How Emergence Of Retail Technology Is Changing Traditional Shopping

How Emergence Of Retail Technology Is Changing Traditional Shopping

According to a modern study, a majority of shoppers prefer online shopping over the traditional in-store shopping. The number of businesses lured into the modern e-commerce market is constantly on the rise.

However, with the constantly increasing number of businesses, the competition is growing fast as well. So, to survive in this cut-throat competition, businesses need to step up their game in every department to offer a seamless shopping experience to the customers. Technology, being at the forefront of it all.

Technology has had a huge impact on the retail market. Be it the way, the customers interact with the retailers or the way the retailers build their brand, everything has been revolutionized by the emergence of retail technology. In this post, we will take a quick look at some of the key areas where the emergence of retail technology is changing the traditional shopping:

The Rise Of Smartphone Shopping

Smartphones have taken over. Not in a Terminator-esque sense, but pretty much in every other sense. A majority of modern shoppers use a smartphone for their shopping needs. While some of them buy directly from their favourite e-commerce website, a majority of them prefer doing a thorough online search before making the purchase. Some of them even search the local retailers and do not restrict their hunt for the perfect product to the online market alone.

The smartphones have become the primary mode of engagement between the brands and the customers. From reading reviews and ratings to searching for the product at the best available price, pretty much everything takes place on the smartphone screens. This is why it’s very crucial for the advertisers and marketers to offer attractive prices and engaging content for their brands. In order to thrive in the modern market, it’s very important that the brands offer a pleasing, updated, and convenient mobile experience for the shoppers.

Efficient Use Of Analytics

In our previous post, we saw how machine learning applications are changing the modern e-commerce world. One area where the implementation of machine learning applications has created serious impact is the mobile world. With the growing comfort level of shoppers with online shopping, the use of customer behavioural analytics, web analytics, and the sheer amount of data accumulation that comes with every purchase makes it easier for the marketers to use machine learning to put all that analytics to work.

Shoppers like to do extensive research on products, sellers, and services on offer before assigning their loyalty to an e-retail store or a brand. Business can use the rich data based on the customer’s shopping trends to engage with them and accordingly carry out relevant advertising, marketing, and other strategic decisions to capture them.

However, not every business in the market is technologically equipped to use the behavioural analytics for their business gains. This is where online product discovery platforms like Taglr play a vital role. Taglr offers rich behavioural analytics to the advertisers on its platform to help them create engaging content for the potential customers and use them for their business gains.

Dynamic Pricing Strategy

The modern retail market is highly price-sensitive, whereby even the slightest change in pricing can significantly boost the chances of a retailer attracting the shoppers as opposed to its counterparts. In such competitive market, the dynamic pricing strategy by the e-retailers could give them a slight edge over the e-tailers going by the traditional pricing route. To help you understand, dynamic pricing strategy allows the retailers to change the pricing of their products based on the market trend, the inventory, or the sales targets.

As soon as the retailer identifies a fast-moving product, she can decide to inflate the price to avoid stock depletion or vice versa. In a similar way, in order to meet the sales targets, the retailer might also choose to lower the prices of their products.

By using dynamic pricing strategy, the retailers can also keep a tap on the pricing strategy of their competitors to make beneficial pricing decisions. For example, when a competitor is running low on the stock of certain products, they can choose to increase the price and attract better sales and profit margins.

The best implementation of dynamic price strategy is the real-time price updating, which a lot of e-commerce stores use to capture as many customers as they can. But nowadays a lot of small and medium-sized enterprises have also started adopting the strategy.

Artificial Intelligence

Managing customer interaction is the biggest challenge that the modern e-commerce firms face. And this is where Artificial Intelligence comes into the picture.

Artificial Intelligence can be employed to handle customer interaction in a much more efficient manner through chatbots or automated response to make sure the customer interaction is a lot more personalized, efficient, and effective.

At the same time, AI can also be used to handle huge chunks of data to analyze the customer behaviour, market trends and the factors influencing the customer behaviour.  This not only makes online shopping a lot more personalized and safe as well.

One fine example of this is Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, which helps the retailers to offer better suggestions to their customers to help them boost their sales. Some of the areas where artificial intelligence has helped the retailers include product recommendations, post-sales support, and helping the customer make a purchase faster.

To sum it all, retail technology and its evolution will continue to revolutionize online shopping, which will enable modern businesses to innovative ways of customer engagement. In coming days, it will be the differentiating factor between the leaders and laggards in the world of retail. ')}

Big Data – What It Can Do For Your Business

Big Data - What It Can Do For Your Business

Big Data is the easiest way to understand the modern world. As technology penetrate our lives, the influence that data can have on anything and everything we do is unmeasurable. Both offline and online. Almost anything you do turns into data for the technology.

As a consequence, we’re inundated with virtually endless facts, perceptions, numbers, and percentages in our hand. And, understanding and studying this overwhelming amount of information on hand is what Big Data is all about. A little complicated, but of great use.

A Closer Look At Big Data –

The information scattered across in form of traditional or digital form is huge. Bringing all that information under one roof for a specific purpose could lead to a greater understanding of the modern world. It could be used as a constant source of discovering new patterns and analysis. Tech companies use this large amount of data to analyze consumer behaviours, market trends and tailor their services or products accordingly.

