From customer engagement to Customer Marriage

Hello everyone, hope all is well at your end. Today I completed my 10K run between the early morning breezes, lovely flying birds & wonderful sunrise and soon after I started writing this article. Now what the heck customer marriage is?

In our day to day business, we do talk about customer engagement but why don’t we take this to the next level ‘customer marriage’ and deepen the relationship further?

customer marriage_eBusiness IndiaFigure: Various phases of online customer

Lots of Indian e-Commerce emerging portals offer massive discounts to attract more customers. Later they bleed in losses and shut down (this we have seen happening with many players). You can afford to do so if you have money & muscle power like Amazon India. Do not forget best businesses strive hard towards profitability and customer retention. Strategy should be how you could be different & customer driven?

The days are gone when business owners used to play with discounts OR a celebrity used to come during TV commercial break appealing us to use the product for which he/she was paid to promote. Customer maturity level has gone up and they expect better relationships. Let us look at few examples:

Apple- Any apple product such as iPhone, iPad, Macbook sells at almost double price compare to any other brands. They do not sell products they sell dreams; they sell master pieces of functional art, they focus on perfection at every touch point with customers.

Let us take another extreme example- I am sure few of us are regular Shell customers. Why we pay more at Shell petrol bunk for same quantity of petrol compared to other petrol bunks? Because they do not sell petrol rather they sell trust and happiness to customers. They achieve this by ensuring premium product, speedy response to customer queries, excellent customer service, and safety first, convenience, well behaved staff & customer delight.

So what is common in between the above examples? They all focus on creating values in long run & ‘get married’ with the customer.

“Loyal online customers have- almost double visit to carts, almost triple conversion rate, 10% higher cart value” -Source: MarketLive Performance Index

At starting point, ensure that a customer has a first sight crush on you through the usage of right set and means of communication & methods. Once a customer is impressed, he/she wants to taste your offerings. During customer engagement, ensure you give best first time experience of your offerings and customer gets comfortable with you. Now it is time to convert them to Married Customers. Married ones buy more from you with better longevity, refer their friends, willing to buy products from your other categories & help you with genuine feedback to improve. Loyalty of online customers fosters the long-term profitability of online stores. At the same time, it is cheaper than finding a new customer. Few of the key elements of online customer’s marriage:

  • Do deliver on your promises, always.
  • Offer a fair & genuine price for your offering (not cheap price).
  • Have a clear differentiator (not limited to product only). E.g. shopno47.com an Bangalore based online mobile shop where they deliver your product within 1 hour 47 minutes guaranteed, ‘hate to wait’ is their tag line.
  • Innovate in business model, customer service & value delivery system. E.g. Caratlane.com offers you try-at-home option for diamond jewelry to provide touch/feel factor. eBay India’s Paisa Pay feature to fuel the trust. Fashionara’s online customers can order several apparels for a free home trial and many more examples.
  • Keep your customer informed if there is an issue with their online orders related to product unavailability, product color/size, delivery delay etc.
  • Design your personalized campaigns through intelligent customer data mining & analysis. Do not forget to wish your customers on their important dates (Birthday, anniversary etc.). Have personalized messaging based on online buying patterns & create exclusive online customer groups with the similar interests.
  • Ensure you get to see continuous feedback & satisfaction matrix, on time. Here is one method I recommend to all http://bit.ly/NetPromoterScore.
  • Communicate company’s vision to your vendor, staff & customer care team regularly, who will have direct/indirect impact on your customer experience.
  • In today’s fast paced communication world, customers want to communicate when, where and how they want? Hence it is imperative that we constantly monitor & optimize over various touch points (social media, online forums, email & phone). And ensure speedy & appropriate responses.

Note: Above examples are not to promote any brand, just a personal opinion relating the topic.

Delicious recipe requires a balanced mix of Ingredients: eBusiness Marketing Mix

Hello Everyone,

Hope all is well at your end? While traveling to Shimoga on last weekend I had put down this quick mindmap. Enjoyed pleasant weather and wonderful breezes there (Jog Falls at its best now). At the same time lot of buzz in Indian e-commerce market- 1. Flipkart goes through a fresh round of funding of $160 million, taking the total in the fifth round to $360 million, 2.According to IAMAI- eCommerce is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2020 in India,  3.eTailers have lined-up verity of interesting offers in this festive season e.g. Shopclues introduces Dynamite sale:)

Hope you like my below note. Thanks! -Pawan

e-Business Marketing Mix

Everyone knows, how much a balanced mix of right ingredients is essential to prepare a delicious recipe. A slight error in judgment and alteration in only one ingredient’s ratio may spoil the taste of whole recipe. Similarly, a successful business requires a balanced and a carefully crafted marketing mix of strategies. Fundamentals of offline business can be replicated for online business as well.  Often online business team has limited interactions with the customers (plus no F2F interaction) therefore it is imperative that team creates opportunities for overwhelming experiences for their customer and set high standards of performance. All a team needs to do is carefully interact with all the elements of marketing strategy and implement it wise.

