What a simple pencil sharpener can teach you about big ‘I’ Innovation vs. small ‘i’ Innovation

What a simple pencil sharpener can teach you about big ‘I’ Innovation vs. small ‘i’ Innovation
What a simple pencil sharpener can teach you about big ‘I’ Innovation vs. small ‘i’ Innovation

As a parent, with young children, while I go around doing routine stuff, I usually keep a watch on how small and subtle changes are happening in the world of stationery – of pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, rulers, glue sticks, and such mundane stuff. I am childlike when getting hold of these things and often stumped with subtle innovations that are happening in the industry.

#Innovation happens at multiple levels. There are the big ‘I’ innovations that happen once in a while that make headlines and get some multi-million-dollar funding, and the world talks about them to no end. Then there are millions of small ‘i’ innovations that go under the radar, many of which we use and yet one talks about them.

Unlike big Innovations, small innovations happen daily and impact life significantly and make life easier its own small little ways. We seldom discuss them, and in many situations, we do not even observe that innovation, let alone acknowledge or amplify that innovation. Small innovations are under the radar, but I believe, when put together daily, they impact the quality of life and save us time and money significantly.

Here is one such innovation – on a pencil sharpener. As a child and over the last 40 years, we have experienced this is the situation, thousands of times, yes, thousands of times While sharpening a pencil the lead gets stuck at the far end of the sharpener. I have personally spent, and I am sure if you are someone like me who is a millennial generation, we have spent countless minutes,  time trying to use a sharp instrument to pull out the stick lead. If it happens to be a color pencil, the lead is so soft that it gets stuck far more and it is much more difficult to retrieve.

Now, imagine this innovation (in the picture attached). There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.

There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.
There is a small opening at the far end for the broken lead fall away. A circular design, a little ide than the size of the lead that lets the broken lead automatically fall off. This, I believe, is a phenomenal small ‘I’ innovation.

Now about the business value and thus money that could be made by the innovator – Even if the innovator or the product marketer charges ₹2 (or 20c) extra per sharpener vs. ₹5 (or 50c) otherwise, the innovator would be amply rewarded. This does not happen in real life. That small innovator is not able to market that innovation, let alone price it at a premium. The user, on the other end, is unable to comprehend the significant value that innovation brings to them. Imagine, in this case, that extra minute the user has in trying to remove the stuck lead and that would have at least happened 100 times a month. That is a good 2 hour extra for just ₹2 (or 20c).

What are your thoughts?

What do you think about small innovations versus big innovations?

Is there merit in small innovations? How can they be monetized?

Are there any small innovations that you think have gone unnoticed?

Please share in the comments section. I would like to hear from you.

Learning Series – Blended Learning Design Models (Part 4)

Blended Learning Design Models

Blended learning design models are learner platform models that describe the design and delivery strategy associated with a particular learning program. Futureshift Learning distills the variety of blended learning models into two basic types: linear learning models and hub learning models, each possessing specific inherent strengths and weaknesses.

Linear Learning

In the linear learning model, participants are required to complete a series of training interventions in a stepped, or lock-step, manner. The example model shown in Figure 1 provides an illustrative view of a linear training program.

With linear learning, a participant is not permitted to move around too much within the program or curricula because most of the learning program’s design is based on a building-block design structure. These types of models are exceptional for certifications, pay-for-skills, or apprenticeship-style programs in which the participant’s progress is carefully tracked, and specific “waypoints” are used as progress checks to validate the participant’s mastery of the knowledge and skill elements.

Linear learning’s weaknesses are that the models tend to take much longer to design and develop, and much longer to complete for the learner. The model’s strengths lie in its structure and stepped process. Also, the building-block style of learning is beneficial because it is comfortable for many learners and allows the learners to achieve satisfactory performance at each step before having to move on to the next level.

