Online Versus offline retail

Online Versus offline retail

Contemporary shoppers equipped with new technologies – A combination that is compelling brick-and-mortar retailers as well as online ones to up their game. The outcome and necessity is to bid adieu to the online versus offline retail war and unite the two to take shopping experiences sky-high.

But how?

Get real

Tilting preferences towards online shopping are triggered mainly by nagging pain points of in-store experiences like an indifferent staff, stock unavailability, unending check-out queues, etc. Nevertheless, a study says that 70% shoppers still desire the human interaction facilitated by physical retail. Retailers can capitalize on by this by enhancing the vital appeal elements of brick-and-mortar stores like ambience, courteous and well-informed staff, personalized interaction, adequate stock, easy check-out and – a generous helping of technology.

For instance, when someone checks products on your e-store, encourage them to visit your closest physical store. Uncertain customers particularly benefit as they can examine products in person, get assistance and make better purchase decisions. Fewer chances of returns, happier customers, and higher sales ensue.

Nike has an interesting in-store tech innovation. A buyer can customize a shoe in the store and collect it in one hour flat. Along with a sense of exclusivity, customers get the satisfaction of not having bought a mass-produced product, and a good incentive to ditch digital and visit a physical store instead.

Mobile shopping is here to stay

Every week, millions of retailer apps are downloaded and about 4 of 10 consumers interact with brands through them. Smart retailers are therefore moving beyond the practice of making apps a dull extension of their website and giving customers convincing reasons to actually use the app.

Popwallet tells people to leave their purses at home. When users view and save ads/content from emails, online ads, social media, etc., Popwallet stores them in the users’ mobile wallet and marketers can then target those users with relevant personalized notifications or updates. Thus, brands are able to market effectively but effortlessly, as people visit physical stores after getting Popwallet reminders.

In-store wows

With 79% millennial shoppers claiming that customized offers boost their willingness to buy, personalization will continue to be a key purchasing incentive. Taking cues, some retail stores are pushing instantly redeemable discounts/offers to customers’ mobile phones while they are inside the physical store.

New York-based Cosmose uses customers’ mobile phone apps to slot them into one of four different categories – 1) Lost souls 2) Browsing 3) Outside a store, possibly willing to visit 4) Loyal customers. This categorization, along with the application of conversion-driving data, is used to decide whether to push a personalized message or promote an offering.

Self-checkout is getting popular too. It gives customers the option to shop, bag and scan their products, then, using merchant mobile apps, pay via their cell phone/credit card or a dedicated store mobile app. Long check-out queues? Thing of the past!

Super smart apps

A study shows that 90% users whip out their mobiles in-store while shopping, indicating that e-commerce apps can smartly be used to enhance offline shopping experiences.

For example, if a customer is checking products in a physical store, the e-commerce app can be used to instantly furnish more product details, prices, offers, reviews, etc. The apps can also be used to re-engage customers after a purchase and entice them to return to the store by offering complimentary product deals to ones already bought, relevant offers, etc.

Using iBeacons, retailers can leverage geolocation marketing to make in-store product information and deals known to customers at the point of sale, also promote the closest brick-and-mortar stores. It also enables analysing details of past store visits to understand what products customers lean towards.

Online and offline – Nail them both

Some offline retailers are building their online presence, some online-only brands are opening their physical stores. The idea? To let customers have it all.

Amazon has started a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Chicago that stocks only those books with high ratings on the Amazon website. The brand is using its extensive online experience and collecting data and intelligence to design an intriguing, customized offline experience too.

No more separation

Online and offline need not be isolated. For seamless, flexible, high-quality customer experiences, omnichannel is the way forward. Data analysis; in-depth market and product knowledge; a deeper understanding of customer behaviour/preferences/purchase drivers; and intelligent technology applications can help get there.

Reserve/Click-and-collect is an excellent solution for shoppers who dislike waiting for product delivery, hence hit the high street, but find the product, not in stock. Click-and-collect indicates (on the web) the product’s availability in the physical store, saving customers time, effort, and disappointment.

Additionally, numerous retail stores are moving beyond the tokenistic technology approach and using Virtual Reality (VR) holistically to personalise offerings like never before. French-headquartered home improvement and gardening retailer Leroy Merlin has developed a VR visualizer for their ready-built kitchens. In-store customers can put on Oculus Rift (A VR system that plunges the viewer inside virtual worlds to enable ‘real’ product visualizations) and check how the full kitchen catalogue would look like from all angles.

Win-win

Uniting physical and online stores give customers complete flexibility in terms of purchase options while establishing brand credibility for retailers. With an omnichannel strategy, customers can:

  • Purchase a product online and have it delivered to their location
  • View a product online, then check and buy it at the physical store
  • View a product online, check it at the physical store, then buy it online
  • Check a product in the physical store, but buy it online
  • Order a product online, but collect it from the physical store

Concluding

The growing dynamism of the retail industry is blurring the lines between online and offline retail. While e-commerce portals instantly offer product details, comparisons, reviews, stock availability, and mobile payment conveniences; physical stores render the touch-and-sense factor.

So, whether you are a brick-and-mortar establishment or an e-tailer, now is the time to be truly versatile by converging online and offline platforms to deliver smashing customer experiences. And if today’s shoppers are no longer fixated on ‘channels’ when it comes to shopping – As a retailer, should you? ')}

How modern technology is revamping retail

How modern technology is revamping retail
Since the last decade, technology has been empowering online retailers to target and serve customers in better and smarter ways.

Since the last decade, technology has been empowering online retailers to target and serve customers in better and smarter ways. This includes leveraging retail analytics for decoding search data and social media information to really read customers’ minds. To catch up with online retail and tech-savvy customers, it is essential for offline retailers to step away from traditional marketing and adopt revolutionary retail technologies.

Offline retailers are progressively innovating to harness the smallest buying cues potential buyers leave behind and using those tech-innovations to fulfil every buying need. However, it is also important to align marketing efforts with technology progressions by addressing the following:

Discoverability: A Google study revealed that 90% cell phone users are unsure of their brand preferences when they start shopping. Retailers must, therefore, be easily discoverable when shoppers search for products/services. Potential buyers are always exploring varied apps/portals to find the best offers and deals, making it imperative for retailers to be discoverable on the web, including quickly appearing in “near me” searches, to aid these buying decisions.

Smart and economical advertising platforms like Taglr are of great use here as they significantly increase visibility for retailers and their offerings, thereby also guiding customers towards better buying decisions.

Accessibility: Given the limited attention span and short activity spurts of today’s customers, brands risk on losing out by not being instantly available throughout the customers’ purchase process. Offline retailers must be able to offer deals/offers, how-to videos, price transparency and a wider product range in quicker and easier ways, which is where unique ad platforms like Taglr come to aid.

How offline retailers can leverage IoT-based technological breakthroughs to stay afloat in an online world

‘DOOH’ it right

Billboards are a static, non-targeted, non-customized advertising mode. But what if retailers could collect massive data volumes in real time about people in close proximity to billboards, for better ad customization and targeting? Enter targeted Digital Out of Home (DOOH) technology – A tool that captures smartphone IDs whenever they ping Wi-Fi routers, then matches the smartphones to existing advertising IDs that index online searches and social media information to create an immediate mass profile. The digital billboards then serve ads fitted to the demographic actually looking at it, in near real time. With changing aggregate crowd profiles, the billboards keep adapting too.

DOOH technology aggregates relevant profiles with a crowd of people, proving as a huge opportunity for marketers who are unable to achieve real-time targeting of demographics in offline environments.

Cameras, sensors, the works

Footfall cameras coalesced with zone analytics and mapped in real-time with inside dwell times/traffic of shoppers can introduce a massive change in offline retail. Retailers can also use Wi-Fi sensors and merge them with business intelligence tools to effectively tap into offline shoppers with a 360-degree approach.

BLE Beacons

Bluetooth low energy (BLE) beacons, working with active Bluetooth connections, are based on shoppers’ proximity to stores. Across the globe, retailers are leveraging beacons to draw more shoppers into their stores inopportune and convenient ways. Around 4.5 million active beacons are likely to come into existence this year, 3.6 million of which would be in offline retail, states a study.

Equipped with 3D indoor maps, the above tools give shoppers the exact location of retailers, while store owners are able to organically draw a larger number of customers.

Artificial Intelligence and its paraphernalia

By integrating Chatbots into offline retail, window shoppers/potential buyers can easily be directed to retail outlets of their choice. AI-enabled IoT devices help customers in their shopping experiences and allow them to discover highly customized offers by simply interacting with a bot, ultimately reducing customers’ decision-making timeframes and boosting footfall/business for offline retailers.

Intelligence in-store

Futuristic retail technologies can turn a simple touch-screen gadget into an intelligent in-store advertising terminal. Imagine a touch-screen offering a customized welcome to a customer who walks into a store, recommending products according to his/her specific browsing history/preferences/ buying behaviour, etc. and displaying just the right product(s) along with best deals/offers.

Additionally, beacon/Wi-Fi sensors attached to store merchandise can connect with smartphone applications and trigger customized data on an in-store screen to drive a purchase. Say a customer is looking at a particular outfit in a store, and the screen comes live with data about the customer’s size, colour options, prices, discounts, etc.

