Monday, March 28, 2011

Enabling Social Shopping on AaramShop

Social shopping is the term best used to describe shopping when influenced by online social channels like Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc. The importance of social networks (online and offline) and their influence on buying behavior and brand choice is not lost on anyone.

At AaramShop, we have tried not merely to plug in social networks into our hybrid retail platform – rather we have wrapped the platform around the power of social networks – with the objective to make the virtual shopping experience – enriched by the reviews, feedback and recommendations of the shopper community at large.

AaramShop not only encourages sign-up via Facebook plug-ins, it also enables sharing of opinions and brand experiences not just on the platform but also with the shopper’s social network. AaramShop also rewards its shoppers with Aaram Badges that are based on reviews, opinions and actual purchases.

Shopper opinions, reviews and purchase behavior is what drives brand listing and it’s relative position within the product categories, ensuring that AaramShop is powered by social networks of shoppers.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mobile applications to re-define the demography and modus operandi of Retail Industry

Mobile apps are the latest fad in the techno savvy world today. Search for mobile apps in any search engine, and you will be surprised by the sheer number of search results. Development of mobile apps is almost like a cottage industry today and everyone wants to hitch on to the bandwagon that Steve Jobs pioneered.

But few industries had a tectonic shift with the advent of smart phones as Retail industry, as this industry is so much intertwined with the end user and now to the end user’s logical alter ego, the ubiquitous mobile phone.

So why Retail industry is the avant-garde of the mobile app revolution, and what makes it so alluring to the retailers of all hue, gravitate towards mobile apps. Turns out very many reasons are responsible for this trend.

Read more here;

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Social networks lead to social shopping.

The average time spend on social networks is increasing by the day - engagement with social networks is now the number 1 activity that folks do when online (higher than email). While this fact is very well understood by all marketers, they might be at a bit of a loss when it comes to leveraging the presence of their consumers on these networks. This is especially true for the FMCG marketers.

For a large number of brands the social media engagement gets limited to creation of brand specific Facebook pages and seeding conversations on the same. And while there are some brilliant examples of SM strategies being used by FMCG brands - the examples are few and far between. All you need to do is join some of the FMCG brand pages on Facebook to understand the staleness of the conversation / engagement.

While we are huge advocates of the need for every brand to have a comprehensive and dynamic SMM strategy, we believe that one critical reason for the lack of application beyond the enthusiasm by the brands today, is the concern around measurement of ROI.

AaramShop squarely addresses this concern by putting this as the key objective - that of transforming casual web browsing consumers into active brand buying customers.

To ensure that the consumer experience extents beyond "the purchase" into a social adventure with the brand at the center of it - AaramShop itself has been designed keeping the social networks at the heart of it. The shopper extents his buying engagement and his personal brand experience to his friends in his network every step of the way.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Online research prior to purchase.

There is enough and more evidence of the consumers taking up online research prior to purchase. The concept of ROBO - Research Online Buy Offline is more pronounced in categories of CD&IT where feature lead price comparison has been the norm for a while.

While the evidence of the same being prevalent in FMCG sector has been low in the online space, it is quite the norm in the price war adverts by modern trade and of course in the isles of every modern store outlet.
AaramShop offers the consumers a very unique platform to make a informed decision by evaluating all possible brands in the given product category. The consumer is able to evaluate features, pack sizes, MRP, consumer reviews in an un-intrusive manner prior to buying the product.

Why digital & why AaramShop

Most FMCG / CPG brands owners & managers are not completely sold on digital marketing. Result is obvious - most of the brand websites leave a lot to be desired, most digital initiatives are a mere extension of the mass media campaigns, most media purchases are done with the same intent as mass media which is "creating awareness" and while there is a lot of talk about how digital communication strategies and social media can be great "engagement platform" there are very few examples to back that.
"As an FMCG/CPG brand why should you invest into digital marketing strategies, when you seem to get known (& decent) results from mass-media strategies? And further why should you consider AaramShop as part of that strategy?"
While this entire site is dedicated to answering the larger question, we created a series of notes to help you along the way. You could either search for "why AaramShop" on this site for a comprehensive result or else you could go through the the links below and you might have some of the answers you are looking for.

Online Population Explosion.

In most cases your TG is either already online or is going to be there soon. If you wish to engage with the consumers in a meaningful way - online offers the best bet. The numbers below give a good indication on where the TG is.. AaramShop fits in well into that plan - it seamlessly integrates the 1st level of consumer awareness and engagement with the fulfillment at the last mile.

