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!

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.

Track Your Remittance: New Browntape feature

The best part about selling online on multiple channels is getting the rewards – payment. But payment procedures on e commerce sites are not as easy as they sound. A large company like Flipkart sells around 10 products per minute, and on a good sales day, makes more than Rs.600 crores in a day. Moving this big a capital around is not a joke, especially because it has to be distributed between a large number of sellers after deducting commissions, costs, taxes, etc. individually. Online sites then have a simpler method to follow through with these transactions – remittance cycles.

As a seller, you have a remittance cycle of generally 15 to 30 days. At the end of every cycle, you get paid for all the products you sold within that cycle. Sellers generally have to sign up with the website’s preferred payment gateway (Flipkart – PayZippy, Amazon – PayPal, etc.). We previously made an exhaustive list of all payment gateways that you can subscribe to in India. The payment gateways have their own convenience fees that they charge you for using them. This would generally be different from the website commission charged to you. Apart from that, you may also be penalised for not complying with certain company policy. Your final remittance at the end of the cycle reflects the net amount you receive after deducting all these aspects.

Browntape’s Track Your Remittance Feature

Although it all sounds well and good with the remittance policy, there can be an alarming lack of transparency in the actual transaction. Payment gateway convenience fees change with the time period and the amount to be transferred. Penalty policy changes from website to website. There may also be the issue of cashback or withheld payments.

If you are an online seller subscribing to multiple channels, it can be quite a difficult task to sift through all the transactions and keep a track of your exact remittance for every website, especially because the remittance cycles for each website would vary.

This is where Browntape’s Track Your Remittance feature comes in handy.

What Does it Do?

Track Your Remittance feature from Browntape gives you the complete breakdown of your remittance at the end of each individual cycle for every sales channel that you subscribe to on your dashboard. This breakdown is easy to analyse and is stored, per cycle, into your Browntape account, for easy access and reference. You are notified at the end of every cycle for each of your channels and the capital is reflected in your net profits, which you can analyse according to your convenience. This means that your money is transferred to you with complete transparency.

Browntape is the only multi channel order management system in India that offers a detailed breakdown of the remittance cycle. For more information about this feature and other queries, get in touch with Browntape and try our 30-day free trial. We are India’s leading order management solutions providers, and we are always happy to help.

How to Maintain a Good Seller’s Rating on Marketplaces

Online marketplaces are ultra-competitive platforms, and excelling in them can be a difficult prospect. It is not uncommon to find many sellers on an online marketplace selling the same product, especially consumer retail like electronics and apparel. (Interestingly, electronics and apparel rank at the top in the list of the most popular product categories sold on ecommerce platforms)

In essence, what we realise is that once a consumer is on an online marketplaces, he commits to two types of choices – one being the product that they are going to buy, and the second being the seller they are going to buy that product from.

Now the question arises, if all sellers are selling the same product, how to make sure that the consumer chooses to buy it from you? This is where the online marketplace comes to the rescue. Realising this two-tier choice that a consumer has to make, most marketplaces employ ways to quantify the trustworthiness of the product and the trustworthiness of the seller using various means. These can be things like customer reviews, product ratings and seller ratings. Arguably, a seller rating is the most important marker of them all for a seller, because it provides a way to judge a seller’s performance in a glance, and is probably the first thing a consumer checks while buying a product.

Trust on an online platform is an interesting phenomenon. A customer more often than not pays upfront to receive goods or services that are delivered much later, but trusts the online platform to deliver them in good condition. The online platform, on the other hand, trusts the seller to abide by their rules and standards of professionalism in actually providing the goods or services to the customer. The only inkling that a customer probably has of the fact that it is not the online platform that is selling them the goods, but an independent seller, is during the time the customer checks the seller’s rating. Thus, a good seller’s rating can be pivotal for online sales. Here are a few ways with which you can achieve and maintain a good seller’s rating on online platforms.

