Research shows, Brick and Mortar retailers are safe.

04-May-2015

Clicks won’t be replacing bricks any time soon.

brick n mortar

Online shopping has a number of benefits, but physical stores also have strong key advantages over e-commerce—especially for fast-moving consumer goods. In fact, the majority of global respondents (61%) reported that going to the grocery store is an enjoyable and engaging experience. A similar percentage (57%) thinks grocery shopping in a retail store is a fun day out for the family.

However, Nielsen research shows that clicks do lead to bricks and this is an important take-away for retailers and manufacturers who must engage the consumer early on the path to purchase. There are many touch-points along this path, which include finding the store, making shopping lists, checking prices, researching products, sharing reviews and manufacturer and retailer content on social media and finally purchasing.

“The connected commerce era has arrived,” said Patrick Dodd, president, global retailer vertical, Nielsen. “Consumers are no longer shopping entirely online or offline; rather, they’re taking a blended approach, using whatever channel best suits their needs. The most successful retailers and manufacturers will be at the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds, leveraging technology to satisfy shoppers however, wherever and whenever they want to shop.”

Retailers have a lot of room to grow when it comes to in-store digital enablement options, such as mobile coupons, lists and shopping apps, and in-store Wi-Fi availability. Use of online or mobile coupons (18%) and mobile shopping lists (15%) are the most cited forms of in-store digital engagement in use today among global respondents, with about two-thirds willing to use them in the future (65% and 64%, respectively). Downloading a retailer/loyalty program app on a mobile phone to receive information or offers is used by 14% of global respondents, and 63% say they’re willing to use one when it is available. About one-in-10 global respondents say they log in to store Wi-Fi to receive information or offers (12%), use in-store computers to view extended product ranges (11%) or scan QR codes to access more information (11%). Roughly two-thirds, however, are willing to use these options in the future (66%, 68% and 65%), respectively.

In-store digital enablement options can bring the ease, convenience and personalization of online to brick-and-mortar stores. Instituting digital strategies into the in-store experience is not just a nice-to-have—these options can increase dwell time, engagement levels, basket-size and shopper satisfaction. Among the online respondents in Nielsen’s survey, use of in-store digital enablement options is highest in Asia-Pacific and Africa/Middle East. These regions also exceed the global average for willingness to use in-store options when they become available. Current usage is low in Latin America, but enthusiasm for them is high. More than seven-in-10 Latin American respondents say they’re willing to use the in-store digital enablement options in the future. Mobile coupon usage is highest in North America (26%). European respondents have the lowest claimed usage levels for in-store digital engagement, but more than half (average 55%) say they are willing to try the options in the future.

“At present, shoppers do all of the work putting the pieces together to arrive at their final purchase decision,” said Dodd. “In a competitive retail environment, retailers and manufacturers can add value and differentiation by providing digital tools to help consumers take control of their shopping experience while also increasing sales potential. Mobile in particular can tip the scales in favor of increased shopper control, empowering them to shape the shopping experience more than ever before.”

“Time-starved consumers want to use technology to make shopping faster, easier and more efficient,” said Dodd. “As we’ve seen with self-checkout, one of the more mature flexible retailing options included in the survey, as more retailers incorporate these options in their in-store and online offerings, adoption rates will likely increase.”

By Solveda India. For more info on solutions and offerings from Solveda, please visit: http://www.solveda.com

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Are we retail ready?

22-Apr-2015

Omnichannel

Before even pitching solutions to retailer, it’s important to ensure that your solution is retail ready.

Do you know what this process fully entails? Being retail ready isn’t just about having a final product. It’s about having all the requirements that retailers need to enlist before they go online. We need to be omni-channel ready, give the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from desktop, laptop, and mobile device or in a brick and mortar store.

Simply put, retailers will not work with software vendors who do not meet the criteria of being retail ready.

Sure, they’re looking for a great, unique solution which meets their both online and offline needs as well as their customer needs. Beyond that, however, they need a strong technology vendor who is reliable, domain expert, retail ready, and one that they can work with in the long term.

Your retail ready checklist

Below is a top line sense check which outlines the key factors to consider when thinking about being retail ready.

