Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indian Ecommerce can fly on analytics.

Among the retail sector stories that are being keenly followed in India right now are stories of the successes of the handful of online retailers – Flipkart, Letsbuy, Infibeam and others of their ilk. The story of Flipkart’s founders – two software engineers at Amazon who shared the same last name while being unrelated to each other – reveals how persistence made them the largest online bookseller in India in less than four years.

There, however, is talk of how the ecommerce landscape here could potentially change with the impending entry of Amazon – the big daddy of the online market.

For one, the entry of Amazon will not catch the current homegrown boys napping – they have been aware of the possibility and have diligently been ramping up to meet the giant. The fact remains that the market in India is large enough to accommodate the current players and Amazon too and yet ensure sufficient growth opportunities to keep everyone happy.

The Indian players have, in a few ways, made life easier for Amazon. It was the travel portals of India that first established the internet as a legitimate channel in the mind of the Indian consumer. Later, in 2007, Flipkart came along and offered the ability to order books online with the choice of being able to pay cash upon delivery. That reassured the Indian customer who still preferred to use cash for most retail transactions and paying online was largely an avoidable proposition.

Monday, September 26, 2011

State of Online Grocery Shopping Report: India

Here is a comprehensive view on the Indian consumers’ behavior and brand preferences when it comes to online grocery buying. In the SOGS Report: India, findings have been presented in terms of four broad parameters:

1. Who is buying groceries online?SOGS report dives into demographic details of the shoppers, like gender & age.

2. Where are the buyers coming from? (With the current report restricted to the National Capital Region)

3. When they are shoppers buying the groceries?

4. What categories and brands are they buying? – Comprehensively explores categories and sub-categories and the top selling brands within them.

Data used on the SOGS report is based on actual purchase data covering 542 shopping bags between 1st of July 2011 to 15th of August 2011. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shoppers Via Twitter Spend More, Online Behavior Impacts Retail

Shoppers who land on retail sites through Facebook or Twitter are less likely to make purchases. Their conversion rates average 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively. Per average order, however, they spend more than those who come through Google. In fact, shoppers who originated from Twitter spend on average $121.33 -- the highest average order value (AOV) of all, according to a recent study. 

The RichRelevance study of more than 200 million shopping sessions provides insight into how Americans browse and shop online, and how their behavior varies, depending on whether they arrive at retail sites through social networks or search engines.

The National Retail Association reports that 37% of consumers plan to make online purchases this holiday season.

While Traffic from Twitter and Facebook to retail sites continues to grow dramatically, these networks still account for less than 1% of total traffic, according to Diane Kegley, RichRelevance's CMO.

It may seem a bit odd that Twitter would produce the highest AOV, but when adding "intent" into the equation it makes sense. Consumers on Facebook and Twitter don't intend to make a purchase, but rather share information. A spontaneous shopper might see an ad and get pulled into the retailer's Web site. The shopper's personality, combined with impulse and influence from the ad, prompts the sale or conversion.

Read more of the analysis of the RichRelevance study here on MediaPost:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taking marketing campaign integration a step further with mobile commerce

Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by the end of 2016 and grow at a rate of 40 percent each year for the next five years, according to a report published by Forrester Research.

Although still in the very early stages of development, mobile commerce is quickly becoming a reality. Following are some examples of how brands are integrating mobile commerce into the consumer experience:

SMS-enabled payment systems
SMS-enabled payment systems are being tested by major consumer brands. Coca-Cola, for example, is currently testing the use of vending machines that accept payments via mobile device, eliminating the need to carry coins to make a purchase.

With these machines, consumers can simply walk up and text in to buy a beverage. Consumers do not have to register or download an application to use this form of payment, and the cost of the beverage is charged to the consumer’s mobile phone bill.

The brand also benefits by using the SMS data to send special post-purchase offers to consumers, and therefore drive additional purchases.

Coverage Update

Consumers can now choose from over 200 AaramShops across 7 cities.

AaramShops are independent neighborhood retailers who now have the added advantage of having a online store front so that they can engage in a more meaningful manner with their busy customers within their stores catchment area.

AaramShop lists retailers who market and sell branded FMCG / CPG brands (regional and national).  

The free of cost listing of retailers (mom & pop stores) includes a dedicated micro-site customized to the retailer, including terms & conditions, photographs, organizational write-up, etc.  View details here

The value of m - commerce: Is it where we think?

Thinking today about mobility – cell phones, smartphones, tablets – and where and when it’ll be changing the rules of retail.

