We live in the civilization of E commerce; people prefer to be tagged as ‘Netizens’. Today, people are so savvy with their smartphones, every fraction of second people access Facebook accounts, there are infinite downloads and updates, more than 65% of emails are accessed through mobile devices. Hence Internet has really become an important tool of communication for marketers. Increasing mobile and internet penetration, m-commerce sales, advanced shipping and payment options and exciting discount promotions and coupons and push into new International markets by e-business are the major drivers of unprecedented growth. As per statistics, online shopping and online travel are two of the progressing E-commerce categories in India.
The shift from mom & pop stores to E commerce is believed to be a cult. Getting into the ocean of E commerce is a great way to start your business especially if you don’t have enough pennies in your pockets. However, E commerce throws so many choices to do online business, including selling your own products, having an affiliate website with a store, drop shipping for a merchant or publishing content online. Before deciding the choice of business model, it is important to understand the trade-offs between such choices.
Before going for those five easy ways or cheat codes to look for, I have something interesting to narrate; I recently found the secret behind the glamour and fashion of most celebrities and fashionistas, don’t get astonished their secret destination is nothing but The Clothing Rental which was established long back with an offline store in 2005. The Clothing Rental has dressed the best names in the country. Shilpa Bhatia began the journey ten years ago with a physical store in Bandra; it has recently started with its online channel in late 2015. The Clothing Rental has been using the Facebook Carousel ads to advertise their products. But lately Shilpa has even ventured advertising with Google ads as well. In order to outreach to more and more people she has also tied up with many fashion bloggers and industry specific people. The Clothing Rental is a new concept altogether and hence in order to gain popularity; SEO has significantly increased traction to its site via backlinks.
Often people, who are planning to extend their business online or trying to maintain one, are always muddled up with a question i.e. How to find people to buy their products? Leading to tons of other questions like how to make online sales? How to connect with people without touch and feel concept? How to convert offline mechanism to online one? But nothing to worry about it is not something rocket science. Here are few ways what I found out that can lead to have a good online visibility:
- Always stay connected using social media
Today we don’t have a choice on whether to do social media; the question is how well you do it? Doing business today requires to be working on more personal grounds. People who buy from you expect not only want to end with a transaction but in order to evangelize your brand you need to talk to them. Customers are very informed and live in a digital age where they want to know what and how you do it? In order to harness the power for your E-commerce business you can lend to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and moreover Pinterest. In order to make it more loud and visible one can use a digital poster with a quote and theme. This is one thing people love, they love sharing pictures and tagging near and dear ones, one observable trend growing on social media. Questions are also a good way to initiate a conversation. But before you ask the target group a question, ask the question to yourself. One can also provide discount coupons –If you offer something only then they will come back to your page. Anything that is offered for free catches one’s interest. You can also provide a sneak peek into your products; this can be done by creating photo albums and sharing such photos. To create something interesting one can share featured fans, reward people for their activity on your page this reminds me of E cell IIT Bombay running a twitter contest during E –Summit where we engaged on their twitter page, one can hold live streaming events, collaborate with blogs or client pages and one can even make interesting content through funny pictures and videos, not just to sound professional in approach.
Rank higher on Google with Search Engine Optimization
College life is where I learned to explore so many things whether it was learning about Mumbai or the life of people in Mumbai. It’s very obvious we tend to do lot of things just because our friends involve us though it can be good or bad , But the experience I’m bringing here is one such good one , I got to participate in Google Online Marketing Challenge which certainly a fruitful investment of my time. It was my last semester and I always deemed to learn online marketing but couldn’t devote enough time. GOMC was really a good dose in terms of understanding How to make your website recognized on Google where we are amazoned with so many sites for a product. No wonder today even products like lockets and accessories for boys have so many websites that one needs to take enough effort to make themselves visible on website. Now people hire SEO specialist but a lot can be done to improve at one’s own end. Here are some secrets that I’m going to share; one can register the site with webmaster tools, once registered and verified, one can generate &submit XML sitemap. More than that that the web designers can look for good title tags for the website. Google not only looks for title tags but helps user in terms of relevant words in the description for example If I ‘m searching customized T shirts online in order to ease for customers it makes sense to include unique keywords such as printed T shirts , personalized gifts , Design your Own, jerseys etc. One can actually make the About Us section beautiful with descriptions and product or service photos. Another key area that people tend to forget is social media and blogs Having a brand page and blog is really helpful. Adding a link to your store or website on your brands Facebook page & vice versa increases the chances of users linking back to either your store or your FB page. Recently my friend opened his stationery store at Ghatkopar but didn’t get customers but recently he registered his store on Google maps and now drastically he has a good crowd of students from nearby areas. You need to be a bit of that Googley.