Customers can even upload pictures of products they are looking for, or transfer current images from their gadget to check for similar items. This would show several comparable products along with the necessary details.

Conclusion

The time has truly arrived for offline retailers to redefine in-store experiences. And by leveraging new retail technologies, big data analytics, machine learning algorithms and innovation, retailers can successfully bridge the gap between real world retail and tech-hungry shoppers. ')}

How big data analytics is revolutionising the retail

How big data analytics is revolutionising the retail
How big data analytics is revolutionising the retail

Online retailing has brought with itself ongoing debates about its differences with offline retail. The truth is that online and offline retail are like two peas in a pod, and the real debate is how big data analytics can revolutionize the world of retail, both online and offline.

However, in this digital age, online shopping gains preference over offline retail for various reasons. Online/mobile shopping gives shoppers more options, instant product and price information, along with added conveniences like faster delivery. Taglr is one such all-encompassing advertising platform that offers online shoppers as well as retailers the best of the best.

To catch up, offline retailers must accurately predict customer behaviour to customise their offerings as per changing customer preferences and budgets. A major enabler of this is retail analytics – the contemporary mantra that both online and offline retailers can adapt to revolutionize their business.

Retail analytics/software solutions are changing the game by:

  • Helping retailers improve their business models, devise intelligent pricing and supply chain solutions, improve customer engagement
  • Making market expansion easier for offline retailers in particular
  • Aiding in developing valuable clientele solutions via loyalty analytics
  • Uncovering latent data patterns and facilitating accurate predictions of future outcomes from massive data volumes generated in the retail world
  • Allowing optimisation of loyalty analytics aspects including pricing, marketing, promotion, merchandise planning
  • Empowering retailers to provide highly personalized shopping experiences by adopting an omnichannel approach

Additionally, big data analytics can also help with:

Customer behaviour monitoring

Customer-retailer engagement happens through different touchpoints, sometimes in unpredictable ways. For instance, while shopping online, a person may abandon his/her shopping cart, but the same customer could purchase several products at the offline retail store. The reverse could also be true. Analytics can help retailers in continually monitoring customer behaviour to be able to offer appropriate incentives to activate transactions either online or offline.

Dynamic pricing

Adopting dynamic pricing in sync with demand-supply fluctuations can help retailers combat stiff competitive and stay up-to-date with category-wise pricing trends – A pricing system that considers diverse variables like product sales, competitor pricing, regional preferences, customer actions, etc. to determine appropriate prices for specific products.

Focused customer support

Customer-focused support is an aspect of retail where big data analytics plays a crucial role. It gives support reps a 360-degree view of every customer’s interactions/transactions with that specific business. How?

For instance, an angry customer registers a complaint online about an unpleasant experience along with Facebook and Twitter lash outs. The right data analytics solution can update customer service about this in real time, so when the customer calls to support, the real-time updates automatically redirect the customer to the right representative. This leads to better resolutions, increasing the customer’s satisfaction quotient as well as his lifetime value.  

Fraudulent activity checks

Data analytics eases the process of monitoring fraudulent activities. Say a customer returns a product after using it or falsely claims an item was not delivered and instead sells it elsewhere. Retail data analytics can help retailers detect fraud patterns in real time and thereby curb such malpractices.

Of course, monitoring the above activities could become cumbersome when there are thousands of daily transactions, with further complexities created by initiatives like loyalty programs, etc. In such ecosystems, spot on data analysis via retail software solutions becomes no less than a miracle of sorts.

The omnichannel approach

According to a recent Deloitte report, digital is influencing 21% in-store organised retail sales in India. To match up to the rising tilt towards online retail, many brick-and-mortar retailers are working towards offering an omnichannel experience.

An omnichannel approach is a redefined retail strategy that includes the best of both worlds. Such an approach can help retailers create additional brand recall for consumers and an additional revenue channel for themselves. Shoppers Stop expects a 15% revenue hike through its digital touch points in the next 2 years; Amazon is introducing 3D product videos to offer the touch-and-feel factor; Croma, Shoppers’ Stop, Puma, Big Bazaar, etc. have gone online – Real world validations of omnichannel retail.

Predictive retail analytics can help retail models acquire significant market gains by helping achieve the following:

  • Scientific targeting of right customers at the right time with right information through the right channels
  • Improved Pricing and Supply Chain Management
  • Sophisticated analysis of historical sales, inventory and promotional data
  • Better understanding and forecast of customer needs/wants/trends, product personalization and recommendations based on browsing history/purchase patterns/interactions and behaviour data
  • Identification of new audience clusters, and channels that increase order velocity, customer acquisition and retention
  • Demand-supply trend analysis, Sentiment analysis, Returns analysis
  • Ability to seamlessly manage communications across multiple channels
  • Outstanding shopping experiences

Consumers are major change and growth drivers for the retail industry – They want value for money, greater variety, and more holistic shopping experiences. And all-encompassing platforms like Taglr offer these contemporary shoppers more than what they seek.