  1. Effective and compliant solutionThe Solution should be robust, compliant and scalable. It should grow along with the business.
  2. Deliver the customer-centric services shoppers demandToday’s cross channel shoppers demand a personalized and seamless shopping experience, so the solution should have the feature which would enable retailers to easily manage cross-channel promotions, fulfillment and returns including in-store pickup of on-line purchases and drop shipment of out-of-stock or virtual inventory items and transact sales, returns and credits in multiple and mixed payment forms.
  3. Built-in cross-sell/up-sell capabilityThe Solution should have in-built cross-sell and up-sell functionality, which would enable retailers to push multiple products online and increase their sales.
  4. Fast Single Page Check OutThe Solution should have one page check out facility, as today’s shoppers are always on the move and does not like to fill in much detail. Single page check out will increase more conversion rate.
  5. Attractive eCommerce Website TemplateIt should be built on search friendly and easily managed templates designed around the retailers’ unique business and brand objectives.
  6. Content Management SystemThe Solution should allow you to easily create and manage images, content, searches and navigation on one more unique websites.
  7. Competitive and comprehensive pricing modelYour pricing model needs to remain competitive along with the market and take every aspect of the development process including time and effort into consideration.
  8. Valuable support and service of your solutionSupport and service plays a vital role in customer retention. Once the solution is being taken, the job doesn’t get over there, you have to compliment with a good software support and service.
  9. Social Media Plug-insIt should be added to your website to drive customer satisfaction and conversions.
  10. Minimize Shopping Cart AbandonmentThe solution should be able to minimize the shopping cart abandonment.
  11. Fully Integrated Online and Offline Retailing SolutionFinally, the solution should be fully integrated with ERP system and other retail management solutions like POS, Merchandising, Customer Relationship Management, Marketing, and Reporting & Analytics, giving the retailers everything they need to succeed.

This is where Solveda’s BigFish comes into play. BigFish is the ladder to unfettered ecommerce growth. Take your business where it wants to be –right on top! Scale high with BigFish. Shoppers want to access your store anywhere/anytime, give them this facility with BigFish.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Production ready
  • Fast time to market, 35 – 90 day implementation
  • Fixed cost
  • Managed risk
  • Lowers barrier to entry to a robust environment
  • Integrated and scalable
  • Supports multi channel operations and cross channel shoppers
  • Facilitates dramatic business process improvement
  • Provides a platform for best in class
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO)
  • Rapid return on investment (ROI)

By Boney Moshahary- Manager- IT Services & Solution Marketing @ Solveda India

Solveda India, a leading global system integrator with core pedigree being an on-time, on budget approach to solution development. For more info on solutions and offerings from Solveda, please visit: http://www.solveda.com


Solveda Supports Net Neutrality

14-Apr-2015

There is lot of buzz about Net Neutrality that is rocking the Netizens. Let us see what exactly is Net Neutrality and what should we do about it?

 Net Neutrality is the Internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online. This is the definition of an open Internet.

 Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet service providers should provide us with open networks — and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you can call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t be concerned with the content you view or post online.

 Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the Internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open Internet.

Solveda strongly supports net neutrality, as internet is the base of all e-commerce businesses and we exist because of the internet. Net Neutrality is crucial for all businesses, who rely on the open Internet to launch their businesses, create a market, advertise their products and services, and distribute products to customers. They use the Internet to reach new customers and showcase their goods, applications and services. We need the open Internet to foster job growth, competition and innovation.

All you have to do is go here http://www.savetheinternet.in/ and click on respond to TRAI now. There will be a set of questions which you can copy or edit and then mail to the respective id’s.

Act Now or suffer after 24th April,2015 whether it’s business, education or entrepreneurship.

Savethenet

 

 

By Solveda Software India Pvt. Ltd


Solveda skillfully engineered Vishal’s dream

20-Apr-2015

It was 29th Dec, 2014 when Vishal Retail Ltd., one of the leading Departmental Store Chain in the country went live with the support of Solveda’s BigFish as their eCommerce Platform.

Their vision was to select an eCommerce platform that is proven, scalable and most importantly suitable for a Grocery-FMCG retail business in India. They were looking for a platform that has a competitive acquisition cost, quick deployment time and integrates well with their existing POS, ERP and backend systems.

Vishal, having been watchful of the success rate, launched yet another project with Solveda, which is into fashion. This project went live on 12th Feb, 2015. Check out myvishal.com

Solveda was a natural fit for Vishal’s unique need and successfully delivered the eCommerce solution which is totally integrated with the existing system and provides freedom from Vendor lock in hassles and total cost of ownership to Vishal. It provides an interface for Vishal’s business stakeholders to manage inventory, pricing and promotion campaigns without deep technical involvement.