Here are my quick thoughts:

marketing mixFigure 1- Offline-business marketing mix vs. online-business marketing mix.

e-business marketing mix

Figure 2 – Deep dive on e-Business marketing mix.

Referral -Simple yet powerful manner to win more business; be it online or offline

Few days back I got my vehicle’s insurance renewed at Reliance Fresh store (they have tie up with ICICI Lombard).  Agent Girish handled my transaction & collected the required documents from my home. He had a good knowledge of the product/benefits & carried a genuine smile throughout the transaction.  And finally he asked me politely “Sir, if you are happy with my services, can you please refer me to your friends”.  Outcome- I referred him to two of my friends who needed the same services & conveyed that Girish is a good professional. (In the past I had over 12 vehicle insurance transactions but this was the first time when someone had asked me for the referral).

Six years back, I got the corporate Vodafone connection. Sales person Nagarapawan guptaj offered me a good plan which saved my 300 rupees (approx.) per month over my earlier service provider plan. He also asked me, “Pawan, can you please give few references? I am sure few of your colleagues can get benefited with our services”. Over lunch I even conveyed this to few of my colleagues.  Outcome- He gave three more connections in my group.

A few months back, I was in Sri Lanka on vacation. Our hotel arranged a taxi. The taxi driver was fantastic & was an enthusiastic guide-cum-driver to us. We were very much delighted with his knowledge & services. At the end of the tour, he not only asked us to write a testimonial on his diary but also requested, “sir, please refer me to your friends, I will arrange best deals for them.” He handed over his business card and took a photo with us. Most humbly he asked for the permission if he can use this photo along with his testimonials.

Above three incidences convey the same message that Referral still remains the powerful mode to win more business irrespective of industry/domain.

The rule remains the same for the online businesses as well. There are very few online stores who ask for Referral to their happy customers. Unfortunately majority of the professionals hesitate & DO NOT ask for the referrals.

Why should you always ask for the referrals?

  • Probability of doing business with the referrals is very high as they come from trusted sources who have used your products /services & comes under happy customer bucket. Please remember people are much more likely to trust their friends than strangers.
  • It is a proven mode to get more business. Sales cycles are likely to be very short through referrals OR word of mouth.

e.g. As per the recent report with 1.15 billion users; Facebook is one of the leading social networking sites pulling referral marketing online.

Unfortunately, people do not ask for the referral due to lack of ignorance, trust or security.But we should go forward for it.

Action items:

  1. Make a list of your happy customers as a qualified referral sources (do the first thing if you have not done yet. You must know your happy customers).
  2. Ask them for references & do more businesses.

Your opinion matters- Which is the ‘Payment Method’ you use often to make your payments for online shopping?

Your opinion matters to me-  Conducting a research for an assignment, do contribute please.

Thanks!

Popular online shops /e-Commerce websites in India

Guys, Here I tried to list down few popular Indian e-Commerce portals where i have been shoppingshop online. This does not include Travel category. If you have some more please DO NOT forget to add:)

https://www.flipkart.com/

http://www.amazon.in/

http://www.ebay.in/

http://www.infibeam.com/

http://www.snapdeal.com/

http://in.bookmyshow.com/

http://www.homeshop18.com/

http://www.fnp.com/

http://www.tradus.com/

http://shopping.indiatimes.com/

http://zovi.com/

http://www.myntra.com/

http://www.caratlane.com/

http://www.yebhi.com/

http://www.indiaplaza.com/

http://www.futurebazaar.com/

http://www.Yebhi.com/

http://www.babyoye.com/

http://www.firstcry.com/

http://www.dealsandyou.com/

http://www.IndianGiftsPortal.com/

http://www.Naaptol.com/

http://www.fashionandyou.com/

http://www.pepperfry.com/

http://www.jabong.com/

Common attributes of a good e-Commerce portal from a buyer perspective are- a cool design, smooth navigation, product advisor (find not search), product presentation (description, photo etc.), relevant product cross-sells, easy check out, safe/easy payment gateways, prompt customer support over email/chat/phone and many more.