One industry that has specifically leveraged the power of Big Data to a greater effect is the world of e-commerce business. All big e-commerce businesses in the current market use big data to understand the market trends, customer behaviour, their buying patterns to streamline their operations and gain more customers.

So, it’s about time we look at how big data is transforming the e-commerce market and how online advertising and product discovery platforms like Taglr is helping smaller retailers harness the power of big data.

In-Depth Shopper Analysis –

For any business, it’s of utmost importance to understand their shoppers behaviour. Big Data makes it easier for them. By analyzing big chunks of data and preparing analytics on latest trends, customer preferences, and the growing demands, business owners can now make sure that their products are in store and are being promoted accordingly. Big Data analyzes all the searches made by customers to update you on any product that you don’t have in store or online but should have. Big Data analysis continues to illuminate the changing customer behaviours like the most popular shopping time, the most popular products, and many such things to help you seize new business opportunities.

In the modern competitive market, more and more offline retailers and online stores alike are using Big Data analytics to tune their marketing strategies, inherent shopping processes, and social media advertising to boost their sales and customer engagement.

Improved Customer Service –

In the modern competitive market, one bad customer service experience can cost you a customer, forever. According to a study, a major chunk of customers will not shop from a business with which they have had a bad customer service experience in the past. A good customer service is a key to success for all modern businesses, online or offline.

Taglr’s Big Data analytics provides predictive monitoring on the issues your customers are/will be facing, to streamline your customer service and make sure that the problems are resolved at a faster pace.

Easier and Safer Online Payments –

Big data has the capability to integrate multiple payment gateways on one platform. It not only makes it easier for the customers to use but also minimises the online fraud risks. The advanced data analytics is strong enough to identify payment frauds in real time and raise a concern immediately.

Furthermore, big data can also identify money laundering transactions, which might appear as legitimate transactions to naked eyes. With all the safety combined with ease of use, data analytics makes it easier for the online and offline businesses to sell and upsell.

Seamless Integration With Mobile –

The number of smartphone users is constantly on the rise. According to a recent study, we might be already approaching towards the time where desktop computers will become obsolete.

And in such times, big data fits right in. Businesses can now collect more native data to transform their products and services. They also can gather data from different sources to analyze their potential customers at once.

We already are seeing Google giving preference to websites that are mobile friendly and responsive. So, in case you do not have a mobile-friendly website, fret not, you can still open your store with absolute ease on Taglr to reach the right customers.

Final Thoughts –

The increasing adaptation of Big Data by e-commerce industry could very well be the difference between a successful store and a store longing for customers. Whether you are looking to take your business online or just want to advertise your products online, online product discovery platforms like Taglr can make it happen for you with absolute ease. Taglr offers a wealth of technological tools like in-depth analytics using big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help you find success in this modern technology-driven market. ')}

Research Online, Purchase Offline Is The Way Modern Shoppers Shop

Research Online, Purchase Offline
According to a study, almost 65% of modern shoppers prefer to do a little to extensive product research online before stepping foot in any store.

The pre-purchase behaviour of modern customers plays a decisive role in their shopping decisions. Consumers today are empowered by many tools that enable them to do an extensive research online before putting money on the table for the purchase. This move from clicks to bricks with absolute ease, calls for effective measures to be taken by the modern retailers to understand their customers and enable them to browse and buy to maximize the profit margins. However, it is a lot easier said than done. While the customers have the freedom to browse and buy from any store, online or offline, of their choice, the retailers struggle to tap into these shoppers due to the sheer unpredictability of their move.

This is where making use of technologies like Big Data analytics, Machine Learning, and a bit of Artificial Intelligence can give an edge to the retailers. To tap into the right consumers it’s very important to identify where the journey of the shopper actually begins. And the retailers that harness the power of aforementioned technologies together with engaging digital content, findability based on the geographical location, keywords, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), are bound to win the game.

And with Taglr, we are trying to put our retail partners at the forefront of it all. So, let’s have a closer look at the latest trend that is – Research Online, Purchase Offline.

Understanding research online, purchase offline or ROPO –

The increasing penetration of internet with increasing number of smartphone users is converting the modern consumer into a research obsessed buyer. An integral part of any modern purchase is the initial research that goes into shaping up the final purchase decision. Whether the consumer is in the store or in the product aisle itself, the convenience of researching products online prior to putting them into the cart plays a significant part in determining what ends on the billing counter and what remains on the shelf.

According to the latest study, almost 67% of the customers admitted to researching products – occasionally – if not regularly before walking into a brick-and-mortar store for the final purchase. Some more admitted to having a pre-shopping routine, which included extensive online research among many things. A very small number, almost 33%, admitted to not making online research a part of their shopping journey.

All of this data highlights the fact that whether you are a multi-brand retailer or a fashion brand or a retailer with omnichannel presence, you need to have a firm grip on the digital channels to ensure that you are present where your customers are seeking you.

