eCommerce Guides
Social Commerce: What it is & Why should you include it

Social Commerce: What it is & Why should you include it

Have you often seen the carousel ads on Facebook or an Instagram ad post with a ‘shop now’ button inviting you to start your shopping right away? That is what social commerce is all about.

To define it simply, Social Commerce is a combination of the best features of e-commerce and social media strategy. With an increased number of shoppers browsing social channels to make a purchase decision, these platforms are making the most of such opportunities to encourage a call to action right then and there.

Here are a few good reasons why you should also consider joining the Social Commerce bandwagon.

It is more connected

Let’s admit it, people are more connected online than offline. The shopping communities on social platforms enjoy commenting, sharing, posting, reviewing, and advising fellow shoppers, all within the platform. And when, as a brand, you place yourself within such communities, there are high chances of your visibility.

It is a linear shopping process

User experience is at the core of better conversions and repeats business. And as a retailer, you would do anything to make the purchasing process hassle-free for your buyer. When you use social channels to make your buyer shop therein, you are basically cutting down the entire navigation process from your social media page to the website and then to the transaction. This can dramatically enhance the shopping experience for your buyer.

It generates instant customer responses

Needless to say, there is no better place than social media platforms to get instant reviews and reactions on anything from politics to pet care. Shopping is no different. With consumers already in a conversation on similar products as yours or even yours, you can assess the feedback, implement in your sales strategy and personalize the customer service right then and there.

Besides these, there are a few other reasons that make Social Commerce the need of the hour

  • It provides endless opportunities for influencer marketing.
  • It yields better revenues and directs too.
  • It is more visually appealing.
  • It gives users the validation that they seek.

With the majority of shoppers and users from the social-savvy generation, Social Commerce is shaping up to be the next level of the shopping experience and the future of online retail.

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.

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.

Magento B2B and B2C

What to Pick: Is Magento different for B2B and B2C?

Despite their technical and theoretical differences, B2B businesses, especially in eCommerce, tend to get affected by B2C strategies, as online retailers work harder towards better user experiences, setting benchmarks of B2B enterprises to follow and align themselves to the changing buyer demographics and behaviors. B2B eCommerce is more about a strategic opportunity for enterprises while B2C is more objective-oriented.

For enterprises to meet their user expectations, they need to understand and assess the space they want to be in and design their eCommerce store accordingly.

B2B vs. B2C eCommerce

B2B eCommerce

B2C eCommerce

Fewer but large-sized clients. A broad customer base of all sizes.
Highly customized sales or post-sales process Standard operational and sales procedures across all customers
Higher order value. Average order value is generally lower than B2B
Flexible payment options depending on buyer. Simplified payment process with standardized tools.
Big order values call for more information, details, before finalizing a purchase. Products come with fewer attributes and offer basic, fixed information to all customers.
Longer lead to conversion time. Most retail products have a shorter conversion time.
Involves personalized pricing and negotiations, subject to quotations and contracts Except for promotions, discounts, or special offers, prices are fixed and standard for all customers.
Purchases are based on business and functional needs. Purchases are based on personal preferences or emotion-driven needs.
Have long-term relationships with clients for reordering opportunities. Clients have multiple choices and most purchases are one-time from the same source.
More emphasis on brand value, trust, and relationship with clients. More strategic marketing and analytics-driven.

eCommerce Development Company for B2B & B2C businesses

Whether you are catering to enterprises or consumers, you need to have a state-of-the-art eCommerce solution for your business. Thankfully eCommerce development platforms like Magento do not differentiate in B2B and B2C eCommerce. Magento offers the same instance to run both B2B and B2C storefronts. With Magento’s smart solutions you can now have mobile-first store designs and branding, without the hassle of managing multiple techniques. Seek the expertise of a Magento development company who can help you establish your eCommerce store for B2B, B2C, or both on the same platform.

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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.

The 7 unspoken laws of ecommerce success

The landscape of ecommerce in India is growing leaps and bounds with every retailer vying for their unique space in the industry. While online marketplaces are getting their fair share of success, ecommerce a lot of potential for new businesses. Unlike marketplaces, retailers have a lot more freedom to integrate innovative ways of boosting their business and join the bandwagon of rising ecommerce trends. Besides the mainstream technical knowledge and market insights, there a few tips that can help retailers and marketers to succeed in the ecommerce space.

Treat your ecommerce business as a thriving offline business
Except for the tangibility of your store, there’s not much difference between the efforts and time that you need to invest in a brick-n-mortar store and your ecommerce business.

Find the right software for your business
While it is important to make your ecommerce website really stand out, you need the most appropriate platform to build it on. Look at software that supports your creative idea and is sustainable.

Be where your customers are
The old trick of the trade calls for tapping right into the needs of your audience and fulfilling it. To do the same you need to be visible in places where your customers are.

Build Buyer Trust
Empower your customers through personalized communication and allow them to share their experiences with your product/service through reviews, feedback featured blogs etc. This not only builds trust with them but also makes them your brand ambassadors.

Keep the checkout process easy
Majority of conversions drop at the checkout point. Integrating a popular payment method and minimizing the page loading time can help reduce friction at the point of sale.

Offer Excellent Online Support
Think beyond calls and emails and consider live chat support on your site, across the user journey to enhance your customer support strategy.

Partner with other brands
Even if they are small local brands, partnering with complementary businesses add value to your brand and enhances your reputation among your audience.
There is no ideal model for a successful ecommerce business. With innovative business ideas, trial and error, and steady growth, your business can see the future of ecommerce, provided you are ready to take the leap of faith.