Hub Learning

While linear learning provides tremendous structure and direction, hub learning design models give freedom to explore with a variety of choices from which to choose. Hub learning has the core content at its center with a variety of radiating supplemental learning elements available. Figure 2 demonstrates a representative hub learning model.

The learner has the option of selecting only those elements he/she desires (including the choice of selecting none). The mixture of selections varies for each learner dependent upon the preferences and needs of the learner. Hub learning programs are arguably more straightforward and faster to build than linear programs, and they are considerably more flexible and customizable. Hub learning’s greatest weakness is that it is highly dependent upon a self-motivated learner to gain maximum value from the model.

It is challenging to prescribe a single learning solution because of the diversity of the situations. Figure 3 illustrates some pros and cons associated with each model.

One additional factor that cannot be overlooked as you learner engagement. The critical feature is to ensure that the learner can use the training to develop skills and knowledge. The evaluate blended learning approaches is that experiential learning process is not necessarily improved just because learning possesses the highest learner applicability of your organization used high-quality 3D visuals. There is no learning. Numerous studies and professionals agree debate that better graphics add an aesthetic quality to a once a learner can apply learning in a presentation; however, aesthetic quality does not equate to the meaningful and experiential manner, he/she can see better learning. This is a common trap into which many completely learn the materials and successfully apply inexperienced training designers fall prey. Learning is not them.

You might also like – Learning Series – Blended Learning Approaches (Part 3), Learning Series – Why Blended Learning Strategy (Part 2), Learning Series – Crafting a Blended Learning Strategy (Part 1).

Learning Series – Blended Learning Approaches (Part 3)

Blended Learning Approaches

In our earlier post – Learning Series – Why Blended Learning Strategy (Part 2), we went on to see why Blended Learning and the three primary reasons why blended learning is used.

Dependent upon your definition of blended learning, you can argue that there are as many approaches to blended learning as there are various combinations of all the different media available. What becomes paramount to a winning training strategy is the instructional design strategy and approach. It all starts here, and the decisions that are made here ripple throughout the learning. Poor instructional design choices cannot be covered up by slick programming or outstanding graphics. A poorly designed training session will still be a poorly designed learning event, regardless of how fancy the animations or how sophisticated the delivery. The only difference is how much money is lost in the process.

Futureshift Learning distills blended learning approaches into two major categories: learner-centric and business-centric drivers.

Poor instructional design choices cannot be covered up by slick programming or outstanding graphics. A poorly designed training session will still be a poorly designed learning event regardless of how fancy animations or how sophisticated the delivery. The difference is how much money is flushed away in the process.

Learner-Centric

A learner-centric approach provides considerable upfront instructional design emphasis on the learner and the learner’s conditions of learning; for example, the use of Gagne’s The Five Conditions of Learning, which includes five categories of learning: verbal information, intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, attitudes, and motor skills. Learner centric approaches rely upon sound upfront instructional systems design. The tried and true analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate (ADDIE) process starts with analysis and include evaluation throughout its process model. Adherence to these processes ensures that the training created is designed to provide maximum transference to the learner, thereby optimizing the available solutions to the learner.

Business Centric

The intent of a learning event is to transfer knowledge, skills, and/or abilities to a learner. Therefore, you could assume that all approaches are learner centric; however, this is not the case. The core of a business centric approach is the reality of understanding and meeting the business drivers. Learning in and of itself is a great thing, but it is not always a company’s primary mission to educate their workforce. Manufacturing and productivity are requirements that must be met; therefore, the business demand can dictate the design steps and decisions just as readily as a focus on the learner.

Training exists in many forms, and certainly, it depends on the content to determine the need for complexity. For example, if the business driver is to ensure that all employees receive training concerning changes to administrative practice, the training design should be limited to communication. Conversely, should the situation involve the deployment of a brownfield launch, including new manufacturing equipment, the business impact will drive the design decisions, this time with a very robust modality. These two approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive of one another. With some creative forethought and design, many learning projects handily weave both learner needs and business needs into the final design. In the next post, we will visit the Blended Learning Design Models – Learning Series – Blended Learning Design Models (Part 4).