Understanding The Shoppers –

When we talk about research-obsessed shoppers, a millennial with a big smartphone roaming around the store is the first image that comes to our minds. Doesn’t it? However, we could not be far from reality. According to a study, the younger shopper base aged between 18-24 years aren’t as obsessed as their older counterparts. As per the study, almost 54% of shoppers between the age of 18 to 24 years said, they do not do an extensive research on products online before visiting the store. However, a lot of it could be attributed to factors like impulse shopping and the fact that most of their shopping includes low-risk items.

On the other hand for the older shoppers between the age group of 24 to 34 years almost 73% research online – occasionally if not every time – before stepping into the store. And while a lot of it can be attributed to the responsible behaviour of these shoppers, it’s very important to understand that these shoppers account for the most sale in the modern market. They not only like to read reviews of the products they intend to buy but also like to know all the key facts about the items they are about to buy.

The same is applicable to the shopper above the age group of 34 years. The mature the shopper, the larger is the extent of research that goes into any shopping. This is what makes having a strong digital presence and a thorough understanding of consumer behaviour such a decisive factor in the modern market.

So now, let’s see how to capture these research obsessed shoppers for your business

The key to success in the modern research obsessed market is to have impeccable digital capabilities. The content to go with it will give you an added advantage. Let’s have a look at both these things one by one.

The technology has grown leaps and bound since the time you last visited the supermarket so it will be unfair to overlook it in aiding your business. The increasing use of Big Data to understand customer behaviour, buying patterns, the best time to sell, and pretty much any metric that can be used to boost the business and capture the shoppers at the right instance is changing the modern retail market. And we at Taglr are trying to do just that. The expansive use of technologies like Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence to predict, study and understand the shopping behaviour makes it easier for us to provide smart analytics to our retail partners to empower them to tailor their offers and deals for maximum profits. Taglr is a unique product discovery platform for modern retailers which enables them to harness the power of modern technologies to capture the research obsessed customers.

Now, as far as the content goes, Taglr uses advanced machine learning algorithms to generate a wide array of keywords to match with the relevant products to make sure that the customers find what they are looking for with absolute ease. We also encourage retailers to have deeper understanding of rich content to go with their products to make sure that their products are easily discoverable by the consumers. Pieces of information like product descriptions, photos, specifications,  and reviews play a significant role in the Search Engine Optimization of the product page and make them easily discoverable, making it a priority for every retailer in the modern retail market.

In the end, while we agree that it’s difficult to predict where the shopper will begin his/her journey, but what is easy is to predict the fact that the research will always begin online, and if your brand/store is not discoverable there, then you clearly are missing on a major chunk of market pie. ')}

Why is an online store better for your business?

Here's why you must have an online store.

Whether you run a small storefront or have an omnichannel presence for your business, there is no denying the fact that online shopping is the way forward. The popularity of online shopping has seen an unprecedented rise in the recent past, with almost everyone, from a small store owner to an entrepreneur starting in the retail world looking to get online. That said, it does not mean that the retail stores are an endangered species. There still is plenty of business opportunities available for the retail stores, however, having an online store to go with your retail store just puts you ahead of everyone going retail-only. And with platforms like Taglr, there is no reason why you should wait to open a storefront online to complement your retail store. However, if you are still having doubts about having an online store, let us help you take the plunge by listing some of the key parameters that will help you understand why having an online store is better for your business.

Cost

If you own a retail storefront you know how expensive running one is. If you do not own one, then with the soaring real estate price, in general, you can understand how hard it is to get one for your business. Top it all with hiring the right staff, the physical restrictions of reaching customers beyond the bounds of your geographical locations, the struggle with inventory management, and the recurring expenses on marketing to make sure that your business gets that constant influx of customers, and it all becomes clear how tough running a retail storefront is. Now, compare all of that to an online store. You do not have to worry about the rent of the store, monthly utility bills, salaries of store staff, and the constantly growing marketing expenses, just a small investment in web hosting and technical support and you are good to go. You can even get rid of all of that by simply listing your store on product discovery platforms like Taglr, which ensures that your store is up and running 24 x 7 with maximum visibility for your products and the constant influx of customers into your retail store. All your worries about the technical support, web hosting, and server costs are taken care by Taglr as well. With your store on Taglr, the only costs you will incur will be focused in and around shipping and accepting payments in your store, which when compared to any cost that you have been incurring for your offline store will be minuscule.

Inventory

A retail storefront selling articles like designer clothing, makeup, jewellery, sports goods or furniture, primarily will have a restriction on the number of items they can sell. The profit margins for such stores depend on the number of articles you sell customers. This makes managing the inventory a tad complex as you not only have to consider the price you wish to sell them, but also the number of items you wish to sell. On the other hand with an online store, the store owner can carry an extensive range of selection without worrying about managing the inventory. The profit of margins will be higher as well with the variety of items.

Competition

With constant growing internet penetration, more and more retail store owners are jumping on the online bandwagon. However, there still is a plethora of space for everyone to survive, as opposed to the traditional brick-and-mortar market. However, it’s still strongly recommended to examine the competition before commencing the process of taking your business online. While examining the competition when opening a retail store is a tad easier with just a quick survey of the locality you want to open your store at, it’s not the same in the online world. In the online sphere, there can be multiple businesses competing in the same vertical as you. Hence it’s of utmost importance that you start early and start slow without locking heads with the already established giants. Platforms like Taglr make sure that both the small and big retailers get ample eyeballs and that they turn into footfalls for the respective stores by using technology to showcase the products best matched with the user’s search query. If you are offering something which not many are in the nearby area, it’s highly recommended to open your store in the online world to harness the power of the internet and make your business even more successful.

