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Omni channel – the inevitable future of retailing

June 12, 2017 No comments
Download PDFAs the years pass by, consumers are getting smarter when it comes to shopping. Be it the latest smartphone or most fashionable clothing, consumers have more than one way of going about it. Brands are now not only restricted by a single channel of retail (visiting the physical outlet to purchase a product).

We are slowly shifting into the digital age, an age where we’re very dependent on the technology that surrounds us, mainly the technology that our mobile phones and laptops are capable of. Your wish can turn into a command by just the click of a button or tap on your screen.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, consumers have gained more power when it comes to buying. And that power lays within their fingertips, courtesy the burst of eCommerce retailing. Customers can preview, assess and buy products of their choice from the convenience of their mobile screens and laptops.

And the number of people jumping onto the eCommerce bandwagon is only going to increase. According to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Indian shopper not only considers price, but convenience as well to determine a retailer’s value. This study was administered to understand the shopper’s consumption behavior with the use of different retailing channels. [1]

The report supports the fact that the frequency of online shopping in India is increasing, and will continue to do so. [1]

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Respondents from India also displayed a greater acceptance for mobile/ smartphone based payments. This only further justifies the point that mobile devices are being preferred as the primary purchase activity tools. [1]

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Obviously, there remains that group of people who prefer the hands-on experience of buying through the retail outlets. However, a continuous problem faced by them is the unavailability of their preferred products. Currently in most such situations the consumer would have to forget about all the effort taken for buying a product in-house and start their research from scratch  to accomplish the objective through eCommerce. This leads to a very broken experience for that particular brand.

Brands now have various channels of retailing – outlets, online stores and social media, too, to name a few. This multi-channel approach, although effective in its own right, leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily, a multi-channel approach doesn’t deliver a consistent message to the customer across all media. The objective now is to provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumer.

This is where omni-channel comes out on top. It seems that the terms multi-channel and omni-channel are interchangeable, but they’re not. There’s one major difference. Think of multi-channel as numerous swimming lanes – each channel of a particular brand will fulfill the aim of satisfying the customer’s experience, but all channels work mutually exclusive of each other, which leads to a fragmented overall experience. Omni-channel, in comparison, would be a spider-web, where the various channels are integrated with one another. This gives the consumer the same idea of a particular brand, no matter which mode of retailing he/she uses.

From major  footwear brands to the top electronic appliance providers, all understand the importance of a smooth customer outing, be it offline or online. So, you can start your research from the internet, find something you really like, head over to the brand’s physical outlet to get a feel of your purchase and place your order, and complete your transaction online. Giving them a homogenous experience throughout all channels opens up potential avenues for a larger customer base.

Take Gap Inc. for example. It set up several omni-channel strategies, which led to a visible success. Having launched a ship-from-store service, Gap Inc. was able to fulfill orders made online through their store inventories. This not only meant a wider range on the Internet, but it also improved responsiveness in delivery. Furthermore, its “find in store” (informs consumers of the closest store) and “reserve in store” (customers can reserve up to 5 items to try at the nearest outlet) services only further enhanced customer care while also integrating the store and digital channels of retail. Gap Inc. received a positive response and in view of that, in 2014 they expanded the “reserve in store” service to all the outlets in the U.S.

Macy’s is another omni-channel success story, so much so that it is widely regarded as the United States’ poster boy for omni-channel. Macy’s set up their omni-channel strategy in 2008; it included same-day deliveries for products ordered online (from physical stores), as well as clothing sales promotions customized according to the consumer’s requirements and preferences. Their belief in the omni-channel way is so strong that they now have a dedicated Chief Omni-channel Officer as an official position.

The greatest story in this is that it’s bringing online and offline closer than ever. Earlier, it was believed that an online purchase was a deterrent to the retail outlet (and vice versa). But now, thanks to omni-channel marketing, it creates a chance for cross-channel sales.

Omni-channel has been doing the rounds in the Indian retail industry for quite a while now. However, it has been largely misunderstood or misinterpreted by the Indian retailing world.

India is the world’s second largest consumer market, with retail developing in India by leaps and bounds. It is forecasted that retail will grow from being a $600 million industry in 2015 to a $1 trillion one by the year 2020. Moreover, India has rapidly climbed up to become Asia’s fastest growing eCommerce market, scoring a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 44% in comparison to the overall average CAGR of 28%. The foundation has been set, it’s just a matter of time that it grows into the Indian retail way of life.

By the end of 2019 the number of online buyers in India will reach the 125 million mark, according to a study by Forrester (Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast, 2014 to 2019). The internet is expected to influence around $70 billion of retail sales in 2019 (in India) – this is 30% of the overall (organized) Indian retail market. Also according to another analysis by Forrester, 29% of surveyed retail consumers shop online once a month (at least), while 22% state that they do the same every week.

This shift in the mindset of Indian consumers clearly points in the direction of implementing an omni-channel strategy for Indian retailers. But before that can be achieved, but a sound understanding and expertise in channeling such a strategy to the most effective use is the need of the hour.

ND Commerce is one such player who can help retailers and merchants set up an omni-channel business. They believe in the provision of a more integrated and continuous customer experience and help brands set up the omni-channel aspect of their model.

ND Commerce enables the customer to make a purchase through either one of the following ways:
  1. Through the brand’s online web-store using a laptop or mobile phone.
 
  1. The consumer can also contact ND Commerce and place their order for a brand’s product, and it will be delivered to your door-step with options of secure online payment or cash on delivery.
 
