Hottest Product Categories in Indian Online Retail

Online retail profits have been leapfrogging for the past few years in India. Especially with the advent of cheap smartphone technology and the enthusiasm online retail platforms have provided in terms of m-commerce, online sales have truly skyrocketed. The first question every prospective online retailer has in mind is – ‘What do I sell?’ There are differing answers to this question, depending upon various perspectives.

One way is to figure out the most popular product to sell and enter the extremely competitive market. Since a large market base is divided by many suppliers, you are bound to get a small share, but the opportunity for growth is slow. The other way is to create a market base using a niche product. This article makes a good case for this strategy. Also check out Chris Anderson’s Long Tail Phenomenon, which describes this course of action, is detail.

The point is, whichever way you go, you do need to know about the current demand trends in the market. These trends can directly affect you, or they can affect you through a secondary market basis. But it is important to know. Therefore we are providing information about the Indian online retail market in this post, and its current demand trends and hottest product categories. Let’s take a look.

Demand Trends in the Indian Online Retail Market in 2015

Market Description

The total turnover of the e-commerce market in India is supposed to hit $16 billion in 2016. Of this, nearly 31% belongs to online retail and 61% belongs to the travel industry while the rest can be chalked up to wholesale and other services. According to the data gathered by Accel India, the number of internet users in India will grow to more than 400 million by 2016. Of these, more than 60% generally frequent e-commerce websites. The conversion rate from visitors to buyers is expected to jump to 2.9% from 2.7% in 2013. This means that the gross turnover due to online retail will exceed $8.5 billion in 2016.

Hot Product Categories

According to a study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, or IAMAI, mobile phones and their accessories are the highest selling items on online retail websites like Flipkart and Snapdeal. The online retail industry, growing at the rate of more than 33% currently, favours various product categories in the following order –

  1. Mobile phones and accessories: Mobile phones and accessories hold a 41% market share with sales worth around Rs. 9,936 crore.
  2. Apparel, footwear, etc.: Personal items like apparel, footwear and other accessories come second in the race for the most popular online retail category. They cover around 20% of the market with sales upwards of Rs. 4,699 crore.
  3. Consumer Durables: Consumer durables like kitchen appliances and other accessories account for 14% of the online retail market. The sales in this category have been worth Rs. 3,404 crore.
  4. Laptops/notebooks/other electronic items: Laptops and other electronic items consist of 10% of the market with sales up to Rs. 2,780 crore
  5. Home furnishings: Home furnishings show sales of Rs. 1,059 crore
  6. Books: Books have garnered sales of Rs. 648 crore.

These are some of the sales figures for the year 2014-15. We hope these will help you in your strategy to sell on online platforms.

For any help or queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online retail solutions experts and we are always happy to help!

Top 5 Price Comparison Sites in India

Price comparison sites are the lifeblood of online retail. A good online customer spends as much time on a price comparison site as they spend on the actual online sales platform. It is no wonder that today there are quite a few price comparison sites available for the Indian online market.

Price comparison sites are extremely useful for online sellers too. They provide a detailed database to compare competitor prices and help you strategise accordingly. So it is important even for online sellers to know the good price comparison sites in India. With this aim in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 5 price comparison sites that operate in the Indian market. Take a look!

Top Price Comparison Sites in India

  1. Junglee

Junglee is Amazon’s pet price comparison website for India. It began as a virtual database that was used to acquire information off the internet and provide it to enterprise applications. But it soon grew into a single window source for location, comparison and transaction of millions of products across the internet. You just need to search for the product you are looking for, and Junglee will find all the Indian online marketplaces the product is listed on, along with the pricing.

  1. CompareRaja

CompareRaja was launched in July 2012, and has been one of the leading price comparison sites for the Indian market. Apart from thorough price comparisons and some sweet deals through coupons, the best part about CompareRaja is that you can access it via their website, their iOS/Android apps or their Chrome/Firefox extension.

  1. MySmartPrice

MySmartPrice offers price comparisons chiefly in the categories of electronic gadgets like computers, laptops and mobile phones, men’s’ and women’s’ fashion and home appliances. They offer comprehensive listings and price comparisons and also have a Chrome extension.

  1. PriceDekho

PriceDekho is one of India’s leading price comparison websites with over 1.5 crore products from more than a hundred online sellers. They have been chosen as the best price comparison website in India for two consecutive years in 2013 and 2014 by “Website of the Year India”. They also have Android and iOS apps for price comparison.

  1. 91Mobiles

91Mobiles is a price comparison website that specializes in electronics, particularly in mobile phones. It has a wide array of products and one of the most comprehensive listings when it comes to electronic items. What we really like about this website is that they also have in-house reviews for their products. Check out their website or their app.