You can also visit – Learning Series – Crafting a Blended Learning Strategy (Part 1) and Learning Series – Why Blended Learning Strategy (Part 2)

Learning Series – Why Blended Learning Strategy (Part 2)

In our earlier post-Learning Series – Crafting a Blended Learning Strategy (Part 1), we had an overview of a blended learning strategy. In this post, we are going to go a little deeper into ‘Why/ of a Blended Learning Strategy.

Why Blended Learning?

Blended learning is heavily favored for three primary reasons:

  1. Optimal learning strategies – mixed-media learning approaches have been proven to be the most effective means of learning, especially when you are dealing with large numbers of learners;
  2. Reach and flexibility –blended learning can reach across large areas at any time or (virtually) any place; and
  3. Economics – done right, blended learning is a highly valuable business solution that can be a very good economical investment.

Optimal Learning Strategy

Numerous studies are available in both the commercial and academic fields that clearly demonstrate that the most successful training approaches are those that involve higher interactivity and use more than one modality for learning transfer. Therefore, answering “Why blended learning?” becomes simple; it is the most effective approach for learning.

Be careful though, blended learning still requires sound instructional design in order to be effective. Simply creating a series of different modes of content does not make for excellent learning transfer.

Reach and Flexibility

Traditionally, training was completed by trainers who diligently traveled from site to site ensuring that all personnel was properly trained. Often the cost and time associated with delivery remained a challenge. Adding on large enterprise-wide training rollouts introduced a great deal of variation due to the sheer number of instructors required.

The face-to-face benefits of training are undeniable, but some form of interactive exchange mixed with face-to face training was required. Blended learning neatly fills that niche. Blended learning also offers flexibility. Considering instructor-led sessions, where participants are required to attend at set times, dates, and locations, blended learning offers flexibility in the delivery so that personnel can attend at their convenience.

A word of caution, though—simply setting up webinars as a distance learning solution without first truly understanding the learners and the business need is not a sound decision. Good intentions without well- constructed instructional strategies can still end in poor results.

Economics

Cost will always be a factor in the selection of a training approach. Blended learning requires an investment at the onset of the training. Like most things, you get out of the investment what you put into it. Instructional design steps can appear to be expensive steps that many organizations are tempted to skip. Beware of that slippery slope!

Building an optimized training plan through instructional design is really the only way to go. The old adage “penny wise and pound foolish” comes to mind. Many organizations pursue the false quest of a rapid blended learning solution that skips the details in the planning stages; consequently, the results can be catastrophic. Remember, most companies’ greatest differentiator is their people. Why are organizations in such a hurry to shortchange that competitive edge?

In our next Chapter, we we will talk about Blended Learning Approaches and how you can use them.

Learning Series – Crafting a Blended Learning Strategy (Part 1)

Like even the most complex decisions, blended learning strategies are rooted in the basics. Upfront instructional design is required for truly meaningful learning. Review your organization’s culture and structure to determine whether a learner centric or business centric approach is best for the design and implementation of learning in your environment. The model can be distilled into one of two types: a linear model or a hub-based model. From this design stage, the next step is to factor in the various types of training media or modes that best suit your training program and its audience. If you can address these main components, you are well on your way to launching some of the best learning tools and techniques.

Overview

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects associated with today’s blended learning solutions isn’t in the technology or bandwidth; it’s understanding that successful blended learning is firmly rooted in sound instructional design strategies – design strategies that focus on transferring skills and knowledge to the learner while delivering value to the business.

