Online retailers ready to utilise social media's reach
Online retailers in India are readying themselves for an intense fight on social media platforms as they look to bolster sales by giving users the choice of shopping directly from there.
Amazon India has already made it possible for buyers to add products to their cart through Twitter.
When a customer discovers a tweet from their favourite artist, expert, brand, or friend with an Amazon.in product link, they simply add "#AmazonCart" to their reply and the product is added to their Amazon.in Shopping Cart.
Bangalore-based business analyst Deepak Nair recently bought his first book through #AmazonCart. Nair said shopping directly on social media was no different from his previous online experience on Amazon. "It is not a timesaver but you can add products to your cart as soon as you see them and shop the next time you login to Amazon."
The two-week-old service is indicative of the changes in the e-commerce industry . The recent launch of a pilotstage "Buy" call-to-action button by Facebook for small and medium businesses in the United States and LinkedIn's acquisition of Bizo to propel business to business sales through ads will pave the way for e-commerce players tapping the reach and access of these platforms.
"These initiatives are actually competitive to the e-commerce companies by getting people to complete the purchase process within the social network," said Ramesh Srivats, CEO of TenTenTen Digital Products. "However, unlike on eCommerce sites, people are not looking for things to buy when they are on Twitter and FB."
Ravi Vora, senior vice-president of marketing at Flipkart, said all platforms including Facebook are becom ing more marketer friendly. "Players like us will be able to leverage them much better in our marketing mix," he said.
Spokesperson from both Facebook and LinkedIn added that there were no immediate announcements to make, although they are evaluating various features.
Twitter's India Market Director Rishi Jaitly said working with brands was one of the major focus areas in India. "To measure the reach of social media marketing, they can tap into analytics.twitter.com to visualise the impact it creates," he said, adding that the push model of advertising for Twitter users on mobile will be next.
"They no longer have to switch apps or type more passwords to do what they want," said Kishore Thota, head of digital marketing at Amazon India. "The customer behaviour on mobile devices is evolving fast and we are observing and learning."
Driving online shop ping on social media di rectly will ease the process of data collec tion, observes Arvind K Singhal, chairman of Technopak. Flipkart indicated that it would look at leveraging the social media space for direct buys once the option is introduced in India.
"The Buy Now button helps in narrowing the purchase funnel and we will be working with the networks to try this new option," said Vora from Flipkart.
Darpan Munjal, co-founder and director of Fashionara.com, said Facebook's Buy button would work better for impulse purchases.
"It would certainly open more opportunities for precise targeting, based on customer's buying behaviour," said Munjal, adding that Fashionara gets more than 40 per cent of orders through social channels.