part of Facebook or Google ads. Not only can these videos be used for Facebook and Google advertising, but they can also be used for advertising on YouTube. There are several versions of videos that are gaining popularity on social media. A few of them are live videos, 360-degree videos, 30-second videos, time lapse videos, stop motion videos and animated or white videos.

Product videos can be used to introduce a new product and show how the product works with other similar or commonly used products, from the brand, and to encourage conversions from existing customers.

On1y is a food brand that caters to a very niche market segment. It provides spices, herbs and exotic seasoning. On1y uses a lot of innovative ways to engage with its audience on social media and at the same time create a buzz around its products. In the screenshot below, On1y has shared a Facebook live video of a food influencer interacting with customers and cooking up recipes using On1y spices.

Focus on Engagement

Social media for e-commerce is not simply about pushing across products and promotions. Many e-commerce companies fail to understand this. Social media can be used very well for engaging audiences online through high value textual and visual content. Ecommerce brands can find it very tempting to simply fill timelines with product promotions and advertisements. However, social media provides numerous ways by which e-commerce brands can make online shopping a delightful experience for consumers. You can engage audiences through live polls, live videos, user generated content, contests and much more. Topical posts and festive posts can also be used to attract audience attention. To garner high level of engagement, it is important to understand the need of the customers. Understanding this will help brands to curate content accordingly.

Social media can also be used by e-commerce brands to provide better customer service. Nowadays, a lot of customers look for solutions on the internet and prefer quick communication over the internet rather than going through a long phone call. At the same time, brands must encourage satisfied customers to write reviews and rate the products/e-commerce brands. Reviews and ratings go a long way in building a brand’s credibility online.

Content Marketing via Blogs & Infographics

Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your e-commerce website. It helps your site rank higher in SEO through several internal links and backlinks. Blogging is also a good way to reach out to customer problems and be a problem solver. Most customers search for solutions to their problems online and blogging can be a great way to provide solutions to them. Long form content helps to drive more traffic and definitely helps in higher search page ranking. Blog posts also help to subtly introduce products or promote products in an indirect way. For instance, a blog post on the topic "summer dressing" by a fashion e-commerce site could consist of summer looks using products from the e-commerce site. This will not only create attractive and useful content for the readers but will also serve the e-commerce brand's purpose of showcasing their products. Similarly, a blog post on "Top 10 budget smartphones" by an e-commerce brand like Flipkart or Snapdeal which sells mobile phones could include descriptions of each smartphone comprising of unique features and direct links to the products on the e-commerce site.

Finally, it is important for e-commerce brands to identify the right social media channels to leverage their brand. Social media platforms, if used creatively and strategically can help e-commerce businesses reach their target audience in a much faster way. The importance of social media has been adequately realised by fashion and food industries among others. However, e-commerce brands can also leverage the benefits of social media by strategizing and creating fool-proof social media plans.


Five Step Guide to Selling Online on Amazon India

  • Sneha Balasubramaniyan
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  • 12 April , 2017
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    • 5 min read

With more customers making their purchases online, startups have now begun shifting their businesses online to make use of the large community around the world with ready buying power. To sell your own product or sell somebody else’s – you need to decide; and how, when, where – we’ll help you with that. Acquiring a customer might be difficult, especially if you have just begun your journey of selling online. So it is a good idea to go to a platform that has already established themselves.

Amazon is the right place to start selling your products. Amazon being the leader in the online retail space, we have put together a guide on selling your very first product on Amazon India with the effective and efficient transaction. Amazon India provides a comprehensive platform for sellers from remote cities in India to reach pan-India.

Step 1: Create your Amazon Seller Account

Creating your seller account is simple. All you need to do is enter your Business Entity Name, address, phone number, VAT or CST registration information and all the necessary bank account details.

Step 2: List your products on Amazon

Now that you have your account ready, make a note of all the items you’d like to sell on Amazon and list it.

Amazon has millions of existing catalogues categorising goods in the name of the material, size, colour, product variation, etc. and if your product falls into one of these categories, you can directly list your products in that respective catalogue. However, if your product is entirely new and doesn’t have an existing catalogue, you will then need to create a new product listing.

Amazon has a highly efficient team who will help you create a high-quality catalogue to ensure your products have the right description, user-friendly language and easy reach so that you have a valid transaction.

Also, if you are very confident with your line of products, go ahead and advertise on Amazon using ‘Amazon Sponsored Products’. This is very similar to what digital advertising agencies do – they look for what people are searching for, and with the help of SEO and Google AdWords, they make sure the user ends up looking at your products and purchasing it.

