ecommerce marketing

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.


Amazon Prime Air : A Revolution in Online Shopping

  • Rohit Uttamchandani
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  • 4 December , 2013
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    • 3 min read

It’s one of those lazy Sundays. You’re surfing e-commerce sites for those lovely pair of shoes you’ve always wanted. You find them! You can’t resist placing the order. Less than thirty minutes later, you hear that familiar buzzing noise outside your door. You’re overjoyed – you’re shoes have already arrived, drone-delivered. Sounds like a scene from a Science fiction movie? Not really. And, you can go ahead and pinch yourself too, because is this is no dream either. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos has revealed yesterday that they are developing a drone-based delivery system called Amazon Prime Air, the goal of which is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones.

As soon as your order is placed, it is packed in record time in one of Amazon’s 96 massive warehouses worldwide, also known as fulfillment centers - each about 1.2 million square feet in area – the size of 20 football fields! These will then be put on a delivery carousel from where they will be picked up by the drones – eight rotor helicopters which Bezos calls an “octocopter."  These will then be instructed to deliver at designated GPS co-ordinates. They will be able to deliver within a 10 km radius and safely carry about 5 pounds in weight, which as per Bezos, accounts for about 86 percent of the items Amazon delivers.

This delivery system could account for massive reductions in Carbon emissions by reducing the number of delivery trucks doing the rounds. Further, they use electric motors which make them even greener.

However, for those of you expecting to be drone-delivered your orders tomorrow, Bezos says it will take a few, maybe four or five, years. The project is still on the anvil in Amazon’s next-generation R&D lab and has just about entered the experimental stage. In an interview to CBS’s 60 minutes, Bezos said the company is still working on redundancies and reliabilities and  the systems required to ensure that mishaps like the drone landing on somebody’s head while they’re walking around the neighborhood don’t happen. Get a sneak peek of Amazon Prime Air in the video below.

Apart from this, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations currently prohibit use of drones for commercial purposes. However, these are expected to change when a new set of rules for unmanned aircraft come into place by 2015. Security implications will have to be considered too. But Bezos is optimistic, telling 60 minutes, “Could it be, you know, four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it's going to be a lot of fun.”

Amazon is a pioneer in the field of e-commerce and has been the poster boy of e-commerce success ever since its inception almost two decades ago. Known for its innovative ways and attempts to streamline their processes and ensure the best service, this new innovation from the Amazon stable comes as no surprise. Also, coming within just a few days of Operation Blue Virus exposing the misuse of Social Media for nefarious reasons; drones, earlier synonymous with attacks causing death and destruction, now being used to make life easier and more convenient just goes to reiterate the fact that any technological advancement, used correctly, responsibly and ethically can be used to work wonders.


Infographic: Online Marketing by South Indian Jewellers

  • surendhar
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  • 17 September , 2013
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    • < 1 min read

South India has been the biggest region for gold consumption in the country for many years now. Purchasing gold continues to be a tradition and is considered as the safest investment for people. Chennai, Coimbatore, Kochi and Thrissur together account for nearly 20 % of the annual gold demand. Jewellers are utilizing this opportunity and expanding their foothold in South by opening more showrooms  and  leveraging their social media presence to engage with the consumers.

At the moment only Facebook is significantly used to promote new products, to carry out festival contests and to interact with the consumers. Kalyan Jewellers – 209,000 likes, Joyalukkas – 66,000 likes and Jos Alukkas – 51,000 likes are among the largest contributors on Facebook. Even the big players are yet to explore other networking tools like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Google Plus and LinkedIN. Gehna with 30+ fans and Malabar Gold with 350+ followers are one of the few jewellers using Google Plus and LinkedIN to build a strong network of customers. Joyalukkas, GRT and Jos Alukkas upload videos (though, not frequently) in their YouTube channels to cater to their 700+ subscribers.

E-Commerce is another area that is picking up with jewelry houses and increasingly we see many showcasing and selling online. Online presence is supporting offline purchasing in a big way , with social media and digital marketing  being the greater influencers on customers.