  1. This one’s the most impressive – imagine that you’ve researched about a branded product online, but when you make your way to their retail store you find that it’s either unavailable or out of stock. In times like these, ND Commerce makes sure you receive that product, irrespective of the stock available.
A couple of examples should help you get a clearer idea as to what ND Commerce does with respect to omni-channel. As an offline distribution solution, a leading footwear brand tied up with a renowned retailer. When it comes to footwear, size is the champion; this was the focus of the brand’s challenge – potential customers walk in to the store and exit disappointed on finding that their size isn’t available. ND Commerce developed a simple solution – a customer visiting the retail store can communicate the unavailability of the appropriate size to the store manager. The store manager, in turn, logs into a central inventory system, places the order according to the customer’s preference and ND Commerce makes sure the product is delivered to the consumer without any problem.

Similarly, one of the most well-known appliances brand took the omni-channel route thanks to ND Commerce. The story’s straightforward – log in to the brand’s online store, check features (and other related content) of a particular item, book the order, and ND Commerce passes it on to the closest distributor, who then delivers the order. This was only possible through complete knowledge of stock statements of all warehouses, as well as making sure only products pertaining to a  specific pin code are displayed.

You may not see the benefit at first, but what this does for ND Commerce is that it not only leaves the customer satisfied, but it also gives rise to the possibility that the customer becomes an advocate of that brand, thereby leading to more customers.

There is no doubt that we are moving into an age where digital will be the order of the day. And omni-channel being one piece of this big puzzle is a sign of change in buying behavior. More importantly, ND Commerce is surely helping the cause.

Author: Rohit Shiva – rohit@ndcommerce.inread more
AsifOmni channel – the inevitable future of retailing

How to Sell amazingly on Flipkart

December 19, 2016 No comments
Download PDFWith the online retail domain expanding by leaps and bounds, it is not surprising to find sellers wanting to grab their piece of the pie and sell on Flipkart or selling through well-known portals accessed by lakhs of urban users daily. Top of this list are ecommerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart that have many diligent customers, who shop everything from groceries to clothes, online. Why Flipkart? As mentioned above, Indian ecommerce site Flipkart is extremely credible and has an extensive reach, when compared to other retailers in the online space. Their website quotes more than 7 crore users spread across a 1000 cities in India, with excellent shipment and product quality records. This makes selling on Flipkart an excellent business move for any manufacturer or trader to sell on flipkart. Eligibility to sell on Flipkart The company has set a few eligibility criteria to register a seller, before he/she can sell their products on flipkart. These include:
  • 100% genuinely of product – No services allowed
  • Mandatory PAN card – Both of the owner and the company he wishes to associate with the site
  • VAT/TIN number
  • Valid current account along with KYC documents as requested by the bank
  • At least 10 different products selected for sale
  • Address and identity proof
With these, a manufacturer or trader can register himself and his company with Flipkart through their portal for new seller associates (www.seller.flipkart.com). Post approval, they need to then upload their productlist, one by one, while carefully mentioning details and categorising it as per the structure of the site. When a customer orders the said product, the seller is to pack it and update the status as ‘Ready to ship’, based on which, Flipkart’s logistics partners will ensure smooth pick up from the seller and drop at the customer’ delivery address. The seller receives the payment through Flipkart within one to two weeks for the dispatched order. Pricing details Selling on Flipkart comes at a cost. Given the user base and logistics arrangements, most sellers do not mind paying for selling on flipkart. The various components of pricing levied on the seller are:
  • Commission fee: This is the direct commission the site takes based on the product being sold. There is no fixed portion and the percentage varies from one product category to another.
  • Shipping fee : Usually taken directly from the customer, it depends on the weight of the product and locations of the seller and customer
  • Collection fee : Usually INR 20 for pickup from seller
  • Fixe fee : Is a fixed amount based on the product vertical
  • Service Tax : As applicable by government norms
Advantages of selling on Flipkart
  • The first advantage of selling on Flipkart is of course the reach and the ready customer base provided by the site. There is no extra marketing required to ‘pull’ customers to buy the product or pay commissions to be listed on this online marketplace.
  • The site also allows the seller to set the price for the product, keeping in mind Flipkart’s commissions, product demand and competition.
  • Flipkart Advantage, where sellers can choose to stock their products with Flipkart for a price and ensure proper maintenance, packaging and feedback.
  • Regular spike sales ensure fast movement of products and excellent focused marketing
  • Another main advantage is the eradication of the delivery and logistics hassle for the seller as Flipkart arranges for the product to be picked up and delivered through their logistics network.
  • Assured payment within a week or two is also an added advantage for a manufacturer or trader. The Seller Protection Fund (SPF) mentioned in the agreement with the seller ensures the seller is protected in case there is product damage or complaint and the fault is on the customer or the logistics partner.
  • A seller can use the network of designers available with Flipkart to help design and develop his product catalogue, with better photos and content, for easier product sale.
Based on the above advantages, it is extremely prudent to sell on Flipkart as a means of expanding one’s customer reach. Benefits of outsourcing to ND commerce:
  • Provides end-to-end ecommerce services.
  • ND commerce is genuine customized, transparent and follows a smooth flow process.
  • Technical expertise works at different e-commerce aspects such as website designing, product uploading, order processing, market places listing etc.
  • Web store set up, catalogue, content creation and management.
  • Payment gateway integration, traffic generation, payment collection, invoicing, logistics and delivery, customer service and customer retention.

ND Commerce (NDS Ecom) is a proud winner & entrant in the FLIPKART ‘Flipstars Book of Records’, in recognition of outstanding performance as a seller on Flipkart. Our teams, systems and processes are equipped to handle tight TATs, excellent service and high levels of integrity.

