Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

It has been 5 years since Amazon came to India, loaded with $5 Billion worth of committed investment to establish amongst the then home-grown marketplace, Flipkart and Snapdeal. In no time Amazon expanded its wings. Since its inception in June 2013, Amazon has grown both in terms of scale and brand value. Though it may seem to be a simple strategy,

More Units sold => More Customers => More Brand Value

It hasn’t worked as well for many others; brand value is developed through marketing which is not limited to mere advertisements. It is also to come real on those promises and exceed customer expectations in due course. Instead of just fulfilling the customer needs, Amazon is vying to provide customer delight. It is very difficult to make each customer happy but you can attempt to satisfy your customers by adding value to your offerings at the same price point.

There are various customer-centric steps taken by Amazon. These include quick response Customer care team, average product rating criteria wherein Amazon suspends extremely poor rated products, quick & free delivery for Prime products, add-on purchase features like book delivery or leave with neighbour, the latest subscribe & save deliveries, Amazon Pay convenience, early deal access for Prime members, AZ Guarantee, best in class packaging and that’s not it, add-on value services like Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle, Alexa, Prime Now, Fire TV.

These add-on value services & products offered can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Services: 2 day delivery on Prime products, 2-hour deliveries on Amazon Now groceries store, Amazon Pay wallet.
  • Assortment: More depth and width (Merchandising and Assortment), Alexa, Amazon Basics (headphones to office chairs), Solimo, Kindle, firetv stick, Myx, Symbol, 10.or etc.
  • Digital Content: Amazon Prime Video (original domestic content as well), Prime Music.

Amazon’s bouquet of products and services

Many of these benefits and value services are coupled with annual ₹999/- Prime membership. Amazon Prime includes video and music content with additional buying and product delivery based benefits. Amazon has grown beyond the marketplace model; hence, it will be wrong to call it just a marketplace for buying goods. This appears to be the competitive advantage for Amazon’s rapid expansion, which is shrinking space for others in the market. They are playing the cards right through product diversification and this is also visible in their vision and mission statement:

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”

The strategy is right or not, time will tell but Indian E-commerce seems to be in for a new showdown between Amazon and Walmart with Flipkart’s acquisition. With Walmart’s expertise in offline retail and the successful changes it made to its US strategy, Walmart might not stay too far behind for too long. The firm might also utilize Flipkart and its strong ecosystem in India (Myntra, Jabong, PhonePe etc.) to export ideas to the rest of the business offerings.

Just like Amazon, Flipkart has also been developing private label brands such as Roadster, MarQ, Perfect Homes etc. These private label brands can help improve the profitability of these marketplaces in the long run.

When these companies will start looking to move past the revenue growth and towards unit economics, the market will move towards stabilization. However, given the rivalry between these US-based behemoths as well as with other international players such as China’s Alibaba (with its payments subsidiary Alipay holds more than 50% stake in Paytm Mall) this stabilization period might get further delayed.

With a population of 1.3 billion & rising affluence, India is one of the most appealing retail markets currently. As the opportunities for these players are expanding, Indian consumers need to gear up for the upcoming shopping spree offered by these marketplaces. With a bouquet of services aimed at the target segments, Amazon seems to be ahead of the pack. However, for how long will it keep investing & diversifying these services apart from the marketplace could determine the success it is aiming for and how well the other players counter this threat is an interesting development to keep tabs on in this ‘Battle of Giants’.

Author: Shaleen Mishra

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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Social Media: Perfect Communication Channel for Startups

Social media has emerged as an integral part of our daily lives. As of April 2018, the active social media users are more than 3.3 billion. This number is staggering and qualifies to be a world in itself. When fabricating a startup, you have to go where your group of onlookers are and engage with them keeping in mind the end goal to develop your business plan. Today, the place to run advertisements is web-based platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the sky is the limit. These social channels act as a bridge between the individuals and brands. They have turned into a vital component to increase exposure, raise brand mindfulness, create leads and boost client transformation rates. This is particularly critical for startups that are working with little spending plans, in an ever-increasing competitive entrepreneurial market. This information-driven advertising approach helps you direct your focus on individuals rapidly so they can be acquainted with the startup offerings at the click of a mouse. Social media hands over an opportunity of easy access for customers and to get a genuine feedback from its potential client in a shorter traverse of time. We can explore different avenues regarding our internet-based content to catch the essence of the offering among clients of various demographics. In order to integrate social media marketing with other communication channel and to have a competitive edge, startups ought to maximize the online presence by working on an effective social media strategy.

Stitch a plan that works for your need:

Turning to long-range social networking as a method for business advancement doesn’t just mean being available on the web. In actuality, this is a confounded procedure and, accordingly, it requires completing an exhaustive research and building an arrangement that will keep you on course. Startups have to build a strategy that fits well for their business offering. Something that works for one startup would not necessarily work for others. Identify the unique value proposition, the point of parity and disparity of the business with its competitors should be thought out before formulating a road map of implementation.

Target audience segmentation:

To construct a content for your audience, we have to distinguish their identity. Startups need to segment their potential client to get hold of the purchaser persona. By surveying your audience’s experience data such as their occupations, hobbies, interests, training, and additionally, some fundamental statistic factors such as age range, sexual orientation, and wage, could have the capacity to effectively focus on your gathering of people, convey true client experience and stitch deals.

