Online Retail and its Challenges

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ShoppingAs standardization begins to gain ground in the online shopping arena, reduced delivery time, availability of options, comparative reviews and quality assurance, reduced dispensable time for the consumers is making online retail to increasingly gaining ground.

 

However, the challenges are much more than that of brick and mortar stores from a customer experience perspective. There is no human intervention to correct, retain or convince a customer. The customer journey has to be immaculate.

 

Cognitive intelligence is likely to play a more important role, in the online shopping experience. The customer choice, what they liked last time they visited, what did they order, the categories of interest and the trend patterns over a period of time. A huge amount of online and in person research needs to go into developing a truly sticky experience, such that one does not lose out on the consumers.

 

In the arena of search, display and look alike audiences. Positioning or the need for a true and powerful brand positioning becomes even more important. Thus unlike the contrary believe that tech would overtake the content and core, in fact the pace of tech makes the requirement for sturdy content even more necessary.  Else the the speed, virality and high interactivity may just about kill faster.

 

Thus the fundamentals of Marketing and POP seems to have huge amount of tech infusion, but remain as pure in form of its core value.

 

Who is saying it? What is being said? How is it being said? Is truth being spoken? Will eventually reveal an ocean of opportunities. What consumers will buy online and what they will not, what will make them do so will be the key questions yet from a physical to an online store.

 

After looking at the pro’s and cons’s and addendums of online retail, my suggestion to fellow marketers is while you catch the pace of tech, please do ensure being fundamentally strong with your marketing base.

I would appreciate healthy competition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Simple Complexity of Marketing

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The oxymoron as it indicates is an area, which makes us wonder as a fundamental marketers in our day-to-day work environment.

In a world of data overload and massive figures being quoted across, the intrinsic usage and simplicity, thin slicing of information is becoming increasingly rare. The low hanging tools have relatively low understanding and incorrect expectations of resonance.

One such very fundamental element is catchment area marketing and advertising tool called paper inserts. Typically used to communicate where the print granularity does not encompass a segmented area. Over a period another format evolved called door drops. Agencies found another way to monetise local area marketing.

“Door drops” were initiated by eateries, groceries, few FMCG companies to reach the TOM (Top of mind) for the consumer who comes back home to these chores and food. At the doorstep was absolutely correct, as that is the time that the consumers mind map receives the right message, for staples and food. Thus the approach works and is working for several companies in this category. Promotions further strengthen the proposition as consumers see an immediate benefit in it.

However, think about say a very high involvement product like a Housing loan hung on your door, where your are used to seeing menu cards. Are we talking to a customer in the wrong ambience? Is it like selling antibiotics and OTC medicine in a pub?

A home is something you would think seriously about sitting on your sofa within a much more serious format like a manual or a newspaper/serious online financial website.

Thus for this kind of a local area reach one needs newspaper inserts where newspaper circulation itself does not have granularity.

They unfortunately are being mistaken for one another for fast paced, non-insightful marketers. Who need to realize that even inside the person’s house he has different mental acceptance to formats and information.

Is marketing not about talking to the right person, the right message at the right time.

Does any format flout the fundamental approach of consumer insights? Customer Marketing? And monetizing mind maps? Are you in your bid to deliver or exude great numbers missing the basics? Have your considered that actually if you get your basics right, the rest will follow?

Did every product of apple work? Did Pepsi not grow due its design and consumer appeal? Does more lemonade sell in summers? Don’t you feel good when your partner says just the right words in the right time?

The success of a true marketer lies in true insights. The simplicity and complexity of minds is where the whole story lies.

Your Self Served Fashion Statement or Evolution of Fashion & Fashion Marketing

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imagesThe last heard apprehensive compliment, “Oh my god she is so fashionable’ or the genuine admiration of “she makes her own fashion” or a geeky rendition of “she and fashion, ugh” … what were they really talking about, the latest Ferragamo or Gucci wear, the slick sense of individual style or not so slick self styled dork.

Plethora of fashion styles have been created and marketed over the centuries. Let us dig deeper and you shall see the real story. To investigate the elemental sense of fashion, lets look at how fashion evolved over a period of time.