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AsifHow to Sell amazingly on Flipkart

Secrets Tips to Selling on Amazon

December 19, 2016 No comments
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Founded in 1994, Amazon is an ecommerce company which is the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. Amazon has separate retail websites for each country in which it has spread out. International shipping gets easier with Amazon. It acquires most of the sales from third-party sellers who sell on Amazon. Based on the reports, as of 2007 around 1.3 million sellers benefited by selling products through Amazon.

Why Sell on Amazon?
  • Selling becomes easier with Amazon.com.
  • One can start selling their product without creating a website.
  • Reaching more customers in short span of time
  • Amazon is the top in the Online ecommerce stores
How to sell on Amazon

There are certain very basic criteria that have to befulfilled to be eligible to register as a seller to sell products on Amazon.

  • Products should be genuine
  • PAN card is mandatory
  • VAT is Mandatory for all the sellers. However, for those who sell VAT exempted products it is not mandatory.
  • Proper Address and Identity proof needs to be submitted.
  • Valid Current Account with know your customer should be available.

If the above criteria are met, a seller can register in amazon with their company details, Contact details, and Basic information about the business. After registration one can list the products for selling. Customer purchases the product by choosing it from the listing. Request for shipment notification is received by the seller. Product is delivered from Seller through direct shipment or Amazon FBA.Amazon deducts its fee and deposits the fund into your bank account.

Advantages of Selling on Amazon
  • More Exposure as millions of existing customers get to see your product
  • Shipping process is fast and stress free. Amazon can fulfill the shipment if requested.
  • There is no fixed fee. We can pay only when we sell a product
  • Ship Internationally through Amazon and grow globally
  • Payments are secure and on time
  • Helping to sell on amazon with professional help
Selling on amazon comes with certain advantages.
  • Since Amazon has an existing customer base and wide reach, these websites allow sellers to grow their online presence.
  • Marketing costs are lower as Amazon takes efforts to market its website and a seller gets marketing benefits that increase the exposure of their products.
  • Selling the products across the globe and gets easier and one can test the market value of their product in different countries without major risk and strategize Sales.
  • No setup for back end including payment is required to be made as excellent setup is available with the website already.
  • Selling your products through Amazon is easier as there are millions of users trust their credibility.
  • Amazon recommends your product over other seller based on the keyword search made by customer.
Also, there are few downsides of Selling on amazon.
  • Need to compete with a lot of sellers
  • Amazon charges its fee on percentage basis on every sale, different for each category
  • Branding space is very less
  • Policies favors customers causing unfavorable state for sellers at times
  • Maintaining inventory is a challenge as we can’t predict the purchase expectations.
  • There are chances for the products to get counterfeited

Selling on Amazon helps to get an understanding of the market. If you want to compete on price, Selling on Amazonis the best option

Benefits of outsourcing to ND commerce:
  • Provides end-to-end ecommerce services.
  • ND commerce is genuine customized, transparent and follows a smooth flow process.
  • Technical expertise works at different e-commerce aspects such as website designing, product uploading, order processing, market places listing etc.
  • Web store set up, catalogue, content creation and management.
  • Payment gateway integration, traffic generation, payment collection, invoicing, logistics and delivery, customer service and customer retention.
  • Presently we are providing complete client servicing to the brands like Crocs, Lenovo, Forest essentials, htc and many more.
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AsifSecrets Tips to Selling on Amazon

Now, 15% service tax on music, e-books sold on foreign portals

November 30, 2016 No comments
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Mumbai | Source :  TOI

The next time you download music or an e-book from an overseas site, or decide to buy some storage on a cloud from an overseas service provider, beware. Beginning December 1, a service tax component of 15% will be added to your bill.Domestic suppliers, say of movies which can be downloaded by customers in India, already incur this service tax.But if the supplier is overseas, the tax doesn’t apply if the recipient is an individual, government, local body or government agency based in India. Overseas suppliers incur the service tax only in respect of B2B transactions where the recipient is in India. Further, an exemption is available in such B2B transactions if the supply is related to information databases (such as a subscription for international tax journals).

In a surprising move, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has–through four separate but interlin ked notifications dated November 9–significantly amended the `Place of Provisions of Services Rules’ (PPSR) for `online information and database access or retrieval services’, thus impacting your bill. The crux of the amendment is the change in the defini tion of `place of provision of service’. At present, if service providers are outside India, the place of provision of service is also outside and no service tax is payable on such services supplied to individuals, government and government bodies in India.

From December 1, the place of provision of a service will be the location of the service recipient. “Hence, say , all downloads in India will be subject to service tax. The amendments impact overseas companies providing various services like advertisements, web subscriptions, cloud hosting, music, e-books and gaming, to name a few. These services provided to governments and individuals were earlier not subject to service tax. They now become taxable and the overseas service provider or any intermediary or authorised representative will need to register in India and pay the service tax,“ says Sunil Gabhawalla, chartered accountant and indirect tax expert. He added, “Since the overseas service provider is likely to collect this tax from the end user who downloads these services, it will increase the cost for the consumer.“

From an industry perspective, there will be a level-playing field between domestic and overseas suppliers once the new rule comes into effect.

The definition of `online information and database access or retrieval services’ has also been changed. It now means services whose “delivery is mediated by information technology over the internet or an electronic network and the nature of which renders their supply essentially automated and involving minimal human intervention, and impossible to ensure in the absence of information technology“. According to the CBEC notification, this includes services such as internet advertising, providing cloud services, e-books, movies, music, software and other intangibles via telecomnetworks or internet, providing data or information in electronic format via a computer network and online gaming.

