Top 5 Online Marketplaces in India compared

If you’re looking to get into online retail, subscribing to an online marketplace is arguably the quickest way to do so. The market for online retail in India has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. In fact, this Nasscom report says that the Indian e-commerce industry will touch the $100 billion figure by 2020. It is no wonder that there are innumerable online marketplaces for a retailer to choose from. There are online megamalls that let you sell virtually anything under the sun, and there are niche marketplaces like this one that lets you sell only socks. Each marketplace has its own pros and cons, and in this post we are going to compare the top 5 largest marketplaces in India.

Every retailer has a basic set of queries before subscribing to a marketplace. In fact, we have written about the things you need to consider before subscribing to a marketplace right here. There’s subscription fees, packaging and logistics support, payout periods, popular product categories, size of the marketplace, competition, etc. Here, we’ve done a hands on comparison between Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, Snapdeal and ShopClues. These five online sales channels eat up a lion’s share of the Indian online retail market. So let’s see how they match up against each other.

Indian Online Marketplaces: A Head-to-Head Comparison

  • Basic Comparison

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Although eBay is the oldest player in the Indian market among the ones that we are looking at, it is Flipkart and Amazon that are the most popular marketplaces in terms of the number of sellers. A common trend can be seen while analyzing the most popular product categories – apparel, footwear, mobile and consumer electronics seem to be the most sought after products in the Indian marketplace.

  • Pricing

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Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues do not ask for subscription, listing or payment gateway fees. While eBay looks expensive as compared to its competitors, it makes up for this by offering really low commission rates on sales.

  • Logistics

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All the marketplaces that we are considering offer shipping assistance, although only Amazon and eBay allow self-shipping. While Flipkart does not offer packaging assistance, its shipping charges are slightly lower than the rest of the competition.

  • Miscellaneous

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Flipkart seems to be running the game when it comes to social media presence an m-commerce. With m-commerce slated to be the future of online retail in India, these numbers become extremely important.

To know more about these online sales channels or in case of any other query, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!

Tier 2, 3 Cities as Potential Markets for Online Retail

India’s online retail market can be subdivided into two parts in terms of the geography – the so called tier 1 cities, which include the metropolises and the highly developed industrial and cultural hubs and the tier 2 and 3 cities which include the so called developing regions around the country.

The disparity between these two parts is pretty blatant – tier 1 cities are prioritized in terms of most amenities, they are valued more within a state since they contribute more to the economy and thus they also tend to be more glamorous. In fact, until recently it was thought that the online retail business wouldn’t have much support outside the tier 1 cities. Turns out this is a gross misconception. Although it is true that the online retail business has a huge market in tier 1 cities, the contribution of tier 2 and 3 cities can scarcely be ignored.

Why Should You Focus on Tier 2, 3 Cities for Online Retail?

  • United They Stand

As of the 2011 census, there are 8 tier 1 cities in India – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. As compared to these, there are as many as 3,133 tier 2 and 3 cities and more than 1,233 rural hubs. While one third of India’s 1.2 billion population lives in tier 1 through 4 cities, only 8% of these reside in tier 1 cities. This means that, an online seller cannot ignore the combined volume of the more than 4,500 cities and hubs that make up the rest of India.

  • Mobile Power

Mobile technology is revolutionizing the tier 2 and 3 markets, according to this Forrester report. Half the shoppers in tier 3 cities are already on mobile, as compared to the one third from tier 1 cities. Cheaper smartphone technology and the growing range of connectivity in Indian towns seem to be the root cause of these figures, and an online retailer must not ignore them. In fact, the m-commerce market in India is slated to reach $19 billion by 2019.

  • Women are the Dominant Force

The same Forrester report further asserts that women are the driving force in tier 2 and 3 online retail markets. In fact, they spend more than twice as much money online as men from the same geographical markets do. This is an important piece of information for online retailers to consider while building a sales and marketing strategy.

  • Indian Online Retail Market Geography

According to this Accel Report, the top three markets for online retail in India are –

  1. Delhi-NCR
  2. Karnataka
  3. Maharashtra

Similarly, the markets with very little e-commerce presence are –

  1. Bihar
  2. Uttarakhand
  3. Chhattisgarh
  • New Buyers

In 2011, the cities of Pune and Ahmedabad were upgraded to receive the tier 1 status. As more and more cities develop, their markets will grow. In fact, many tier 2 and 3 cities are growing at an unprecedented rate. It has been estimated that 70% people from tier 1 and 2 cities who do not currently make online purchases will do so in the next 12 months. As services like internet become more and more available to newer areas around India, tier 2 and 3 markets – unsaturated by over competition and having room to breathe, are the real markets to watch out for.

To know more about tier 2 and 3 markets, or in case of queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solution experts and we are always happy to help!

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!

How to choose the right domain for your online store

It can be a daunting process to set up a new website, especially if that website is crucial for your business. If you are an online retailer looking to branch out and host your own online store, this article is for you. Designing a website is just a fraction of this process. Various intrinsic systems that actually run the website have to be coded and set up. But before one goes into the business of actually making the website, one has to go through a few steps – your website’s domain has to be registered and a web host has to be appointed. But what is domain name registration?

Every website that you visit on the internet is registered to a domain. It’s like finding somebody’s phone number in a phone book. You look for John Smith in the book and you find the number. Similarly, when you type www.browntape.com on your internet browser, the computer searches through an online directory of domain names and addresses to locate the address for the Browntape website. These addresses are numerical, and usually go something like 179.121.134.0. This number is the address of your website, and you need to register that address with a registry so that other computers can find it by searching for your domain name.