Step 3: Take your products live

Congratulations! Your first product is now live on Amazon. Crores of customers can now view, add it to their wish list and purchase your product. Sometimes, your products might not receive the expected number of clicks or impressions, and one of the reasons might be because of the broken descriptions that go along with your product. No worries, you can always go back to your dashboard and make as many edits you like and publish it again.

You can always have a close look at your dashboard to create more product listing, promote the same, manage/ship your orders and at the end of every week or month; you could analyse and make sure your business is on track.

Step 4: Amazon does all the work, sit back and relax

Amazon makes a note of all your orders though your already powered Amazon Easy Ship facility. They pick up and ship your products and take care of logistics and customer service. Quite cool, eh? It is an end-to-end delivery service for sellers. You can just focus on your business while Amazon does all the heavy lifting.

he service includes –

  • Pick up from your doorstep
  • Handle returns and respond to buyers
  • Cash On Delivery (COD) payments

Amazon has also introduced FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), which lets you store your products, then pick, pack and ship your products across India. This FBA service helps you gain all the storage and fulfillment facilities, fast delivery options and trustworthy customer service. There is no startup fee for this service and just a flexible ‘Pay as you go’ scheme depending on your usage.

Amazon has a Prime account for sellers too and this feature allows you to ship your products to your customers quickly.  Once you enroll for FBA, you are automatically eligible to become an Amazon Prime seller without extra charges.

Step 5: Grow your business with Amazon

Amazon deposits your payments into your bank account within a week (7 days) from the date of delivery, only after the sale is made and you receive the payment from your customer.

There are a number of fees that the seller has to pay Amazon – referral fee starting from 3% (this particular fee differs from city to city in India), fixed closing fee starting from Rs. 10 per unit sold (this fee varies by category and price), shipping fee starting from Rs. 30 per unit shipped (this fee varies by distance and volume of the unit) and delivery service fee of 1.25% per item.

Amazon cares about your business and they send custmoised tips and trick to improve your business for better performance. They have an inbuilt team who keeps a track of your dashboard and send you a customized report periodically to boost your performance as well.

How digital marketing can help build the brand and send traffic to amazon

Yes, selling on Amazon is great and easy. However, Amazon is a crowded place and it is always a good idea to promote your Amazon listing as much as you would promote your online store. Use Facebook ads, Google ads or even blogs with links that would drive your potential customer back to the products on Amazon.

For example, if you are selling jewellery, you can run Facebook Carousel ads  with high quality images of the product and link them to the various Amazon listings. This will drive traffic to the listing and has the potential to reach a larger target audience.

Unlike developing your very own ecommerce website and selling on it, selling on Amazon India has a lot of advantages. Right from the development, optimization and maintenance of your marketplace to logistics, customer service and easy transactions, everything is taken care of by Amazon India. Instead of making a foolproof plan on everything and anything before launching your product out in the market, it is much better to start selling online first, test the waters and then take it forward from there.


7 tips on how social media can be leveraged by fashion brands

  • Kruthika Ganesh
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  • 3 October , 2016
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    • 6 min read

For a fashion brand to be successful, the people behind it must understand, they are not just selling a product, they are selling an entire lifestyle! This has become increasingly easier to convey to the customers, since social media made their entrance. The use of social media in the fashion retail industry is on the rise, because of visual channels like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube, simply because image is what these brands are selling.
Creating a solid, quality social media following should be a big part of any brand’s social media strategy and these channels are providing the perfect platforms for engaging with users, in order to raise brand awareness, drive website traffic and generate sales. With this in mind, we present seven ways to leverage social media for your fashion business.

Show the personality of your brand!

A platform like Instagram is perfect for a lot of things; including sharing ‘behind the scenes’ pictures for your brand, like major fashion house Chanel or Dolce & Gabbana does. This will make your followers identify with your brand on a more personal level, and that makes them more likely to choose your brand next time. It also portraits a certain lifestyle, to which the consumer wants to belong, and again is more likely to choose your product.

To know more about how to use Instagram for your business.

Use the content from your followers

When it comes to fashion on social media, one of the great things is that your followers will often create a lot of content for you, and it is right there for the taking! User-generated content works like word of mouth endorsement, with the users advertising your brand by sharing photos of themselves wearing your products. These posts, ofcourse reach the followers and provides free advertisement for your brand, but even more important, you can also share these pictures from your own platform, which not only makes the user feel valued, but further more provides any potential customer with an even more relatable post. Companies like Calvin Klein and Nike has some dedicated followers, who always posts their brand.
If you have yet to build up a strong group of followers, that automatically posts pictures of your products and tags you in it, you can consider running a campaign, that urges people to compete in posting their favorite outfit (including your brand, of course!), giving them a chance to win a price from you.