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adminNow, 15% service tax on music, e-books sold on foreign portals

ASSISTED ECOMMERCE—RETAINING CONSUMERS, DRIVING SALES

November 28, 2016 No comments
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There are several ways of looking at the term ‘assisted e commerce’. The typical model involves an ecommerce site assisting the customer through an offline channel. For example, the customer can walk into the physical store, check out the product specimen, and place an order for the same online with the help of the storekeeper. This works particularly when the ecommerce site wishes to expand its reach among consumers who do not have access to the internet.
The other manner in which we see assisted ecommerce making its presence felt is helping online retailers increase sales through the medium of the internet itself. This is accomplished through several customer relationship e commerce management techniques,  that are mainly conducted to increase sales and retain customers. A study has even proved that repeat customers prove to be more valuable to online retail sites as far as increased sales numbers are concerned.
e commerce management
According to this finding, if the shopper has returned to a particular online store for at least the third time they are more likely to spend five times the amount spent by a new customer. This should be reason enough to begin employing the following strategies as part of the assisted global ecommerce solution.
Email marketing
Yes, these work, but when done correctly at different points in the product purchase process.

  • Pre-purchase emailer: The Major Purchase Shopper Study 2013, conducted annually by GE Capital Retail Bank, USA, found that nearly 81 per cent customers spend a minimum of 79 days researching and gathering information about a particular product before buying it. This only means that sending an email once a week about the latest collections or promotions on the e-store will help make the customer aware and aid them in making their informed choice better.
  • Cart abandonment emailer: A consolidated figure based on 34 different studies pertaining to online cart abandonment by users has shown that 68.81 per cent users abandon their shopping carts. While the reason for this may be many, sending out cart abandonment emailers no less than two hours after the cart has been kept aside is a profitable way of making sales and retaining customers. The key is to give the mail a personal touch (mention the user’s name, the specific product abandoned, etc.) and to create a sense of urgency so as to close the deal as soon as possible. The following image serves as a good example.

Market Place Solutions

  • Post-purchase emailer: It is necessary to keep the conversation going with the customer if you want to increase the number of repeat customers your e-store has. Making use of segmented email marketing, mails can be sent to customers based on the product purchased and their demographic. It is all about pushing for the second sale and a month after the purchase has been made is a good time to send out these mailers. Repeat customers can also be engaged to join larger online campaigns run by the store via the post-purchase emails.
  • Milestone emailer: And by this we mean personalised birthday or anniversary greeting emailer. A study conducted found that personalised mails resulted in five times greater a transaction rate than the standard bulk mails.

e commerce management

  • Targeted emailers: As part of the assisted ecommerce retention of customers’ process, it is imperative to maintain a relationship with the consumer throughout their lifecycle. And thus, targeted emailers are sent out after categorising the different consumers to engage them and push for increased sales. For example, privileged offer mails to loyal consumers, reengaging dormant consumers with a ‘we miss you’ email, etc.

Live calls & online chats
Live calls and online chats were introduced to build on the need to interact among online consumers. Through live calls, queries can be answered while the transaction is taking place, saving up on time and quickening the decision-making process of the individual. Online chats are a highly convenient and effective way of providing support to the customer during the purchase of goods online. Not only does it help dissipate a buyer’s concerns with regards to a given product, but also acts as an efficient sales channels, convincing the customer and sealing deals in a matter of a few minutes. And there are quite a few statistics to prove the same:

  • A study conducted by an American independent technology and market research company found that nearly 44 per cent of consumers who shop online market place say that answering questions during the purchase process is an important feature that e commerce websites should provide.
  • Approximately 90 per cent of respondents in a the ATG Global Consumer Trends study stated that live chats are extremely helpful during online purchase and transaction.
  • According to a survey on emarketer.com, 62 per cent consumers were likely to revisit those e commerce websites that provided this live chat feature, while 38 per cent said that they actually finalized their deals during the online chat with the customer executive.

The key though is to not make the live call/chat seem robotic. This feature is popular among consumers due to the personal touch that is provided to virtual shopping and a monotonous, rehearsed conversation is not going to help the company close deals.
SMS marketing
Yes, you do not want your phone inbox to be filled with spam ie one too many promotional message. But SMS marketing is a highly influential tool in the assisted e commerce kit. SMS marketing has a high open rate, almost 90 per cent, and this figure easily beats that of email marketing. Also, a series of Neilsen Mobile studies have proven that 98 per cent of customers read an SMS within three minutes of receiving it. This means that you have a 3-minute window within which you need to compel the customer to visit your site. Make an offer the consumer can’t refuse in the first line of the message itself and you will have increased your sales figures.
Whatsapp marketing
Just a few years ago mentioning this term would cause many to raise an eyebrow. Today, with more than 700 million active users and a 70 per cent engagement rate that is higher than Facebook, marketers are continuously looking to see how this medium can be best utilised to drive sales. This becomes trickier due to the fact that WhatsApp is a personal messaging platform and consumers wouldn’t want to marketing spam messages. What do you do then? You build a fun persona of the brand that the consumers can connect with and provide speedy customer service through it. The conversion rate of consumers on the Reliance Brands’ whatsapp list was as high as 80 per cent. This included posting queries about products to be purchased and getting to know about product innovations through promotional images and videos.
Referral marketing : It is a tried and tested formula that numbers say works wonders for the brand. Matthew Stinchcomb, founder, Etsy, said 90% of their growth came from word-of-mouth alone. The New York Times is reported to have said that referrals generate nearly 65 per cent new business. A Nielsen survey back this claim by stating that 92 per cent of their study respondents claimed that they were four times more likely to buy a product if it was referred to them by a friend. As part of the assisted e commerce process, online stores must create a win-win situation for both parties—the current consumer and their referrals. For example, provide an offer to the consumer for referring their friends, who will in turn be rewarded too.