Identify the correct social media marketing channel:

When online networking showcasing plan is figured, a startup needs to distinguish the web-based life stage they have to fabricate their presence. Every internet-based platform is one of a kind in their group of onlookers focusing on and has diverse reasons, new companies need to recognize the channel that fits their need. Focus on the channel that would contact the correct group of onlookers for your business like for B2C business, Facebook and Twitter could be the correct channel however for B2B LinkedIn could be the ideal place.

Learn about your competitors:

Before beginning with social media content creation effort, one should explore their competitors. Begin with distinguishing them by picking the organizations working in the similar space. Consider their advertising technique, content marketing strategy and customize your online presence accordingly. Additionally, keep an eye on the social media campaigns being run by the competitors and work on formulating a marketing strategy to counter the competition.

Knowledge about the end goal:

Make a long-haul objective to be accomplished through social media marketing to accomplish exceptional yield on investment of your time and money. For some producing Facebook likes or Twitter retweets and followers could be the objective yet for others, their frameworks would be centered around creating more prominent activity volume, web referrals, exceptional client target and high conversion rates. Conceptualize about the objective and plan of your road ahead customized to achieve the final goal.

Focus on content creation:

Content is the core of social media advertising. The more engaging and slanting substance one can make, more would be the traffic volume. Substance ought to be influenced creative to connect with the gathering of people to make the buzz about the contributions and to influence them to share content over various profiles. Additionally, content should be in sync with the motto of the startup and should highlight the unique selling proposition about the offerings. They should make utilization of the most recent happenings and inclining points and draw in the crowd by associating the substance with it.

Real-time feedback tracking:

The most ideal approach to benefit as much as possible from your web-based presence is to gather moment criticism by checking your clients’ exchanges. Along these lines, you will have the capacity to discover how your intended interest group feels about your product and utilize the opinions valuable to enhance your approach. In particular, internet-based life enables you to furnish your customers with the continuous service and immediate feedback. On the other hand, you can likewise screen the audience’s feelings about your latest released product and recognize any potential client encounter issues and settle them on time.

Happy Marketing!

Author: Kumar Shreesh

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Changing Consumer Trends: Resource Pooling

With the dawn of modern ages and increased consumerism, there has been a major shift in customer attitudes. The buyer of today is more prudent and very avaricious when it comes to spending, majorly in the case of high involvement goods and services. He asks a million questions before engaging in any transaction, not because he is a Scrooge, but because he has knowledge.

Coupled with his sagacious attitude are the changing demographics and household patterns. The traditional Indian household included husband, wife and their children, but with the rising incomes and job opportunities, there has been a rise in the “DINKS”-Double Income No Kids. This generation is more independent and expedient in utilizing its resources in an effective manner so as to save for their lavish future.

The above phenomenon has given rise to a new trend, i.e. the use of “pooled resources”. The millennials have been dextrous enough in planning their daily as well as monthly expenditures. Take the case of Uber pool or Ola Share which have been affiliated as the prime source of revenue for the cab aggregator. This was a boon for the youngsters who were able to save huge costs on a day to day basis for commutation. Ola reports “Ola Share” to be its prime source of revenue. The prime competitor Uber was forced to launch “Uber Pool” given its losing market share, because of the monopoly Ola had created given its Share services. Airbnb which allows people to rent their properties for a short-term accommodation has also seen a rapid rise in its growth in India in the past years. Be it your holiday in Goa or a short trip to any metro city, Airbnb is an excellent option which people swear by.

Nestaway, a platform that allows bachelors to rent fully furnished flats on a sharing basis is also a glorious example. It saves you the hassles of hefty deposits, landlord restrictions and provides you with ease of payment. It has also ventured into providing homes for families. Brands have been emulating the trend and some have been instrumental in shaping their value proposition to serve customer needs. For example, Netflix which allows multiple users to share a single account. The customer base for Netflix ranges from teenagers to middle-aged men and women. They have been overwhelmed by the pooled subscription policy brought about by Netflix and this has helped the brand to gain momentum in the Indian market. Falling in the same line are the mammoth telecom operators which provide family pack tariffs and the credit card companies that offer cards which can be tailored to be used by the entire family.

A newly emerging trend is that of “bicycle renting” which can be seen in some cities of India. With the rising awareness about their health and well-being, people are quite impressed by this latest bearing.  With major entrants like OFO and PEDL making their way into the Indian market, customers can rent a bike at dearth cheap prices on an hourly basis. This saves them the cost of investing 2 -6 grand on a new bicycle and the guilt of not using it in future.

To conclude, the trends portray that consumers are getting more and more inclined towards renting or pooling resources rather than investing huge sums of money on them. From shared cab services and shared accommodations to renting furniture and pooling Netflix accounts, the consumers are making the decision of not purchasing but rather, sharing. Understanding the needs of this new generation of consumers, the brands are cashing in on the opportunities which have been a result of the changing demographics and consumption patterns of the millennials and brought in really innovative and valuable product and service offerings.

Author: Bhawna Ahuja

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon