Author: pramod

Firsts to watch out for this Festive Season

The festive season is right around the corner and it’s experiencing a 75% jump, against the nearly $4 billion gross sales last year. This jump will record a two year high, with the gross sales amount predicted to reach $7 billion. 

A report by Redseer found that last year online retail recorded was 3% with as much as 135 million online users purchasing online. But with the onslaught of the pandemic, social distancing, and financial crunches, consumers now prefer online shopping with its convenience and festive sales. To adapt to this surge of sales eCommerce companies have adopted new strategies to meet the demands. 

eCommerce Preparation: 

Flipkart has announced that it will be creating jobs for 70000 people which will include posts in its supply chain management.

The Walmart owned e-commerce giant has cited the upcoming festive season and the Big Billion Days sale for this mass recruitment drive. Additionally, Flipkart has partnered with Max Fashion, Max has a strong presence in the fashion vertical and with this tie-up, both the brands will experience higher reach and profitability. 

Amazon India, keeping up with its competitors has introduced 4 new languages, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, in order to woo the consumers and offer a more personalised shopping experience. Furthermore, with plans to make 10 new warehouses operational, this expansion will create thousands of jobs this festive season. The consumers can expect steep discounts & cashback across all classifications, and with Amazon’s, Alexa and voice-enabled shopping experiences consumers can shop easy.

Entering the market, the new competitor JioMart will pose a challenge to the other two giants, by combining both online and offline retail. However, being new to the eCommerce industry Jio will likely pose a limited threat

This festive season, consumers interestingly have shown interest, not in conventional electronics items but essentials, including groceries and work-from-home products such as laptops, single-item furniture, kitchenware and comfortable fashion. And according to reports 50Cr. Studies suggest Indians will buy 50,000 Lakh items this festive season. 

Demographics:

Covid-19 has caused a surge in first-time users of tier II & III cities. Reports done by Redseer and Unicommerce suggests that shoppers from these regions will be the top contributors to online sales during this year’s festive sales with more than 50% of purchases coming from Tier-II and beyond locations. While people from metro cities and tier-1 cities will be contributing to 35% and 25% of the sales respectively. 

Logistics & Supply-chain: 

The logistics and supply chain will determine the success of the festive season and the performance of the companies, hence Industry executives are working with sellers and brands to overcome supply-chain and investment issues and meet the surge in demand. A higher number of shipments are likely to occur with its peak being 7.5-8 million shipments a day during the festive season. Hence, efforts are taken to create a seamless supply chain with a glocal outlook.

The firsts this year: 

  • Massive Growth: COVID-19 has enabled massive growth in new consumers, that prefer to shop in a manner that is convenient, safe, and hygienic and the eCommerce space meets these requirements
  • Offline recovery: Physical shopping is still weak as consumers are still apprehensive about visiting touchpoint areas like malls and retail outlets.
  • Demand: Surge of demand will likely occur in eCommerce platforms with its sales and offers for products in the category of work from home/ study from home, this has subsequently will increase the demand for categories like small electronics, home furnishings, and electronic accessories.
  • Jio: Jiomart has entered the retail market with its online and offline retail stores. This will play a moderately strong role in growing sales in smaller cities, especially if strong integration with fashion/electronics commodities.
  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat: A strong push towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

With digital adoption, the shift with traditional offline shoppers moving online, and a change in consumer behaviour. This festive season will offer opportunities for eCommerce companies to grow and learn about the current consumers and their dynamic market. 

Key Factors to Help Brands Decide the Right Discount for Products during a Sale Period

Starting a business and taking it forward requires a good amount of planning and implementation of novel ideas. Through various advertisements and other promotion techniques, the glory of your brand can be propagated by the word of mouth. Among the many strategies they take up, the most attractive one for the customers is the discount offers for their favorite products.