Zivame

Online retailers need strong players to manage their assisted online b2b marketplace and ND Commerce is one such company that has several years of experience in this field. Their skilled team of experts can manage these and several other assisted e commerce aspects such  as setup online store of business exceedingly well in order to help drive sales home for the parent online store.

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AsifASSISTED ECOMMERCE—RETAINING CONSUMERS, DRIVING SALES

Growing sales via market places like amazon, flipkart

June 3, 2016 No comments
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Welcome to the ND Commerce guide that is intended to help online retailers further grow their business by providing informative insights on the working of this dynamic economic sphere. And going by the numbers, the online retail sphere is only going to expand further. Here are some numbers to kick off this guide with: 80% of the population online has purchased products via the Internet, with 50% being repeat customers, and India’s ecommerce market grew by 88 percent in 2013 to USD $16 billion.

How can I grow my sales through an online marketplace?

The customer, today, is spoilt for choice when it comes to online retailing. Here’s two golden rules to follow at the onset to garner more customers and sales:

  1. Make your product image to look as glamorous as possible with a detailed description accompanying it, as this is what the customer bases his final purchase call on.
  2. Quick dispatches with proper packaging makes for a very happy customer
PRODUCT STRATEGY
Who is your customer?

The success of a product depends on its customers. So the first thing you need to do is zero down on your target market i.e. who you wish to sell your product to. Know your customers closely and not just their age, profession, location and gender. These questions could help narrow your customer base for you and help you serve their needs better:

  • What are their interests?
  • What is their spending habit like?
  • What places do they frequent?
What do your customers want?
After you have decided the customer base you want to cater to, you need to figure out the wants of your customers and how your product can specifically solve this issue. Some of the major product categories customers gravitate to are:
Draft the design brief
Now that you know what purpose your product will be serving, write out the design brief to get a better overall picture of your business and so that all the specifics are in one place. Questions you need to answer at this stage are:
  • What might the intended product be?
  • Where and how will it be used?
  • What would I need to create it?
  • What time frame do I have to create the product?
  • Does it require packaging, legal requirements, health & safety, etc.?
RESEARCH
Researching about the competition should be the next step as you need to know the standard you need to beat and maintain.
  • What products/businesses will you be going up against?
  • Why do people buy those existing products?
  • What could you do to improve them?
  • What can you do differently than your competitors?
  • Why isn’t it being done already?

Competitive research is followed by Market Research. Gaining an idea from your customer base on the product idea you are developing – suggestions and criticisms – will help you refine your design brief and get more specific in being the number one choice for your customers.

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT SUMMARY

You will need to submit different identifiers depending on the type of product you submit and the country you target. The three recommended attributes to use to boost ad performance and make it search-friendly for users is: ‘GTIN’ (Global Trade Item Number), ‘brand’, and ‘MPN'(Manufacturer Part number). You won’t be required to submit a ‘gtin’ for store brand items and for products where you are the sole seller. Specific types of products call for different set of attributes to be submitted.

Compatible products: If you sell a product that is meant to be used with another, but not necessarily from the same brand, submit the GTIN and brand from the manufacturer who actually built the compatible product.

Multipacks: A merchant-defined pack of several individually packed identical items sold as a unit. Use the unique product identifiers that relate to the multipack, and not the items contained within.

Bundles: A merchant-defined bundle is a customized group of different products defined by the merchant and sold together for a single price. Along with the unique product identifier of the main item in the bundle, include the ‘is bundle’ attribute in your data too.

Customizations:If you offer customization, engraving, or other product personalization, submit the GTIN and use the ‘is bundle’ attribute.

LISTINGS The launch of Product Listing Ads by Google in India means a richer product information can be provided – product image, price, merchant name – without needing additional keywords or ad text. Above is an example of Product Listing Ads

PRODUCT SELECTION
Your site needs to make the problem-solving decision of the consumer purchase process as simple and straight-to-the-point as possible. You need to be able to show your customer the right product at the best price they would purchase it at. Your product selection goals for customers thus should include:
  • Helping your customers select the best product for them
  • Providing a price that meets their budget
  • Convincing them that they have made the right decision
Here are some methods to help you achieve these goals:

1. Listing products and sort order

This is the most basic method where the products and their features are listed. Customers can compare different products and their elements to find what best suits their needs. You can improve on this aspect by choosing which product information is most relevant and control the sorting order by creating one based on some particular product characteristic. Providing options within the sort order to suit the customer’s needs, such switching from lowest to highest price points, viewing the latest products first enables them to make the purchase decision quicker. Further on, we will also look at tools such as categorization, filters, search, etc. that will make the product sorting process even more specific.

  • Specific product recommendations
  • Recommending certain products to customers, based on sales numbers or page views, generates great interest among those visiting your site and helps in the purchase decision-making process. Specific product recommendations are of great help when the product range contains a large number of product as it narrows down the best options for the customer.

    2. The fold and “call to action”

    Category pages are special pages that help your customers select from just a specific set of products. Category pages are most effective when they use all three tools of selection support: product listing, narrowing down options, and specific product recommendations. You can also design your category pages to resemble separate home pages or landing pages in order to make it more interesting and attractive for your customer.

    COMPETING ON MARKETPLACES

    Competition on the online retail marketplace has grown bigger than ever! According to Google India, there were 35 million online shoppers in India in 2014 Q1. This number is expected to cross the 100 million mark by end of 2016.Small sellers with a low budget stop themselves from selling on these marketplaces, afraid that they will be eaten up by the competition.