Forrester made a solid case this June that it won’t be as a transaction tool.   They – and – expect M-commerce to be only 7% of total E-commerce revenue by 2016, which means M-com will total only 1% of retail merchandise purchase market.

Gartner made the case this May (echoed by Forrester) that it won’t be as an electronic wallet – at least not until 2015 and beyond.  Despite the fact that some 40-50 NFC-enabled smart phones will be shipped this year, the complexities of collaboration between service providers, financial institutions, retailers, and standards bodies is rendering progress slow and tortuous. (To see a preview, rewind to the past decade’s EPC-RFID efforts.)

And yet: The future of the personal communication and computing is increasingly mobile, and that means retailers are looking at a potential opportunity.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Look At The Future of Marketing At Retail

Shopping, it used to be a simple act born out of necessity. One person possessed the goods that another needed, an agreement or barter was struck, and both parties left satisfied with what they needed. But just like anything else, the act and science of shopping has evolved and changed in ways, that at one time or another, seemed unimaginable.

It’s often said, and perhaps way too often, that to prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes over again we merely need to reexamine our past. Well, for the marketing at retail industry this is sage advice. So let’s take a moment to briefly consider the transformation of the retail landscape as well as the evolution of the shopper over the past century.

During the late 19th and early 20th century we saw a mass influx from small communities to large urban settings, which was marked by a loss of individualism. Luckily for us this gave way to consumerism, which became a new way to create and convey a sense of identity in mass culture and industrial modernity. We often refer to this as Fordism because it gave birth to a society of mass producers and mass consumers.

Shoppers A Bit Touchy In Crowded Stores

A crowded super marketing in India.
Came across this intersting study by POPAI on how getting touched by a fellow shopper—even an apparently accidental brush—makes shoppers less likely to buy the product they’re considering, a new study suggests.

Researchers approached nearly 150 men and women, in a retail district, saying they were interested in general attitudes toward shopping. They asked the shoppers to browse in a luggage store and to evaluate one small bag in particular. As the shopper looked at the bag, a male or female confederate of the researchers walked closely past him or her. Half the time, the confederate brushed lightly against the shopper’s right shoulder blade.

Consumers who were touched rated the brand of the bag only 3.3, on a 7-point scale, while those who were not touched gave it a 4.9. Shoppers who were grazed also spent roughly half the time in the store (82 seconds) as those who weren’t (158 seconds). A male touch had stronger negative effects than a female touch.

Could not help but relate the situation to the crowded modern retail outlets across India (especially on weekends and holidays) and the impact the crowd would be having on the brand purchase behavior of consumers. 

Have mobile coupons finally come of age?

As an industry, it has been obvious since the very beginning that digitally redeemed mobile coupons were not only desirable, but necessary if the promise of mobile marketing was to be realized.

Back in the early days of the industry, running coupon campaigns that sent consumers into retailers and being frustrated that the best we could do was “sight acceptance” by the shop staff. This had a number of disadvantages, ranging from fraud to a reliance on manual reporting.

Since those days, nothing much has changed on the coupon front.

Real digital redemption, along with all the benefits it would bring always seems to be two or three years away.

Most solutions either seem to only work in lab conditions – some bar code scanning techniques in store, for example – or rely on an upgrade of the retail EpoS or consumer handset, as in the case of Near Field Communication.

Another much-touted alternative is installing new hardware in the retailer, but this involves a huge investment that most retailers or vendors have been reluctant to subsidize.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CPG Media Buyers Ready for Online Grocery Shopping to Boom

A little old but a relevant read from Clickz

Part of being a successful media buyer is remaining ahead of market trends. Typically, a shift in consumer behavior requires a shift in media strategy. Well, here's some good news for buyers and planners with consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients: we're on the cusp of a major behavioral shift, but research suggests you're probably already optimized for it.

There's no question that the online shopping industry has had a few false starts (you may recall that it was the upcoming trend more than 10 years ago), but signs suggest that a tipping point is close at hand. In fact, it's difficult to imagine why more of us haven't already traded in our reusable grocery bags for, Door to Door Organics, or one of dozens of others. In addition to being a "green choice" by reducing one's carbon footprint, grocery shopping online can be convenient, cost-effective, and save time.

Whether they realize it yet or not, this may be just what consumers are looking for. Nielsen says that 38 percent of American grocery shoppers consider it a chore, and about 30 percent of grocery items are purchased on a deal. Market research firm Synovate found a similar mentality in the consumers it surveyed for its global study on grocery shopping; 60 percent of grocery shoppers across 10 markets would "go out of their way to shop green," while 36 percent just want to "get in and get out." And although just 1 percent of global consumers surveyed already buy their groceries online, 42 percent said they would do so if they could be assured of a high level of security and a high quality of food.

