This is 4th article in the series based on interviews with 4 founders of online retail stores: Gokulraj of Zapstore.com, Abhishek Shah of Fetise.com, Nimish Adaniof Engrave, and Vijay Singh of Aaramshop. The introductory post for the series can be found here.
Which internet marketing strategies have worked for you?
Gokulraj: We aren’t that strong in SEO. We are still figuring it out. But we have a strong presence and following in Social Media channels like Facebook and Twitter. With around 23,000+ fans in Facebook and 4000+ followers we are quite active. There have been a lot of conversions from this social media channels. We use them for Customer support too. We recently launched a Gadget blog to keep our tech savvy consumers updated with product reviews, tech news etc. This helps us drive traffic to our website as we are educating our customer about the latest in the Industry.
Abhishek: Social media is unfortunately more relevant among Indian consumers more as a customer service channel for complaint management than a marketing/engagement medium! SEO definitely works in the long run as any paid marketing activity will not be sustainable to suffice in the long run! Email marketing is a very key aspect of our business model and we find it a great ROI medium. We have also been developing our own affiliate program recently and its finding good traction among top bloggers and publishers
Nimish: I am not in favor of SEO tactics such as directory listings for link-building. If you make your site properly (sitemaps, titles, descriptions, URLs) and have good content (proper product descriptions and a regularly updated blog), I think this will be sufficient. Our approach to Social Media Engagement & Marketing has been extremely simple – to engage the customers that are linked to our products. So instead of simply saying Happy Mother’s Day, we’d post an update with a photo of an engraved plaque that a daughter would give a mother. This has worked for us. All our content is linked to our products.
Vijay: All these have worked for us. We use them for different objectives and different target audiences. We extensively rely on our Facebook strategy to engage our customers. However for brands professionals – we use content marketing as the primary engagement (www.aaramshoppro.com). Mobile is a significant aspect of our engagement / business strategy.
How important it is to have a mobile app for your store?
Gokulraj: Mobile usage is on increase all over the world. It is inevitable, so the e-commerce store should also have a mobile application to tap into the huge market with the advent of 4G in India. Even though we have crappy payment gateways, its evolving and better solutions are being launched frequently.
Abhishek: Significant portion of e-commerce buyers are savvy smartphone users and almost 20% of customers will be visiting the site from mobile or tablets – not only are these users more sticky, but they also order higher value and more frequently. I think its super critical for any ecommerce brand to have dedicated applications on mobile and tablets. In future significant portion of revenues is going to come from mobiles and not desktops!
Nimish: It is important that your store should allow customers to complete transaction from their mobile browsers. Rather than building an app for everything that is on the web, one should think of mobile apps independently, if it complements their business without trying to merely replicate the website.
Vijay: For us mobile is a key driver and we are investing very heavily on it. We already have about 7% of our usage via our mobile apps and this is increasing very fast. Use of tablets is fast increasing and shopping sites (and others) need to create custom experiences specific to tablets.
Next article will discuss hosting provider options and whether to keep technical team in-house or outsourced. It will be our last article on the interviews. Subsequently, we will dive into the analysis of each of these technology areas. Stay tuned!