    Key Performance Metrics Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide internal and external clients with actionable metrics in easily accessible, customizable formats to increase the effectiveness of their operations. What differentiates KPIs from the wealth of metrics that can be generated from any business is that key leading and lagging indicators can be used to reflect the strategic performance of the organization here.Critical questions to consider when developing your KPIs include:

    1. How does this measure contribute to the strategic goals?
    2. Is it quantifiable?
    3. Is the data currently available?
    4. Can current performance, benchmarks, and target values be defined?
    5. How will it be used as a management tool?
    6. What is the high level plan for the establishment of reporting?
    7. Is there an outline for how continuous improvement activities will be implemented?
    8. Has a cascading plan to all levels of the organization been developed?
    Pricing strategy on marketplaces

    Low prices are generally encouraged from the marketplace seller point of view since there is no cost of goods, postage, packaging or warehousing to pay for. And profits can thus be guaranteed even at low price points. This also helps pull in more customers who are more likely to add more items to their cart due to the low price point. This poses a challenge for the sellers, however, since competition can be fierce and margins can be quickly consumed by under-cutting from other sellers. Repricing software from third party vendors alerts sellers about competition that has entered with low prices. In many cases, one can automatically adjust the pricing to remain competitive.

    PRODUCT PROMOTION About 75 percent of online Indian shoppers are 35 years old or younger.Ecommerce is a super competitive industry and ecommerce companies need to pull in huge efforts to sustain their customer base. While digital marketing is the most essential tool to promote your online products, it is also necessary to run and maximize digital marketing campaigns. The few promotional tools you can make use of include:
    • Social media:Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, etc. are very effective ways to engage your existing audience/customers and expand your consumer set.
    • Target Advertising:Target advertising can be carried out in the form of Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and Pinterest.
    • Ratings, Reviews and Testimonials:Ratings and reviews are a major source to direct traffic to your website. Testimonials act as facilitators for future sales as positive reviews encourage other consumers to buy from your site without any worry.
    • Offers and Competitions:Gaining new customers is more likely to place by holding competition and offering discounts.

    Do’s and don’ts DO max out your email allowance if they are available on your marketplace of choice. DO use short-term discounting to encourage your products to appear in the automated promotion slots. DO use your inventory template to set up browsing associations for your products. DO find out your short URL on each marketplace and use this to promote your store front. DO NOT be tempted to market to customers products outside of the marketplace or inside the order packaging.

    SELLING INTERNATIONALLY The weak Rupee position and low labour costs can be maximized internationally only when the domestic sales have been solidified. There are quite a few reasons that you might decide to start selling abroad; it could be to sell seasonal stock that you’ve bought for a domestic event or sell the excess stock from Diwali for the Christmas collection showcased internationally. Selling internationally also helps a company increase its margin by avoiding the price wars at home.

    Where to start selling abroad Identify the target market internationally for whom you will select the product without too much hassle, and get paid quickly.

    Export Shipments Shipping products internationally depends on several factors. If you ship the items individually, you will have to concern yourselves with how you will process refunds. ‘Bad buyers’ may claim that the product received doesn’t match the description and you will have to ship another product. Time and cost are two major risk factors here.

    Customs and Taxes| You need to obtain a Business Identification Number(BIN) from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade prior to filing of shipping bill for clearance of export goods. You have to get the authorized foreign exchange dealer code (through which export proceeds are expected to be realized) and open a current account in the designated bank for credit of any drawback incentive. Exports are also exempt from consumption tax.

    For more information regarding this matter, visit: Indian Customs and Excise Gateway (ICEGATE) and Central Board of Excise and Customs.

    AVAILABLE SUPPORT Social media, press releases, advertisements, etc. are a few ways in which an online retailer can establish contact with potential clients. A few specific options include:

    Marketplaces:It is here that the business gets noticed, clients are attracted and a regular flow of orders begin. The digital boom in India has made it necessary for businesses to go online and sell on amazon, flipkart, snapdeal etc.

    Service providers: You may consider employing online service providers if you cannot manage listings and order data across multiple sales channels.

    Industry communities and blogs: This helps in getting in touch with customers and finding out how the product has fared, their reaction, and most importantly, are they happy with the end result.

    Industry organizations:Organizations like ND Commerce offer support for your online selling success. ND Commerce provides help with setting up new products on amazon, flipkart, snapdeal using GTINs, and will you keep up-to-date with industry standards and developments.

    HOW ND COMMERCE CAN HELP FURTHER If you have any questions about the content in this guide, you can contact the ND Commerce service team. Please note, however, that each marketplace has different rules and expectations in terms of how merchants should operate.It would thus be best to approach the specific marketplace directly.
    Mukund Malagi Director E : mukund@ndslindia.com M : +91 9324808080read more
    Abhoy BanerjeeGrowing sales via market places like amazon, flipkart