Do mobile apps reflect local trends?

Are people living in Mumbai more interested in finance than those living in other cities? Are south Indians more fond of mobile gaming? Or are people in the North-East more inclined towards education? Their usage of mobile phone apps certainly seem to suggest so.

According to a survey conducted by Nokia, 16% of those surveyed in west download finance apps (the highest of any region), 23% south Indians mostly use gaming apps (again, higher than any other region) and 29% of people from the North-East download educational apps. Nearly 30% of south Indians surveyed use the apps on their smartphone during commutes, while 32% use them at home. Over 40% of those surveyed in the North download music apps-more than in any other Indian region. Around 25% of people in the North-East use almost all the apps they download on their smartphone, while their neighbors in the east, are the highest users of social networking apps (39%). The survey was conducted on 501 Indians last November.

Mobile usage in marketing of brands is on the rise and marketers need to re-evaluate their marketing strategies to bring about a larger play of mobile applications.

State of mobile eco-system in the emerging economies

Here is a comprehensive report that every brand marketers should read to understand why mobile needs to be an integral part of the overall strategy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Private Labels give National Brands tough competition for nutritional quality.

Private Labels Vs National Brands.
Many shoppers associate national brands with higher quality and better nutrition than private labels, but in-house brands are often nutritionally equal and in some cases may be better for you, depending on your dietary needs.

A survey published in Consumer Reports found that 17 percent of respondents said that “name-brand foods are more nutritious,” but the same report showed that there’s often little to no difference between store brands and national brands. They did find that Kellogg’s Froot Loops have two more grams of fiber than Stop & Shop’s Fruit Swirls and that Ore-Ida fries have more sodium than Jewel’s. Store-brands often tout the same ingredients list as national products, and indeed, the nutrition labels confirm the similarity.

What CPG / FMCG Marketers Should Know About Integrating Video And SMM

I came across a banner ad today for "gum that tastes just like strawberry shortcake." Who wouldn't want that? So, with expectations high, I clicked, expecting to be taken to a colorful page bursting with strawberry shortcake excitement, maybe videos and ways to share my delicious-looking new find with my friends. Instead, I was whisked away to a home page that showed me posed, stock-looking photos with people holding other things made by that company. If I click on them, I am promised, I can learn things like how their brands are "woven into the fabric of everyday life." I don't want to know that. I want to know more about that amazing strawberry shortcake gum I clicked on! 

Eagerly, I scan the rest of the page and find that I can put custom photos on a pack of gum -- or I can learn more about their new blah-blahTM packaging that saves the planet through environmentally responsible sustainability practices. Ugh. Sigh. Where's the gum I clicked on? Oh, there it is -- at the bottom, in the slider right next to "Careers."

So I click. There it is! A photo that looks like the photo in the banner ad! But instead of taking my online experience to the next level, I'm offered a history of the brand, complete with a timeline dating back to 1984. I think we're going backwards. A bright social media light! I see a Facebook icon and, curiously, an iTunes icon. Ominously, the text reads "Join Us."

Read more of David Murdico's insightful article here on how and why CPG / FMCG brands need to leverage videos within their social media marketing strategies.

Kirana Stores: Difficult to Defy

A typical mom & pop store in a Delhi neighborhood
You woke up late in the morning, realizing you are getting late for your work and incidentally you are running short of shampoo or a soap or anything that you can’t do without. What would you do? Most probably, you’re going to rush to your local Kirana shop (traditional trade / mom & pop store in India) and get the issue fixed up. This ‘quick-fix’ is probably what aids kirana stores in winning over their organized counterparts, as has been revealed by an Assocham Study. 

The findings According to a recent survey done under the aegis of Assocham Social Development Foundation, it was found that shoppers in India prefer their local Kirana shops over malls. A country-wide survey that was conducted in 15 major cities along with the metros and was completed in a span of two-months ( March-April 2010) revealed that it is a myth that retail outlets at malls and shopping complexes store quality products as, Kirana shops too offer quality products that too for a negotiable price. 

The survey of the apex chambers suggests that the shoppers love to hangout and shop from their local traditional stores, more so because of the familiarity with ambiance, ease of access, variety of goods, early opening and late closing times etc., which suit to the local residents. 

AaramShop leverages the strengths of the Kirana Stores / independent neighborhood retailers and enables them to have a free & commerce ready online store front to engage with the busy consumer of the day.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Multichannel Analytics- Tracking Online Impact Of Offline Campaigns

Here is a superb post by Avinash Kaushik that addresses the issue of multi-channel analytics ... read on.