Influencer marketing

In today’s world where people believe people more than brands, Influencer marketing has become the most effective way of advertising. Over the time, many brands from different sectors and industries have shifted their marketing strategy to influencer marketing. Tie-ups with popular influencers help brands reach the right target audience.

Craftsvilla a well- known e-commerce fashion brand achieved great results through influencer marketing. The brand did a campaign with famous fashion influencers across different social media platforms. Neha, one of the fashion influencers shared her experience with crafts villa on her blog and other platforms titled ’Embrace the ethnic wear this season with craftsvilla.’ This post on Instagram received great amount of engagement from her followers.

 

If you have not explored influencer marketing its time you leveraged this option. So, go ahead and try it out today!

Pin it

According to recent statistics, India has around 8.19 million Pinterest users. It is one of the fastest growing social platforms and allows users to save pins and create boards with anything from DIY projects to wedding ideas and fashion tips. Many fashion brands have used this platform successfully. It is a good idea for brands to explore Pinterest more.
Pinning just your products every time might make it monotonous for your users, hence, sharing some ideas or content related to the industry will be a great idea to increase engagement.
Gehna, one of India’s leading jewelry brands has over 5,000 followers on Pinterest. The brand has created boards belonging to different categories based on occasions and festivals. This is an interesting way to showcase your products. It makes it easy for followers to pin jewelry that they like directly from the category they are looking for.

For more tips on how you can use Pinterest, find out here.

Videos

Videos are always more engaging than just images. Video options are available in every social media channel today, be it Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Top Fashion brands are using videos as a promotion tool. You can showcase your products, take your audience behind the scenes, live stream a fashion show, etc., which in turn will drive more engagement to your page.
Free people, a fashion brand from the US has leveraged the videos feature on snapchat to connect with their target audience. Since the brand caters to the current generation, they decided to reach them through a medium that is most used by them, which is Snapchat. The employees, take their fans behind the scenes by giving them tours of the showroom, models during photo shoots, etc. The brand also connected with their fans on a personal level through a campaign called “Question Wednesdays”where snappers can personally snap their questions to the brand’s snapshot account. They even ask snappers personal and friendly questions. The overall involvement and engagement through Snapchat that Free People provides users ultimately creates a valued and elite relationship for the user.

Snapchat is one platform that needs to be explored for your business. Check out how you can use snapchat for your business here.

Wider reach

Reach a wider set of audience by targeting the right audience through your Facebook or Instagram ads. Instagram has proven to be the most appropriate and a successful platform for any fashion brand to leverage. Create and place ads with visually appealing creatives on Instagram with a Shop now or Buy no call to action button.
Fossil, created a look by putting together products that would appeal to their target segment and at the same time communicate their brand’s personality. They did this through an Instagram ad in which they used a very attractive image with a call to action button and also added a quirky caption.

 

Enhance customer experience

Customer service is always key to any business. It is essential to make sure your customers are happy with your products and services. With social media you can do this by responding to their comments, queries, messages or tweets as quickly as possible. Also, ensure you come across as fun and exciting. People on social media do not want to interact with anything that is monotonous or dull.
Another way of making customer experience a delight would be by easing the process of shopping. With the introduction of social shopping, brands can use this feature to reduce the purchase process. Facebook shop is one of the best ways to do so. So, go ahead and leverage this feature for your brand today!

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and explore all these tips and tools today! Find the right one that will suit your business and make the best use of it.

- Other contributor to this blog is Stine


E-Commerce Product Photographers in Mumbai

  • Ravi Chandran
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  • 25 September , 2016
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    • 4 min read

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

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.

Photuwala'S Studio

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.

Contact him at +91 91676 19991.

Artpixelphotography

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.

Contact Amit Desai at +91 98201 51581.

Digitalstudio

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.

Contact Pashminu Mansukhani at +91 98205 78189.

True shades photography

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.

Contact him at +91 96995 44211.

Pixelmania 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.


How mobile search can help offline retailers in India

  • Bindhya Chenthamara
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  • 22 August , 2016
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    • 5 min read

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.

    Image source- https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

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.

  • Search Advertising

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.

  • Tracking Results

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.

 


ISB Program on Marketing & Analytics for Ecommerce

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 3 December , 2015
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    • 4 min read

Contextf

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.

The programme gives a holistic approach to omni channel retailers who are leveraging the ecommerce market place model and brick & mortar stores. Aspects like the purchase funnel and lifetime value of the customer are essential for an e-business and the programme focuses on how return on investment can be optimized for such businesses.