How to Maintain a Good Seller Rating on an Online Marketplace

  1. Strategize According to the Platform

Seller ratings can be seen in one form or the other on most online platforms. Google Shopping has its own version of seller ratings that combine 3rd party reviews from trusted review sites and quantify them in a score out of 5. Websites like Amazon and Flipkart have systems in place where a consumer can rate and review the seller, which gets added to the net seller’s rating that is displayed prominently as the seller’s credentials. Each of these systems require a different strategy – while Google is essentially collecting ratings from review sites, Amazon is collecting reviews from customers.

Secondly, Google is not a sales platform, it is an advertiser. It measures success in terms of metrics like click through rate and dwell time. Amazon/Flipkart and other sales platforms measure success in terms of sale, revenue and customer satisfaction. Understanding this difference can help you strategize according to platform.

  1. Aim to Please

Of course, you cannot expect anybody to give you a good rating if your performance is actually not so good. So the first step in your quest to acquire a good seller’s rating is to work hard and actually deserve it. This means, timely shipping, notifications to the customer, good product and packaging quality and readiness to accept product returns. Impress your customers to deserve a good seller’s rating.

  1. Ask for Feedback

Do not shy away from feedback. But at the same time, realise that there is an art to asking for feedback. Be respectful, understanding and polite, and most importantly, be fun. Extensive research has gone into how to hook customers into responding to feedback mails. Hire a UI designer to create an unobtrusive and engaging feedback template. Especially target repeat customers. It is here that the chances of you getting a positive feedback are high.

  1. Customer Support and Engagement

It is generally seen that companies with better customer support are more trustworthy than ones with non-existent or bad customer support. The same rules of engagement apply – the customer has, up until that point, been dealing with a completely virtual system, and we as humans have an upper limit for something like that. Providing a human touch to the customer correspondence is always a good thing.

These are some of the things that you can do to increase your online seller rating. For more information, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

 

“Bylane e-commerce surprise” (Browntape in Times of India)

This is what Times of India had to say about us ..

Even as Laxmikant Parsekar’s government struggles to boost investment and create employment, a small yet innovative e-commerce start-up has shown the way, just meters away from the chief minister’s secretariat office.

A stroll along the empty streets of the Journalist’s colony in Porvorim leads you to Browntape. Ask around and you discover that the company’s three offices are actually residential houses. At the main spread the scene is typical—young faces, spartan furniture, a very active coffee machine, stacked packets of instant noodles, and the soft hum of dozens of computers.

Browntape, the brainchild of Gurpreet Singh, Piyush Goel, and Ian Morgan, offers online retailers a platform to manage their e-commerce operations across multiple portals. Two types of services are on offer—one for established retailers who just need a tool to efficiently manage retail operations, the other an Enterprise Service Offering for retailers who don’t have the knowhow.

In the latter case, the client outsources the entire multichannel e-commerce to the company, which in turn creates accounts for the client across e-retail websites, builds catalogues, photographs products, and optimizes prices and sales, for which it charges a commission.

“We have quite a few clients in Goa who have been able to scale their e-commerce business,” says Singh, “The key thing is Goan entrepreneurs are selling all across India, are on an annualized run rate of multi-crore sales on e-commerce.”

The company to date has processed nearly 3 lakh orders of goods worth nearly $9 million. The platform boasts of 1,200-plus sellers.

So, how did Browntape take shape? In 2008, Goel and Morgan were in the UK, completing their PhDs in Artificial Intelligence. Short on cash and looking for a way to fund their bachelor lifestyles, they took to selling stuff online. When it became difficult to manage the ever-increasing orders and customers, they designed a programme to track orders and shipments. The tool, Scrobbld, gave birth to Browntape.

Singh, in the meantime, was in Goa, heading a web development team at a software company in Dona Paula; and like most who visit the state, was smitten. Fortuitously, Piyush joined his team. Itching to start something of their own, the two, along with Morgan, began to tinker with the idea of their own firm.

By April 2013, basic platform in place, they began touring the country, looking for funding. “The first couple of offers we got were more like traditional businesses where they (investors) would probably own more than half the business if they were investing,” recalls Goel. Singh throws light on the dilemma they contended with, “It is difficult to leave multi-crore offers on the table when you don’t have money to hire the next employee.”