As an FMCG brand you no longer have to rely on purely "awareness" driven communication and media strategies, with AaramShop digital marketing of brands gets seamlessly integrated with last mile fulfillment capabilities.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Calculating Shoppers & Extreme Shoppers

A recent research undertaken by CISCO Retail (in UK & US) revealed that retailers should pay attention to two customer segments: calculating shoppers and extreme shoppers.

Calculating shoppers (56 percent of the general population) use the web to inform their buying decisions. Extreme shoppers (11 percent of the general population, with a high representation from Generation Y) use the web and smart phones to turn shopping into a low price battleground. And while extreme shoppers receive the most attention, it’s the larger group—calculating shoppers—that has the greatest impact on retailers’ revenues and margins.

The behavior of calculating shoppers is increasingly shaped by technology. In fact, 1 in 3 calculating shoppers use retailers’ Facebook pages and coupon-sharing sites, while 1 in 4 use web-based group buying sites such as Groupon. They also prefer to research products online rather than to speak with store staff. Most important for retailers, calculating shoppers expect to increase their value-seeking behavior over the next two years, further accelerating margin pressures.

Listing on AaramShop is open to all FMCG national brands.

AaramShop enables listing of products and brands of all FMCG national and regional brands on it's online retail platform. Listing of products / brands is easy and hassel free. Brand owners or their appointed agency personnel can sign in on the Brand Engagement Center of AaramShop and follow the product listing process.

There are no charges for listing of brands (all SKUs), which includes product shots, write-ups, MRP of various SKUs etc. There are also no charges for maintaining a brand's presence on AaramShop or for changes made in the listing details. However, AaramShop verifies the presence of the brand with it's channel partner's to ensure a seamless shopping for the consumer.

Product listing optimization within AaramShop is undertaken by AaramShop team and the team tracks the shoppers "path to purchase" and places the product at relevant touch-points within that path to ensure a higher throughput for the brand.

The brand can also highlight it's on-going promotions and offers at the time of it's listing, these could include price offs, combo offers or any other time sensitive offer. The brand has the option to modify it's offers at any time and also to create additional offers online to matchs it's market strategy, however, brand owners should plan for at least a 48hrs on-boarding time frame.

AaramShop does not allow listing of open commodities, non-branded products, private labels, packaged goods which do not adhere to all local laws related to FMCG products, cigarettes & other tobacco products or non-FMCG products.

5 reasons why people follow brands on Twitter

As a social media agency we’re always interested in what makes people interact and engage with brands online.

We’ve already written about why people follow the UK’s top brand on Twitter, and a recent report from ExactTarget builds on this analysis further by revealing why people follow companies on the popular microblogging site.

Here are the top 5 reasons why people follow brands on Twitter:

1. To get updates on future products
2. To engage with the company or brand
3. To save money
4. For entertainment
5. To display loyalty

3 things for FMCG brands to consider when using social media

When it comes to FMCG brands, social media mostly consists of having some kind of Facebook or a Twitter presence to raise brand awareness and spread word-of-mouth.

Taking social media on a step further, here are 3 things for FMCG brands to think about as part of their social media activity:

1. Social media discount vouchers

2. Identifying influencers online

3. Using real people to engage online

Who Wins? Modern retail chains or Mom and Pop stores?

Example of an American grocery store aisle.Image via Wikipedia

Here is a insightful post by Manoj Vishwasnath on the classic clash of modern vs traditional retail outlets / formats in India.

Modern trade arguably accounts for 50% of all retail grocery and consumables business in the developed markets but this has been achieved over a period of 40 years since the first organized retails stores made their appearance in the country. India has a long way to go before it reaches this juncture, probably longer than the political careers of most of the protagonists who are trying to make a livelihood by pitting the Davids against the Goliaths. Today the contribution of modern trade is merely 4% of the total retail trade in the country.

Modern trade bashers also do not have a realistic understanding of the competitive advantages that kirana stores have at their disposal. Kirana stores offer the customer convenience at several levels i.e., proximity, credit facility, home delivery etc which organized retail stores find difficult to replicate.

Unlike the Americans, Indians do not have the culture of driving down several miles to a retail outlet to accomplish grocery shopping. Most customers shop at a mom & pop store that is a stone’s throw from their homes – a luxury that can never be provided by their organized counterparts.