Nobody likes the idea of losing money even if it’s for the purchase of their favorite products. People always look out for discounts because it provides a feeling of not losing so much money even though it may be only partly true in reality. Since its crucial point in marketing and sales, the company should give proper care while deciding the discount rates for different products.

Providing discounts for materials is a great way of luring customers into your shops and gaining desired profits. But any action done without proper research and calculations can be of fatal impact to you and your brand’s financial structure. Any mistake could result in the deterioration of your name and product.

Therefore it advisable to look out for the necessary details before granting discounts to customers. First of all, align all actions to a fixed list of objectives. The right amount of background work on tentative discount rates and corresponding profit reports can help you taste success. Following are a few steps you should focus on:

The category and quality of your brand 

It is crucial to identify the category of your brand before placing it under any discount rate. For instance, if a particular product of yours falls under the category of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), it is not desirable to fix a high discount rate. It also directly depends on the quality of your product and brand name. If it is not premium, then the rate of discount should solely be focused on the available stock and target income. ‘Buy one get one free’ offers are the best ones to implement in such situations. 

The season of the market 

The requirements by customers vary a lot with corresponding to the seasons or festive occasions. The retailers have to keep these in mind while deciding on the discount price. This has to go in tally with the availability of products. In case you need to empty the old stock of products, then devise a plan including mass discount rates. The sales should be controlled according to the intake and response from buyers. 

The aging of your product 

Since the sales market is a very unpredictable place of action, the businessmen should be alert and vigilant. You have got the responsibility to sell off as many products as possible and also devise a plan for dealing with those which couldn’t get sold. While providing alluring discount rates, no compromise should be made on the quality of the product. This shouldn’t be leading to the dissatisfaction of customers. There should be a proper balance between the two.

In desperate cases where the product is aged a lot, some compromises need to be made while fixing its discount price. The resulting tension can be solved by clubbing them with other products and providing combo offers. If you are planning to get rid of your liquidation stock, the end of season sale (EOSS) is the best way to go about it. Flash sales during festive seasons can also help in increasing customer response.

Keeping up with the annual target 

Before starting on a business venture, the primary work should be done on the paper regarding the flow of income. A record of the total earning, income, and expenditure should be kept up to date. The profit and loss (P&L) statements should be monitored every month. Based on the balance sheet, the discount offers should be implemented to cancel off payment loss. If in any case the revenue target of the previous month is not met then it should be added and compensated in the next month’s sales. The discount rates in flash sales should be fixed accordingly.

Eying on the competition 

Before fixing the price of a particular product of your brand, you should be aware of other rival brands offering competition in the same area. The difference in prices of the two brands can make a huge difference collectively. By understanding and analyzing the trends in the market, you’ll get a clear picture of how to implement the plan. Even the slightest 1% increase in your discount price can result in a massive profit gain for your brand.

By keeping all these points in mind and acting accordingly, you could surely devise a plan and fix the discount rates for the products in a way that ensures final profit.

THE BUY-NOW-PAY-LATER MODEL IS HERE TO STAY, AT LEAST THESE ECOMMERCE GIANTS THINK SO

The pandemic has seen major shifts in the market and one among the many are payment methods. In the pre-COVID period, consumers opted to pay for over 60% eCommerce transactions in cash (Cash on Delivery), but after the pandemic, it is safe to quote that the vast majority is opting for digital transactions. This digitalisation has led to new developments in the eCommerce marketplace. With various companies trying to woo consumers, a number of options are being offered to enhance the buying experience of consumers and make it more convenient.

One such option that is taking this industry by storm is the Buy-now-pay-later payment method. This feature allows the consumer to purchase the service or product at that instant and as the name suggests pay for it later or in installments. Further delving into the topic, a few companies take an interest in the cost of the product while others take the principle as credit. The credit from Buy-now-pay-later service is essentially the same as a credit in a credit card, but with a digitalised disguise.

Various Indian companies have jumped on the BNPL wagon, with an attempt to have an edge over their competitors.

