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How ready is your E-commerce for T-Commerce?

Touch commerce or Tablet commerce has certainly made a strong impact in the E-commerce market and it is certainly here to stay.

Here are some interesting global facts on tablets’ impact on e-commerce.

1. Massive rise in the number of tablet sales:


2. More online sales on tablets than on smartphones.

3. People with tablets have higher average order values than those without tablets.
What retailers must know and do:

1. A mobile site is not enough. Its time to build an app for the tablet users.

2. Have a strategy for tablets that ties in to their overall branding.

3. Show off the cataloguing in a richer experience. Focus on products. Use larger fonts. Use better images. Remember users do love to zoom on their tablets.

4. They’re getting cheaper by the month, and the number of tablets in India will double every year (reaching 23.38 million by 2017).

5. The tablet user is part of an entire new generation of power spenders. Treat them well. Typically, those who own a tablet are early adopters and tend to spend more online and are more open in general to try out new things or aspire for the coolness quotient. In other words they’re ideal for e-commerce. Online retailers couldn’t dream for a better mix.

Big Retail: Few Tips for SAP integration with e-commerce

Having done a few SAP integrations for retailers for their online e-commerce store, here are a few pointers to note:

1. Clearly define what information is needed from SAP which is essential for the e-commerce store to operate, and vice-versa. And document it clearly especially for material, price, stock, and customer masters.

2. Select the method of integration carefully. Whether it is through automated export and import of data using CSV / flat files, or using APIs that can transfer data on a real time basis between SAP and your online store. The decision impacts budgets and timelines. So make sure the all stakeholders are clear about both.

3. Infrastructure: Make sure that environments for the data transfers to happen are safe and secure.

4. Last but not the least, test, test and then test some more. :)

Cheers.

 

Basic Facebook Strategies for Ecommerce Stores

Here is a list of a few quick, easy to implement, facebook strategies for ecommerce stores to use. While there are many more strategies that Facebook gurus can suggest, we’ve seen our clients really benefit from just taking care of these basic ones.

1. Facebook Coupons
Distributing coupons through facebook. Can be placed in ads / in brand pages, or distributed through emails. We’ve seen the facebook ad campaigns become a lot more effective, with a coupon code added in the text.

2.  Polls and Trivia
People just can’t get enough of Trivia, and facebook marketers are using that fact. When an online brand regularly dolls out trivia it attracts a certain type of customer to the brand on facebook. These customers are easy to engage and contribute with comments and take part in polls. This helps in promoting the brand to their friends as part of the updates. This feature is so much more effective than the “invite-a-friend” option that lots of e-retailers are using.

3. Fangating
Fangating is basically when you give a customer a discount coupon or available for an exclusive offer only on the condition of them liking your brand on facebook. Yes, it does sound a bit too much of a commercial exchange at first. But  we’ve seen that customers are more than okay to do that in exchange for the promotions. The benefits might range from discount coupon codes to store credit to exclusive opening passes, etc.

A note of caution here: Make sure that the customer is happy for what they get in return of that “like”. Otherwise it can get ugly.

4. Contests
A bit along the same lines as Trivia, but with added incentives. Get the customers engaged by asking them questions, or asking them for suggestions on the brand page, and then declaring that the top 10 entries get a prize / reward. Facebook citizens love contests. We’ve seen huge jumps in the number of likes for a brand while a contest was going on. Again the more regularly this is done, the higher the rewards for the brand.

5. Customer Feedback / Comments
Engage with your customers. Reply to their comments, whether they’re thrilled or unsatisfied with your brand. Keep the interactions real, cut out the marketing / sales pitch and keep it genuine. And your brand page will see an increase in the number of likes and visitors.

6. Updates
Keep communicating with your customers about your new products / launches / or anything thats new at your company. You’ll be surprised at how many people will be rooting for your success when you keep them updated about it.

 

 

Manoj Ramesh, is the Business Development Manager at Tenovia Solutions, an Ecommerce product and services company. Besides loving to launch ecommerce stores, he also loves watching movies and loves trying out new restaurants.

Data from the Payment Gateway Industry in India

Here are some stats from the Payment Gateway industry in India.

76% – Is the success rate of all types of transactions attempted while the user entered correct payment details (credit / debit / netbanking / cash cards) and had sufficient balance.

74% – Is the success rate of transactions using credit and debit cards using one of the 5 major payment gateways in India. (ICICI, Citibank, HDFC, Axis, Amex).

71% – The success rate of transactions using netbanking. This number is largely propped up by the private banks performance.

90% – The success rate of transactions using cash cards (ITZ Cash, Oxi Cash, etc).  The cash cards control most components of the transactions, and do not rely on 3rd party infrastructure such as Visa / Mastercard. As a result the number of servers the data has to move per transaction reduces, thereby reducing the chances of data loss, and increasing the success percentage of transactions.

Refunds in 25% lesser time using netbanking  - It takes 3.6 days for refunds to reach the account on credit / debit cards. Its takes 2.8 days for the same using netbanking.

What does this data mean for online businesses?

Online businesses stand to lose 25% of their orders just because the payment gateway lose customer data as they pass the customer data from server to server. And thats a HUGE number.

In an industry where conversions are a small 3% – 5%, 25% of topline makes a lot of difference.

There are a number of steps that ecommerce stores can use to stop this exodus of revenues, like calling customers who drop out at the payment gateway, offering assisted shopping cart over the phone, offering COD, offering a choice of multiple payment gateways to the customer, offering phone banking, among other options.

More on this in the next post. Happy weekend folks!
Murali Balan,

Channel specific strategy vs a Consumer Strategy

In the Ecommerce business you quickly realize that lots of Marketing Managers compartmentalize strategies for TV, radio, print, strategy, print, online, mobile and social. Very often they have different teams working in different ‘silos’ to work on these different channels. I cannot tell you how often the online / etailing division just seems to be out there on its own, with nowhere the same kind of emphasis that say mass media gets, or even social gets.

Whats so often missed is a seamless strategy that just focuses on the consumer irrespective of the medium.

Its nice to say that convergence is the keyword and all that jazz, but very few execute it in a seamless manner which follows a customer
from awareness through mass media,
making it easy to research and review the brand and its products and services online with helpful reviews and videos,
and being present in the relevant search online when customers search for the products and services,
and then making it easy on the mobile to find the products and services closest on a geographical basis or in an online medium
and lastly being able to influence others about your brand on the social medium.

The strategies need not be built around the channels, but all around the consumer and thats easier said than done.

At Tenovia with 10Commerce we’re pushing ourselves and our customers to make things more consumer centric at all touchpoints that we interact with our customer’s customers on: Online, Mobile, Social, and Direct. Okay so thats the self publicity bit. Its our blog after all. :)

Must Watch: Tesco’s Online Grocery Shopping Strategy in South Korea

Came across an awesome youtube post that showcases the strategy used by Tesco to promote its online shopping business in the extremely competitive Koream online grocery market.

 

Any takers for the same in the Indian Grocery chains? Spencer’s Daily / More / Reliance Fresh / anyone? :)

Lessons from China on Ecommerce

Comscore recently published its report on Global ecommerce related internet traffic throwing up some really interesting data. Amazon accounted for 20% of the worldwide ecommerce traffic. Ebay accounted for 16%. And here is the surprising one: Alibaba.com accounted for 11% of the global ecommerce traffic. That 11% translates to a whopping 160 million unique visitors.

Alibaba.com is the company which owns Taobao.com, China’s version of Ebay, and almost owns 75% of the Chinese Ecommerce market with it. Approximately USD 60 billion worth of transactions happened on Taobao.com in 2010.

