The consumer behavior with respect to retail has changed considerably since the advent of internet. We see the consumer spending more time online, in order to research on a product. Even if the consumer is planning on purchasing the product offline, they tend to research on the product online.
In this multi-device world, e-commerce and m-commerce are gaining popularity. Consumers find it easy to search and buy the products that are relevant to them in the most convenient manner possible.
Let’s have a look at both e-commerce and m-commerce to understand how they rule consumer behavior. It is also important to consider the transition of consumers from e-commerce to m-commerce and map their journey.
E-commerce: Tracing the Journey
E-commerce has become quite vocal in the present times. We have seen that e-commerce has taken over major spaces, bringing in convenience. We can perform banking transactions at any hour; shopping and other e-commerce solutions are at our disposal at all the odd hours possible. E-commerce has spread its wings across the different sectors, and made things easy for you. Conversions and profitability for the companies have improved with e-commerce solutions. E-commerce has the capability of ringing in the best possible consumer insights on the desk. We are connected to consumer purchasing behavior, and we can offer the best solutions based on the insights.
But, as with all solutions, e-commerce comes with limitations of its own. It is not really mobile in the way it conducts itself. There are security and privacy concerns associated with e-commerce. The platform is not yet perceived as complete secure, despite including some of the best security solutions on the platform. The telecommunication bandwidth for the solution is insufficient to solve the purpose. For e-commerce, the software development tools are still in the evolution stage. Internet and e-commerce cannot be combined into some of the existing applications and database with ease. Compatibility issues also prove to be a limitation.
The Paradigm Shift towards m-commerce
There has been an increase in the number of smartphone users in the past year. From, 10.8% in 2014, it has reached 11.3% in 2015. Multi-platform has risen in retail from 53% in 2014 to 57% in 2015 (Source: Comscore Data)
This shift is ideally the primary reason for increasing shift towards m-commerce. Retail is multi-platform, as people consider a particular platform to choose and another to buy from. Most often than not, mobiles are considered for research and selection purposes.
M-commerce offers the stores mobility, that was absent in e-commerce. M-commerce applications tend to be more location specific and are more personalized offerings. It offers an intimate store-user relationship which can pull the audiences towards it. It offers time sensitive transactions, which can benefit the user. It is real time, and offers to be real fast, which is what the mobile customer needs in today’s time and age. M-commerce is absolutely great when it comes to location specific outputs, as against e-commerce.
The Road Ahead..
Currently, the shift has just moved from e-commerce to m-commerce. But, the future seems to be more of a combination. The contextual commerce, as this will be called in the future, relates to the situation the consumer is in, and the device that would attempt to solve the purpose. The completion of the purchase will depend on the context, and the way the purchase needs to be made. If online research, and offline purchase is what the context calls for, this is what the customer will perform with the multiple devices. This contextual future will call in for a combination of devices and services.
Solveda is a leading e-commerce, web development, custom software development & m-commerce solution provider that offers customized solutions to suit the customer needs. Get in touch with your requirements at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- Effective and compliant solutionThe Solution should be robust, compliant and scalable. It should grow along with the business.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attractive eCommerce Website TemplateIt should be built on search friendly and easily managed templates designed around the retailers’ unique business and brand objectives.
- Content Management SystemThe Solution should allow you to easily create and manage images, content, searches and navigation on one more unique websites.
- 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.
- 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.
- Social Media Plug-insIt should be added to your website to drive customer satisfaction and conversions.
- Minimize Shopping Cart AbandonmentThe solution should be able to minimize the shopping cart abandonment.
- 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
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
- Reviews and feedback
- 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.
By Boney Moshahary
Solveda Software India Pvt. Ltd
B2B eCommerce is on the rise and shifting at break-neck speed. In the past, B2B companies relied on offline resources to drive sales efforts and influence buyer behaviour. Today, B2B customers are more tech savvy, using multiple digital channels to research and purchase. As buyer demographics shift, this trend will only pick up the pace.
Current study shows that India will have 450 Mn smart phone users and close to 100 Mn 3G users by 2015. But we are still struggling with Infrastructure and bandwidth (High speed Internet).
eCommerce consists of three major categories
- Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce: is growing at a rate of 30% per year without any fanfare.