FLIPKART

Flipkart, an eCommerce heavyweight has also featured the buy-now-pay-later scheme. Although, the working of this service is still in the beta stage, and is only available to certain android users. The working of it allows customers to purchase products up to a predefined credit limit without having to pay immediately. However, the outstanding amount needs to be paid by the 10th of the next month.

“Everybody loves shopping, and everybody loves shopping on Flipkart. But, scrambling for cash for COD purchase or getting out your debit or credit cards for online payments and typing in OTPs every time you make a purchase can be a hassle. If only there was a simpler way to make all this easier. Well, now, there is.”

Flipkart

Features:

  • Instant credit up to ₹5,000
  • 30-second application process
  • One-click checkout
  • Zero cost up to 35 days
  • Single bill for all purchases

With the festive season fast approaching, the BNPL option may just be the feature that lets people let loose and shop to their heart’s content.

AMAZON

eCommerce giant, Amazon, has also launched a pay later feature to its Indian customers. Under these payment options, customers can avail credit with zero interest rates on any listed products. The customers are provided with an option to repay the amount in monthly installments up to 12 months. However, there are various requirements in order for a person to avail of Amazon’s pay later option including being 23 years old and above, providing valid identification along with their PAN card, bank account number, etc.

Key Benefits:

  • Get an instant decision on your credit limit by the lender.
  • Credit card details not required.
  • No processing or cancellation fee.
  • No pre-closure charges.
  • Seamless checkout on Amazon.in using Amazon Pay Later payment option.
  • Simplified tracking of expenses and repayments on the EMI specific dashboard

The Pay Later feature is also a mobile-only experience that enables a smooth buying experience on the app.

PAYU

LazyUPI, a product offered by PayU Finance, is also following the Buy-now-pay-later model but has integrated it with a UPI. This unique digital service works on the same lines and offers credit across online and offline platforms. It allows customers to make part-repayments and has a minimum amount due along with conventional interest rates. These services have provided opportunities for start-ups to model around the buy-now-pay-later option and have given a fresh sense of innovation to mobile wallet services and eCommerce platforms. Various eCommerce platforms including  Big Basket, Myntra, MakeMyTrip, etc, have integrated this service into their sites.

Key Benefits:

  • One tap payment
  • Settle payments every 15 days
  • Repay with EMI
  • Integrated across 250+ sites

The buy-now-pay-later concept in layman terms is similar to that of a credit card. However credit cards too are evolving into the BNPL model, as it fits better with millennial consumers that are looking for convenience and affordability. Credit cards offer high rates of interest and low transparency, but with few eCommerce platforms offering a zero-interest-rate and a long payback period, one can certainly understand the rave behind this service. 

While BNPL offers convenience consumers should look out and align themselves with certain habits to ensure maximum efficiency:

  • Note the limit and have only one BNPL account at a time
  • Budgeting needs to be made important to avail the BNPL option
  • Be committed to repaying the companies to avoid interests

The Buy-now-pay-later model is not a new concept and can be compared with the Indian Khata system, where customers were allowed to pay the entire bill at one-go which was typically towards the end of the month. This age-old concept was given a digital spin and the buy-now-pay-later model was created. With the disruptions and numerous opportunities that lie ahead, brands need to keep an eye out for this service and invest to integrate it with their current functioning.

Changes in e-Commerce policy: A Hidden Opportunity

Changes in e-Commerce policy: A Hidden Opportunity

On December 28, 2018, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India passed a new set of policies and introduced significant changes to its earlier policy (of 2017) which governed Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the e-commerce sector. The Indian retail landscape is economically and politically a sensitive one with stringent laws on foreign investment. E-commerce has been the only sector exclusive of the rule. But with the new regulations in place, it is largely going to change the dynamics of the Indian e-commerce industry.