The project was crucial for Solveda too so, as to stronghold the India retail gamut.


Indian Market Places- Where to Sell?

6-Apr-2015

With the growing internet penetration and large number of consumers purchasing goods online, there is no doubt that idea to sell online is part of every retailer’s strategic plan which they can’t avoid.

Ways to sell online

A retailer can start with its own exclusive store but in order to understand the demands of its category online selling on marketplaces can be a good bet.

In case one choose to create own website, one can get higher margins, larger control, customized e-commerce experience, brand loyalty, higher scalability, but it might be costly as setting and promoting a niche portal requires high investments. Whereas if one choose to sell by e-retail website, one can still sell online via sourcing model to e-commerce players. Still going for this option, provides lesser control on brands and products, provides low margin and provide less probability of sales as other competitors are also selling along. But if one chooses to sell by a Marketplace, one can experiment their products online with certain control and by leveraging the reach of the marketplace and its value added services.

Marketplace is a quick way to go online and is independent of other channels; let’s understand why selling on a marketplace can be a good strategy:

Quick go to market: As everything is well settled, one doesn’t need to do anything, other than to setup and upload the catalog.

Testing of your brands e-commerce viability: By selling on a marketplace we actually can get data of how customer will respond to our brand if we get online; before one actually build own store.

Pricing strategy: Marketplace provides an opportunity for us to test prices; we can easily test prices as our products will be sold with products of different brands.

Marketing and branding medium: Marketplaces provides brands and sellers a platform to take their offerings across geographies and generate a wider demand. Also special promotions on the marketplace can perform as a good marketing spend.

Get rid of customer acquisition cost: To generate traffic on a website is the biggest challenge for any e-commerce venture, to get users on the website is also not a simple task as huge customer acquisition costs is involved. But when  you are selling on a marketplace, you don’t need to worry about generating customer traffic or getting visitors on their website as the marketplace has own growing customer base; it gives opportunity to sellers to directly engage with a ready base of consumers. Thus it’s a cost effective way of getting customers.

Low start-up cost: Minimal cost is involved in selling on a marketplace in comparison to cost involved in setting up a new website; as one has to pay for web hosting, technology, advertising, team, logistics etc.

How to make most out of your marketplace

  • Sign-up on all possible marketplaces.
  • Be open to experimentation, offer schemes, discounts, sales, etc.
  • Learn everything that you want to know about selling online.
  • Request marketplace to provide us analytics of our products, how customer is responding to our products.
  • Encourage customer feedback on our products.
  • Use your own marketing channels make aware your offline customers about your online presence.

Challenges involved for a Marketplace & Seller

Though there are various reasons which shows marketplace as a good model for the marketplace as well as the sellers, there are less risks involved for the seller while selling through the mode of marketplace but for a marketplace to set up and work is extremely a difficult business. In terms of execution marketplace is tougher than traditional E-Commerce or retail model and requires highly sophisticated technology platform and distributed approach towards services. This also requires the items to be procured and checked for quality in real time i.e. after the customer has placed the order or relies on the different quality standards followed by different vendors/suppliers. This many a times results in diluted customer experience. To solve this is operationally complex and requires system integration with the vendors, inventory syncing efficient inbound logistics. Even after seamless integration marketplace service cannot be as prompt as own inventory.

In case of a big or established seller there are less challenges as it may have a big team for customer service, operations, technical team, etc to manage issues; but for a small retailer it becomes difficult to manage all this due to small team size.

Choosing a right Marketplace

Every marketplace has its own kind of processes, requirement, and offering which they make to the sellers on their website. With so many marketplaces available for the sellers where they have to just sign in and start selling, but it’s important for the sellers to pick up the right marketplace. And this selection depends on what you are selling and to whom, as each kind of marketplace has its own niche of prices, products and even customers.

We must understand what is the product we want to sell; which website will provide us right target and positioning, we also need to decide where our product will sit right keeping in mind our USP and the USP of the marketplace as well. One of the main things which we should keep in mind while choosing a marketplace is number of orders we will get, so we must make a check of traffic on the website.