""Admit it, you secretly live in the fear of your Senior Management finding out that your online greatness is less a result of your online campaigns and more a result of the tons and tons your company has invested in the real world.

The real world. "Offline" to you and me. :)

We tend to often overlook the pesky offline real world. Sooooo booorrring ! (Say that with a Paris Hilton'ish brush off. :) I think most of it is not malicious.

For one thing it is really hard to measure. For another thing your "online" presence is probably three geeks (says the proud geek!) living in Seattle and your "offline" presence is 15,786 people in the company with power concentrated in New York and Atlanta. Hard to coordinate and get "them" to listen to us and pay attention to us.

But the world is not online or offline, it is nonline (hat tip to David Hughes for that magnificent term). One of these day everyone will get that.

Related articles

Have mobile coupons finally come of age?

As an industry, it has been obvious since the very beginning that digitally redeemed mobile coupons were not only desirable, but necessary if the promise of mobile marketing was to be realized.

I remember in 2000, back in the early days of the industry, running coupon campaigns that sent consumers into retailers and being frustrated that the best we could do was “sight acceptance” by the shop staff. This had a number of disadvantages, ranging from fraud to a reliance on manual reporting.

Since those days, nothing much has changed on the coupon front.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finally, Grocery Shopping Goes Hi-Tech

Soon to be launched mobile apps of AaramShop
In recent years, the traditional kirana store has been losing some of its business to large retail formats. While these huge retailers have taken to technology, kiranawalas have remained largely backward in their methods and operations.

AaramShop wants to change that. AaramShop is a hybrid, online retail platform designed for sales and marketing of FMCG/CPG (consumer packaged) goods that bridges the strength of kiranawalas with the power of the Web.

“We realized that local neighborhood retailers already have existing distribution channels but these small stores owners didn’t have an online storefront--and that’s where today’s consumers are,” says Vijay Singh, MD and CEO, AaramShop.  “That’s why we are leveraging technology and the kiranawalas’ existing inventory and distribution channels to connect them to a set of consumers who are low on time and high on stress.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Digital marketing tactics that help boost offline sales.

It's clear that digital marketing is influencing offline purchasing behavior more than ever.

In fact, 89 percent of consumers who buy in key retail categories in-store have conducted online research prior to purchase (Google, 2010), (refer to ZMOT) and offline sales influenced by online research are expected to top 1 trillion dollars in 2012 (Jupiter Research, 2007). To capitalize on consumers' new inclination to research online before purchasing offline, marketers need to go beyond awareness and direct response campaigns, and start influencing the purchase decision-making process.

Read 7 digital strategies to impact offline sales here:

Retail is not a field of dreams. Your company will quickly fail without a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Offline media is great for driving brand awareness. But you can't rely on radio and TV ads, newspaper and print ads, and yellow page listings to close the deal anymore. If you haven't noticed, consumers' media consumption habits have shifted, and the web has taken a prominent role in the purchase decision-making process. That doesn't mean that you need to have a million-dollar e-commerce site to survive. What it does mean is that you have to think about how consumers research your brand online and develop campaigns to adapt accordingly.

Should Marketers Shift Offline Budgets to Digital Marketing?

You don’t have to look much further than recent headlines and research studies below to see that many companies are losing confidence in traditional marketing and advertising.

The changing trends in information production, distribution and consumption coupled with the uncertain times we live in create an unprecedented challenge for companies to better reach and engage with customers.

Whether changes in marketing direction are motivated in response to market and industry conditions, changing consumer behaviors or the need to stay competitive and cost effective, one thing is certain: companies that don’t nail down marketing efficiencies and customer retention are in for a long, cold winter.

In-store marketing can influence consumers

FMCG marketers spend millions trying to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions at the point of sale. The investment is worth because it reaches consumers while they are in the store and ready to buy. The question many marketers fail to ask, however, is whether or not these efforts accomplish their objective — which is driving incremental purchases — and more importantly, contribute to profitable consumer response. To answer these questions, marketers should measure the sales response and return on investment (ROI) of their in-store marketing investment.

Marketers adopt several ways from discount stickers to in-store TV ads in order to influence consumers' decisions. Several different research methods can measure sales responsiveness and ROI of these in-store activities. For marketing events that occur frequently and are routinely tracked via marketing databases, statistical modelling is an effective and reliable measurement tool. Sales data are available for most retail channels and include detailed information about a product’s sales and price. When using them in conjunction with known in-store marketing activities, marketers can develop analytical models that quantify sales response associated with each in-store activity.