Marketing

One of the most vital components of any successful business, online or offline, is building a customer base. With the retail stores, the geographical boundaries are major limiting factors in building a customers base. However, in the online world, there are no physical and geographical boundaries. Once you take your retail store online, your options to attract customers is virtually limitless. You are no more confined to the physical space your retail store occupies and neither are you access only to a handful of locals from the neighbourhood. You do not have to worry about revamping the store look and feel, neither do you have to worry about the unforeseen expenses to expand the business beyond the geographical bounds. When you are online, you can revamp the look and feel of your logo and your signs as much as you want, you can recalibrate your delivery regions anytime you want and you can, at any time update the inventory or the products you sell and the way you sell them.

All these and many other parameters like these point towards the fact that taking your retail front online can only open more doors of success. ')}

Popular payment gateways for an e-commerce site

Popular payment gateways for an e-commerce site
A safe, secure and quick payment gateway is a crucial requirement of any e-commerce business.

A safe, secure and quick payment gateway is a crucial requirement of any e-commerce business. However, with payment gateways today being a dime a dozen, how does one pick the best? – Costs, setup time, user interface, available payment options, SDK/API/Widget/Buttons and good after-sales support are some important considerations. If you are contemplating which payment gateway would work best for your e-commerce store, here are some options:

CCAvenue

Its launch 17 years ago makes CCAvenue one of the oldest payment gateways in India. They have recently overhauled their website’s merchant dashboard and UI.

Highlights:

  • Account activation within 1 hour of registration
  • Card Storage Vault – Securely stores and recalls card details for quicker repeat transactions, details are encrypted and stored securely against a unique token/identifier sent at the time of transaction initialization
  • Smart Retry – When a transaction fails, the smart retry system redirects the customer to an intermediary page showing the reason for failure. The customer gets up to three attempts to complete the purchase successfully, through the same or a different payment option
  • Fully customizable and free storefront to merchants who do not have a website, with no technical or design expertise compulsions – Merchants just have to pick a template, upload products, customize their online store and start accepting orders
  • Multiple payment options (including CCAvenue PhonePay)
  • Multi-currency support
  • Multiple shopping cart plugins
  • Smart analytics
  • Multilingual checkout page, convenient checkout experience
  • Good support, including live chat
  • Clientele: ClearTrip, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Naukri, AirAsia, redBus, Snapdeal, Myntra, etc.

Citrus Pay

Launched in India in 2011 and acquired by PayU two years ago, Citrus Pay is a rapidly growing payment gateway in India that has managed to obtain a large user base, both merchants and end users.

Highlights:

  • Zero set up fee
  • Easy integration process
  • Wallet service
  • Can seamlessly manage a higher number of transactions
  • Invoicing feature to create and send invoices with payment links
  • Multi-device compatibility – Lets customers pay from any of their devices
  • Clientele: Etihad, Emirates, Airtel, Esselworld, Healthkart, ProfitBooks, Kaya, PVR Cinemas, etc.

Instamojo

6-year-old Instamojo is being used today by thousands of users in India to collect payments for merchandise, tickets, services, e-books, reports, invoices, and more. They recently introduced ‘instant onboarding’, an option to open a free instant account with them – This is a USP of Instamojo, no documentation is needed to start this trial account. Even when you want to set up a full account, a Pan card and bank statement is all you need.

Highlights:

  • Easy to use and setup, no setup and annual maintenance fees
  • Great for low budget start-ups, small businesses or individual business owners
  • Simple, intuitive UI
  • Multi-channel gateway – Email, SMS, Facebook, WhatsApp, Website, etc.
  • Accepts Credit/Debit Cards, Wallets, Netbanking, UPI & EMI
  • 3-day automatic transfer to savings or current bank account
  • Powerful dashboard to track sales, connect with customers, and more
  • QR codes, invoices, advanced analytics and other power tools
  • Payment gateway integration with simple payments API
  • Responsive support services
  • Clientele: Snapdeal’s Shopo, UrbanClap, OnlinePrasad, NextBigWhat, YourStory, etc.

PayU Biz

PayU Biz is a comprehensive payment gateway that integrates SimiCart apps with the PayU Biz payment method and helps customers make purchases directly via the PayU gateway. PayU Biz is a local division of PayU.

Highlights:

  • Easy installation
  • Magic Retry: Picks up failed/dropped transactions at the point of failure/dropping and completes it
  • CVV less flow: No need to enter card CVV
  • OneTap™ payments: Available on Android, tap once and the payment is complete
  • Card vault: Saves customer card data to expedite repeat transactions
  • Multiple payment options: Credit and Debit cards, Netbanking, EMI, IVR payment support, Wallets
  • Email and SMS Invoicing
  • Multi-currency support
  • Developer-friendly APIs
  • Great support for shopping cart and e-commerce plugins
  • Smart analytics
  • Seamless mobile experience: Supports iOS and Android
  • Dynamic switching algorithm: After automatic health detection of different acquiring gateways, the transaction is routed to the best one
  • Clientele: Jabong, Myntra, Ola, BookMyShow, Goibibo, Snapdeal, Pepperfry, Groupon, Grofers, Foodpanda, etc.