Do check about the marketplace

  • Stability
  • Reputation
  • Reviews and feedback
  • Policies
  • Must make quick payments
  • Immediate results

Most importantly we must make a check that the marketplace we are choosing must be seller friendly; at times seller face issue in case the product is returned; there are chances that the marketplace may be biased towards the buyer, for example in case a buyer rejects the product many a times it happens that the marketplace accepts the product without even questioning the buyer, thus this may incur loss for the seller.

Before taking the first step…

In order to start selling on an online marketplace, it is very crucial to have a little backdrop on how different marketplaces operate. In general there are two types of marketplaces — traditional marketplaces who work on dump and sell model and those who host flash sales.

Traditional marketplaces allow each brand to maintain its own shop and control the inventory. These kind of marketplaces generally take low commission — around 10% to 12% per sale. Moreover, they allow merchants to directly interact with the customer, address concerns and redress returns accordingly.

The second type of marketplaces who host flash sales work on the basis of purchase-order. That is, when a customer buys a product, the marketplace raises a purchase order for the same to the brand owner and processes the order. The downside to such a model is that the store owner is never in touch with the end customer and has to rely completely on the marketplace to act as a mediator. These marketplaces operate on somewhere around 30% to 60% commission per sale.

So we need to decide on which model to work on with the market places

Comparative Charts on Market Places.

Market place review

 

By Boney Moshahary

Solveda Software India Pvt. Ltd

www.solveda.com


Enrich Buyers Experience With IBM Websphere Commerce

 

25-Mar-2015

Web design concept

E-Commerce is not merely just about exhibiting and merchandising products online through web but about creating a delighted shopping experience that is all-in-one across all customer touch points. It is about offering an enriched, tailored experience across several supply networks of your business and exploiting the power of your brand and its value  to your customers.

This blog is focused on how IBM WebSphere Commerce provides an e-commerce platform that can deliver seamless and consistent omni-channel shopping experiences, including mobile, social and in-store and how you can use IBM WebSphere Commerce to innovate buyers experience by delivering them products and services at their convenience, with brand new features that’s not just limited to online but can also be used in-store and across all physical and digital touch points.

IBM WebSphere Commerce empowers you to create a powerful customer interaction platform across all digital touch points including mobile, social media and in-store. It’s easy to use tools create and manage precise marketing campaigns, promotions, catalog and merchandising through contextually targeted content and public promotions across multiple sales channels, allowing you to centrally manage a cross-channel strategy.

Some of its key features which could be of great benefit to its users are listed as follows;

  • Helps you compete more effectively with several features
  • Lets you drive customers for making purchases on each visit
  • Employs paid and organic search marketing to increase customers traffic to your site
  • Makes your average order size grow significantly
  • Comprehensive integration from fulfillment of order to customer services
  • Makes easier estimation of potential of online channel with a true e-commerce platform
  • Offers wide collection of features like catalog, selling, marketing, trading and order management
  • WebSphere commerce offers tailor-able and integrated package to its clients.

Built on Java EE platform using open standards such as XML and web services, WebSphere Commerce is a single and unified customer platform supporting all business models including B2B and B2C, online commerce and collaboration with existing and new customers, and partners through effective management of online trade relationships.

IBM WebSphere Commerce, when used with WebSphere Commerce Express and WebSphere Commerce Professional also provides you additional features such as work space, empowering you to customize your entire selling process that includes everything you need to develop and test an entire e-commerce website. Its integrated development environment allows developers to build and test customization to any extent including changing the appearance of your site.

By Solveda Software India Pvt. Ltd


E-commerce Trends to Watch Out for in 2015!

18-Mar-2015

0001170

The distinction between retailer and e-tailer is becoming less defined, as more consumers turn to the web for product information, recommendations and purchasing decisions. This year the line will continue to blur. Omnichannel, m-commerce, brick meets click, and lightning fast checkout are important strategies for e-commerce merchants to embrace. Today’s consumer is not only knowledgeable about which product she wants at what price; she also wants comprehensive reviews and information, inventory availability, and fast (often free and overnight) shipping.People shop online—more than ever before. Knowing how and why they do it is critical to retailers.