Analytics is key to success

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 ZargetCrazyEgg 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.

ISB has also introduced a new program on Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategies, and the first batch of the same is going to take place from May 22 -25th, 2016. More details can be see at ISB Centre for Executive Education.


Customer Lifecycle Value vs Cost of Acquisition in Ecommerce

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 14 September , 2015
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    • 4 min read

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:

  • Historic Model

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.

  • Predictive model

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:

  1. Number of visits per month (N)
  2. Average customer basket size per visit (B)
  3. Average profit margin per customer (m)
  4. Historical customer retention rate (r)
  5. Discount rate for future cash flows (d)
  6. 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

CLV 

= N*B*12*m*[r/(1+d-r)]*T  

= S*m*T*[r/(1+d-r)]

= G*[r/(1+d-r)]

 

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 team@socialbeat.in.


E-Commerce Product Photographers in Bengaluru

  • Varun
  • |
  • 24 April , 2015
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    • 3 min read

The way products are displayed online creates a great brunt on the buying choice of a customer. Amateur looking photographs can destroy a consumer’s expectations and trust on the website or the brand.  E-commerce websites need to display visually appealing products that will influence the customer to buy it from them, rather than making them prefer a brick and mortar store.

Business owners have spent a lot of money on building websites, hiring secured payment channels and other facilities. As a part of this checklist, it is time for them to look for people who would start taking photographs of their products and display on the website, in the most appealing way.

Here is a list of some top eCommerce Product Photographers and Studios in Bangalore.

G16 Studios
G16 Studios is one of the leading e-commerce product photography studios in Bangalore. They work with top Indian E-Commerce websites like Zara.com, HM.com & Mango.com. They have an exclusive approach to product photography and organize models from across the world for photo shoots. In addition to their photography services, the studio also helps large volume businesses to set up their own photography studio. This move is said to bring down the production cost by 60%. Contact: Abhijeet Sojwal +91-9886652280

Aroun Kesavaraj
Aroun Kesavaraj is one of the most acclaimed professional photographers in India. With over a decade of photography experience, he has worked with Prasad studios (Prasad SFX) under various projects. He is also an Auto-desk Combustion certified professional. Widely known for his commercial and professional portrait photography skills, Aroun has a keen eye for detail and exquisite visual language. This makes him a natural choice for product photography. Contact: Aroun at +91-9900001943

Kiran Nama
An architect turned photographer, Kiran Nama is first in the city to start the digital photographic trend. He is a renowned product photographer who has closure with various high profile clients. He is much interested in trying out new things and hence does not practice single photography style, but most of his works are as a product photographer. Contact Kiran: +91-9845255406

Jaggi
Experimenting with still life and lifestyle photography, Jaggi has been stinking awe and wowing clients as an advertising photographer since 2000. He brings a unique combination of skills to photography and is one of the most technically savvy and aesthetically inclined photographers in the industry .He also has the penchant being a virtual one-stop show when it comes to recreating, fabricating, or improvising with products, props or background, including pre and post production. His skills are admired and are proved to be very effective in product photography. Contact Jagadeesh +91-9845054400

Purnendu Bala
With over 6 years of experience as a photographer, Purnendu Bala owns an eminent fashion photography studio. While his expertise lies on his specialized skills required to groom a model's personality, Purnendu also excels in product photography dedicated to provide professional level of quality of work which not only reach your business to your audience but give you Return on Investment. Contact Purnendu: +91 8147872032

Full House Labs
Established in the year 2012, Full House Labs is a media content production house started its operations to provide quality media ingredients for business promotion. The production house is a pool of innovative freelancers working on advertisements and social media branding. They also have a team of expert photographers and editors who work on product photography for Ecommerce websites, in which they are a prodigy at. Contact them at +91-7411167810

Have we missed any other Product Photographers in our list?
Do write to us or share their details in the ‘Comments’ section below.


Are you going to be hit by Google’s Mobile Friendly Update

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 21 April , 2015
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    • 3 min read

Almost a year back we had created a list of top Indian Websites that were not responsive. A lot has changed since then. Myntra has moved to an App Only approach and closed down their mobile site. In the same context, Google’s next update is expected to be rolled out on April 21, 2015 and will concentrate largely on positively impacting sites that are mobile responsive. There will also be a marginal negative impact on mobile search results for websites that are not responsive.

So the question to ask here is, whether you site is mobile friendly? Google has its Mobile Friendly Testing Tool which can help you check. If you get a message "Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.", then you have little to worry as you will most likely be on the safer side of the line.

