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Great Online Shopping Festival

Last week, on 12/12/12, Google had a one day festival called GOSF (Great Online Shopping Festival) – where they promoted some 90 Indian online stores. They were gunning for something similar to Cyber Monday in the US, where there are crazy deals online just for a day.

The response in India for GOSF was fantastic, showing what the consumption capacity is in India.

On an average across retailers, sales increased by a whopping 200%, with apparels and electronics as the lead categories.

On an average 60% of the customers who came in to participating retailers sites were new. So the cost of customer acquisition went down drastically for these retailers thanks to Google’s push.

Not surprisingly, Google kept its branding out of the entire exercise. They’re treating it as an R&D exercise to give them better perspective of the Indian Ecommerce space. [You'd think they'd know it all thanks to Google Analytics and Google Adwords - :)]GOSF

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.

Important Dates in the Indian Ecommerce Calendar – Part 3 (Final)

Okay…so we started with Diwali, Children’s day, but here is a summary of the most important dates in the Indian Ecommerce calendar that a retailer should not ignore. So make sure you plan your promotions in advance. Monitor the performance of your promotions, analyze your earnings and learnings and get ready to better it with the next event in the calendar.

1. Dussera – Kick start the holiday season with this 10 day long period. Lots of money gets spent around this time.

2. Diwali – The ‘big-daddy’ of Indian festivals. Make a lot of noise around this one with your offers and promos.

3. Christmas – Lots of money gets spent on the lead up to this day. Make sure you get part of that dough.

4. New Years – Excellent time for renewed energy. Start the new year with the right deals with the goal to engage the customer throughout the year.

5. Pongal (Tamil) – You don’t want to miss out on the 2nd largest festival in the country’s most prosperous state. Get regional, get local and gain the goodwill.

6. Valentine’s day – Shiv Sena might oppose it, but the online community absolutely goes nuts over it. Spending surges for the 3 – 4 days before it. Good time to attract young customers.

7. Republic Day – Spruce up your site with saffron, green, white and blue. Give your discount coupons a patriotic angle. :)

8.  Holi – Holi is big for gifting. Across India and from the NRI community. Make sure you’re part of it.

9.  Mid – April (New years day in Southern India and parts of North India) – Gifting is part of the tradition especially within the family. So apparel and accessory related sites would be well advised to offer discounts and partner with discount stores.

10.  Independence Day – Time for you to ‘bleed blue’ in your discounts. Believe me, its a good thing. Target the patriotic sentiments. Ensure you have products / discounts to go for the occasion. If you’re an international brand, its a good time to score local brownie points.

11. Gandhi Jayanthi – Promote all things ‘desi’.

12. Cricket Fever – You cannot be part of the Indian Ecommerce scene and not be affected by cricket fever. Rather than worry about low traffic on big match days, embrace the cricket fever and become a part of it. Your customers will love you. Create memorabilia that can be bought from your site, or given free on certain conditions with every purchase, or some other interesting cricket related promotions.

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

Important Dates in the Indian Ecommerce Calendar – Part 1

In India, like in other countries Ecommerce has its key periods in a year, in which site visitors seem to be running around with their wallets in hand, eager to punch in their credit card numbers and buy something. Show them a discount during the diwali season and they are twice as likely to buy.

The sites that do the best business during the ‘season’ are the ones that are best prepared for it. It really helps to identify and anticipate the days / weeks / months during which customers are more likely to spend.

Here are a list of dates during which you will get a spike in your sales

Diwali – This is the big daddy of holiday sales in India (the closest equivalent to Christmas holiday season in India). This period starts off almost a month or two before Diwali. If you’re smart, you’ll target the corporates for corporate gifting orders a couple of months before Diwali. Give them e- gift vouchers of your site at discounted rates. Take bulk orders for attractive discounts. More importantly become part of the corporate gifting market, as this is going to grow significantly in the years ahead (its already HUGE).

Target NRIs during this season.

Tie up with gifting sites which are popular destinations for NRIs to come and search for gifts during Diwali.

People spend a lot of time around Diwali on facebook, wishing their families, looking at pictures of their friends, so it helps to spend money on advertising on Facebook.

….to be continued