Taggle.com has closed shop. Initially launched as a Group Buying site in June 2010 (based on Groupon model), they relaunched and repositioned themselves recently into a full-fledged e-Commerce portal in mid-2011.
The demise of Taggle.com doesn’t mean the END of the e-Commerce Industry in India. In fact, quite the opposite. e-Commerce spendings have increased many-fold in India in the recent past – and some of the Market Leaders are extremely well placed. Most notably, Flipkart.com (books/electronics), Infibeam.com (electronics), Myntra.com (apparel) and Exclusively.in (lifestyle and designer wear). Avendus Capital estimates the size of the Indian e-Commerce industry at $6.3 billion and expected to GROW fourfold by 2015.
Thus, signs are positive, and there’s a huge untapped market – but the question is – How is your Brand really tapping into it?
Quintessentially, a few takeaways from this Taggle.com demise episode are these:
1. Don’t just launch another Group Buying site. No one really needs them. Unless there’s a first mover advantage in this space, the margins are extremely low to work with and thus, not a viable Business Model option for a longer-term sustainable future.
2. Don’t just launch another e-Commerce portal as well. No one needs them unless you have a niche range-of-products and associated services to offer in hand. There are a few established ones out there in India providing excellent Customer Service, Deals, Cash-back, Discounts, Payment options and a wonderful array of Products already. To get into a Price-War with the leading vendors and then carrying it out till the end is a painful option. A few questions to ask before launch:
- Do I connect with the consumers?
- Do I have a reason to connect?
- Can I make them feel special?
- Is there something lacking in the space I wish to contribute?
3. Amazon.com will enter India in 2012. Its [UNOFFICIALLY] confirmed news. Once they do – smaller e-Commerce sites would not only face the heat of a Price-War but also face an immense battle uphill when it comes to SAME DAY DELIVERY, impeccable Customer Service and so on. For a detailed blog post on this, and what it means to the e-Commerce Industry in India, read one of my earlier blog posts.
4. Don’t just sell things on the Net. Grow loyalty. Run loyalty programmes. Engage the customer. Call, run multiple email campaigns, offer seasonal discounts and make them feel special. Have you ever done this? On a customer’s birthday, a customer rep calls him/her and wished him/her Happy birthday! Am sure if you have over a million active customers, this can get a bit complicated to handle, but the ‘degree of customer delight’ is priceless. Nothing on Earth can buy this.
5. Don’t just offer Deals. Human psychology is such – when we receive Deals/Discounts for too long – we grow used to it! Run contests on the sites, design facebook apps to play games, prepare an interactive section on the site wherein people can login and write reviews, rate products, recommend lists to friends etc. Research has shown – people like spending time on sites wherein they feel at home and feel they are actively contributing. The same is not felt when he/she goes to a site – and the only thing he/she can do is purchase a product, pay for it and close the browser. The entire experience matters, not just the buying!
In short – go Social. The crux of the matter is – DotComs and Portals who will be successful in transcending from ‘DotCom e-Commerce’ experience to a ‘Social Commerce’ experience – will last the long run and be an established brand name. There is no publicity and marketing MORE powerful than word-of-mouth Advertising. So are you doing enough to keep your consumers happy?
So, prepare a platform – coupled with a long-term Social strategy for your Brand online. Engage the customer every single day, in every single manner – easy to use/visually appealing website, organize and send out scheduled, geo-targeted and specific emailer campaigns, offer vouchers, discounts, deals, cash back, impeccable and excellent customer service, facebook interactions, facebook deals only, facebook-intiated selling, facebook-f-Commerce applocations, a blog encouraging end-users to blog and so on. Ideally, build a robust, long-term Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for your business online. Not sure Taggle.com had any of these! The result is self-evident and self-explanatory!
In the long run, consumers value an e-Commerce portal that makes shopping fun for them! How exciting can you be – is the question!