Paytm

An acronym for “Payment Through Mobile”, 8-year-old Paytm is an e-payments and e-commerce brand that has grown to become one of the most convenient online payment gateways in India today.

Highlights:

  • RBI-approved semi-closed wallet
  • Protected under a reliable Escrow account, uses a Verisign-certified 128-bit encryption technology that ensures the security of data
  • No setup, annual or withdrawal fees
  • No minimum annual business requirement
  • Accepted at over 15 lakhs merchant locations
  • Accepts debit and credit cards, Paytm Wallet, Netbanking, EMI, UPI
  • Allows cashless payments at offline merchants via QR codes/barcodes and a One-Time Password (OTP)
  • Wide reach to buyers on smartphone apps, iPad, other channels and platforms
  • Optimised pages for mobile, addresses complexities caused by different browsers, platforms, screen sizes and internet connections types
  • Unified dashboard
  • Customers get instant refunds or rewards for the desired behaviour in real time
  • Upcoming corporate solutions include food and gift wallets
  • Clientele: Uber, Jabong, eBay, FabFurnish, Zovi, etc.     

In today’s technology-driven world where most payments are digital, setting up a cutting-edge payment gateway is not just a valuable tool for your e-commerce business, but an essentiality too. ')}

Get on to the e-commerce bandwagon, like a pro!

Get on to the e-commerce bandwagon, like a pro!
If you too are planning to join the e-commerce bandwagon, here’s how you can get started.

India’s e-commerce business is expected to touch a whopping $100 billion by 2020, says a study, indicative of the fact that online retail in our country has arrived, and is only going to get bigger. The raging popularity of online businesses, availability of varied solutions to set up an online store, numerous e-commerce tools on social media platforms, and many such favourable factors are making it easier than ever for brands to step into the e-commerce space.

If you too are planning to join the e-commerce bandwagon, here’s how you can get started:

Build your online personality

A basic but crucial requirement when you begin your e-commerce journey is to build your online personality. For starters, a website can improve your organic visibility in search engines and divert higher traffic to your e-store.

Basic website creation, domain and hosting services are provided by various service providers at affordable prices, along with technical and logistics support, product cataloguing, payment gateways, customer and seller support, etc. In case of limited funds, a free domain on WordPress is an option. Either way, great design, easy UI, seamless functioning and mobile friendliness are absolute must-haves for your e-commerce website.

Options:

Taglr – An affordable and intelligent platform that helps build a comprehensive online store with ease. It gives you the agility to customize your e-commerce platform so as to offer differentiated brand experiences as well as diverse products at competitive prices and stay in sync with dynamic customer behaviour and buying patterns.

WooCommerce – An open-sourced e-commerce platform that can help build your online business and ease the process of selling online by offering various free and paid extensions, spanning across different technical and logistical requirements.

GetMeAShop – A full-stack platform to help small businesses set up online storefronts, create their own website and mobile apps, and manage them without technical knowhow. Logistics integration, analytics, marketing tools and SEO(Search Engine Optimization) are its other services.

Shopify – A platform that helps establish your e-commerce brand with a customizable website, online store, and blog. It also helps sell on channels like Amazon and Pinterest.

In addition to a website, a reputable social media presence is essential – It becomes an excellent channel to build your brand, establish credibility, and reach more potential customers.

Remember to:

  • Monitor social conversations, track searches related to your business, capitalize on emerging trends
  • Integrate your e-commerce website with your social media reach
  • Constantly communicate with your customers, address their suggestions and grievances – Activeness and responsiveness on social media instils customer trust and builds a loyal customer base

Devise your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy

A well-devised SEO strategy and techniques, optimization of products and section names can contribute to your e-commerce website organically turning up on search engines, a driving force for higher website traffic and boosted sales.

Tips:

  • Track audience behaviour on search engines to understand their exact requirements
  • Add appropriate tags for your brand and offerings to improve discoverability
  • Use fitting keywords based on trending searches
  • Since SEO strategizing requires specific skills, knowledge, and perfect timing, it is a good idea to hire SEO experts, especially at the start

Offer a seamless payment experience

Having a good payment gateway on your e-commerce store is non-negotiable – Pick one that is well-suited to your business structure and revenues:

  • Payment gateways integrated with local banks – Feasible for small businesses
  • Hosted payment gateways – Hassle-free, seamless transactions
  • Non-hosted payment gateways or API gateways – Does not redirect customers to a different web page/server to complete the purchase
  • Good old cash payments are still preferred by many, so it is good to have that option too

Clarity is key

Existing online businesses are continually notching up their game, vying for higher footfall, offering exceptional products and giving amazing discounts. With consumer expectations at an all-time high; substandard services, payment glitches, unclear terms and policies, and poor customer support are sure-fire dissuaders for customers.

When you start your e-commerce business (even later), it is vital to live up to, if possible exceed customer expectations. This involves clearly stating detailed business terms, conditions and policies, purchase policies; conditional purchase criteria; shipping/delivery, security and payment policies; return/exchange/replacement/refund policies, etc. on your website.