Neighbourhood kirana stores also offer customers short-term credit facility, which is possible because of the close relationship that the shop owner enjoys with the customers. Organized retail stores cannot provide credit since they don’t know the customers as well.

Read the full article here;

Traditional Outlets vs Modern Trade , the scales tilt again.

FMCG companies need to , and they are refocussing on traditional outlets since the sales in modern trade are slipping .
Companies have a marked increase in throughput from neighbourhood ,traditional stores . The advantages cited are;
  • fresh stocks , due to lower pipelines
  • Better merchandised
  • Very high CRM , due to personal interaction of the outlet owner/manager with the customer
  • Increased margins are given by the companies which are getting passed on
  • ease of "touch and feel"
Traditional sales for established FMCG companies like Dabur account for 95% of their sales , it continues to define and decide the market direction.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Indian Consumers Are Crossover Shoppers: Nielsen Study

The study, conducted among 3,000 plus shoppers across 11 cities and Nielsen’s national panel of retailersduring the 12 months ended September last, suggests that the valuehunting Indian consumer visits modern trade formats such as Hypercity, Big Bazaar, Spencer’s , D’Mart , More and Reliance Fresh for her monthly purchases, while frequenting traditional groceries for her daily purchases.

“I avoid going to the large formats to pick up a few daily essentials. I hate waiting in long queues and getting bar codes checked,” says Sarita Joshi, a homemaker living in Nerul, an eastern suburb of Mumbai. “It is equally tough returning products to big retailers or getting the money back which my neighbourhood kirana takes care of with just a phone call,” she adds.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

16 to 24-year-old men and women

Image representing Forrester Research as depic...

Following are part of the finding of the Forrester Consumer Technographics and while it is a few years old and Europe centric, we believe the logic still holds good for online advertising for FMCG and probably is more universal than before and it becomes more relevant with the increased usage of social networks over the years.

  • FMCG organisations can tap into another key audience, 16 to 24-year-old men, particularly those with an interest in health and in male grooming. This audience is 45% more likely to be online than the average European and over a third of their media time is spent online - well above the average of one quarter.

  • They also watch less TV than the average European, read less print newspapers, and listen to less radio.* When online, they are highly engaged by community and collaborative web activities – for example, blogs, wikis, reviews, and social networks.

  • And it’s not just the men. For young women, the internet is a source of trusted and reliable opinion. Around 56% read online consumer reviews, and 36% visit the manufacturer website before making a product purchase.*

Social Breakups: Why Friends, Followers Leave Brands

More than four in five consumers say they have "broken up" with at least one brand on Facebook, Twitter, or email because of irrelevant, too frequent, or boring marketing messages, according to a study by ExactTarget and CoTweet.

Facebook users have become more discriminating in their relationships with brands:

  • 55% of surveyed Facebook users say they have "liked" a brand on Facebook, and later "unliked" the brand.
  • 71% of Facebook fans say they've become more selective over the past year about which brands they “like" on Facebook.

Typically, Facebook fans who end brand relationships do so most often by "unliking" the brand (43%) or removing the brand's posts from their Facebook news feed (38%):

Read more of the report here;

Monday, March 7, 2011

E-tail Marketing: Is Social Media Worth the Cost?

Social media still trails traditional marketing channels such as email in driving traffic to retail websites; however, customers who visit top retail sites because of a social media interaction are highly likely to purchase, according to a study by Foresee Results.

Only 5% of online shoppers surveyed say they are primarily influenced by social media to visit a top retailer's website. Most (38%) cite existing familiarity with a brand, followed by promotional emails (19%) and search engine results (8%).

Read more here;

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Key FMCG audiences from Microsoft Advertising

While FMCG online advertising covers a wide variety of audiences, perhaps the backbone audience is mums. Through their management of the family and home they are responsible for a broad range of FMCG purchases.

  • Microsoft Advertising research conducted in both the UK and France illustrated that the web helps mums in four key areas: keeping in touch, family organisation, personal fulfilment, and entertainment. Advertisers can use these findings to target specific digital solutions at mums, based on the different mindsets they adopt when engaged in these activities.

  • Faced with organising most aspects of family life, mums are increasingly dependent on the internet for information, advice, reassurance, idea generation, and transactions. Convenience, freedom from dragging reluctant children around shops - as well as time and money savings - all played a key role in the popularity of online purchases made by 78% of mums.

  • Money was managed online by 68%, while 94% turned to the web for information, ranging from advice on health and nutrition to planning days out and children’s entertainment. Marketing solutions and branded advice often played a key role in delivering this information.