That’s when they decided to enter GSF India’s Global Accelerator Program which is a 13-week intensive programme for internet-based start-ups. “GSF was more of an incubation kind of an investment and our first investor was Seedfund and with them K Ganesh joined,” says Singh.

Seedfund Advisors executive director Paula Mariwala says, “We basically liked the team; they had the technical knowhow as well as the passion, the drive to understand the nitty-gritty of e-commerce.”

Browntape’s choice of Goa, when tech start-ups usually head to Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Mumbai, was a worry. “We were very concerned whether they would get good employees in Goa, and initially we even put it in the clause that they would have to move to Mumbai if they wanted the funding,” says Mariwala.

Goel and Singh nod in unison on the misconstrued image most people from outside the state have of working in Goa equalling to soaking up some sun on the beach, beer in hand. “Luckily for Browntape, Goa doesn’t have a dearth of IT-savvy people,” says Mariwala, pointing out that 60 of the 100 employees are Goans. The rest “jumped at the chance to work in Goa”.

For the next few years, Browntape is looking to grow exponentially in a phase that Singh calls “land grab”—cornering a larger market share. Seedfund foresees revenue generation in the proximity of hundreds of crores. “E-commerce is definitely a hot field and there will be people eying them, so I am confident that there will be multiple acquisition or exit opportunities,” says Mariwala with a smile.

Hey, is it time to re-platform?

Web based shopping is a highly diverse field that has been changing at an astounding rate. To be ahead of the competition here requires clear foresight and the ability to take major decisions effectively. Re-platforming is one such decision.

An online shopper is looking for a seamless, efficient and a friendly way to shop, and the possibilities to provide this to your customers keep growing with changing technology. While starting out, you might subscribe to a few popular sales platforms, but you would soon realise as your business grows that there is a need for something more customized and suitable for your product rather than the cookie-cutter model large sales platforms offer.

If you already have your own platform, you have to ask yourself whether it is equipped in terms of design and technology to offer a great shopping experience to your customers. If the answer is no, it might be time to re-platform. Lets look at it in detail.

When to Re-Platform

  1. Your Business is Growing Fast

A fast growing business is always a great sign that says some of your systems need upgrade. In terms of your platform, you need to think about whether your website is equipped to take the load you expect and whether your customers regularly get caught in bottlenecks while interacting with it. Freecharge is a great example of how changing the UI gives an enterprise a boost.

  1. Obsolete Technology

Taking an overview of the technology you are employing is another great way to find out whether changes should be made. For example, is your website synced with your multi-channel inventory management system? Do you have an in-house accounting software linked to your order management system? Can customers avail all payment options through your website? Can they create accounts? These questions can drastically affect your back-end efficiency as well as the user experience. Thus, if you think you are running on obsolete technology, you should consider re-platforming.

  1. Obsolete Design

Design too can become obsolete really fast. And we are not just talking about moving from a 3D to a flat style. We are also talking about how design affects the user experience. Making a website free of all clutter and highlighting the essential aspects of customer interaction, even changing the tone of the content can go a long way in increasing the time your customers spend on your website. Questions you can ask yourself are – How smart is the navigation system on my platform? Or, does the search option on my website really provide what I am looking for?

  1. Back-End Integration

Of course, you might be completely happy with your website, but still might think about re-platforming on the basis of your back-end performance. Integrating new systems on the back-end can lead to massive changes in the overall structure of your platform. So if you feel the need to connect with third party assets, CRM, ERP or order management systems, you should consider re-platforming.

  1. Beef up Security

Replatforming can help you upgrade the security levels on your enterprise making it immune from viruses, malware, hackers, etc. In this way you can protect your interests and those of your assets and customers.

  1. Mobile Integration

m-Commerce, as it is now called is already a force to reckon with. With many customers moving from desktops to tablets/smartphones to do their shopping, it is imperative for a growing business to set their sight at the app market. This is another reason to consider re-platforming and integrating mobile devices in the mix.

These are some extremely compelling reasons to consider re-platforming. For any more information or queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!