Highlights of the policy:

  • Marketplace Entity (like Amazon) will have no ownership or control over the store inventory (of sellers).
  • The marketplace with run on an inventory-based model.
  • Marketplace Entity or its group companies cannot buy more than 25% from a single vendor.
  • Marketplace Entity cannot influence the price of goods and there will be a standard pricing model for all vendors.
  • Marketplace Entity will offer logistics and operational services to all vendors non-discriminately.
  • Marketplace Entity will offer cashback to all buyers without any discrimination.
  • Marketplace Entity cannot mandate the exclusivity of products to any vendor.

While the above policies remain strong for marketplaces, this could be a blessing in disguise for retail owners.

Let’s look at some of the benefits retails are most likely to gain out of this new policy:

  • With the inventory-based e-commerce, retailers will now have more control over their products and yet reap the benefits of a managed marketplace.
  • Since marketplaces cannot run their own discounts, retailers can set a pricing model as per their sales strategy as well as take control of offers and discounts.
  • Now that vendors will not be tied up by the exclusivity clause with the marketplace, they can spread their products across different platforms.
  • Most importantly, marketplaces will now be mandatorily required to submit a compliance document that abides by the policy guidelines on September 30 of every year. This will make the e-commerce landscape more transparent not only for vendors but also for end customers.

Overall, the current scenario creates opportunities for vendors rather than hindering their e-commerce business practice.

5 e-Commerce mistakes to avoid while selling online

5 e-Commerce mistakes to avoid while selling online

E-commerce retail is one of the most profitable industry spaces to be in. But because to err is completely human, many retailers end up making mistakes, big or small and that can leave a bad taste in their mouth about the e-commerce business.

Here are the top five mistakes most people make:

Choosing the wrong platform

Investing in a wrong platform could also result in loss of revenue, conversion, traffic, unfriendly user interface, or even security issues. Thus using more time, money, and efforts in fixing the mistake. It is important to choose a platform that will allow you to integrate your current systems, gives you complete control on your store operations, and lets you customize your store the way you want.

Choosing the wrong audience

A great-looking shop and a smart business strategy are only worthwhile when you have the right customers to sell to. Most often than now, retailers cannot clearly define their target audience or don’t spend enough time to determine the micro factors that drive their behavior. And that is a mistake. Even before you make a sales plan you need to know if your audience really needs your product and if they do if your product is really solving their problem. Accordingly, you can use the messaging they understand.

Not building an SEO friendly site

Content is king and your site must obey it. While most retailers give it a second priority, well-written, SEO-friendly content is what actually drives traffic to your site and increases your search engine rankings, among many other things. Every page and product description on your site should be optimized for search engines.

Complex navigation and user journey

A visually appealing website with an undefined user journey is as good as no website. From a holistic and well cut out user experience to an efficient checkout process, online customers need a smooth-sailing shopping experience.

Not building a scalable website

While many make the mistake of not thinking long-term for their e-commerce store, it is essential to be future ready. Keep provisions for new features, more products, at time of expansion in the future.

If you can avoid these key mistakes, so you can have a long-running, successful online store.

5 things to remember before you get your business on marketplaces

5 things to remember before you get your business on marketplaces

The most logical move for any retailer today is to explore online marketplaces. Whether you are a small start-up trying to establish your business, or a seasoned market player eyeing to expand, a marketplace gives you exposure to an infinite market and a whole lot of business benefits that can come handy in the long run. However, every new move takes a lot of preparation and sound decision making. Before you select and plan to foray into a marketplace, there are a few things to consider.

Here are the most important of them:

Traffic volume of the marketplace

How much traffic does your target market yield on a daily basis? Does the number suit your objectives? Although the site will have an existing customer base, it is still essential to know how big it is. More so for niche products/segments where the relative marketplace might not have a high traffic volume.

Marketplace fee structure

Of course, there are fees and associated costs involved when you enter a marketplace. Confirm if they charge a sales commission, listing fee, branding cost, or do they have a customized fee structure. Also, confirm if the shipping and handling charges will be borne by them or you.