However, for those who haven’t made their site responsive this Google update is going to put in jeopardy the search traffic and eventually ranking. Here are some tips to help you get started on this front.

  1. How to Ensure You Site Is Mobile Friendly 

Creating a mobile responsive site will be the key step towards being in tandem with the Google update. This was Google’s announcement earlier this year which clearly indicates Google’s focus on mobile friendliness. “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” 

The main reason behind the update taking this path is Google’s consistent stand on giving users the best online experience. With mobile traffic having significantly overtaken PC traffic in the past two years this update seems all the more relevant. Google even has an extensive guide on creating mobile friendly sites. If you have Google Webmaster they have a new Mobile Usability feature to showcase if there are usability issues that still exist.

If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) To make your site mobile friendly here are a few essential tips:

For Word Press Sites: If you own a word press site you can simply use a plugins available online. The three best plugins available are 

  • WP Touch: This plugin converts your website automatically for mobile devices. The admin panel of the plugin allows you to modify various aspects of the site’s appearance enabling you to provide a simpler yet stylish version of your website. They have a free theme which works wonders but they also have premium mobile themes if you are looking at something more specific. It essentially takes your existing content on wordpress and embeds it into the mobile theme.
  • WP Mobile Detector: This plugin works by automatically detecting whether the browser being used is from a normal phone or smartphone. Once detected it loads a compatible version that suits the particular browser.
  • Mobile Press: Renders a mobile friendly version of the site when accessed via a phone. It also provides options to use other custom themes for better user experience. 

For Magento Sites: Using existing mobile responsive themes is one option that many are considering. If you have an existing theme which is non-responsive then there are plugins to help with this.

  • ShopGate: This plugin allows you to launch your own mobile website or native app with your existing magento installation. The look and feel may not be identical to your existing desktop design but its a quick fix.
  • SimiCart: Another way to handle this issue on Magento is to have a native Mobile App connected with your existing Magento installation. Simicart is an amazing tool to accomplish this.

The last option would be to adapt the existing theme to being responsive, but it requires extensive changes to be made at the code level.

  1. Increase Speed of your Mobile Site

The time your site takes to load plays a strong role in improving your page rankings. Despite the best mobile data connection, sites sometimes take a while to load and the reason behind it could be due to complex codes, slow server and other factors. Analyzing these problems and addressing them quickly can help give your site an advantage.

Using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Speed Test tool can help give you an insight into the changes you can make in your site to make it speedier.

Once these changes have been made appropriate modifications have to be made in the Google Webmaster Tool as mentioned in the steps below.

  • Sign into your Google Webmaster account and add your site if you haven’t already.
  • Once done click on the crawl option in the sidebar and then click on the ‘Fetch as Google option’
  • Select the mobile and desktop options one by one and click ‘fetch and render’.
  • Once rendered you will then have to click on the ‘submit to index’ button to let google crawl your updated site.

With the update coming out today, it would be prudent to make these changes to your site as early as possible. Making changes sooner will help your traffic remain higher after the update. If you are having difficulties in making these changes, hiring good developers to make them is always a recommended option.

We would love to hear from you if you have seen any positive or negative mobile traffic from today. Please do share it in the comments below.


How to sell across multiple E-Commerce marketplaces

  • Suneil Chawla
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  • 9 April , 2015
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    • 3 min read

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:

1. Unicommerce

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.

2. Browntape

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.

3. Boost My Sale

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:

4. Ecomdash

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.

5. Orderhive

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.

6. Seller Active

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.


E-Commerce Product Photographers in Chennai

  • Krithika Ramani
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  • 31 March , 2015
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    • 3 min read

Product Photography is an important design element for an e-commerce portal, as the sense of sight plays a major role in online shopping. One of the challenges for an e-commerce site is to satisfy the needs of a customer wanting to touch and feel the product before buying it. Visually appealing product images have the power to impress & persuade a customer into buying a product and tend to affect your website’s bounce rate and conversion rates.

Product images should not only be appealing, but also match your brand’s image and the overall aesthetics of your website. Instead of solely relying on your vendor for product images, one needs to plan and make use of the best product images that have the potential to sell. This is where professional product photographers come into play, to bring out unexplored angles of a product and visually explain the product functionality in the simplest way possible.