Why your site needs an eCommerce audit

Why your site needs an eCommerce audit?

If there’s one common goal for all e-commerce sites, its conversions. With the online marketplace dominated by retail giants, it becomes essential for e-commerce sites to stand out among the clutter and get their share of the pie. Hence an e-commerce audit, to help you understand where you stand among the crowd. It not only helps you boost your organic traffic and drive quality visitors but also spike up your conversion rate.

Reasons for considering an e-commerce audit:

Stay ahead on Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

Once you run a review of your content marketing strategy, you will know where you need to improve upon- whether it’s the content or the SEO strategy that needs revising. And if you are striving for that first page of search results, then your site needs to be well-optimized to start with.

Better On-page SEO

An audit of your e-commerce site will relook at the Meta Tags, keyword frequency, HTML headers etc. to see if your target keywords are at the right places on your site. This will increase your searchability to your users and search engines.

Check for mobile optimization

Needless to say, almost every user today uses their mobile phones for shopping. And that is why your e-commerce site needs to be user-friendly or optimized for a better experience of your customers. An audit can help you with ‘touchscreen readiness’, ‘mobile viewport’, UI/UX feasibility etc. so your audience gets the best experience on your website.

Enhanced site performance

This is probably one of the most important deal-breakers for e-commerce sites. Sites are evolving in their designs and integrating the best in class images, layouts, etc. But if these enhancements create a handicap for your users, by slowing it down, then you can lose as much up to 40% of your site visitors. User experience is essential for e-commerce success and site speed and its performance play make for an important element of it. When you run an audit, it can tell you which parts or pages lag in speed. It can also give you ways to elevate your site performance through techniques like compression, minification, image optimization and caching.

From content upgrade, keyword check, to restructuring product placement, and site analysis, an e-commerce audit is the key to a successful online retail business.

5 Reasons you should hire an expert to enhance your user

5 Reasons you should hire an expert to enhance your user’s shopping experience

The millennial shopper is always on the lookout for the best experience irrespective of what they shop for. That is why marketers and brand owners need to enhance the user experience and the customer journey while they browse through your site. And all this requires an expert, who can use his/her understanding and expertise to take your users’ shopping experience to a whole new level.

Here are our top 5 reasons to hire a user experience expert-

Help understand the human element

The best sales happen when you are in sync with your customer’s buying behavior. For that, you need to pay more attention to the user psychology. In other words, knowing what works for them, what they like, what improvements they are seeking, etc. This makes for a scientific study using consumer insights which can be best conducted by an expert qualified for the same.

Better customer relationship management (CRM)

User experience and CRM are not mutually exclusive. A customer complaint is usually seen from different perspectives, depending on where the fault was, which can lead to multiple inferences. An expert in such a case, can pinpoint the problems and help in problem-solving of consumer concerns. By assessing and analyzing their feedback, they can help in improvement of a product or the seller service, thus enhancing customer relations. CRM is one of the most important aspects that helps a business grow. And using expert knowledge to resolve their issues can ensure long-term relations with your users.

Contributing to Innovation

With a more scientific approach to consumer behavior, user experience experts can provide better insights into R&D and assess if a new concept or a strategy will work or not. And that too without exhaustive experimentation.

Keeping up with market changes

People change and so their habits. Surveys and focus groups stick to demographics and are not enough to assess the psychological reasoning behind such changes. Experts in user experience go beyond the theory and apply a deeper understanding of human nature which helps in better brand outreach.

Better marketability forecasting

Before a product is launched in the market, user experience experts can analyze if it will work with the brand users or not, thus providing the right marketability forecasting. By availing such expert knowledge prior to launches, brands can save the time and money on trials and errors

Make your eCommerce website secure – Change from HTTP to HTTPS

Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, boasting a 66% worldwide usage share of web browsers on desktop and a 50% share on mobile devices, making it the most used browser in the world, according to StatCounter, 2018.

Google keeps updating their algorithms and methodologies to best suit the user’s needs and this over the years has helped them stay on top of their game. After the big Google Speed Update, the next big step from the tech giant is the securing websites by marking non-HTTPS sites ‘insecure’. If you are looking to keep your eCommerce website secure and up in the long run, it is the right time to make the shift from HTTP to HTTPS.

What is the difference?

HTTP is the building block of the world wide web, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. After years of pushing for ‘secure by default’ websites, the tech giant – Google will now identify insecure sites in the Chrome browser beginning and mark them ‘insecure’ starting in July 2018.

Why HTTPS over HTTP?

  1. More Secure
  2. Helps with SEO Rankings
  3. AMP requires HTTPS
  4. Better referral data
  5. Credibility factor
  6. Customer information remains intact

The big shift

Google intends to mark all non-HTTPS sites ‘Non-secure’ starting July. This has been followed with a campaign by Google providing ‘Rank boosting’ incentives to sites that make the shift to HTTPS. Results of the campaign are.

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

How to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS?

  1. Buy an SSL certificate (An SSL certificate contains both public and private encryption keys that are long strings of alphanumeric characters used to encrypt data in a way that’s very hard to crack thus making it ideal for protecting sensitive data.)
  2. Install the SSL certificate on your web hosting account
  3. Change all instances of HTTP to HTTPS to ensure there will be no broken links once you switch the HTTP to HTTPS switch.
  4. Set up 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS so that search engines are notified that your site’s addresses have changed and so that anyone who has bookmarked a page on your site is automatically redirected to the HTTPS address after you flip the switch.

There you have it, 4 easy steps to making your eCommerce website secure and web-friendly.

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