Site Policies

Needless to say, you will have a few rules to follow on a marketplace than on your own e-commerce site. So ask about branding and marketing possibilities, setting up your own store, and most importantly, return policies.

Customer base

One of the biggest benefits of a marketplace is the readymade customer base they have. But that can never guarantee any sales figure for you. As a seller, you can make the most of that existing set of customers and use your own strategy to drive sales. There are various ways you can do this, including optimizing your product listing, increasing the visibility of your items, and product bundling.

Seller support

Since you are new to the marketplace you will need a lot of technical and operational support. Ask if you will be assigned an account manager or DIY tools and tutorials to guide you through the establishment process and even after. For more efficient operations, seek the support and advice of an online marketplace expert.

Trends-that-will-shape-Indian-eCommerce-in-2019

Trends that will shape Indian eCommerce in 2019

A lot has changed in the Indian eCommerce landscape in the last few years. As we move into another year towards the future, we see constantly changing eCommerce trends and take a new shape to cater to the more evolved audience.

What to look out for in eCommerce Trends 2019

Voice-activated searches

With easy voice searches enabled by AIs like Alexa, Siri, or Google, search engines like Google has made radical changes to its search result algorithms. This basically means that search will be more specific and yield specific results. This means the product discovery journey for users will also change and eCommerce brands will focus on such shifting trends in defining their search marketing strategy.

Vernacular aided experience

While India’s literacy rate is nearly 75%, those literate in basic English language is only 10% (125 million approximately). However, on the other hand, internet users in the country add up to nearly 481 million. Thus to fill the gap of linguistic preferences to internet usage, many eCommerce brands have already introduced regional language sites and this will continue to grow this year with more language options and more retailers trying to expand their audience base.

More omnichannel presence

While multi-channel has been the trend of 2018, omnichannel marketing will find its presence in eCommerce trends of this year, which will blur the lines between offline and online commerce. Brands will be mapping their user journey across channels and finally transition from multi-channel and detached presence to an integrated, omnichannel presence.

Refined product search

While social search has already been adopted by brands, it will only become more common and pervasive. This will also reduce the number of searches (for eCommerce products) on search engines and brands will most likely spend more advertising dollars on social marketing and other marketplaces.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Another interesting and rising trend in the retail business worth paying attention to is the integration of Virtual Reality in user experience. This year this is most likely to get leveraged further. By 2020, experts expect retailers to invest in Augmented Reality as well.

Ecommerce frauds

E-commerce Frauds: Risks, measures, and online implications

Online fraud is one of the biggest risk faced by eCommerce enterprises with global retail frauds rising to 30% by 2017. eCommerce fraud typically refers to any illegal or false transactions that take place across online stores. Hackers usually source card information of random users and use the data to make fraudulent transactions or share the data with other hackers

Assessing risks and measures of losses

As an online retailer, here are few ways to assess if there is a fraudulent transaction has taken/is taking place on your web store.

  • The order value and size is bigger than your store average
  • There is a request for fast shipping.
  • The delivery address is a little unusual.
  • The shipping and the billing addresses are not the same.
  • There are several cards used on the IP address
  • The user has multiple shipping addresses.
  • There are large quantities of the same product or multiple transactions in a short span of time.

The total cost of fraud can be measured as Direct Losses to fraud + Lost sales + Cost of manual review + Cost of technology (tools used to detect and solve).

Implications of frauds

No matter what causes the fraud, the implications are usually borne by the retailer.

  • Most frauds end up in a ‘chargeback’ to the retailer. Since the hacked card details might belong to a customer, the retailer must return the same amount to the cardholder once a fraudulent transaction takes place.
  • Chargebacks usually come with processing fees, transaction fees, legal fees, or currency conversions, if any, surmounting to a huge sum for the retailer. Along with chargebacks and refunds, retailers also need to measure the overall impact of frauds on their store.
  • Sometimes, if there are too many fraudulent transactions occur, leading to a large amount of chargebacks, the retailer is usually considered to be a high-risk merchant.
  • Furthermore, the product/s fraudulently sold is a product lost, since there is no ‘return’ of the physical product.

