marketplace management
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.

Mistakes that could be affecting your Omnichannel retail efforts

Mistakes that could be affecting your Omnichannel retail efforts

Omnichannel is the buzzword in the retail industry space today. But with stringent competition, newer technologies, every retailer is struggling to keep up their game. While some are succeeding, some end up making mistakes, costing them valuable resources.

Here are a few pertinent mistakes retailers can avoid, to boost their Omnichannel efforts:

An overdose of engagement

Customer engagement is a slow process and meant to be immersive. Overwhelming them with brand messaging and ads everywhere they go is no less than stalking. In the process of focusing on the channels, sellers often forget about the people. The idea is to focus not on the number of channels to explore but to explore the customer journey on specific channels that they are loyal to. Giving them enough space and targeting them on the right channel through the right messaging is the key.

Unfriendly Mobile experience

Mobile and smart device usage is seeing a radical growth and it will be in the near future. But there is still a big gap between the number of people using mobiles for shopping and retailers offering the best shopping experience on the mobile interface. This largely affects conversions.

A few things to consider to enhance the mobile experience-

  • Check if the site is loading slower than usual
  • Check your site’s user experience on 3rd-party platforms
  • Do a test shopping for your products on different mobile devices and assess the navigation on each
  • Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check the mobile-friendliness of your site.

Too many channels, too little focus

Remember, your business has to omnichannel, not omnipresent. You cannot and should not be everywhere. And not all strategy work for every retail business. Depending on where your customers are you can choose your target platform/s. And spreading yourself too thin across the market will dilute your brand experience. For instance, if you have your audience majorly on YouTube and Instagram, you do not need to be on Reddit or Twitter.

The same goes for marketplace presence. If you are exploring one leading marketplace, maximize that platform, rather than being present on every possible marketplace and splitting your marketing strategy.

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.

5 Strategies you should consider while running ads on marketplaces

For every online retailer today, being present on leading marketplaces is a given. While the marketplace does their bit to boost sales for their sellers, the retailers also need to constantly upgrade their marketing techniques and strategies to be ahead of their competition. And one such activity to be seriously considered is advertising on marketplaces. Read on to discover a few techniques of marketplace management which can yield better results from your marketplace advertising.

Leverage the buyer’s intent

Most often than not, retailers place their product ads as a means of ‘awareness’. Shoppers on marketplaces are there with the intention of buying. While awareness is required but that could be saved for social ads or other newsfeed ads. Marketplace ads need to be more specific and ‘intent-driven’.

Make the most of keywords

Most leading marketplaces like Amazon have their own keyword tool. Like regular search engine optimization, this tool will also help you identify the right set of keywords you can use in your brand messaging and target users based on what they are looking for the most. This will not only make your ads more efficient but also help you drive better results.

Be clear about pricing

Your pricing strategy should be consistent and reflect on your advertising message. Whether you are offering a discount on your markup or bundling up products and offering a holistic price, your ads should be transparent and linear.

Optimize your targets

You can use both manual targeting and automatic targeting while developing your campaign. You can create a run a keyword campaign using manual targeting for better control and combine it with automatic targeting.

Content around context

Your ad copy needs to be in sync with the trend. For instance, a festive season and cannot be generic about the brand or a special feature. Rather, it should highlight the mood of the season and offer a purpose for the shopper for the particular time period.

Announce your offer

And we mean discounts. But discounts and freebies do the trick when they are pronounced out. Action words like ‘lightning deals’, ‘last X items remaining’, ‘going in X hours’  or bold, striking colors and images can make your offer look like one no shopper can refuse.

Festive Season hacks to nail online Marketplace management

For every Indian, this is the most awaited time of the year, when everyone strives to give and get the best things money can buy. Festive season shopping has evolved from store hopping to marketplace shopping, with grander shopping experiences and options. If you are a retailer or a marketer, you would want to invest all your time and efforts in your E-commerce marketplace management and make the most of this festive season:

Here are a few hacks to guide you through:

Personalize
The best way to reach out to different regions and cultural communities is to personalize your message/product for each of them. For example, for buyers in Chennai, it would have more impact if you use a regional connotation in your brand messaging, that your local shoppers can relate to.

Use the impact of scarcity
Psychologically, customers are always driven by a sense of urgency. For example, ‘Last 3 hours of sale’ or ‘Last 5 items remaining’ (for vanity products) have more chances of conversions than running a ’30-day festive sale’. Use the effect of scarcity to push customers through the marketplace funnel.

Avail the benefit of fulfillment services
With an increased demand for products, consider opting for fulfillment services offered by marketplaces, like FBA by Amazon. This helps you with on-demand warehousing, dedicated logistics, sales support etc. You can also look for a marketplace management service to manage operations, while you can focus more on the strategic aspects of your E-commerce business.

Create product mixes
Most shoppers look for a mix of products to gift this season. You can promote product combos based on what the marketplace is promoting or create your own combinations, based on your sales numbers. This is also a good time to add giveaways with slow-selling products and clear up the inventory.

Automate your processes
When you are running around to fulfill increased orders and deliveries, you cannot slack at any point in the entire process. To make it easier and more efficient, implement an automated inventory management system which will monitor inventory, delivery, returns etc.

With these smart hacks, you can get the maximum value in terms of sales, visibility, and traffic, and turn the festive season into the most successful time for your retail business.

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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