Monday, 29 April 2013

Shopping gone Viral!

Is shopping still a distant planned affair? If the answer is a NO, that’s undoubtedly because of e-commerce. With e-commerce in place, it’s just a click away. With more and more e-commerce portals popping up each day, ‘compete and survive’ has become the need of the day. The new magic tool businesses now use to grab more attention and build brand loyalty, is “Social Networking for e-commerce”, shortly called Social Commerce.

Social Commerce is precisely the use of Social Networking to enhance one’s e-commerce business and improve the Buyer- Customer relationship. Present day e-commerce businesses find Social Networking an easy and lucrative way of reaching out to the customers, which is definitely working!

Social Networking could be the one stop solution for e-commerce entities when looking for the following:

  • Providing easily available content (spread information about one’s business)
  • To help form communities of potentially interested customers
  • To increase visibility (e.g. through likes and shares in Facebook)
  • To help spread the word when rolling out sales promotions (like best deals, offers, etc.)
  • To sense the public pulse by analyzing their conversations (this could be the base for new idea generation; to produce products of people’s choice).
  • To address their issues quickly (if any).
  • To help provide a platform for the users to share their expectations and experiences.
  • To improve traffic to their official websites.
  • To recognize their competitors.

      How often were you routed to a shopping site when social networking? Well, your answer precisely supports my statement that, several platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc. have been the central points of interest for e-commerce businesses lately.

Use of Facebook for e-commerce:

Many e-commerce sites now have an official Facebook page that is being liked and shared by millions like us all around the world. By posting recent updates, pictures of their new products, related videos and much more, e-commerce is turning out to be more like a friend. Many start-ups like Alma Mater, Chumbak, etc. have found their target market through Facebook. Monginis, the famous Indian pastries and bakery chain based in Mumbai has its own e-commerce site. It also owns a Facebook page and Facebook app that helps customers get good deals on cakes they purchase. Yum cakes with yummier deals. Sounds great right? This is certainly a great way of pumping customer interaction and interest. Don’t you think?

Use of You Tube for e-commerce:

The world renowned video sharing website/social network has helped a multitude 
of e-commerce sites gain recognition through constant video uploading that helps push their sales up. Ora Brush is an e-commerce store selling a tongue cleaning product. It owns a channel in YouTube where, it keeps posting funny videos related to Bad Breath, its famous segment being a weekly video called “Dairy of a dirty tongue” that grabs millions of hits. This is yet another innovative way of engaging with the customers.

Use of Twitter for e-commerce:

The sensational micro blogging site has been successfully supporting several small scale businesses thus far. Also, it has now made e-commerce easy through its twitter commerce platform called “Chirpify” which helps people buy and sell products easily. An added advantage is that it works with Instagram. No more visiting the online store, no more filling up boring details. What an interesting deal!

Use of Pinterest for e-commerce:

Pinterest, the latest fast growing social networking site that lets people pin interesting posts and pictures on their virtual bulletin board is now playing a significant role in supporting the       e-commerce players as well. Zappos, a shoe and apparel e-commerce store owned by Amazon has now come up with a new service called PinPoinintg that recommends products based on the users’ posts in Pinterest. That surely spares us the effort of unnecessary elimination. This is evidently the most lucrative way of dealing with customers.

What customers like us want from Social Commerce?

  •          Relevant informative content (e.g. be location based)
  •          Adequate advice on products (viz. reliable product reviews)
  •          Sufficient options to choose from
  •          Immediate response to their queries and grievances
  •     Comparison (in terms of product price, quality, etc.) There are currently many price  comparison shopping engines like, Yahoo! Shopping, Price Grabber, etc.
       While, e-commerce is looking out for options to make life easier for us (more effortless and easily accessible), Social Networking is helping the customer scrutinize them, further emphasizing on the well known mantra “Customer is King”. 

Image Courtesy: Google Images
Sources for Content: Internet

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Do you know about the Google Online Shopping Festival?

How much do we like a Sale!? A lot i am sure! We are always on the alert looking out for latest offers and price cuts! What if one day  our favorite e-commerce stores came together under one roof offering us the best deals all at a time? Would you call it a "dream-come-true" ? For all those who know about it, i am sure you love it. But for the rest, you ought to know about the   "Google Online Shopping Festival"

It is a 24 hour long fiesta that happened on 12th December 2012 (12-12-12). It had  over 90 renowned e-commerce brands participate in the biggest ever Online Shopping event. Google and a plethora of famous online shopping portals had come together to provide a single platform where “best deals” was the buzz word! With more than 90 famous sites like Flipkart, Quikr, Inkfruit,, etc. offering the most lucrative deals on Jewellery, shoes, apparel, books, gadgets, watches and many more, shopping bags only got heavier by the day!

This event is inspired by “Cyber Monday”, a marketing term coined by, which refers to the Monday after Black Friday, which is the Friday that follows the Thanksgiving. Putting it in simple terms, a 2004 research had unveiled that people online shop massively on the Monday after Thanksgiving (so much that many US employees have been fired for using official equipment for non official purposes like online shopping) terming it as “One of the biggest online shopping days of the year”. A 2005 research also found that 77% more customers buy stuff on a Monday after Thanksgiving. 

So, in 2005, the concept of “Cyber Monday” came into light to encourage people to shop online by providing effective deals and offers. Cyber Monday is an international marketing term used by online retailers in Canada, UK, Portugal, Japan, Germany, Chile and Columbia
Why have a Cyber Monday? Well, the answer is simple! Concepts like these help online retailers engage in new business arrangements/models through which they can gain visibility and also attract more customers. 

