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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.

5 Must-dos for your eCommerce business before the festive season

5 Must-Dos for your eCommerce Business before the Festive Season
5 Must-Dos for your eCommerce Business before the Festive Season

The Festive season is here. As an online seller, you know that this is your time. You know that if done right, this can catapult your eCommerce business to a different level. It’s the best time of the year for this industry. People spend more. They try more brands. They create new relationships with brands, which are crucial to marketers.

Customers you acquire now will continue to purchase with you. So remember – this is a golden opportunity for your eCommerce business that you should seize. You’re targeting a huge revenue spike this festive season. But wait – Its important to make sure your operations are in line with your revenue goals. Do your preparation work beforehand.Do it now, if you haven’t already.

Here are some of the absolute essentials that you take care of for your e-commerce store before the customers start streaming in:

• Step 1: Right Merchandising: Assess the trends of the market. Remember, you should always keep an eye on the recent trends catching everybody’s eye. Stock your store well and showcase the best products – best price, best design, best value. Work backwards and ensure you know your profit margins per product. You will have to heavily discount a few products, but set targets for overall growth in sales as a part of that offer.

• Step 2: Appeal to Early Shoppers and Gifters: Try to figure out the people who shop early and the ones who look out for the items just before the festivities start. Try to maintain the stocks likewise so that they are satisfactory for both the types of shoppers.

• Step 3: On-time Logistics: Meet with your logistic partner’s account manager. Talk to them about your higher estimate of orders. And ensure you are aware of their workload as well and then plan accordingly. Maintain punctuality during the festivals. If you need to ship orders earlier in the day, please change your process to suit the overall higher load on the logistics partner. You need to understand that the customers are about to buy some item that they are looking forward to gift someone or for themselves during the festival. Therefore, you should not delay the delivery process. If you have to tweak the messaging on the site to clearly indicate this, please do so.

• Step 4: Offer Value not blind discounts: Festivals are the periods when people look out for mind boggling offers. You should consider that almost all of your rivals in the market will be giving out offers to attract customers and hence you too should go with the flow. However, you should be careful in demarcating the offers and discounts according to the profits before you really give out any. Be smart about offering discounts – Incentivize social shares with discounts, offer higher discounts on larger order values.

• Step 5: Increase Capacity: Keep it in mind that your website will be visited by innumerable customers during the festive seasons. Therefore, you should be aware whether your server is able to handle the traffic. Also hire more manpower if needed. Ensure you’ve got enough packaging material to take care of increased orders.

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