Increase your Facebook reach using Paid Ads
Everyone is accustomed with the brand “Chumbak”, It will be one of your favourite brands when it comes to trendy Indian accessories. They started as a store long back in 2010 and used Facebook targeting ads to reach their target group that is youth. They used Facebook as a medium to display the products and interact with their buyers. In fact 25% of their revenue comes from Facebook, Isn’t it amazing, This is the power of Facebook paid marketing. There can be domain ads, promoted post ( one that seems to be recommended by friends) and even can be remarketing ads ( work well because you know about the products before in hand). Once you made your ad , Whom do you want to see it? Facebook has really been helpful by choosing on parameters such as location, gender or interest, connections or custom lookalike audiences.
Once you have created an ad campaign running, one can monitor through Face book statistics which helps to understand with number of clicks, impressions, cost per clicks etc.
Engage and Sell to Window Shoppers using website interactions
When you enter a showroom you expect that the shopkeeper greet and interact in order to know our preferences and help us better. But the question lies how will you entice and engage a customer with an online store. Well with the advent of technology this has been simplified. There is plethora of choices with us very first one could be integrating a live chat feature that is help building a rapport with your visitor’s online, one can use targeted pop ups to flash in visitor’s mind share that could be time based pop up or it could be feedback pop ups but while using popups don’t pester and oversell. I have worked in a publishing house and now print is also drifting towards digital medium. Now digital medium has amazing branding options one can go for fixed banners, overlay ads and even skinning ads. Customers are aware and informed, before making a choice he does research or comparison, so if a customer finds a good rating he might make an immediate purchase. This is the magic of customer review and ratings. Book My Show has used both customer and critic reviews on their site which can elicit somebody to buy tickets. The most important is website interface and environment just like a person shopping in an overcrowded store, overloaded with products and inappropriate lighting would not like to shop because his shopping experience is spoiled. Similarly if the site is slow and overloaded with product the shopping experience gets ruined. One should make sure various products are sorted and available by relevance, not only that it should be sorted but the products can have well written descriptions and relevant pictures.
Sell to people on the go with mobile marketing
I remember reading some facts in news post that read that Snapdeal mobile sales have incremented from a pace of 5% to 65%. Even Kunal Bahl, CEO of Snapdeal believes that for next two years 80% of sales will be derived from mobile devices. Mobile is increasingly becoming the go to device for online purchase. Today many E commerce sites aren’t optimized for mobile and tablets. What I have seen commonly, mobile shoppers are impatient & demanding hence the system needs to respond as quickly as possible. It should load fast and have seamless check out flow. The mobile site should have some bare essentials such as a universal floating menu that can be accessed from anywhere in the site. In order to enhance product discovery one can have filter and sort by category option. There should be clear CTA and pricing below product image (with swipe based display).
Sell by listing on online marketplace
Today Flipkart, Snapdeal or Yep Me are like common household names just like any other market where we get whatever we want from a gym stringer to a smart watch. For a person who is trying to establish themselves online, they can leverage the power of these marketplaces. These marketplaces are good testing grounds and help to establish brand in the minds of the people.
Listing your products on Price Comparison sites
My dad is a tech savvy person and loves to compare gadgets and then make a buying decision. In a world where everyone is impatient, people prefer visiting comparison websites. As an online retailer you should ensure that the you are visible and discoverable online. It just requires uploading the pictures of product and listing your products for free. Now as an online seller you don’t need to worry much one is charged on the pay per performance. One thing to be really clear is that these websites are not a point of sale but are the point where everyone flocks to know about your brand and then are re directed to product’s website. There are plenty of websites from Junglee, Naaptol, Price dekho, TolMol, Shop mania, Compare the bazaar to Price Raja
Last but not the least
Be Friends with your customers to win their interest
The birthdays and anniversaries of our relatives and friends are so special that we try to make as interesting by doing late night wishes or conference calls or video collage. Then why not personalize a bit for your customers. This can be done as follows
- Personalized emails (Make it funny and very engaging)
- Stay in touch via phone
- Thank you notes
- Special offers on birthdays or anniversaries
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