To prevent such scenarios from occurring on your store, always have clear shipping, refund, and return policies and address any unusual activity right when they occur. For smarter store management, resort to a trusted and reliable eCommerce development company like Magento and enjoy a safer retail business.

3 Things you need to Master to Sell More on Marketplace

3 Things you need to Master to Sell More on Marketplace

Online marketplaces are arguably the best thing that ever happened to the world of retail. And it has grown to be a major trend in the business. But for any retailer or marketer to thrive online, they need to constantly evolve and master new and innovative strategies for better marketplace management and make the most of the trend.

Here are the key techniques that you need to master and increase conversions.

Upsell your products

While you are putting maximum efforts in selling each and every unit of your product, diversifying your selling option might be a better strategy. You can bundle some of your most selling products with similar or related least selling ones. For example, a standalone shower gel might not be as attention-grabbing as a combo of soap, shower gel, and a bath towel. Or you could also throw an add-on at the point of purchase. For instance, if someone is checking out a shampoo, you can offer an add-on of a conditioner for a discounted rate.

Address your POS

Irrespective of a great user journey throughout the site and offering the best rates in your product space, you might end up with incomplete transactions at the checkout stage. This largely affects your conversions. To address this, you need to reinvent your point of sale strategy. Check what could be a probable concern. Is it the checkout procedure too long or not transparent enough? Do your payment methods cause problems? Avail the services of a market expert who offers AMO service and marketplace management service who can run an analysis of your user experience (from login to checkout) and help address your customer’s concern where and when it occurs, thus reducing the risk of abandoned cart.

Reviews

One of the most basic psyche of consumers, when they cannot make a purchase decision on their own, they tend to fall back on social proof and go by the word of mouth, the word being reviews in today’s world. In marketplaces like Amazon, if a product has more than 10 times better reviews than its competitors, chances are users (including you as a customer) will choose the former. You can send out your product samples to reviewers in exchange for honest and detailed first-hand reviews.

Is it the right time to get your business on the marketplace?

The constant endeavor of any retailer is to grow the business and take it to the next level. Whether you the owner of a brick-and-mortar store or a web store, your next move is obviously going to be on the marketplace. But are you ready to join the big, wide world of online marketplaces yet?
Here are a few indicators that could help make a better decision:

Your current set up is asking for more investment
Although it is easy to set up the store in the first place, it takes more investment of time, effort, and resources to take it to the next level and make it exceptional.

Managing your marketing activities is becoming cumbersome
No matter how much you push your marketing activities, there’s only so much you can do single-handedly. Marketplace management includes automatic marketing strategy that helps each retailer to be on the promotional bandwagon, and boost your own marketing efforts.

Your sales strategy feel outdated
The E-commerce industry is evolving every day, with new features and advanced processes, which can enhance your brand visibility online. Marketplaces make the most of these and build a robust strategy with live chat services, product videos, user-generated content, and so on, to keep themselves updated with the customers.

You realize the need for smarter payment methods
If you want to expand your customer base, you need to have universal payment methods that work everywhere. If you feel that the payment process is restricting you from expanding your market, then online marketplaces can help you reach out to more customers with their multiple, easy payment options, and suited to different regions.

You are not too savvy to handle tech operations
When it’s your own store, you have to take care of every operational aspect, including tech support. Even if you hire a resource, you still need to be well-aware of basic troubleshooting etc. With marketplaces, they have dedicated teams to handle the complexities of tech operations, so, even the non-technical retailers can operate without much hassle.

For more efficient operations, you can also seek the support of marketplace management services and enjoy your own piece of the E-commerce pie!

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