So, are you ready to start your own e-commerce business, like a pro? ')}

How to build an e-commerce brand

How to build your e-commerce brand
How to build your e-commerce brand

Products going viral overnight, startups taking over larger companies, consumers shifting brand loyalties at an eyeblink. In a scenario like this, how do you build an e-commerce brand that wins hands down?

It’s not rocket science. Ok, maybe a little science, but still, regardless of the scale or age of your e-commerce business, here’s how you can build an unforgettable brand, earn customer loyalty, and outshine competition:

Dare to be different

The journey of an e-commerce brand starts with identifying a need/gap to build a base, then establish a brand identity that would be hard to forget. Customers want to feel a personal brand connect and to achieve this, it is important to establish your brand’s exclusive style and story, segment your customers, then tailor your solutions/communication specifically for them.

You can start with a style guide for your e-commerce business – Consider including design-based brand guidelines, editorial best practices, a brand story you can mention in your campaigns, an elucidation about why you are different from the competition and why your customers are your lifeline.

6-year-old Bewakoof dared to be different, starting from something as basic as its name. Their mantra – Anything different or done differently. Bewakoof believes that people who have risked being different at the cost of sounding ‘foolish’ (quite literally), are the ones who have made a positive change. Bewakoof believes in looking at things from a unique perspective, trying something new even if success is uncertain, and taking the emphasis out of sole financial gains.

Tell a story

Every great brand has a great story to tell. An exceptional e-commerce business connects with customers and shares their story in a way that humanizes the brand, builds trust and lasting relationships with customers. Your story should describe your brand’s essence and objective, blend into your marketing strategy and position your business as unique.

Get Online

Your website is the core of your e-commerce business – appeal, simplicity, easy navigation, glitch-free functioning and mobile friendliness are absolute must-haves. Turn your website into a powerhouse for improved user-brand engagement and unbeatable customer experiences.

If you do not have a website, fret not, with platforms like Taglr, you still can sell your products online right from the comfort of your retail store and make the sale from there too.

Dig for gold

Data mining is akin to a goldmine for e-commerce players. How well a brand leverages data to align itself with users’ online behaviour without over-killing is crucial. Using Big Data analytics to greater effect can put you ahead of the curve. Taglr is effectively using big data analytics to understand the customer behaviour and help the businesses leverage it. Collecting and fruitfully analysing data points of visitors, engagement with the brand on and off-site, social media interactions, etc., can give your e-commerce business a competitive edge.

Leverage social

A strong social media communication strategy includes engaging content, great customer support, and promoting offerings via messages with appropriate hashtags, so people can find your products and recall your brand easily. Social proof (Reviews, case studies, testimonials, news PR, etc.) is a core driver of consumer confidence, creating a snowball effect for your e-commerce brand. While studying customer reviews, it is a good practice to find words/phrases that repeatedly show up and repurpose some of this language in future marketing campaigns, email subject lines, social media ads, etc.

Apart from boosting brand awareness and driving traffic through social media, it is important to drive actual conversions. This can be done by creating more connections through social media and letting people know that you care about their health, happiness, productivity, and success – Higher customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction are bound to ensue.

You can also use social media to:

  • Create content that customers will value, that identifies the pain points your products help alleviate
  • Participate in online forums to engage with and educate people
  • Engage with industry experts to expand your knowledge
  • Start a blog to disseminate information – For instance, answer your top FAQs through your blogs

Visuals spell victory

Visuals bring higher traffic to an e-store and build brand identity faster than text. A study by Buffer says that a Facebook video on an average receives 135% more organic reach than a Facebook image.

Building brand awareness, connecting better, and improving sales is largely influenced by rich video-based stories that are creative, informational and entertaining. Share interesting video content on your website, in emails, on social media channels. Consider using Facebook Live to talk about your business, promote products, or simply engage with customers.

Go omnichannel

Popular online shopping brand Yepme introduced brick-and-mortar stores to give customers the touch-and-feel factor. By merging the online shopping experience with an offline platform, the brand expanded its omnichannel presence.

To further enhance the shopping experience, Yepme’s physical stores are equipped with digital screens that can be used to browse the online store and place orders too. Yepme has even synced its e-store and physical shops with real-time pricing.

Be transparent

With today’s customers having an arsenal of research tools at their disposal, fair and transparent business practices have become the pillars of ethical businesses. Naturally, brand loyalty stems from sound business practices, which include transparent shipping/delivery/returns/exchange and other policies, environmental consciousness, philanthropic actions, and personalized customer service.

Verticalization wins

Several upcoming e-commerce brands are gaining higher traction by dealing in a single product. Narrowing focus helps dedicate more attention to product and service quality, build expertise, increase conversions, and create a niche. After successfully scaling one product and building a loyal customer base, venturing into other types of products to serve the same audience/niche becomes relatively easier.

Advantages:

  • By focusing on one vertical, e-commerce brands can offer customers more variety within a given product category
  • Verticalized e-commerce businesses are less susceptible to price wars and get a significant pricing advantage since they are able to offer personalized, streamlined shopping experiences
  • Verticalization creates more opportunities to brand and market products with differentiated content

A great story of successful verticalization is popular e-commerce brand Nykaa – The founder identified a huge opportunity in the online space and after scanning various potential areas, chose to focus on unisex beauty and wellness products. Maintaining an unwavering focus on customers and quality products, Nykaa grew about 350% between 2016 and 2017, after which they upped their goal to another 300%. Today, the brand boasts of a whopping 600 crore run rate.