    SmartPhones in the Indian Market

    March 30, 2016 No comments
    Download PDFIt isn’t a hidden truth anymore that the smartphone market provides to be one of the most substantial businesses at the moment. The competition is fierce among the big game players to increase its customer base as well as have a strong hold within the market. India is a major market for smartphones. India has inched past the US to become the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone user base in the world with the base crossing 220 million users. This speaks volume for the scale India market provides for any player in the mobile connected ecosystem. It is estimated that the value of smartphones sold last year was anywhere between Rs. 75,000 crores to Rs. 80,000 crores. The growth in the smartphone market was helped by vendors using online retail or “eTail” to penetrate the market. Listed below are some of the few major companies who have been dominating the Indian market for some time now. Samsung Samsung wasn’t as popular as now. The South Korean based company struggled to keep up with the smartphone market, but now they have progressed so much that they are the main competitor of Apple Inc. Samsung’s market share in the smartphone’s segment in India went up from 35.1 percent to 45.9 percent during 2015. It has an overall market share of 44 percent across all segments. Samsung with 18 4G devices account for 62 percent market share. The company was focusing on 4G, which was growing rapidly and consumers were migrating from 2G and 3G. The R&D team is based in Chennai, Bengaluru and Noida. Samsung is manufacturing all mobile phones across all segments, except Gear S2 and Gear VR, in India. “We strengthened our device portfolio across price categories, which has resulted in a strong market share,” said Asim Warsi, vice president of marketing for IT and mobiles at Samsung India. Samsung caters to its demographic. They offer better features for a lesser price and this is exactly what goes with the Indian market. HTC HTC compared to Micromax, Lava and Samsung are on the lower end of the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean they are giving up on the competition in the Indian market. According to market research firm GfK, HTC currently has less than 5% market share in the mid-range smartphone segment, and almost 4% in the overall smartphones category in India. HTC is ramping up its presence in the affordable category (Rs 8,000-15,000) in the country with the introduction of new devices, including 4G-enabled, to gain share in the heavily contested smartphone market in India.  By doing that HTC are targeting a minimum of 8% gain in the above category within the next 6 months. “We will broaden our price play horizons at both ends. India is an important market for us. If HTC has to do good globally, India numbers have to be positive,” HTC President (Global Sales) Chia-Lin Chang said. Micromax Micromax is an Indian consumer electronics company headquartered in Gurgaon, Haryana. The company was established as an IT software company operating in the embedded devices domain; it later entered the mobile handset business. Micromax’s claim to fame was its Canvas series, which offered an affordable alternative to the likes of the high-end phones in the market. It has heavily invested in local manufacturing, producing up to 2 million units a month in the country. Budget smartphone maker Micromax had leapfrogged South Korea’s Samsung Electronics to become the leading supplier in India’s booming smartphone market for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2014. Micromax is also the parent company of Yu Televentures, which has inked an exclusive partnership with Cyanogen Inc. to deliver Cyanogen OS pre-installed on its devices. Lenovo At the end of the final quarter last year the Lenovo group, comprising Lenovo and Motorola brands, has overtaken Lava to climb to the fourth spot in the extremely competitive smartphone market in India. While Samsung is the industry leader in volume terms, Micromax is second and Intex third. The Lenovo-Moto combine has overtaken Lava to grab the fourth position. In value terms, Lenovo is number three, ahead of Intex. Samsung and Micromax again occupy the top-two spot. From value point of view, the Lenovo group have 11% market share. One of the reasons why they have grown so significantly is because of their dual brand strategy. Both cater to different kinds of customers and in different platforms. While Lenovo sells offline and online, Moto is exclusively online. In the online space, we are the number one company To meet their rapidly growing service requirements, the company has begun opening Lenovo-Motorola exclusive service centres. Till date, the company has opened 52 centres across 42 cities and has targeted 100 by March 2016 across 75 cities that will cover 75% of the smartphone market. Lava Lava International was established in the year 2003 as Pacetel Communications. In 2009, the company was renamed Lava International. The company launched the world’s first Intel chip-based smartphone. Lava is the first India phone vendor to introduce its own user interface or skin —Hive— on the Android OS. No other domestic brand has invested on this front lately. The new software is said to be a strong product differentiator for Lava devices in India. Lava with a healthy 20 per cent year-on-year growth continued to manage its place in the top five in highly cluttered Indian smartphone market. Lava gained share in the online channel mainly through 4G based shipments from their Xolo series. Lava can be a serious contender in the Indian market over the years to come. They are steadily increasing their customer base and their smartphones are not failing them. Future Emerging as a big force in the global smartphones market during 2015, India saw about 75 million devices being shipped in the first three quarters of the year. The pace of the blistering growth was further strengthened by the online channel as many handset makers added e-commerce only devices. So it is safe to say that the future of the India smartphone market is going to be as fierce as it can get. International brands do realize how much business as well as revenue be generated if they ever decide to entice the market with their products. Only time will tell in the next coming years whether the competition is stable at the top or whether there will be a new entrant to challenge the current situation in the market. Author Rohit Shiva Linked Inread more
    Abhoy BanerjeeSmartPhones in the Indian Market

    The changing game of online marketplaces and the need for brands to deploy a professional eChannel partner to sell on amazon

    February 4, 2016 No comments
    Download PDFOnline Marketplaces have been taking on sales risks by carrying inventory through quasi FDI compliant partners. You will find that some of the big marketplaces have one or two major sellers whose names keep appearing across several major categories. Even for the ‘Marketplace Exclusive’ deals, the seller is the same again and again. It is highly unlikely that these sellers are profitable as the selling price could often be lower than the procurement price. Yet these ‘Sellers’ have ongoing relationships with the marketplaces. This will come to an end soon as marketplaces need to become profitable and also become true marketplaces with natural competition.

    Also as the cash burnout increases and the cost of acquiring customers also keeps increasing, marketplaces will be forced to change their business model and start making revenue from advertising and preferred listing status.

    This poses a challenge to brands that hitherto have largely delegated the marketplace sales to the general retail trade or have appointed specific distributors to sell on these marketplaces.