Apart from the above, honourable mention should be given to CNN IBN’s CompareIndia, MyPriceIndia and SmartPrix.

If you want to know more about price comparison websites, or anything else related to online retail, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online retail solutions providers, and we are always happy to help!

5 Tips to Stand Out While Selling on Online Marketplaces

An online marketplace is a tough place to survive in. The amount of competition is enormous and the demand is relentless and both these things mean that you always have to be on your toes while operating your online store. The size on the Indian online marketplace is rising at a meteoric pace. In fact, the Indian online retail industry was worth $13.5 billion in 2014, and is all set to cross the $16 billion mark in 2016. With a market volume like this, it is extremely difficult to make one’s mark. How can one differentiate oneself from the competition while selling virtually similar products off the same online sales platform?

It becomes slightly easier for sellers with a niche product to offer and a dedicated website to sell it from. But what about somebody who is selling through a large online sales platform? A typical customer would rarely look into a seller’s background in detail other than checking their rating to see if they provide a decent service.

So what can be done in a high-pressure low wiggle room situation like this to stand apart from the crowd? Let’s find out!

How to Stand Out on an Online Sale Channel

  1. Hit the Right Keywords

Most sales begin with a keyword search string. Something like ‘Poncho raincoat’ or ‘Blue ink pen’. Something that the customer feels is the obvious way to search a product. Your job is to make sure that these expected keywords related to your product are included in its description so that your product pops up every time the keywords are searched. This is essential because the volume of products and sellers is so high on a typical online marketplace that it is first important to be in the customer’s range of vision. Remember, the first step to stand out is to be seen.

  1. Good Photography

Let’s perform an experiment. Log on to an online sales channel like Amazon or Flipkart and just search something. Anything. Now, just browse through the list of results. What do you notice first? The image, right? That small thumbnail of an image is a make or break for online sales.

We wrote an article previously about how to photograph your images for online marketplaces. The image of your product is the closest the customer is ever going to get to actually experiencing it before buying it. In fact, most online marketplaces require you to take high-resolution pictures from multiple angles for your customers’ benefit. You can actually impress your customer by investing in some great photography for your product.

  1. Be Creative with Product Descriptions

Again, the important thing to understand is that the customer cannot actually hold the product. It is up to you to provide the most comprehensive description for them. This is also your chance to impress them with some creativity. Fiddle with the design of your product description so that it forms an interesting narrative. Engage your customers and make them stay on the page longer.

  1. Engage in Social Media

There is a line that divides the space between the real world and social media. People go to a restaurant and order food, once the food is served, the click an image and put it up on instagram. How can you prompt your customers to interact with your brand on social media? Social media highlights experiences (and cats) – the ambience at a restaurant, the rainy day from the window, and receiving a product you ordered in the mail. Nudge your customers to interact with your brand on Twitter and Instagram. Impress them with the packaging and ask them to pin an image of it up on Pinterest. There is so many ways with which you can stand out using social media. Just be creative!

  1. Offer a Great Returns Policy

Finally, something that every customer wants – a guaranteed returns policy. This will surely make you stand out amongst the crowd of competitors as somebody who truly cares about your customers’ interests. Here’s an article we previously wrote about the importance of a good returns policy. Do check it out.

This is what we have on how to stand out among competitors on an online sales website. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

What is Mobile Commerce? Should You Capitalise on it?

If you have not heard about mobile commerce or m-commerce, you are already a bit late to the party. The steady shift of retail from offline to online seems to have culminated into the world of smartphones, tablets and smart wearables. And it was a well-expected change. With the rise of the smartphone era, internet shopping has become as fundamental an amenity as a phone itself. This means everything from ordering take-out to buying your next smartphone can and is being done from your current smartphone. What does this mean to the world of online retail?

When mobile phones were first introduced to the market, no one could have fathomed how indispensable they would become to contemporary human life. Today, owning a smartphone makes you a part of not just a lifestyle, but also a colossal economic superstructure. Mobile commerce is just a fraction of this, but in the context of modern retail, it seems to be an unstoppable force. The numbers say it all. In US and UK markets, mobile retail sales account for more than 25% market share in 2015. Moreover, no single device owns more than 20% of total e-commerce market share. The conclusion is simply that mobile commerce cannot be ignored.

So let’s look at some of the basics of mobile commerce and a few things that you can do to gain a sure footing in this territory.

How to Enter Mobile Commerce?