Such are the success stories that piece together to solve the e-commerce puzzle, to create an e-commerce brand that one can never forget. ')}

The Concept of Smart store in India and how Taglr can help in becoming one

The Concept of Smart store in India and how Taglr can help in becoming one
The Concept of Smart store in India and how Taglr can help in becoming one

The global retail industry is undergoing constant transformations driven by factors like dynamic consumer behaviour, changing preferences, and technological advances. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are being blended into retail models, further paving way for futuristic customer experiences. This dynamism in global retail has peaked to an extent where retailers have no option but constantly innovate to remain relevant.

The future of retail in India will belong to retailers who leverage contemporary technologies to offer unbeatable experiences, both in-store and online. Blending digitisation and technology with the touch and feel factor to create next-level omnichannel shopping experiences is the key. Not surprisingly, the concept of smart stores has made its way into India and is all set to redefine the world of retail. Here’s a look at the smart store concept across the world, and how India is catching up:

Shopping intelligence

Amazon’s automated grocery store in Seattle doesn’t require shoppers to stop at checkout lines. Sensors track products when shoppers put them into carts or back on the shelf. The app charges the shoppers’ Amazon account for final items bought as customers exit through sensing gates.

Some stores have started using laser and motion sensors to monitor how customers handle products, then inform retailers what people check out but don’t buy. Facial recognition technology in stores to identify people and instantly retrieve their purchase and browsing history is gaining popularity too. At a Kroger store in Ohio, shelves display digitized price tags and product information and tie that to individual shoppers. So, if a shopper is looking for vegan products, price tags could light up in the aisle with vegan options.

Kroger, Neiman Marcus and Lowe’s futuristic retail stores have robots that interact with shoppers, help them find suitable products and give product information. The robots also help with scanning shelves for inventory, packaging in warehouses and shipping orders. The store’s AR apps enable virtual visualization of products too.

Talking mirrors

Some high-end clothing stores are testing interactive mirrors in dressing areas, some of which recommend items that go with what the customer is wearing at that moment.

Intex Technologies opened the Smart World store at Udaipur, India, that offers the ultimate experience to consumers. The single touch points help customers experience a range of products through superior quality demos provided by trained store staff.

Smarter stores

With contemporary shoppers tilting towards online shopping, in-store technology becomes important to make offline shopping an immersive, interactive, and exciting experience and also to increase dwell times/store traffic and create a stronger brand connect.

Several retailers in India are moving towards the smart store concept to deliver top-notch in-store experiences by using digital kiosks, virtual mirrors, virtual fitting capabilities, and more.

Brick-and-mortar retail stores Airflash showcase IoT-exclusive gadgets and devices, which customers can walk-in and experience unboxed.

In Bengaluru, the recently launched Van Heusen Style Studio brings the convenience of online shopping to the physical world, adding excitement to shopping journeys. This store boasts of an in-built recommendation software ‘style bar’ and has a Fit Suite that suggests sizes and fits as per each customer’s body type. And through virtual trials, customers can check as many ensembles as they want without going into the trial room.

Last August, Raymond launched its first flagship store, Ready to Wear, in Bengaluru, which showcases a double height, ‘LED-curtained’ live façade that flashes crystal-clear digital content. Clicking ‘Trial’ on iPads lets customers view selections in their desired sizes and invoicing is iPad-enabled too.

Shoppers Stop is digitising some of its select stores in Mumbai – AR-powered dressing rooms, digital kiosks to facilitate browse-and-buy from the e-store, and a magic mirror for customers to browse over 1,000 products.

Future Group’s Big Bazaar Gen Next stores in Noida and Mumbai have virtual mirrors, interactive digital screens, digital signages on shelves that pick pricing directly from the system, televisions on end caps showcasing how-to videos and deals/offers, sit-down checkouts, and dedicated zones for multi-sensorial food experiences.

612 League stores in Noida and Bengaluru have a wonderful store concept where children use hand gestures to try clothes virtually.

What more does a smart retail store entail?

  • Electronic shelf digital labels to track and display dynamic price changes within minutes, helping establish price synchronization between the point of sale (POS) and other sales channels
  • Real-time retail inventory tracking and management along with real-time report generation
  • Sensor-ridden smart systems to track how customers react while looking at products, achievable by facial expression capture and eyeball tracking
  • Analytical models to gain insights into customer buying behaviour patterns/preferences, then marrying this data with algorithms to discover effective purchase triggers, understand co-relations between products usually purchased together, etc.
  • Thermal imaging sensors, Wi-Fi-based solutions, beacons, etc. to uncover the entire customer journey inside stores and help design individually customised solutions

In India, IoT-driven retailing solutions and smart stores can unveil actionable insights, thwart the challenges plaguing offline retailers and elevate the shopping experience for customers. Combined with the right systems and technology, Big Data and Analytics; higher lead conversions, streamlined customer service, improved ROI and ‘digitally-enabled’ shopping will ensue. This is what we at Taglr are trying to achieve, using technology to better the overall shopping experience for the customers. ')}