Retaining these valuable customers, prudent pricing, targeted marketing/advertising, complex decision making – These are just some of the tough decisions retailers constantly grapple with. In such an environment, analytics becomes a tool to combat competition, a facilitator of optimum business decisions, and a goldmine for the world of retail. ')}

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. ')}

Building your online business – Boon or bane?

A lot of us wonder – How to start a business online? How to sell online? Is it hard? The good news – To build your business online is no rocket science!

Online businesses are easy avenues to build a customer base and sell products online. Additionally, with fewer overheads and staff requirements, and sometimes without the need for a brick-and-mortar office, online brands have great profit-making potential.

Amongst the umpteen advertising platforms present today, Taglr stands out for more reasons than one. Taglr is an all-encompassing and affordable advertising platform that offers great benefits to online shoppers, retailers and brands alike. Taglr can work wonders for your online business by easing the process of listing your products online and bringing higher visibility to your products. For shoppers, Taglr ameliorates the whole online shopping experience by helping them find relevant products at the most competitive prices, thus empowering them to make informed purchase decisions.

However, for every online business, the dilemma is how to differentiate and position yourself perfectly in order to be successful?

Listed below are 5 tips to help you build and run your online business successfully:

1. Build your digital identity

Once you have your product/service, target market, and selling processes in order, it is time to build your own website. Your website is your digital face, your online storefront. It takes less than 10 seconds to win or lose a site visitor’s attention, so make your website appealing, user-friendly, impactful, and content-rich.

Tips:

  • Use easy, consistent navigation across pages
  • Have compelling, interesting content
  • Explain how your product/service uniquely solves users’ problems/benefits them
  • Promise value, make offers, display testimonials
  • Include opt-in offers to create an email address database – Everyone on your opt-in list (a valuable and targeted asset) is a hot lead, and email marketing is the best tool to reach out/follow up
  • Use graphics/video/audio where they add value
  • Simplify the buying process as much as possible

 

2. Improve your social visibility

Establish your brand name online, create an eye-catching brand colour scheme, logo, and tonality – All of which should typically represent you and resonate with your customers
Check the social media sites your customers frequently use and create a strong brand presence on those sites
Create your LinkedIn profile, keep adding people to your network, post links to all the content you create
Remain up-to-date with all the new social media site enhancements to improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts
Post insightful and valuable information on online forums to garner the trust of online communities and promote your product/service better

3. Bump up your social media following

When people look up your company, they will check your social media presence/following. More your followers, greater the chance that you will be taken seriously.

An excellent technique to bring traffic to your website and build your social media following is to network with influencers involved with your target customer base. Pick 4-5 influencers, actively engage with their content, ask them to post about your brand, and you will soon visible on the influencers’ and their followers’ radar. This enhanced visibility will drive more visitors to your site and get you a larger following. Also, while sharing/posting on social media and interacting with followers, be consistent.

4. Eliminate payment hassles

When you are looking to start an online store, you could take cues from the plethora of e-commerce tools available today.

Once you create your Shopify store, you are automatically set up to accept all major cards, without hassles of setting up third-party payment providers/merchant accounts and repeatedly entering credentials into Shopify. In addition to PayPal, customers can pay on Shopify with Mastercard, Visa, Amex or other credit cards.

GetMeAShop supports net banking, debit and credit cards, and cash on delivery (according to the nature of your business). The platform has tie-ups with payment gateways like PayU, PayUMoney, Paypal, and PayZippy. GetMeAShop also allows payments to be accepted in different currencies and does equivalent conversions too.
PayPal is a free service for buyers to pay for an online purchase or send money to someone. The supported payment methods are PayPal balance, Instant transfer, eCheck, and credit card.

 

5. Track, analyse, repeat

It is vital to constantly test and review what you are doing and understand where you are possibly going wrong. Ask yourself – What is your best-selling product/service, how to introduce similar products/services with a unique twist, which social network gets you maximum referrals, which posts have been most popular and how can you create more like them, how can you leverage your online strengths and eliminate the weakness?

 

Summing up

The online world may evolve at lightning speed, but the fundamentals of building and growing a successful online business remain more or less constant, with just some minor tweaks needed. Establishing a smashing online business is no mean feat, but perseverance, meticulous planning and giving thought to the aforementioned tips can definitely help you get there.

References:

How to Start a Business Online

8 Steps to Creating a Successful Online Business

How to Build an Online Business

4 Steps to Starting an Online Business

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