Through this blog post, we bring to you some of the top e-commerce product photographers in Chennai:

1. Kunal Daswani Photography

Kunal Daswani is one of the leading photographers in Chennai with a unique style and eye for detail. Much known for his fashion and commercial photography, Kunal has worked across various brands & industries. Contact Kunal: +91-9840823223

2. Prasana Photography

Specialised in advertising and commercial photography, Prasana is one of the most sought after professional photographer for major retail and corporate clients. He has won awards in recognition of his work and is now the official photo mentor of Nikon School for Tamilnadu & Pondicherry. Contact Prasanna: +91-9884878101

3. Sukil & Khushboo Photography

Sukil & Khushboo are professional photographers with experience across various fields and have assisted iconic photographers such as Iqbal Mohamed & Sundar Ram. Their strong technical knowledge and passion for the art has helped them go a long way in accomplishing projects for clients in the field of fashion, food, architecture & consumer goods. Contact Sukil & Khushboo: +91-9841226201

4. John Sudhakar Photography

Backed by a well-equipped studio and an image processing facility in Chennai, John Sudhakar has produced some of the remarkable works in the field of Photography. He’s been teaching Photography at various ad clubs &training institutes over the last few years and has represented many iconic brands photographically. Contact John: +91-9382148000

4. Dewakar Photography

Dewakar is a Chennai based professional photographer with more than 10 years of expertise in this field.
He has worked with a wide range of corporate clients as well as advertising agencies and specializes in identifying and highlighting the uniqueness of each product through his camera lens. He infact owns a product photography studio that gives him the flexibility to explore new techniques and styles. Contact Deewakar: +91-9840053133

5. Muthukannan Photography

Muthukannan is not only a successful wedding & commercial photographer in Chennai, but is also known for his photography institute called the Visualite Academy. He strongly believes that a good product photograph can increase its chances of selling and uses his several years of experience in creating the right product portfolio for his clients. Contact Muthukannan: +91-9790836256

Are there any other Product Photographers that you know of and we've missed them in our list?
Do write to us or share their details in the 'Comments' section below.


Facebook announces product ads for ecommerce

  • Rohit Uttamchandani
  • |
  • 18 February , 2015
  • |
    • 1 min read

Facebook has announced that they will shortly be introducing product ads, wherein advertisers can showcase and promote multiple products and even entire product catalogs through ads on the social network. This seems to be great news for advertisers, especially for ecommerce companies as this will enable more products to be shown to a wider audience.

 

[caption id="attachment_16798" align="aligncenter" width="619"] Image Courtesy - Facebook for Business[/caption]

 

Quoting from the announcement,

“Product ads can be customized for use throughout the customer journey, from discovery/awareness through purchase. Here are some options:

Advertisers can automatically reach people who visited their website/app (via Custom Audiences), or reach people based on specific interests, locations, etc.

Advertisers can curate ads as they see fit. For instance, they can highlight products that were viewed on their website/mobile app or showcase best selling products. Or they can create a multi-product ad that highlights the different benefits of a single product.”

Advertisers can upload entire product catalogs and then use advanced Facebook Ads targeting techniques to reach the right customers who would be interested in those products.

We can’t wait to try out this new feature and share our experience on the results acheived. Do share your experience with it as well.


5 tips to boost ROI for ecommerce

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 31 October , 2014
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    • 2 min read

According to a recent Adobe survey, more than 50% of businesses spend less than 5% of their marketing budgets on optimizing the campaigns. Though it is important for all businesses, it becomes critical in case of an ecommerce business. When an ecommerce business spends more than 90% of the marketing budget to drive visitors to their website, isn’t it really important to make the most out of these visitors coming on to your website.

  • Ability to trigger an impulse sale online - The offline retailers have mastered the art over time by keeping the products like chocolates around the payment counter to trigger the impulse purchase. Can you replicate it offline? When the visitor comes to the website and browses through the products, can you give an impression that this particular product would not be there up for sale forever at the same price? Some call-to-actions such as Limited Time Deals, Time-cutoff for shipping, dynamic pricing, etc. can be tried out to instill a sense of urgency to trigger
  • Improve the quality of traffic coming to the website - Consider this case: You are an online retailer dealing only in cricket equipment and you are targeting keywords like sports equipment in Chennai to drive traffic to your site. This would help bring lot of traffic but the traffic quality would not be great as it would include visitors searching for equipment for other sports. Hence, it becomes very important to attract the “right” traffic.
  • Make the navigation easy and intuitive - Easy messaging and navigability for a visitor on your website increases the conversion rates massively. When a user lands on your website, he should be able to quickly understand what the site has to offer and able to access what he needs in as few steps as possible aided by the clear call-to-actions.
  • Identify and address the pain points - Simple tweaks like highlighting the “Free & Easy Returns” or “Free Shipping” can convince online shoppers who are on the verge of conversion but not sure about the hassles of online shopping.
  • Make trust signals prominent - Trust clearance is a very important step in the conversion funnel. Even if the product and pricing passes the user test, if trust factor is missing, then it will be difficult to make the user convert. Positive reviews or testimonials, certifications, verified payment badges and awards won, if any, can help convey the right signals.