- Business to Consumer (B2C) eCommerce: is far behind B2B, but is growing at a rate of 60% per year and expected to catch up with B2B Commerce by 2015.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C) eCommerce: is still in a nascent stage, probably because of lack of trust among both buyers and sellers.
In India, B2B eCommerce is growing at a decent speed, without much of ordeal that is associated with B2C eCommerce.
There are about a dozen major players in the B2B scene in India. They are given below:
India’s top B2B Websites
Trends on B2B eCommerce
Global B2B is estimated at $1.25 trillion. The companies of USA had 42% of their sales through B2B eCommerce.
B2B Commerce is undergoing radical and rapid transformation with more and more organisations learning from B2C and embracing electronic and now mobile commerce.
A recent Forrester study estimates the B2B eCommerce trend has already revolutionized the way business is conducted in the developed countries and the trend will pick up in India over the next 1-2 years. “Like B2C, many B2B organizations are establishing an online channel and they are now focusing on how to grow this channel to maximize revenue. The trend in fact is driven by an increasing focus on customer experience,” says the Forrester study
Forrester believes that B2B eCommerce organizations must address three key trends in the coming years:
- growing demand for B2C-like B2B eCommerce experiences;
- increasing channel conflict between direct sales organizations and eCommerce operations;
- rising demand for scarce B2B eCommerce talent
Experts believe that the B2B eCommerce can certainly be successful in India because of the vital role B2C has been playing in the past few years. Likewise, many believe that the B2B eCommerce model is backed by the prior establishment of a strong B2C market.
As opportunities are created, however, challenges arise as complexities of meeting the new obligations multiply. No place is this more true than in the payments arena, particularly as though B2B payments move to a global stage, as moving money across borders and currencies in a way that is secure, transparent and compliant is no easy feat, even in the age of online digital commerce.
Pressures for Adoption
The infrastructure for eCommerce is widely available: Internet connections are present in almost every organization across the country.
Employees are becoming more tech savvy, as technological solutions are more universally operable. Moreover, the eCommerce landscape is not alien to B2B users, most of if not all are already B2C eCommerce consumers.
On the supply side, project costs to develop a B2B site have been decreasing and many alternatives, such as B2B storefronts, have been developed. Additionally, storefronts such as hybrids B2B Commerce have the ability to integrate with ERP solutions for credit check and invoicing and also to the firm’s back end.
International B2B eCommerce is increasing as communication costs decrease and freedom of commerce grows in many geographies. Marketplaces such as Alibaba in China, ThomasNet.com in US, IndiaMART in India and EC21in South Korea attract millions of users monthly.
However, the greatest pressure to adopt to B2B eCommerce models is simple demand. With eCommerce enabled, at the end of the day companies can reach out to their customers in a way that customers find desirable.
However B2B eCommerce, while on the surface similar to its flashier cousin B2C, suffers from a unique set of complexities. Apart from expecting B2C features (order entry, order history, technical support information and status) B2B customers also demand specialized characteristics such as different user roles and multiple input points. Besides, the same supplier might have different catalogs, price lists, rules and discounts for different customers.
In turn, international B2B eCommerce has further challenges such as operating across different languages, cultures and legal, regulatory and logistical environments. Some companies provide help in establishing in different markets.
Not always evident at first, but presenting an extreme challenge, is the way international payments are made. Since some financial institutions may decline transactions arising from high-risk countries a firm wanting to enter those markets must consider alternative ways of facilitating payments.
Look for these when starting an eCommerce business
So, when you consider eCommerce business as an option, what all do you need to succeed? Since it enjoys the advantage of not needing a big physical space, sound eCommerce software is the most important need. One of the most important of these is choosing the right eCommerce platform. It should coordinate and synchronize all the functions of B2B eCommerce websites. You could also incorporate important elements such as eCommerce website design, eCommerce shopping cart and a functional eCommerce site. The B2B experience should be as intuitive as B2C.
3 Key Considerations
- Get Realistic about what disturbs your customers: – define and integrate your commerce solutions across the full buyer’s journey for a seamless, all inclusive experience.
- Keep it Simple: – a streamline technology stack will save you time and money and facilitate better experiences for your buyers.
- Give Personal Care: – delivering targeted content to existing and potential buyers is critical to staying competitive and driving revenue.
- Forrester Report Oct’13
- E-Commerce Industry in India(2011-2015), Survey Report
- ECommerce & E-Tailing in India.