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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