For international domain suffixes like .com, .org, .info, etc. the official registry is the ICANN, or Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers. For an Indian domain name like .co.in, the authority is called INRegistry. There are many licensed domain name registrars that register your website domain in these authorities. They charge you according to the fees required to register your domain type plus a certain amount for the services that they offer. Many domain registrars also provide extra services that include 24×7 assistance and troubleshooting, customer service, etc.

Things You Must Know Before Registering Your Domain

  • Do a Thorough Background Check

The domain registration business is full of sharks and crooks that are out to get your money. Scams are pretty common here, especially since you rarely physically visit the domain registrar’s office. Firstly, you must check whether the registrar is truly affiliated with ICANN and INRegistry. Thoroughly check their reviews and if possible talk to a few people who have subscribed to their services.  Reading the fine print here is extremely important, because many outfits are designed to scam you on the basis of your signature on the dotted line.

  • Check for Customer Support

Once your site is live, tech support is going to be your basic necessity. You don’t want to be in a situation where your website is down due to DNS errors, errors in transferring the domain or transferring administrative privileges and you don’t have anyone on hand to fix your problems. This delay would cost you valuable time and money. Many registrars offer you basic plans with nominal tech support and ask you to upgrade for a more hands-on support experience. You shouldn’t mind spending a few bucks extra at the outset rather than to suffer heavy losses in the future.

  • SSL Certification

For an online retailer, SSL certification is of paramount importance. SSL certificates are tiny data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s files. When installed on a web server, they create a digital padlock and provide a safe connection between the server and the browser. Typically, SSL certificates are required for monetary transactions over the internet, among other secure data transfer. As somebody who is in charge of overseeing hundreds of online transactions, you must make sure that your domain registrar also provides you with SSL certification.

  • Web Hosting

Although there are many organizations that offer specialized web hosting services, it makes more sense to avail them from your domain registrar itself. This way you only have to deal with one tech support team instead of two and it might also be cheaper for you in the long run.

  • Pricing

Finally, the pricing. One big misunderstanding about web hosting is that the prices depend upon the domain name. That is not true. You don’t have to pay more for a longer domain name, for instance, or a better one. What the pricing depends upon is the suffix that you want to register to. International suffixes like .com would cost a bit more, as compared to something like .co.in. Here is a list of a few reputed domain registrars and their pricing policies.

If you need any more info about domain name registration for your online store, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

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!

How to Increase Revenues with Upselling and Cross Selling

In the quest to become a successful online seller, two tactics will always be your best friends – upselling and cross selling. There is generally a bit of confusion about these two, and many people tend to confuse one with the other. In actuality, they are two very different yet complementary strategies that you can apply to increase your revenue, your market share and diversify your sales.

In fact, according to this Forrester market analysis, most online retail sites agree that around 10% to 30% of their sales result from either upselling or cross selling. In 2006, Amazon reported that more than 35% of its sales were a result of the website’s constant cross selling and upselling efforts.

In this post we will get into the details of both methods of boosting your sales, their benefits and ways you can employ them into your overall sales strategy. Let’s take a look.

How to Utilize Upselling and Cross Selling in Your Sales Strategy

Upselling

So what is upselling? Imagine that you go to a showroom to buy a car. You have your eye on a reasonable model, but the salesperson convinces you that if you increase your budget buy just a few thousands, you would get a better car with a bigger engine, leather seats and racing stripes. Oh, what the heck, you say, and proceed to whip out your wallet. You’ve just been upsold. The art of upselling is convincing your customer to buy a better, more expensive product in the same category, than the one they are current browsing for.

How do I Upsell?

A lot of upselling and cross selling depends upon your website’s design. Companies like Amazon and Flipkart do this ingeniously by unobtrusively suggesting better products while you are perusing a particular one. A pitfall here is suggesting a product that is out of the customer’s expected budget. For example, someone browsing the listings for a Casio watch would rarely jump at a chance to buy a high end Swiss timekeeper. You have to subtly manipulate your customer by offering a product whose price hovers around the upper limit of your customer’s budget.

Another interesting technique is to offer discounts on more expensive products and suggest them to your customer while they are browsing at cheaper products of the same category. A typical customer would then think, “Hey, if I stretch my budget a little bit more, I will be able to buy a product that I originally couldn’t afford.” Be subtle and creative.

Cross Selling

Cross selling is a little different from upselling. The most enduring example of cross selling is observed in every fast food chain wit the question, “Would you like some fries with that?” Well, you didn’t really want fries with that, but you’re getting them at a deal, right? Plus, you wouldn’t mind them, now that you think about it. You just got cross sold.

How to Cross Sell

Cross selling is the key to fast food chains like McDonald’s and Dominos. Every time you enter one, you see combo offers specially tailored for you to buy more and spend more at the counter.

In the world of online sales, cross selling can be intelligently used to increase revenue. Plus, it is comparatively less risky than upselling because at the end of the day, the customer will surely buy the base product (that is, unless you manage to not annoy them with over the top cross selling attempts). Introduce cross selling at the checkout counter, to make sure that at least one sale is locked. Here, inform your customers that if they buy from a list of compatible products, they would receive them at a discounted price, and watch the magic happen.

Why do I need to Cross Sell and Upsell?

Because these are valuable strategies that will have a profound impact on your business. Firstly, your knowledge and resourcefulness are verified through the kind of suggestions you give to your customers. Secondly, it results in increased revenues and market share. And thirdly, a well executed cross selling or upselling strategy has virtually no drawbacks. As long as you have been able to initially hook the customer, cross selling and upselling are only going to potentially add up to your revenue stream. Just be sure to have a deft hand in the proceedings, or you will scare your customers away.

This is what we have on cross selling and upselling. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help.