Lets have a look at few e-commerce trends to pay attention over the next 12 months:

=> Mobile Commerce and the Omnichannel Advantage: Effective mobile commerce isn’t happening in a vacuum. Mobile shoppers don’t use phones to the exclusion of in-store or full website research and purchasing. Consumers don’t live in one channel today. Flipping between tablet, phone, computer, and store is merely part of today’s shopping experience. Mobile commerce may have been considered an add-on in 2012, but in 2015 it’s simply the way things are done. It’s not hard to imagine a customer researching a product online, comparison shopping while in the store, and later ordering the item from their iPad.

Driven by technological changes that create opportunities to capture more of the market, payment and delivery of goods across channels will become ubiquitous in 2015. Consumers expect retailers to give them what they want, when and where they want it.

Mobile-centric strategies should continue to be top of mind with retailers going this year, with an emphasis on:

  • Easy to use and secure mobile payment options
  • Optimized mobile web — Small screens are big and companies who optimize the mobile web experience (faster load times, user-friendly, and customized presentation) will be better positioned to capture market share.
  • Hybrid shopping — Integration between brick and mortar, online, mobile commerce and other platforms will be the norm rather than a game-changer in 2015.

=>Social Commerce and Personalized Marketing: e-commerce merchants will have to “socialize” more if they want to stand out from their competitors and protect their brands. Reviewers, raving fans, and, yes, complainers, take to the blogosphere and Twitterverse to endorse products, share favorites, make or ask for recommendations and lodge complaints. Now, more than ever, engagement is key, and the customer is always, always right!

In addition to implementing effective mobile and omnichannel strategies, smart retailers will use social networks to customize product and service offerings. As people turn to their peers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for recommendations, social selling must be part of any e-commerce company strategy in 2015. Responsive web design with functional customized views (based on social as much as data), and personalized rather than corporate content will be a brand differentiator.

=>Shipping, inventory, and same day service: Until now, brick-and-mortar stores have had a strategic advantage over online stores—immediate fulfillment. Purchase now, leave the store with your item has been the name of the game for physical shopping since layaway and delayed gratification became an artifact of bygone days. Leave it to e-commerce to convince consumers that touching, feeling, hauling goods, and rubbing elbows with the throngs isn’t necessary. Thanks to faster, cheaper, and easier shipping, consumers need not sit around pining for the courier man any longer.

Here is why:

  • Shipping — It all started with free overnight delivery and returns at the click of a mouse. The window of delivery has since shrunk further, as companies move to same day and 30 minute delivery options.
  • Inventory control and availability — You can’t ship nothing, so e-commerce companies have had to get tighter and more accurate when making inventory visible to today’s consumer (only one more item left in stock!)

=>Compliance in the shopping cart:Lightning fast delivery, wearable technology, and market-disrupting deals are only window dressing if the underlying infrastructure isn’t accurate and compliant. Compliance may not be attractive, but it is the only way to succeed in e-commerce these days. It can potentially make the difference between a banner year and going out of business.

Here is how:

  • PCI compliance — The news is full of hacked customer financials and fraudulent purchasing. Not even the biggest brands are spared. PCI compliance originally set out to protect consumers from these kinds of breaches, but in-house auditing and assurance systems are often lacking. The costs of lost data to consumers and companies is in the billions. While this won’t scare many consumers away from online shopping, it might slow revenue growth if protocols aren’t followed and strict protections aren’t in place.
  • Checkout accuracy — Customers expect to see a final price at checkout that includes accurate shipping rates and estimates, application of coupons, discounts, or incentives, and sales tax. Accuracy throughout the checkout process is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty and growing your customer base. These days, checkout accuracy isn’t just about abandoned shopping carts. Unhappy customers can take complaints viral and ignite PR firestorms.

Need of the Hour: 2015 might be a brave new world for e-commerce, but it needn’t be a runaway train. With the right tools for the job, savvy and planful e-commerce retailers will play to win. Staying on top of fast-moving trends like m-commerce, brick meets click, social web, customer loyalty and retention, and compliance are must-haves. Each strategy positions retailers to capitalize on opportunities to capture more market share before all of this becomes old hat. Traditional engagement strategies won’t work anymore. Old ideas are lucky tickets to failure. Seamless paths to shopping experiences and post shopping services offered to customers help a business retain customer relationship. Every business needs a cross-functional workforce to update their space with emerging technologies. Accept changes, welcome new technologies, live up to customers’ needs and expectations; you are going to see your business in smooth waters very soon.

 

By Boney Moshahary

Solveda Software India Pvt. Ltd

www.solveda.com