In China, in the online space, C2C is significantly larger than B2C. However, overall ecommerce business is approximately worth USD 110 billion for 2011 – 12. And the other players having a stake in the pie are Paipai.com, 360buy.com, DangDang.com and Xiu.com The Ecommerce industry is growing at compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 90%. AT Kearny estimates that by 2014 it would be a USD 175 billion market. With numbers like that you have to take notice of the possibilities that await a market with a population of 1.3 billion, and a middle class of 200 million and some 160 million internet users.

I recently met a very senior IBM executive, based out of Shanghai and he was telling me how almost everyone in his office buys groceries online and gets it delivered at an hour time slot convenient to them, typically the hour before the end of the office hours. You know the ecommerce market penetration is super high when people are buying groceries online.

A big part of the Chinese ecommerce growth has also been also due to the Logistics industry growing along side it. In the 4 large cities in China, that is, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu same day deliveries are increasing quite rapidly. However, the logistics is nowhere near the same efficiency levels when it comes to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where rising income levels is fueling ecommerce.

So the large ecommerce players are investing a lot of money in bigger warehouses and some are venturing into starting their own distribution systems. Some are in the process of buying out a few of these logistics companies. Whats heartening is that the ecommerce companies are realizing that logistics can make-or-break their businesses, and are seeing it as a huge competitive advantage in the time to come.

In India, I believe we’re probably 3 – 4 years behind the Chinese ecommerce market in terms of the ecommerce environment to mature to the levels that we see in China today. However, there is a sheer possibility of serious innovation in the Indian ecommerce market in terms of scaling up rapidly and the entire eco-system growing with the knowledge of learnings from global markets.

It is indeed an exciting time to be in this market. Can’t wait to get all my grocery shopping done on my android phone on my way home from work, and the order being delivered to me within the hour. That would keep the Mrs happy. :)

Referred Report:  http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/8/Amazon_Sites_Visited_by_1_in_5_Global_Internet_Users_in_June

Murali Balan is the CEO of Tenovia Solutions, an Ecommerce product and services company. Its product, 10Commerce, can be viewed at 10Commerce.com

E-Commerce In India – The Second Coming

 

Very interesting article which was Forbes’ cover story for their July issue.

http://business.in.com/article/boardroom/ecommerce-in-india-the-second-coming/27042/1

 

 

 

How mobiles devices get used online

The Nielson Company recently came out with its research report which showed how users use their mobile devices. With there being such a dog fight about attracting customers online, I think its time that the Indian Retailers start using mobile Commerce as another medium to engage the customer.

 

 

Cloud Computing and Ecommerce in India

Its time that Indian Ecommerce companies started getting up and about on cloud computing. And when I say its time, I mean yes there are a few companies that dabble in it, but I’m talking about something like 25 – 40% of the Ecommerce companies in India using cloud computing in some capacity.

Who is it ideal for?

1. Smaller companies, hungry for growth.  And which is serious about spiking their traffic.

2. Large Ecommerce companies who have built up comprehensive platforms need to start pushing some of their applications on the cloud. Predominantly to get comfortable with it.

Why aren’t more people using it?

A couple of reasons mainly

1. Inexperience amongst the developer community with implementing cloud solutions. They’re still comfortable hosting applications on shared / dedicated servers and are afraid to experiment.

2. Online businesses are confused about the total cost of ownership of a complete cloud based solution. (CPU cycles / data download and upload pricing / pricing with and without CDNs, etc)

Way Forward

Okay, despite last week’s outage of services at Amazon’s Cloud, I believe that Cloud computing is where all of Ecommerce is headed. I believe that there is a huge Mobile commerce play that will consume the Indian market. And all those mobiles would need to interact with a lot of data sitting in servers. And that traffic’s unpredictability will be huge.

Cloud computing for Ecommerce makes too much sense and saves too much money to be ignored. And with Ecommerce at infliction point in India, its more important now than ever that our developer community / Online business heads wake up to this reality.