  1. Segregate the Market

As we saw in the figures above, mobile commerce is steadily eating up the net e-commerce market share. Some may dismiss mobile commerce by saying that at the end of the day, a sale is a sale whether it came from a mobile device or a computer. You would have to visit the same website on either device, right? Although they would not be technically wrong, there is a major factor one has to consider.

According to this Economic Times report, India will have more than 651 million smartphone users by 2019. It is already the second largest smartphone market in the world. Considering the fact that most smartphone users prefer to shop using their phones rather than a computer, it is necessary for you to devise strategies specifically for smartphones. This has to start with the basics – segmentation, personalisation and customisation. This is about fundamentally changing the ways of thinking about the market, because the technology itself is changing the market fundamentally.

  1. Design for Mobile

Many online retailers are wary of the idea of building an app for their enterprise because it can be quite expensive to do so. Although that is true, making an app is not the only thing you can do to enter the mobile market. Again, we go back to basics – the most apparent change due to the mobile transition is that now data can be viewed on multiple screens with different dimensions.

This does not sound like too pressing an issue, but just try to book a ticket on irctc using your mobile phone and you will see exactly what I am talking about. There is a lot of innovation that has gone into the development and design of responsive mobile websites, that don’t take anything away from the user experience regardless of the device being used.

  1. Making an App

Making your own app is actually not such a bad idea. The decision to do so is dependent on a few key factors. Resources are of course a consideration, but more importantly, the nature of your product or service should be a pivotal factor.

For example, if you offer a niche product, or a small range of products, an app might not be the best idea. It is difficult to think of somebody downloading an app that just sells raincoats, for example. If you do decide to build an app for your enterprise, understand that it is a long-term investment. Apps and mobile sites are where the really power of mobile commerce truly shows.

Mobiles are the most personal computing devices we own, and a shopping experience there has to be equally personal. To cater this means to build an app that remembers stuff like the customer’s name, their interests, past searches, past transactions, and utilises this information to intelligently assist customer while shopping. Else, your app is nothing but a glorified sales window.

  1. Driving Traffic to Mobile

After you set up your mobile commerce real estate, it is important to drive traffic there. In the long run, you would benefit from your customers shopping from your app/mobile site as compared to from a computer. This is because as I mentioned in the previous point, mobile commerce really banks on the personalisation aspect of sales. This 2012 article states that 40% of all online sales are a result of impulse buys. This is an eye-opening statistic, because it is much easier to harvest this impulse buying impulse through mobile as compared to traditional e-commerce. Also, mobile notifications are much less annoying as compared to spam emails.

To know more about mobile commerce, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online retail solutions providers and we are always happy to help!

Contractual manufacturer to Online Brand – BagsRUs’ journey with Browntape

bagsrus

For 22 years, Mihir Desai steered his company in the direction of contractual manufacturing. With focus on comfort, reliability and durability, each product is made combining the latest designs and functionality aspect in mind.

Being contractual manufacturers, top quality bags of different kinds were made by BagsRUs for various brands and corporates over the years. While the bulk production of bags kept happening, BagsRUs as a brand hadn’t made a foray into the retail industry.

From manufacturing to retail

BagsRUs had a number of reasons to stand out in the crowd:

  • Only the finest and most durable raw materials are used, based on national as well as international standards.
  • Designs were at par with most popular and unique designs.
  • Comfort and functionality was the focus for every product.
  • Rigorous and specific quality checks are done for every product.
  • Value pricing was a given.

BagsRUs experimented with different kinds of bags to expand product portfolio into chiller bags to store cold beer, shoe string bags, sari bags, shirt bags and so on.

Based on the above Browntape suggested BagsRUs foray into the ecommerce world. Within 6 months, it witnessed a giant leap in sales. And as is said, the rest is history. It has become an independent fashion brand loved by all and has come out with a number of new products since entry. All that with the help of Browntape!

bagsrus sales1

Becoming online brand BagsRUs

Mihir already had the following advantages:

  • Manufacturing – New products could be introduced and existing products could be tweaked according to industry demand.
  • Control on pricing – Since there was no third party involved, all the products could be priced in such a way that it gave value to the brand and the brand.
  • Quality – Only top quality raw material are used for each product, which ensures customers get what they pay for, thus keeping them happy.
  • Bulk products – Any product could be produced according to required numbers, thus keeping stock-out situations at bay.
  • Control on the supply chain – Again, due to the absence of middlemen, products could be sent directly to customer or marketplace as per requirement.

Browntape helped to enhance the above in making online brand BagsRUs:

  • Photography

Photography is one of the most important aspects in online selling. In the absence of the feel and touch factor, images of products grab customer eyeballs and impress them. They play a very important role in the customer’s purchase decision.