How offline retailers can compete with online e-commerce giants

What offline retailers can do to compete with e-commerce heavyweights
With e-commerce giants devouring a major portion of the retail pie, can offline retailers catch up? The answer is yes – And here’s how:

In the intensifying competition between brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce heavyweights, who will win? With e-commerce giants devouring a major portion of the retail pie, can offline retailers catch up? The answer is yes – And here’s how:

Strike while the iron is hot

It often happens that even while inside a store, shoppers turn to their cell phones to make a purchase decision. Offline retailers can convert this into a fitting opportunity to create fruitful in-store experiences by delivering relevant information to customers when the purchase intent is fresh. iBeacon technology is one such avenue through which offline retailers can furnish product information, videos, social reviews, etc. via mobile to help shoppers make informed, data-backed decisions while in the store.  

Take Best Buy’s showrooming approach ‘Your Ultimate Holiday Showroom’ – This innovative campaign put forth the brand’s ‘Low Price Guarantee’ promise through an entertaining YouTube video, using an online approach to invite customers into the offline store.

Be socially intelligent

In-depth analysis of online activity and social media reviews can help offline retailers gain insights into customer sentiments, then leverage this ‘social intelligence’ to optimize in-store customer experiences. Social media platforms also facilitate better retailer-customer interaction, quicker information and feedback exchange, improving brand perception and sometimes reversing negative impressions too.

British multinational fashion retailer TopShop gave customers freestyling and make-up sessions, then invited them to create a ‘Wish You Were at Topshop’ digital postcard using Instagram. After being captured via iPads, the images were set with an Instagram filter and shoppers were encouraged to share them on social media.

Redefine customer service

Trained, well-informed in-store personnel must also have access to social media activity, online reviews, searches, etc. to assist customers better. This enhances the shopping experience and brings a compelling personal touch that may not be achievable by online stores – For instance, remembering regulars and personalizing the approach according to each shopper.

Here too, beacons can help offline retailers design personalized, targeted offers by syncing shoppers’ wish lists and favourites with their mobile apps.

Waitrose, a UK grocery retailer, lets shoppers use their mobile phones as a ‘Quick Check’ handset to scan products for information, ratings, reviews and discounts/offers; to cherry-pick their own offers (For instance, myWaitrose loyalty cardholders can select 10 exclusive Waitrose products at a 20% discount; and even request in-store assistance which store staff get notified about on their iPads. With iBeacon technology, store staff receive customers’ locations as well.

Says Sara Weinreb, founder of apparel store IMBY, “When people frequent my store, I’m able to enable them to define their personal style, find products that match their budget and requirements, and give them things to look for. Options such as this just aren’t on Amazon, where it’s your work to examine a large number of relevant products for every search.”

Leverage exclusivity

Anything traceable to an SKU or ISBN number is mass produced, marketed, and discounted.

Offline retailers can create their own unique merchandise by stocking locally produced items, offering differentiated features that cannot be duplicated or found online, and offer all this at competitive prices.

Australian fashion boutique Covet’s owner herself designs her store jewellery, giving shoppers inimitable items that are hard to find elsewhere.

Ditch conventionality

Price matching, a common tactic used by brick-and-mortar stores to convert online shoppers, doesn’t always work, making it essential to be innovative while promoting and pricing products. One way is to ditch blanket discounts and instead segment buyers to tailor promotions based on individual shopping behaviour. Where possible, payment conveniences and flexibility (partial/split payments, layaways, etc.) can also help compete with e-commerce players.

Work on the balancing act

Inherent advantages of offline retail like click-and-collect, reserve-in-store, and in-store product stock availability indications can turn into unique advantages to draw more customers into physical stores.

Along with traditional marketing practices, offline retailers must build a powerful online presence too. In the booming online shopping world, not having a digital presence means missing out on a sea of potential customers. It is also essential to integrate brick-and-mortar locations with online stores by using solutions that sync inventory and data across multiple channels/locations to enable management of online and offline stores without duplications, redundancies and discrepancies. This balancing of offline and online presence makes the omni-channel retail experience a reality.

Digitize shopping experiences

Introducing new technology to physical stores can help offline retailers create digitized shopping experiences that online retailers may find hard to compete with.

Big Bazaar Gen Next stores in Noida and Mumbai are equipped with virtual mirrors, interactive digital screens, digital signages on retail shelves, paperless checkouts, and more.

The Van Heusen Style Studio in Bengaluru has an in-built recommendation software ‘style bar’, a Fit Suite to suggest individualized sizes/fits, and virtual trials, among other digital conveniences.

Raymond’s flagship store Ready to Wear in Bengaluru has iPads for invoicing and also to let customers experience virtual trials of chosen apparel in their specific sizes.

Summing up

Several new age retail stores are catching up with their online contemporaries by embracing advanced technology to design digitized and exciting in-store experiences. Assistive robots, online advertising platforms like Taglr, interactive mirrors, sensor-embedded shelves, real time inventory tracking, and more, these are just some of the real-world features that can lure online shoppers back into good old offline stores. ')}