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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.

Why Retailers should be part of Shopping Portals

Whats different between DLF Mall and Rediff.com? Obvious answer: One’s brick-n-mortar, the other is purely online. And thats where the differences end. Both house a huge number of brands, provide lots of choice to their visitors and are major retail destinations today, involving huge amounts of high value daily transactions.

Like with the case of malls across the country, there have been a surge of virtual malls in the country. Some of the better ones are rediff.com, indiatimes.com, ebay.in, naaptol.com, indiaplaza.in, infibeam.com, indiavarta.com, and homeshop18.com.

So why should a retailer care about competing in these shopping portals? For the same reason he decides to rent a store in a mall. Attract customers. Brand awareness. High sales. Here are a few advantages.

1. Brand Awareness - Put your brand out there online. Gain brand recognition and be known by the online customer as a choice.

2. Attract Traffic to your brand – With the Shopping portals, you have a lot of traffic coming to the sites. Get noticed by putting out great offers, discounts to the visitors. Entice them with offers. Wow them with the experience. Dazzle them with the service. And rule a portion of their wallets for a lifetime.

3.  Acquire visitors in Shopping Portals and then get them to your own site – Shopping portals are great places for customer acquisition. It lets people from all over the country to know your brand (not just in the cities you are present in) and test you out. If they like your products and service, they will look you up directly, come to your store and increase your direct traffic to your own dot com.

4.  Learn online strategies at the marketplace - As a vendor at these shopping portals, life isn’t easy. You need to compete with aggressive pricing on the popular items. You need to provide great service, quick response times to customer issues, ensure good post sale service to have good vendor ratings on these shopping portals. So in effect you can constantly view what your competition is upto on the same platform. And thats great learning for you. You get battle ready to take on your competition directly with your dot com.

5. Focus on the business, leave the rest to the Shopping Portals - One huge advantage for smaller retailers is that they  often don’t have the resources to worry about technical stuff and thats where the portals come in so useful for their online strategies. Coz they can forget about technology, logistic, driving traffic, payment gateways but instead focus on the core of what they do.

Next Blog post: How to setup an E-store at a Shopping Portal

Important Dates in the Indian Ecommerce Calendar – Part 2

Diwali really kicks off the major holiday season in India which lasts till February. During this time, typically sites would find that even though they don’t do anything different, orders normally go up. And thats largely because its the season of sales and spending in the Indian market. Some of your best discounts in electronics come out around this time.

New models of electronic gadgets, new cars, new season full of clothes on the racks of retailers, gets the Indian consumer’s wallet out and the retailer’s tills ringing. Basically the same is witnessed online. Online retailers try to keep up with their brick-n-mortar brothers-in-arms and online shoppers really benefit from it all.

Children’s Day:
A uniquely Indian event. And thats why this is important. If you’re in a business that also caters to children, then make sure you grab this day. Marketed right, you can get customers to spend on well discounted products. This isn’t a must-buy time, so remember to use this time to give some heavy discounts on your items that aren’t moving too well. Good campaigns successfully use this event to increase the brand recall with the site, especially useful with the approaching Christmas / New Years / Holiday gifting season.

…to be continued

How much to discount online?

No businesses like to offer too much discounts, if they can help it. But since customers love discounts, what choice do you have? :)

And in a price, sorry discount crazy country such as India, the question that gives the most sleepless nights is: How much should I discount online? How much (discount) is enough?

Well, here is my answer depending on what kind of a business you’re running.

If you’re just launching online and want customers to come in: Discount heavily.
Beat the big guys amazed at your aggressive rates. Shout about these rates at the top of your voice wherever you can: Blogs / Facebook / Twitter. Partner with SnapDeal.com / Koovs.com / Sosasta.com / Groupon.in and announce these heavy discounts. Remember you just want traffic to build, your brand to be known, so treat the discounts as a marketing expense, as a customer acquisition strategy.

If your online business has been around a while and you’re trying to grow the subscriber base: Discount and compete with your competitors on pricing.
Be cheaper than them on the items that are in the ‘buzz’, that drive customers to your site, but don’t discount on the other items. Take advantage of your business experience in knowing which products to discount, which to bundle, which to offer as discount to repeat customers only, etc. Basically use your online business experience to be smarter than the start-ups.

If your online business is amongst the leader: Don’t stress on discounting. Stress only on the service.
Keep the customers happy and let them be your evangelists. Be aware of the online price wars, but beat your competition by providing best-in-class customer service. Deliver outrageous service. You cannot go wrong with this. Use the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid principle. And importantly, remember to use your financial muscle power well.