Flipkart’s Big Billion Day Sale – Are the discounts real?

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 6 October , 2014
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    • 2 min read

In order to cash in on the festive season, the online shopping portal Flipkart has started its “Big Billion Day” Sale from 8 am today. Flipkart's Big Billion Day sale will run till 10th October. The date for the sale to begin 6/10 gains significance as 610 was the flat room number from which Sachin & Binny Bansal started Flipkart in 2007.

There are multiple attractive deals in different buckets like Steal Deals, Limited Stock Offers, Save More, Upcoming Deals & Partner Offers. There would also be Lucky Draws every hour.

Heavy discounts are being offered on smartphones and laptops. Nokia Lumia 525 offered at 90% discount, went out of stock within a couple of mins. Samsung Galaxy Tabs & Kodak Cameras were also sold out within minutes of opening the sale. Today we will also see the launch of brands like Alcatel OneTouch Fire C and Lenovo Vibe Z2, exclusively on Flipkart. Some of the good deals on offer with the starting prices available on different sites at 12 pm today, are shown below:

There is a big disclaimer attached to the items purchased as part of the Big Billion Day sale. Flipkart has already conveyed that there will be no refunds or cancellations for the items purchased as part of the Big Billion Day sale.

Within a couple of hours of the sale going live, there has been an outcry on the social media sites like Twitter due to lots of products throwing up errors on the face of immense traffic on the website. Numerous products have already sold out.

What do you make of the sale? Is it an attractive marketing plan? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below


Top venue booking websites in India

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 12 July , 2014
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    • 4 min read

How many days have you roamed in Mumbai to just check out various marriage halls in Andheri for your sister’s marriage or banquets halls in Mumbai for a grand party? Looking up venues for events can be a frustrating task that can go on for days searching for venues across the city and then narrowing down on the options based on your various parameters like pricing, facilities, size, etc. What if most of these details are given to you on a platter? Many venue-booking companies help you book your venues for a large variety of events-custom to your needs like marriage halls in Mumbai, conference rooms in Delhi to banquet halls in Chennai.

1. Reserv.Place

Based out of Chennai, Reserv.Place is a marketplace community that brings people & property owners together on the same platform. It allows you to list, discover and book your event venues online with the click of your computer or from a mobile phone - be it for a wedding, birthday or for your office party. With its world-class customer service and a growing community of trusted users, Reserv.Place deserves to be at the top of the list.

2. Build My Event

Based out of Mumbai, Build My Event is a premium one-stop destination for booking your venue for all kind of events. They connect event planners directly with the venue managers to help them book banquet halls, party halls and business venues in and around Mumbai. Their USP is quick response (24*7) and transparent pricing with no hidden costs involved.

Build My Event has also started actively promoting the website and services on social media. It is their interesting content strategy that stands out. The articles on their blog have content to really make you read one article after another – ranging from places to hangout if you want to meet a Bollywood star to Ideas for a perfect wedding. Such content not only engages the visitors to their website but also helps them showcase their expertise with articles like Best sea-facing venues in Mumbai, Tips to select an event venue, etc. Their “mumbai meri jaan” contest on social media was also a hit with more than 200 entries for the contest.

3. BigFDay

 

From Wedding Halls to Conference Rooms to Birthday Party Halls, BigFDay is a platform that lets you book venues with just a few clicks. Currently operating only in Chennai, BigFDay works with over 500+ venues and 100s of professionals in the event industry. Be it a wedding, birthday party, corporate event or just a night out with friends, BigFDay is the ideal platform to book venues.

4. Urban Restro

Urban Restro is an online booking platform ranging from wedding, cocktail party to conferences. Their USP is their website - good in terms of user experience and visual appeal. Currently, they are operational in 3 cities – Ahmedabad, Pune & Mumbai. They allow you to search and make free reservations with a click of a mouse. They are promoting their website on social media channels and have also started conducting food workshops & festivals across the city.

5. Just Dial

Justdial provides fast, reliable and comprehensive information to the users. Their main USP is their large database, apart from the large number of reviews. But they are limited to listings only, in most of the cases, and that somehow constrains their ability to explore this space. Further, considering the volume of reviews they have, filtering out spam reviews and calls have become a challenge for Justdial. They also have a mobile app, that offers information on the move.