Also, online marketplaces have specifications about images and these have to be kept in mind for approval. Browntape’s inhouse photography team clicked images of the products in line with the specifications while also highlighting the unique features of each product.

  • Product Content

BagsRUs products are unique and innovative, and some of them have functionalities, which are difficult to highlight through images. For example, one interesting product was a duffel bag that could convert from a backpack into a sling bag by changing the strap. This was highlighted in the product description.

Descriptions were customised to suit each product and highlight unique features, incorporating SEO and keywords.

  • Product suggestions

Browntape gives constant directions about promising products that will help online sales based on market trends and demands.

  • Daily operations

The Browntape team handles the entire daily ecommerce operations for BagsRUs. Once the cataloguing is taken care of, the team proceeds to listing on the identified marketplaces. Based on the inventory and order management done by the team, BagsRUs team just has to keep the products ready and ship them as per customer orders.

  • Discounts and offers

Different marketplaces have different offers at different times. Also, understanding the pulse of the customer and the seller is important for this; seller should be able to fulfil the order once placed by customer. Browntape keeps track of these and decides the ideal ones for BagsRUs so that the right customers are reached at the right time.

Do you want your story to be the next Browntape success story? Contact Browntape today and we’ll  be happy to help you with your online selling operations.

Online selling requires a dedicated team and continuous efforts to see effective results. A good team and seamless set of processes are a must for smooth operations. Browntape Enterprise Services understands this and helps retailers to take their retail business online. Once on board, Browntape will handle all the daily operations while the retailers can focus on quality and variety of their products.

How did Browntape multiply 60-year old Renka’s online sales in just 6 months?

Rahul Renka

Established in 1958, Rosy Hosiery Mills (RHM) has been in the business of manufacturing and exporting a number of products including fabric, garments, home furnishing, baby products and accessories. Their products are designed n tune with global style and colour trends, and have been well received by customers over the years. On the manufacturing front, they produce about 3,000 kgs of fabric/6,000 pieces per day.

Tryst with E-commerce

Over the years, RHM went from being just a manufacturer to brand Renka, known for women’s clothing, but sold only in the local markets. With almost 60 years in existence and three generations, the family decided to take the leap into ecommerce and enter the world of online retail. In the second half of 2014, Renka was listed on online marketplaces like Amazon and Snapdeal. But they failed to click and they could not complete the expected sales target. However, in October their sales started picking up and they their revenue multiplied in just three months! Today, Renka is among the top online sellers of winter apparel. How did that happen? Browntape!

Renka’s sales picked up after Browntape started managing their ecommerce operations

Renka’s sales picked up after Browntape started managing their ecommerce operations

Manufacturing – Renka’s advantage

  1. Profit margins not compromised- Being a manufacturer, the biggest advantage Renka had was the absence of middlemen, this helping to ease the cost factor. Without cutting down on profit margins, they could price products such that sustainability wouldn’t have to be compromised.
  2. Bulk products – As they were producing products in bulk, a stock-out situation never happened. Each design had 40-50 pieces in different sizes and colours.

Why did it fail to take off in the online space immediately?

Timing! When RHM started selling online, it was not the time people were buying winter items. Hence the traction was low. But the key while selling online is to keep selling after analysing the factors involved and making sure the right elements are applied at the right time.

How Browntape uplifted online brand Renka

A quick study of the brand revealed the following about Renka:

  • Styles and designs in tune with industry trends
  • Competitive prices
  • Stringent quality checks
  • Capacious warehouse

Capitalising on cues from Renka’s existing retail channel, Browntape formulated their online sales strategy:

  • Strategic timing

Different products sell better at different times of the year. A diary or a journal may sell more in December or January, while a normal notebook may sell more in May or June. Sales of gold jewellery picks up during Dhanteras, which is considered auspicious for buying gold jewellery. And so on. From October, customers would start checking out winter wear and Browntape accordingly advised Renka to churn out a larger quantity of products in different sizes and colours. So when sales started picking up, Renka was ready to fulfil the incoming demand without disappointing customers for which they received good reviews.

  • Consistent quality

Again, being a manufacturer, Renka could ensure one of the most crucial aspects was on track – product quality. Even one bad product can hamper the reputation of a brand (we know how social media is customers’ favourite to vent out or share opinions), thus leading to drop in traction.

  • Daily operations

Right from cataloguing to listing to order processing to inventory management was handled by the Browntape team, thus freeing Renka team from the headache of monitoring marketplaces and sales. All they had to do was pack products according to the orders received and send them out to customers.

  • Good seller rating

Seller rating on a marketplace is testimony of the seller’s products and performance. With Browntape’s seamless daily operations, Renka was able to fulfil all orders on time thus keeping customers happy and inviting positive reviews. With consistent good reviews, Renka’s rating ranked higher and impressed more customers.