Infographic on Digital Marketing by Jewelers in India

  • Suneil Chawla
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  • 26 July , 2013
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    • < 1 min read

Indian Jewellers are known to build an emotional connect with consumers. With the emergence of e-retailers for jewellery like BluestoneCaratlane, offline jewellers have taken notice of the online potential and have been quickly ramping up their efforts to connect with the online consumer. Highly personalised jewellery stores like Gehna in Chennai now provide high quality experience to customers to discover unique jewellery designs or even let them customise their jewelery. In the infographic, we look at the efforts being made by some of the larger jewellers on the social media strategy.

In the next infographic, we shall cover in detail, the leading jewellers in South India and Chennai, and the best practices in their social media strategy.


Amazon India tries to capture the 50m userbase & 10,000 cr market

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 5 June , 2013
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    • 3 min read

 

The digital commerce market in India was valued at INR 47,349 Crores in 2012 and is expected to grow by 33 percent. It is undoubtedly the fastest growing online market in the last 12 months when compared with the other BRIC Countries. According to the latest Digital Commerce Report, by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International.

The report finds that while Online Travel, which includes booking rail, air, bus tickets, hotel accommodations and tour packages comprised a majority 71 percent of the whole Digital-Commerce market in 2012,E-Tailing, which includes purchases of various consumer products/services such as electronics, apparels, footwear, jewellery, home & kitchen appliances, consumer durables, furnishings, constituted only 16 percent of the overall share. This is the segment which all ecommerce companies including Amazon India are trying to target.

Financial Services, which include services such as paying insurance premiums and renewals, paying utility and mobile bills, trading shares and securities amounted to 6 percent of the overall share. B2B and B2C Classifieds (jobs, matrimony, car, real estate etc.) contributed 5 percent, whereas other online services such as online entertainment ticketing, online food delivery, buying discounts/deals/vouchers etc. constituted 2 percent of the overall digital commerce market in 2012.

With more and more people planning their payments and Financial services online, market was valued at INR 2,886 Crores in 2012 and is expected to grow by 25 percent and reach to INR 3,607 Crores by the end of year 2013. According to the report, Classifieds market has seen a significant growth and has reached INR 2,354 Crores in 2012. Classifieds as a category has grown with a CAGR of 45 percent growth from 2009 and is expected to grow by another 30 percent to INR 3,061 Crores by 2013.

Online travel industry in India has on an average grown by 32 percent from INR 14,953 Crores in 2009 to INR 34,544 Crores in 2012 and is estimated to grow by another 30 percent and be valued at INR 44,907 Crores by the end of December 2013. The travel industry also sees interesting fact about the average cart value of goods purchased ranging from 17$ in IRCTC to about 204$ and 166$ in Make my trip and Yatra.com respectively.

The E-Tailing category has grown from INR 1,550 Crores in the year 2009 to INR 6,454 Crores in year 2012. With the entry of the world's largest online retailer, Amazon through the launch of its online marketplace in India, Amazon.in and hundreds of start ups emerging, this category is estimated to grow by 55 percent and cross INR 10,000 crores by the end of 2013 December.

India represents Amazon's tenth marketplace where buyers can browse through a catalogue of 7 million books and 12,000 movies titles initially. The company is planning to expand its product footprint to cameras, mobiles and other electronics devices.

With the Digital commerce market having so much to offer to the country, one could only see internet and Ecommerce reaching not just the metropolitans and the major cities in India but also hitting the Indian Villages soon. Of course, it comes with its humongous set of challenges forcing even Flipkart to follow a marketplace (no-inventory) model. For now, its time to watch the big players battle it out in the ecommerce market


The Last Barrier: the e-commerce cart abandonment

  • Abhishek Kumar
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  • 16 May , 2013
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    • 3 min read

Cart abandonment has proved to be one of the major pitfalls of ecommerce companies in India over their brick-and-mortar counterparts because there is no stigma attached to dropping your basket at the cash counter in online retail. In a physical store, though there is no one stopping us from dropping the shopping cart at the cash counter but the associated embarrassment or stigma is enough to prevent us from doing that.