The social media presence of the above websites are as shown below:

The next time you are in need of any help for venue booking for any event, be it banquet halls in Mumbai, resorts near Mumbai or marriage halls in Andheri, you know where to search for. These venue listing and booking companies have really made our life easy – from scouring through multiple venues in the sun, we can sit in the shade of our homes / office and get it done in a matter of minutes.

Note: Social Beat is currently working with Build My Event & Reserv.Place


eBay India Online Business Index

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 27 December , 2013
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    • 4 min read

eBay, India’s largest eCommerce marketplace, recently unveiled India’s first Online Business Index, a research report on Indian eCommerce businesses, covering both domestic and retail export entrepreneurs. The report has been compiled using a survey from over 700 of eBay India’s top sellers, who are truly passionate about the potential of ecommerce in their lives.

As 2013 draws to a close, this report gives a good insight into the major trends that have developed in the sector over the past year, the challenges it faces and the future outlook for the industry as we head into 2014.

TRENDS:

What sells most:
Electronics seem to be the most sought after goods in the online domestic market with Mobiles, Laptops & Tablets and gadget accessories making up a large quantum of sales followed by Home Décor and jewellery items.

Multi-Channel strategy:
While a majority (53%) of domestic and retail export entrepreneurs only sell online and do not have an offline presence, the remaining have adopted a multi-pronged strategy using eBay, their offline stores, own websites, other online marketplaces and their social media presence to sell their merchandise.

Confidence in E-commerce:
The major reason why the majority of domestic and retail export entrepreneurs only sell online
& do not have an offline business is that they do not need an offline store. Other reasons include the prohibitive cost of retail property rent, other costs, and the flexibility in schedule that an online store offers.

eBay India Online Business Index

Why sell Online:
Online entrepreneurs, both domestic and export, are excited about the potential of Indian eCommerce and want to gain their share of the growing market. The ability to reach a much greater number of potential customers, better profitability, flexibility with work hours and operating from home are the other reasons which motivate the sellers to sell online.

Profitability:
Savvy entrepreneurs find sales from eBay are the most profitable given the low transaction fees and that they are charged only as they successfully sell.

Healthy growth rates:
eBay entrepreneurs are overall seeing healthy eCommerce growth rates with over 36 percent of domestic sellers stating a 20 percent YoY growth rate and over 24 percent stating a 21 percent to 40 percent YoY growth rate.
eBay retail export entrepreneurs are also seeing healthy eCommerce growth rates with over 36 percent of exporters stating a 20 percent YoY growth rate and over 30 percent stating a 21 percent-40 percent YoY growth rate.
15% of domestic entrepreneurs have stated a growth rate of over 100%

Employment generation:
In terms of employment opportunities, domestic sellers and retail exporters, on an average, employ approximately 4.8 and 5.3 full time staff respectively. This number is projected to increase to 5.2 and 6.1 full time staff over the next year.

CHALLENGES:

The chief challenges that domestic retailers see which they feel could limit their growth are:
• The state of the Indian Economy
• Courier Costs
• Exchange Rates

Exporters on the other hand see these challenges ahead:
• Competition from international retailers and sellers
• Major Indian retailers moving to an online offering
• Cost of Supplies

eCommerce

FUTURE OUTLOOK

Optimism:
With 77 million Indians now visiting online shopping websites every month (Comscore) & IAMAI projecting the online shopping industry will grow to $1.8 Billion, the high levels of optimism isn’t without good reason. 89% of domestic online sellers feel optimistic about the year ahead while 3 in 5 are “very optimistic”.

Mobile Commerce:
Both domestic as well as Retail entrepreneurs are excited about the potential of mobile
commerce see it playing a very important role in their future business growth. The reason they see a role for mobile commerce in their future business strategy is that they see mobile internet coverage improving, giving more customers access to mobile commerce and hence increasing their ability to attract new customers. They plan to invest in mobile commerce in multiple ways, by leveraging eBay as a channel since it invests heavily in mobile commerce, by optimizing their online content for mobile & by marketing to customers via mobile channels.

Mobile e-commerce isn’t without its challenges. Slow mobile internet speed combined with higher costs of access and unreliable mobile internet coverage, lack of knowledge about mobile commerce and high investing costs across different mobile platforms are the major factors that these sellers see which could pose limitations to them maximizing the benefits from this sector.

Logistics:
Logistics are a major part of the ecommerce industry shipping parcels form the sellers to the consumers and also impact the seller’s bottomlines. Ebay’s sellers want their logistics partners to come up with more competitive shipping rates, faster shipping times and greater flexibility of Pick-Up service

Get the pulse of India’s growing e-commerce industry. Read this interesting and informative report here.


WE MEAN GOOD BUSINESS