  • The research in the UK stressed the central role that mums take in key household decisions, from organising finances to social events and holidays.

In the UK, 95% of those surveyed used email, compared with 90% for landline calls, 88% for text messages, and 85% for mobile phone calls. Social networking, instant messenger, and VoIP calls have started to emerge as vital tools for maintaining an emotional bond with both nearby and more distant contacts through mums’ changing circumstances.

While this research is Europe focussed over the years this has become the broadly universal case with increasing bandwidth and emergence of converged and connected devices. The same would be true for the upper crust of the society at large in the BRIC economies as well.

Marketers Up Spending on Digital, Social in 2011

Driven by changes in consumer behavior and competitive forces, 80% of marketers say they plan to increase the volume of digital projects in 2011, with much of those investments focused on corporatewebsites and social technologies, according to a survey from AnswerLab.

Among the 80% of surveyed marketers planning increases in digital, 26% say they plan a significant increase and 54% plan a slight increase. Only 5% plan a decrease in their digital work in 2011.

Here are, other findings from the 2011 Digital Marketing Outlook Survey conducted by the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) and AnswerLab.

Social Sign-In Favored Over Traditional Web Registration

Consumers are frustrated with online registration: When required to register or create an account at a website, only 25% do so, whereas 75% leave the site; 66% say social sign-in would be a good alternative, keeping this in view, AaramShop uses social sign-in option.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Affluent Gen-Y Hooked on Social Media, Brands

Digital media is trouncing traditional channels among up-and-coming Millennials: 81% of affluent Gen-Y adults use Facebook every day—roughly double the number who read newspaper content (45%) or watch TV (44%) daily, according to a new study by L2. Moreover, 45% of such consumers read at least one blog every day.

Gen-Y affluents are 27 years old on average, and they are on a path to earn over $100,000 annually in the short term, and double that income within the next five years, according to the study.

Top 50 Social Brands: eBay Beats Apple, Google

Read more here;

Friday, March 4, 2011

The future of FMCG in India.

Fast moving consumer goods will become a Rs 400,000-crore industry by 2020. A Booz & Company study finds out the trends that will shape its future

Consider this. The anti-ageing skincare category grew five times between 2007 and 2008. It’s today the fastest-growing segment in the skincare market. Olay, Procter & Gamble’s premium anti-ageing skincare brand, captured 20 per cent of the market within a year of its launch in 2007 and today dominates it with 37 per cent share. Who could have thought of ready acceptance for anti-ageing creams and lotions some ten years ago? For that matter, who could have thought Indian consumers would take oral hygiene so seriously? Mouth-rinsing seems to be picking up as a habit — mouthwash penetration is growing at 35 per cent a year. More so, who could have thought rural consumers would fall for shampoos? Rural penetration of shampoos increased to 46 per cent last year, way up from 16 per cent in 2001.

Read the Business Standard report here;

CMOs: Budgets Shifting; Social Spend, Optimism Up

Though social media spending is projected to constitute a growing share of companies' overallmarketing budgets over the next 12 months, CMOs say, integrating social marketing into their overall strategies is still a challenge, according to a survey conducted by Duke University and the American Marketing Association.
We are pleased to note the projected growth on the B2C businesses - both in services and products, where-in over time it seems to be catching up with the B2B businesses, which are traditionally more inclined to social media.

YouTube Tops Facebook, Twitter in User Satisfaction

Although Facebook is the most widely used social networking site in the US, users of YouTube are more likely to recommend that site than users of other popular social media websites—including Facebook and Twitter—are likely to recommend those sites, according to a study by Netpop Research.

Read more here;

Nestle's Facebook Page: How a Company Can Really Screw Up Social Media

Here is a wonderful note written by Rick Broida on how Nestle faultered big time on it's facebook page. A case of consumer engagement platform ending up doing the exact opposite. The impact, thanks to social media is not restricted to the consumers on the facebook page were exposed to - but has since moved on and now you know about it as well.

Chiquita site high on social media usage.

This is an engaging FMCG website of Chiquita which is high on social media integration. . Hope you can spend some time playing on it.

How P&G is mixing traditional and social media.

Here is a wonderful talk on how FMCG companies (this one is specific to P&G) are using social media strategies within their overall marketing effort. Enjoy.

Procter & Gamble: Social Media for Beauty Brands, presented by Anitra Marsh from GasPedal on Vimeo.