The 12th Century had long tunics, with hose and mantles or cloaks. Women wore long tunics or gowns, characteristic of upper class fashion. 13th century saw blue as fashionable and also adopted by the king. 14th century saw the length of female hem-lines progressively reduced.15th-century Europe was characterised by a series of extremes and extravagances, from the voluminous gowns called houppelandes with their sweeping floor-length sleeves to the revealing doublets and hose of Renaissance Italy. Hats, hoods, and other headdresses assumed increasing importance, and were swagged, draped, jewelled, and feathered. Various fashion’s emanated from France, Italy. Voluminous clothing worn in an abundance of layers marks fashion in the period 1500–1550 in Western Europe. Contrasting fabrics, slashes, embroidery, applied trims, and other forms of surface ornamentation became prominent. Regional variations in fashionable clothing that arose in the 15th century became more pronounced in the sixteenth. In particular, the clothing of the Low Countries, German states, and Scandinavia developed in a different direction than that of England, France, and Italy, although all absorbed the sobering and formal influence of Spanish dress after the mid-1520s. Fashion in the period 1795–1820 in European and European-influenced countries saw the final triumph of undress or informal styles over the brocades, lace, periwig, and powder of the earlier 18th century. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, no one wanted to appear to be a member of the French aristocracy, and people began using clothing more as a form of individual expression of the true self than as a pure indication of social status. The 2010s have thus far been defined by a revival of austerity era period pieces, 1980s neon colors, and from late 2012 onwards, unisex early 1990s styles influenced by grunge and skater fashions. In the early 2010s, many mid and late 2000s fashions remained popular in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Australasia and East Asia, especially the indie pop look which largely drew upon elements of 1970s garage rock and contemporary alternative fashion. In 2013, the early 1990s inspired anti-fashion had made a comeback in the UK, USA, and Australasia among women aged 18–30. Popular upper apparel includes ugly sweaters, khaki super dry trench coats, T-shirts with blazers, plaid, oversized flannel shirts worn or tied around the waist, oversized T-shirts, padded gilets, and crew neck sweaters. Crop tops were also reintroduced, but they didn’t prove popular in stores. In the UK and the US, popular bottom apparel includes skinny jeans, leggings, parachute pants, and high-waist shorts. Desirable footwear included rain boots, flat sandals, stilettos, Keds, TOMS Shoes, Chucks, Sperry top-siders boat shoes, flat knee high riding boots, Uggs, Hunter brand rain boots, Ballerina flats, cavalier boots, gladiator sandals, combat boots, Doc Martens, and The Timberland Company.

I skip from the 18th century to now, depicting how fashion, which was upper class, followed, was actually already becoming individual statements and, how a plethora of fashion styles co-exist.

The trick here is to adorn yourself with clothes, which suit your individual personality and not an era prototype. If you are comfortable being anachronistic in our taste of music then clothes and accessories too can be your personal sense… If you are the kinds who love to explore and do new stuff, by all means go ahead. If you like a particular style from the latest collection by all means indulge.

Cause the first step towards being truly fashionable is not to be a victim of fashion.

When did you see the last marketer display fashion … they are always displaying aspiring personalities and styles and individual personas. The 13th century even had a color, which depicted style, does it really go with you, or are you happier , smarter & sleeker stylised with tiger prints?

(Coming from a core marketer by profession)

Rise Up and Above

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Rise up your head and look around,

People greeting you in the morning,

The pat on your back when a superb job is done,

A happy junior when they are appreciated,

Colleagues with great humour and laughter all around.

Look all around you when an aberration hits your desk.

Talks and words come your way,

Even human management systems get disabled,

People yet ask for more of you, cause they saw you with a smile yesterday.

Judgmental becomes the order of the day.

Rise above and you see so much more,

The people who really matter are few,

People who truly care are rare,

People true of heart, are the one who dare

To standby and they are the ones who fare

With you in every weather

The only ones for whom you may choose to bother.

Fixation is the Biggest Deviation

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Fixation is a direction of the mind

When everything else around it may seem too puny,

When the reality of real things may seem too insignificant,

When the virtual becomes larger than life,

When created impressions become bigger than the real ones.

The surroundings never cease to amuse me,

Everyday brings the new wonderful sights to see,

The strange orientation of the emotions,

And the turn around and the additional turn of thoughts,

The amusing part about amusement itself.

A small story tells all about it:

A little girl went to the wonderland where Alice lives,

She read each and every character, Visited all the stories which unfolded. Full of amusement she played there for a while. A passerby asked the little girl one day, If she is enjoying life in the wonderland, the little gild said, “Yes “very enthusiastically. A few weeks later the passerby again asked the same..

Are you enjoying Alice’s wonderland?

The little gild had a laconic “yeah”

A few weeks passed and the passerby asked the girl again

Are you enjoying Alice’s wonderland?