Unlike in India, this event goes beyond a time frame of 24 hrs internationally. New Zealand had its first ever Cyber Monday in 2010, organized by online retailer Belly Beyond that lasted for 5 days. In 2010, the customers had spent $1.028 billion making it the highest spending day.

Citibank India, had organized a similar 24 hour event on 5th December 2012 termed the   OMG! Sale which witnessed participation from close to 17 e-commerce brands. However, it was restricted only to citibank’s debit and credit card holders. Through this sale, Citibank also highlighted the strong Payment Gateway they possessed. Inspired by its success, Google was next in line implementing this model in India! 

Google made use of our favorite Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. to promote their one day shopping festival. Though many called it the "biggest shopping festival before the end of the world", it was certainly the most remembered one! 

While sites like witnessed a 70% boost in their traffic, Pepperfry saw a 50% increase in their traffic (source: Internet) and the best part being the highly satisfied customers!

Whether it was a sales gimmick, or a genuine marketing initiative, we love shopping too much to judge it! so, if you missed it, keep waiting for the next big festival! 

Image Courtesy: Google
Information Sources: Internet

Friday, 26 April 2013

Have you heard of Grom Social yet?

When did you first create your account in Facebook? Did you have to manipulate your age to create a profile on FB?    Well, while it would not matter much if you didn’t get caught, what if you did? 

You may do one of the following:

1    1)  Delete your account, feel sorry for your mistake and not create one until you are actually 18
2    2) Act like you have deleted your account and be careful enough not to get caught again

But, would you think of creating a new social networking site altogether?

Let’s save our Of course-not-s to ourselves coz there’s an eleven year old from US who actually did it! 
Meet tech savvy Zachary Marks from Florida, who after getting banned from using FB by his parents, created a Social Networking site called “Grom Social” with the help of his friends and relatives.
This site is only for kids: kids who aren’t yet entitled to join FB. Annoyed by the fact that kids are not allowed to join Social Networking sites, he decided to act upon the situation. GROM SOCIAL is the after math of his curiosity!

It was a surprise to see GROM SOCIAL, considering all the fantastic features it contained, despite being created by an 11 year old.

The main idea of the site was to deviate kids from addictives like Pokemon and incline them towards virtual socializing and community gaming.

Some special features observed in GROM:

1. You can be part of Grom only if  an adult related to you approves of you being part of Grom. Else find    your way out!

2. The site operates on a strictly no bullying environment.

3. There was a fun and vivid character associated with every help topic

4. Highly surprising but there were school tips to help kids from grade 1 to 10 with their academics. Quite thoughtful! Isn’t it?

5.  A wide range of games

6.There is a youth privacy policy !

7.  App for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry and ability to add third party apps like Twitter

8. Now comes the cherry on the cake: “The Bad Word Filter” Seriously! That’s just amazing I thought!

9. Chat, Share photos, events, join groups on specific youth friendly topics with no obscenity/  lewdness

10.  Fun facts, health and fitness tips, articles on actions sports, latest music and movie trailers and what not!

Visit the website at

P.S: Don't worry! he does allow adults to join ! 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Forced Advertising

When was the last time you did not come across an ad on the Internet? From Television to Radio, Mobile phones to Internet, Advertisements have spread like cockroaches. They are here, there, everywhere and there are loads of them right? 

Every business sees advertising as the most feasible and creative of ways to grab attention. Innovative concepts, impressive audio-visuals and catchy lines have made advertising more attractive. However, with the excessive spread of these ads in digital media, we have grown skeptical of their acceptance. Haven’t we?

 A small survey conducted to determine peoples’ views on this issue revealed the following opinions.

Most Netizens find the ads on youtube very annoying. “Open a video and boom! What you get is a surprise unwanted ad that is neither chosen nor asked for. That’s exactly when we wait for the “Skip Ad” button to come to our rescue”, they say. Contrary to this, there are also a set of people who say that they are fine with watching these ads. However, what proportion of them pays attention to these ads and what proportion of them actually takes interest in going ahead and taking action is unanswerable.

Expressing their opinion on the advertisements seen in other Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., Netizens have opined that ads that come up with good deals and offers are always appreciated while plain informative ads are often overlooked. (If you are one of them too, trust me it’s so not your fault!)Several e-commerce sites like and Flipkart provide excellent deals especially on tech-goods which is very lucrative especially to students (the low or no income group).

In other websites where advertisements swallow the entire screen all of a sudden, are frustrating. They say that it’s not the ads they are looking for anymore, but for the close button. Students engrossed in sites like Wikipedia, HowStuffWorks, etc. find these ads a hindrance in their main job unless they are extremely creative and good.

Here or there, most Netizens feel that ads would grab more eye balls only if they are either highly creative or if they are deal prone. I agree. Flashy ads or the ones that come with obnoxious music are a total no-no.

While there many people who find these ads intruding, there are also a section of people who believe that ads form a normal part of their digital media, since most of them no more watch television. If there is anything they are missing out there, they find these ads filling that gap. New movies, new products, or new anything for that matter; ads for them, are a way of catching up with the latest trends.

 So why do you think many businesses still choose to walk this path? In my perspective, one reason for this could be the ever changing unpredictable opinions of the people. Yeah I mean us! Today we like A but tomorrow we want to try B for some or no reason. Today, we are fine watching an ad and tomorrow we aren’t. Migration from one product/service to the other is growing rapidly

All the algorithms derived to analyze consumer behavioral patters have proven insufficient. All said and done, businesses are hence looking at “all-round-visibility” or “omnipresence” as a safer option. We may curse them today, but if we find them useful tomorrow, that’s all they need because in the digital age, gaining or losing a customer is just a click away. And with almost the entire world being immensely engaged with digital media, an opportunity like this is too risky to lose.

So, are you ready to witness a dose of digital ads today!?