  • Participation in online sales

Marketplaces have different deals and offers at different times, it becomes a tedious task to monitor and keep track of these. Browntape did this for Renka and decided on the right offers to participate in so that products would catch the eyeballs of the right customers.

Do you want your story to be the next Browntape success story? Contact Browntape today and we’ll  be happy to help you multiply your online sales.

Online selling requires a dedicated team and continuous efforts to see effective results. A good team and seamless set of processes are a must for smooth operations. Browntape Enterprise Services understands this and helps retailers to take their retail business online. Once on board, Browntape will handle all the daily operations while the retailers can focus on quality and variety of their products.

What is Affiliate Marketing? Should You Outsource it?

Affiliate marketing is a process of earning commission by promoting products or services of another company along with your product. At first glance, the concept seems a bit off – why would you spend resources promoting another brand if you could use the same to promote yourself? But in reality, affiliate marketing, when done effectively, can lead a hard source of recurring income without a lot of effort.

Affiliate marketing is a common occurrence, and many companies widely use it. Yet, their success varies and is dependent on how effectively the marketing is strategized and executed. But let us first understand clearly the idea of affiliate marketing.

The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

Here is a simple example – Suppose you are a manufacturer of shoes. You have a store in the mall where you sell your product. One day a manufacturer of socks visits you and asks you to recommend his brand of socks to your customers. In return, he says, he will give you a 10% commission on every sale of his product that you facilitate. This is a type of affiliate marketing.

Consider these two possibilities. First is that the plan is successful and you get a new steady source of income along with your core business. You strike up similar deal with a few other manufacturers and reap the benefits of affiliate marketing. Now, imagine that you take his deal, and you recommend his brand of socks to your customers. Your customers buy them, but soon realize that they are really bad socks. As a result, not only do customers stop buying the socks and put a stop to your commission, but they also stop buying your shoes since you gave them a bad recommendation.

So we see that affiliate marketing can be a tightrope. One little slip and the whole system is liable to fall down. The idea is to create affiliate marketing strategies so that they add latent value to your product in the long run.

Here are some of the common affiliate marketing strategies that are generally employed by merchants.

  1. PPC Affiliate Marketing

The easiest way of getting into affiliate marketing is with PPC or Pay Per Click. In this model, you are completely uninvolved in the product that you are marketing. This means that you are just renting out space for an advertisement on your virtual real estate and getting paid every time a customer clicks on it. The product you are promoting does not have to do anything with your business interest. It is a simple arrangement purely based on commerce.

Sometimes this strategy can end up being pretty obtrusive and frustrating for the customer, especially if it comes in the form of unwanted and rampant pop-ups that frequent the internet. If done correctly, you might find it to be a viable strategy to earn passive income without doing much work for it.

  1. Related Affiliate Marketing

The shoes and socks example that we viewed previously is a perfect example of related affiliate marketing. Here, the product you are promoting is related to your business. It is here that you have to be a bit careful, and thus, a bit more involved with the marketing process. ‘Only promote products that you can trust’ seems to be the basic dictum here, and with good reason.

  1. Involved Affiliate Marketing

Involved affiliate marketing is when you personally trust and favor a particular brand of product that is related to your business, and you take an active part in the promotion campaign through your online real estate. Here is where affiliate marketing comes of age, so to say. You can pick a range of strategies to market the product you are promoting. You can even pair your product with it to provide schemes and discounts that would benefit both you and the other party.

Should I Outsource Affiliate Marketing?

It depends upon how much you want to get into it. Generally, companies like Flipkart, Amazon and eBay have their own affiliate marketing or partnership programs. Through these, you can redirect your customers to buy your products from your Flipkart listings (as an example), and get a percentage commission for every sale.

You need to know that generally the commission rates are more if this transaction occurs on a smartphone via the online sales platform’s app. The commission rates also differ according to the category of product that you are promoting. For example, on Amazon you would earn 4% commission on consumer electronics but a 15% commission on the sale of clothes and shoes. Read through the above links to get to know about the affiliate policies of each of these organizations.

If you really want to get into affiliate marketing, just partnering with a large online sales conglomerate is not enough. Instead, you would want to track down specific players to do business with and chalk out specific plans to execute it. In essence, one would have to treat it as another marketing plan.

But why would you want to spend so much time and resources on promoting a product that is not even yours? Hence, the solution is to simply outsource the process and only remain involved in the executive decision-making. At the end of the day, it is your business that comes first.

If you have any doubts on affiliate marketing, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online sales solutions providers, and we are always happy to help!