The market is hotter than ever.
In the last 3 months alone, we have witnessed global investments upwards of $4 Billion for Indian eCommerce space. In Diwali Sales day (on the same line of black Friday), an Indian eCommerce giant has clocked $100 Million sales. The market is just opening up and the real growth is going to happen in next 3-5 years as the internet user base is going to grow upwards of 350 million by end of 2016. With the market growing at whirlwind pace, offline retailers are redrafting their strategies and putting together eCommerce as one of the key growth drivers. With the giants such as Unilever, Reliance, TATA, Microsoft and others planning to start eCommerce store in coming quarters and folks like Future Group partnering with Amazon, the market is embracing us with open arms!
To make sure you reach your end customers, you need to capitalize on every opportunity to collect visitor information, be it offline or online. To plan your strategy, start your planning ahead of time. In India, every season comes with its own set of festivals and celebration never stops! Hence, every season can be looked at as potential for promotional campaigns. Have a look at your calendar first and map out the festivals and seasons you want to focus on. Once done, plan a strategy for how you could make the best of promotions during festive seasons.
Apart from festivals, there are many more online events such as Cyber Monday or Black Friday your brand could be participating in. Keeping the coming year in mind, here are 5 New Year resolutions you should follow for your eCommerce site:-
1. Synergy in Marketing Plan
Retail and e-tail go hand in hand; be prepared to be present at all touch points to acquire customers. For example, your offline advertisement should speak about your online presence and the online store should refer to shopping online along with offline! The annual budget for online promotions should be allotted like any other activity and structured approach should be taken to support the company’s marketing plan through online marketing.
*retailers are targeting to get 10% of sales through online channels, and in future online should contribute$56 billion business.- Asscocham
2. Data Collection
For every online business, customer data and contact points are essential in their operations. Hence, do not take this lightly and work on improving data collection on your website. Feedback forms, detailed invoices, scratch cards, newsletter sign-ups and loyalty programs all help in this. Your retail portals should have a common database to store all customer information on.
*A study by shop.org and Forrester states that 51% of sales are being contributed by repeat customers.
3. Decide on the Calendar :
Set your priorities on the calendar according to your product category and audience. It is essential that you start planning for your campaign well in advance to be able to make the best of your promotion. Make sure all aspects of the campaign have continuity, such as e-mail marketing, SMS and Facebook promotion.
*India spending shows more than Rs 100cr. business during Diwali by eCommerce player
4. Focus on your Product:
Product inventory, price, and product quality are very critical parts of a successful eCommerce business Start identifying your niche and provide customers with products that are not easily available to your competitors. Online only deals can also do wonders in promoting your online store.
5. Persistently Promote:
Launch your store on the pre-decided day and make sure that you get your initial set of orders from your close friends or loyal customers. This will help you understand the lifecycle of online product sales as well as identify bottlenecks in the process. eCommerce is very dependent on 3rd party apps and companies such as payment gateway and logistics. Here is what you should be doing if you have just ventured into the online world:–
Month 1: Post your trial sale; start promoting your site from your physical store.
Month 2: Improve your store
Month 3-6: Start promoting it with a limited budget
Month 6: Change gear – as the festival season in India begins! Also accept newer trends, trades, and technology. Start focusing on mobile.
Paid promotional activities like PPC (pay per click) on Google ads, Facebook advertisements, and banner advertisements will undoubtedly affect your small budget, however, will give you the initial traction which is important. On a long terms strategy, do focus on SEO (search engine optimization) and other marketing efforts.
A retailer or retail chain should not think of starting big or small. It is important to start and add new sales channel to your business as you grow. Everyone has to go through tides to establish it. How did you start your business and map your calendar to make the best out of your promotional activities? Feel free to share your ideas!