    As the marketplace operators increase (we already have Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm and soon to be launched several other marketplaces), the task of selling on marketplaces will become highly complicated and also constantly evolve based on the business models being adopted by marketplaces

    Can brands handle this complexity themselves? Yes they can. But at a huge internal cost and with the need to set up a significant business unit within the company that will handle all marketplace sales

    Can brands leave it up to multiple distributors to sell on marketplaces. Yes, the only reason they would do that is because the distributors carry the inventory risk and are responsible to absorb all returns.

    But are distributors the right choice for the future. NO. Unless they too come up to speed with the requirements and have teams that have the right skill sets and capabilities. A tough calling when resources are being taken into the mainstream ecommerce industry in droves.

    So how should a brand go about its online marketplace sales?

    Online marketplace sales requires the following skills and capabilities
    1. Deal making with the online marketplaces
    2. Merchandising – deciding what to sell, when to sell, where to sell – strategically and tactically
    3. Promotions – working with the marketplaces in a way that does not create major channel conflicts with the regular trade
    4. Stocking, warehousing and inventory management
    5. Content Management in the formats and as per processes defined by marketplaces
    6. Order processing and customer service
    7. Seller rating management
    8. Analytics and reporting
    9. Ongoing strategic planning
    10. Marketplace relationship management
    In future, as marketplaces move to get advertising revenues and preferred merchant and search word listing will be the norm, the brand has to build the additional costs into its media plans. Which means that the partners who are selling on marketplaces have to be able to advertise and get preferred listings. These are new skills and ongoing capabilities that they would need to invest in.

    In Summary
    While brands have evolved from a position of ignoring ecommerce to embracing ecommerce, they have to do a lot more in future if they would like to grow this channel. It is best to partner with a echannel company like ND Commerce that brings its unique combination of skills and trained teams to work with brands at a strategic and tactical level to sell products on major marketplaces as the brands exclusive marketplace partner.

    To know more about how ND Commerce can partner with your brand please contact mukund@ndcommerce.in or call + 91 9324 808080read more
    Abhoy BanerjeeThe changing game of online marketplaces and the need for brands to deploy a professional eChannel partner to sell on amazon

    How can brands get their dealers and retailers to participate in the eCommerce boom?

    December 14, 2015 No comments
    Download PDFBrand Sales Managers often encounter dealers and retailers who express their concerns about how eCommerce is hurting their business Instead of going on the back foot, brands can actually work with their retailers and dealers to actively participate in the eCommerce boom One way to do so is to create and implement a Brand Marketplace Listing Program (BMLP) Taking a cue from leading marketplaces like Snapdeal who support their sellers in several ways, brands too can play a role of supporting their channel partners sell online The brand would need to do the following:
    1. Create a Brand Marketplace Listing Strategy
    2. Identify key dealers and retailers who will be a part of this. Preferably high performers with a good track record on regular business
    3. Set up guidelines for marketplace listings
    4. Engage with the marketplace operators like Amazon India, Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal to have a brand level agreement on service levels. (Service Levels is one of the biggest concerns of marketplaces and brands that can assure service levels from their dealers and retailers will get the ear of the marketplaces)
    5. Set up individual dealers and retailers as sellers on the different marketplaces
    6. Support the authorised sellers with good quality product visuals and product content
    7. Train dealers and retailers on the marketplace listing process and service level expectations. This needs to be ongoing as dealers and retailers too face staff attrition and new team members would need to be constantly trained
    8. Provide merchandise and pricing support to dealers and retailers who are on the program
    9. Provide ongoing support through a central agency who can be the single point of contact for all assistance with the brand marketplace listing program
    By implementing a BML (Brand Marketplace Listing) program across its dealers and retailers, the brand can play a skill development and business expansion role for its valued channel partners In Summary Companies need to support their channels at times like these when eCommerce is causing havoc for dealers and retailers Get into the game and encourage and support your trade and channel partners By doing so, companies will have more control on brand positioning, pricing and product availability on marketplaces. This will also bring in a structured approach with all key dealers and retailers working in sync to tap this new sales channel To create a program and manage the implementation of the Brand eCommerce Marketplace Listing Program for dealers and retailers you can use the services of specialist companies like ND Commerce Visit www.ndcommerce.in for more information.  Or call Mukund on + 91 9324808080 or email mukund@ndcommerce.inread more
    adminHow can brands get their dealers and retailers to participate in the eCommerce boom?

    How FMCG companies can drive footfalls to their retailers

    December 11, 2015 No comments
    Download PDFDigital and direct to consumer marketing provides us with an unique opportunity to connect one-on-one with the consumer Yet, we often let digital marketing play the role of brand building alone, which can be done through above the line mass media as well One of the ways for an FMCG company to leverage its digital marketing efforts is to drive footfalls to its retailers An illustration of the a possible use case is below artcle-FMCG The above process would benefit the FMCG company in the following ways
    1. Enabling website visitors with an option to buy
    2. NO logistics and customer operations to be handled by the company
    3. UBER type model – Retailer gets a customer and services the customer need on behalf of the FMCG
    4. Customer data collected can be used for sampling, targeted marketing and research
    In summary There are a lot of digital marketing assets that an FMCG can use to drive new business. In most cases it does not make sense for an FMCG to be running their ecommerce online store selling products from their website as the transaction size is low and the business cannot be run profitably. Why not leverage digital marketing spends to drive business to retailers with a sales closure and service to the customer. The customer will be happy, retailer will be happy and brand will be happy! To explore how you can leverage the internet to drive businesses to your retailers and to have such a process set up and managed by a professional organisation such as ND Commerce, please contact Mukund on + 91 934 808080 or email mukund@ndslindia.com  read more
    adminHow FMCG companies can drive footfalls to their retailers