In case of window-shopping, abandonment rate is not necessarily an indicator of success/failures of an ecommerce website. The aim may be to just browse through, compare and check out different offerings of various sites. There is very high probability that such customers are going to abandon the basket. Then, it becomes very essential to develop proper metrics for analyzing the behavior and predict personalized offers / deals to attract those customers, through retargeting platforms like Google & Adroll.

Firstly, there has to be an acknowledgement of the fact that a particular basket has been dropped. Generally as an online retailer, we might be tempted to consider an abandoned basket as a case of delayed purchase. That may be a highly optimistic assumption that disregards this fact- there could have been a cheaper deal he/she may have got from a competitor. But it is not the case every time. There has been a fair number of conversions if the visitor has returned to buy the product within a short period. So, we need to consider a timeframe to allow the time for comparison of parameters but post that period, we may take certain steps to push our product.

Retargeting in combination with Email and Sms marketing to retarget the cart droppers via incremental offers & deals can make huge difference; but look out for dupers who deliberately drop the basket to get deals; may go for a cap provision like at max 2 deals every 3 months.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment

Lets look at some of the most prominent reasons that may result in high number of basket abandonments, especially from an Indian context:

  • Hidden charges like high shipping costs: One-off such incident on a website for the visitor himself/his friend for the matter, creates suspicion every single time he plans to purchase a product on the website. The costs of having hidden charges is much more than its worth. This could also be in the form of Cash on Delivery charges.
  • Concerns about payment security: Indian market is a nascet ecommerce market; so it is something that would take time to develop as far as the entire market is concerned. But as an ecommerce player, few steps like providing details like guaranteed delivery date, expedited delivery services and greater variety of payment channels. The website can also focus on more visibility to security logos and authentications for payment transaction. In a growing market like India, Cash-on-delivery seems to be a great way to draw buyers towards online purchases, though it may hit the bottom line.
  • Forced registration: Having long, multiple-page registration forms is one of the biggest culprits responsible for abandonment of the basket. Instead, we recommend single page checkout for our clients, followed by the secure payment gateway.
  • Technical problems like slow website response / mobile incompatibility: If any ecommerce company has not heeded required attention on this aspect of this website, no matter how good is the look-and-feel of the website, it still does not make sense if the visitor is going to require ages to complete the process. Quick website response and mobile & tablet responsive websites are a must in the age of iPad and smartphone. Though the % of transactions via mobile/tablet is perhaps less than 5% but increasingly consumers are using tablets to complete their transactions.

Last but not the least, retarget the abandoners quickly as they are more likely to buy than first timers. But there is a need to not overdo it. Analyze the consumers purchase profile to trace any attempts of deliberate abandonment due to the probability of getting a better offer next time.

You can also read our Ecommerce Case Study.

More to follow in the coming days on Retargetting and techniques for digital advertising in India.


Should E-Commerce in India position itself for women?

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • 9 April , 2013
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    • < 1 min read

In a recent article on this subject, Damodar Mall (Currently Director, food strategy at the Future Group) said to Forbes India that "Ecommerce is a new game for everyone. People will have to try different things. In the grocery space, I would like to say that most of e-commerce is imagined by men and designed by men. As long as you do that, I believe you cannot crack most categories except for a few like gadgets. Till you design it for women customers and till the woman customer bites into it, they won’t succeed. It has to be e-commerce later and shopping first. Right now, it is for men and by men"

In our view, women love shopping (in India or otherwise). The question is how do you create the WOW experience online. She loves window shopping, trying out clothes and looking at new designs, colours etc. So how do you create this intimate shopping experience. Moreover, its a social activity. So how do you create an interface which tries to replicate the experience online. Ofcourse for a category like grocery, Damodar Mall might have a different take but for lifestyle products creating a social shopping experience is essential.

Read the entire Forbes article here.



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