Trend Truth: Grocery-to-Go

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Facebook strategy : CPG / FMCG brands.

In last 6 years since its inception, Facebook has transformed from a fad to a global phenomenon. With more than half a billion users around the world, Facebook has altered our everyday lives drastically.  Statistics reveal that 3 out of every 4 Americans (i.e. 75% of the entire population) use Facebook. 

Today Facebook is used by police to locate criminals, by individuals to find long-lost family members, by universities to attract students and by politicians to gain support in election campaigns. Even the White House has its own Facebook page, supported by a dedicated social media team. While people from all walks of life are is rapidly being won over by the potency of Facebook, the CPG industry is making its own strides in social networking.

Although it began as a way for college kids to stay in touch, Facebook has since evolved into a highly effective business tool. This global phenomenon has compelled all businesses–small and large, manufacturers as well as retailers–to ask the billion dollar question: “Does my company need a presence on Facebook? Do I need a Facebook strategy? 

Twitter Influences More Consumer Purchases Than Facebook

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
According to a recent study, it looks like Twitter is more influential than Facebook when it comes to influencing purchases. 35 percent of respondents said their Twitter feed has been influential or extremely influential on their purchase decisions, while only 23.5 percent of Facebook users said the same.

The study was conducted by Kantar Media Compete, and is part of their quarterly Online Shopper Intelligence Study, and surveyed 2,574 online purchasers between July 14 and August 8 2011.

The digitally-enhanced path to purchase

"The digital path to purchase is changing the game for shopper marketers – fast. Digital strategist Stanley Stevens discusses the new retail marketing frontier."

With over 62 per cent of shoppers now searching for deals digitally before at least half of their shopping trips, digital shopper marketing is the new frontier on the path to purchase. Consumers are adopting digital developments at every touch point in order to decide where and when to buy, providing marketers with an opportunity to engage them at-home, on-the-go and in-store. Stanley Stevens demonstrates how some of the leading brands and retailers are using digital tools to interact with today’s consumers in an increasingly complex retail environment.

The key marketing success today lies within a marketer’s ability to leverage digital technology at every stage of the shopper’s path-to-purchase. (That is, any digital insight, creative message, channel or tactic integrated within a shopper marketing solution.) Digital shopper marketing not only reaches shoppers at every stage of their journey, but also continuously measures activity in real-time in order to optimize the engagement with shoppers.

To understand the digital path-to-purchase Stanley lays out the marketer’s objectives and examples at each of the three phases of the journey: pre-store, in-store and post-store. Read more here:

Online grocery shopping: The digital path to purchase

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Six Ways Retailers Are Using Mobile to Supplement the Store

More consumers are turning to tablets and smartphones to shop, but this back-to-school season major retailers are using mobile to drive traffic to stores, not necessarily to encourage online transactions.

That’s not to say that brick-and-mortar retailers don’t allow for purchases in mobile apps — Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has seeded shopping in its mobile app, as have JC Penney, Target and others. Yet mobile commerce doesn’t seem to be a major theme for the back-to-school season. Instead, retailers are using mobile marketing to help customers once they’re at physical locations rather than to encourage them to buy through mobile devices.

Read more of this article on the Enhancing In-store Experience Over M-commerce here:

While there is focus on the use of mobile marketing methods with the modern retailers, there has been little effort on using mobile to engage with consumers by the traditional retailer or the mom & pop stores - predominantly due to their small individual size of operations. However now with AaramShop, the independent neighborhood retailer can leverage mobile and social media based opportunities when he sets-up his online store front on AaramShop.

AaramShop also offers opportunities for brands to leverage mobile tools like QR Codes to engage with the consumers & channel.

Major Packaged-Goods Brands Lost 46% of Loyalists

The top 100 packaged-goods brands saw reduced loyalty from 46% of their loyal consumers in the past year, exacting a steep toll on sales, according to a study by Catalina Marketing based on shopper loyalty-card data. 

The big brands fared better than the 52% rate of lost loyalists shown in a Catalina study two years ago that looked at a broader group of 685 brands. So bigger brands commanded more loyalty -- just not a whole lot more.

On average, the 100 brands in the study grew sales 2.2% during a 52-week period ended early July, according to Catalina. But had the brands held onto their loyalists, they would have grown an average of 8.5% more.

Of course, that assumes a brand holds onto its own loyalists while also snaring defectors from others. But it also shows the potential power of maintaining loyalty, according to Todd Morris, exec VP-brand development at Catalina.