The girl told him, its Alice’s land …. Cause she knew most of it by now the wonder is missing…

The passerby was none other than the creator of the wonderland and he began to build more and do more to keep the wonder….

If we do the same things again and again and loose the wonder of being … the first person to be disinterested will be us.

Fixation is the biggest deviation to our growth, interest and fun

Different Continents

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This is a small ode to say that human feelings can run across continents and genders to bring out the best. What I write below turned out from us rhyming and then it took a shape of its own. This was out of the rhyming my friend Sandeep and I just started in the group. Kudos to him for the brilliant start.

 

Oh damn she cried as a bride

For it was a good tide

But he’s on a royal stride

With eyes so wide

 

His smile so charming she almost died

Then he cried, cried and cried

With love so wonderful it was like an eagles glide

 

From rest of the world they now hide

What if they snide

It will be her pride

Now and always the apple of her eye

The unparalleled Romance

 If you believe the last line was the completion then you are mistaken. The most beautiful part about the completion was appreciation for each other.

Dynamics of Humour – an their prototypes

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I sometimes wondered how would a school of grown ups be. Everyone believes they have grown up, and in most cases initiate in a very tactful manner.

However, it took me 4.5 days of experimental humor in a very interesting and a nice bunch of old school friends to write this piece. Must admit a part of me also got involved in as much childlike a manner as anyone else.

 I finally managed to create prototype for a satirical log. It began with a number of pleasantries, surprises, complements and what every one does till the essence of the group after a little goading got into humor, conversations, discussions continued. Till the characters came out one by one like “Alice in the Wonderland”

 The balancer; must be introduced first, as he contacted people, reconnected planned reunions and balanced everything so that no one got offended by any one. Had his side conversations to manage an amicable balance, till the extremists of humor got him and made him loose his balance, and made him react a little child ranting to say he’s the big daddy. He is sure a nice guy and will come back, but the balanced also has the ability of getting misbalanced.

 The extremist of humor; as alluded in the last paragraph, they have a congenital issue once they start rolling you need a dozer to stop them from being on the roll. They trip even if everybody else is literally on the verge of ripping their hair. They also create a lot of excitement, fun and joy. But have an ability to dis-balance the balanced. I do claim to fall in there sometimes. Until one of them turns out to be the lesser extreme.

 The Lesser Extreme: These guys know when to stop and when to bail out. This is the kind who’s probably less engrossed but enjoying the scene through and through. They mostly manage this till they get pulled into the earlier one. I do manage here for some time. They some time become peekers also.

 The Peekers: They come in once in a while and comment only on things, which are outstanding, like a great place some one is in, a good house and great vehicle. A connect with allusions of benefit. Or if it is to tag an innocent. They peek an they go.

 The innocents: They end up making remarks, which they realize has put them into the spotlights a few comments later. They are nice wonderful people, with a little lesser tact than the rest. I am personally very fond of them but can’t help it if I am on the roll. They are never in the area of the zealous. They encourage and need encouragement.

 Zealous: They would mostly do not complement anyone but ensure making light of anyone who has anything good in life. It could be a house, a great business, great vehicle, a good place ..whatever. They would take ample chances to take digs at stuff. (Probably the dissatisfied who find it difficult to enjoy anyone else’s growth, difficult to recognise they have a skin over them, their base is unsatisfied) Sometimes fall into the category of status Quos

 Status Quo: They refuse to and cannot change the impressions they formed in their teens. They are vehement if people have grown out of their shells. They did never really grow up. Some fall into the arena of givers(Non-takers)

 Givers (Non-takers): They may extend Humor but cannot receive it well. They are like Ajay Devgan in “singham returns”. They may take offence and most end up patronising them so as to not annoy them. Specially the wits.

 Wits: Smart succinct never in the forefront but present yet.

Bystanders (Too cool to speak) ooooor….. ok too scared to speak: They read , they watch but never speak. They probably discuss instances in it offline but never in the forum. The middle benchers, who discussed everything but never involved in anything. Probably the strongest branch of grave pine. But don’t miss the scuttler.

Scuttler: They are in passing the parcel game, if the buck of humour stops at them they run to the weakest link to scuttle it away. They sometimes call for sos. They also avoid humour on people who may be their aid during a sos call.

SOS: call out to a bunch of close aids the moment they are the humour. Sometimes they manage.

Most important Disclaimers:

Please do not try to prototype your ideal self to any of these or make any claims. People also shift between the above types depending on their mental state of the day.The above characters are fictitious and should bear no resemblance to anyone in real or reel life.