In any competitive business environment where time, resources, and money is the differentiators, your people are your competitive edge. Leveraging the value of your people relies heavily on deploying the right learning solutions and having learning solutions that effectively transfer skills and knowledge to participants in a timely fashion. So what type of learning solution is truly the right solution? As it turns out, the answer is blended learning; however, the media, modes, and makeup of each training solution should be different, depending on a number of variables.
At Futureshift, we base our learning strategies on determining what those variables are and how they will impact the learning process. Before deciding upon training media or modes, Futureshiftrecommends that you assess and investigate your proposed approach. Make sure your targeted training approach can achieve both learning and knowledge transfer expectations and deliver business-tangible and measurable results.

What Is Blended Learning?

Futureshift defines blended learning as the combination of synchronous (e.g., face-to-face training) with asynchronous (e.g., computer-based or alternative media) training that creates the best possible learning solution for a given target audience.

Blended Learning Definition

Blended learning is the combination of synchronous (e.g., face-to-face training) with asynchronous (e.g., computer-based or alternative media) training that creates the best possible learning solution for a given target audience.

Mastering the new instructional avenues that technology continues to provide can result in some of the best learning programs ever made available. Blended learning provides multiple modalities in which participants can explore and learn. Yet for all its attraction, blended learning also can be fraught with many dangers, too, the worst cases involving staggering amounts of money for beautiful and elaborate sessions that are poorly received and ultimately never used or valued. Blended learning isn’t the issue; it’s the decisions made associated with it that may lead to negative experiences. Blended learning is by far the best learning solution available today—as long as we have done due diligence, which we will discuss in our next series of posts.

Next Post – Learning Series – Why Blended Learning Strategy (Part 2)

How To Make Your Employees Share Content?


How To Make Your Employees Double Up As Content Marketing Warriors?

What can you do about it to have them more engaged in your social media activities?

Do your employees want to share your corporate content on a social network? If so, what would they want to share? Also, why do they think that it is valuable to share this info in their social networks?

Every marketing team would want to have their tens, hundreds or thousands of non-C level employees to share the corporate posts and content on their personal social networks and build the brand. The question is how?

Not long ago, Trapit, a company that enables social network content sharing by employees, commissioned what it calls the first survey of rank and file employees about their thoughts on sharing company info on a social network. Takeaways from the study and what the results mean for companies looking to improve their staff advocacy on social suggest that employees see great value in sharing via a social network. Many companies must catch up to do to take benefit sentiment.

The Observation

When study asked about the benefits their company would receive from social sharing, a three in four respondents perceive an advantage, while ten per cent see no value. Notably, 43% say it would increase brand consciousness, 21% believe it would aid brand credibility, while only 11% say it would boost sales. – Employees are supportive of social network and acting on a social network on behalf of their companies.

Another observation is that 55% of employees think it best to share 3rd party content in addition to their company’s content advertising. Moreover, 34% say that they are more than likely to share news articles about their company via a social network. This study suggests that employees are calling for help on the content front. They want the content from the creator, so that they can be active on social, and still help build their individual brand while promoting the company. Your employees do not want to spend their whole day farming for content on their very own. Corporate white papers and promotional materials are not enough. Your employees want an expansive mix of content.

So, what should a company do?

Your employees are not charmed in just being a corporate volunteer on their social network. They would like to be intriguing and engaging in their network and be reliable. These are the six things that you should do.

  1. Provide them with a good selection of content that includes ‘promotional’ corporate assets, as well as high value-assets like, industry news analysis, research, thought leadership
  2. Help them round out their personal profiles and their personas on social.
  3. Help them get some authentic engagement going versus just relaying more advertorial
  4. Additionally, content created for sharing, give them insights or a dashboard on their social sharing activities.
  5. Help them see some personal Return on investment for their efforts, just as you would for your business.

It is simple – Businesses must help measure the impact of social sharing – be it for your marketing team or your employee.

If employee-led social selling and employee engagement are not essential initiatives for the sales and marketing teams but the entire company including Human Resources and Senior Management teams.

This article first appeared on April 12, 2019 in a Times of India Blog titled How to make your employees double up as content marketing warriors?

#ContentMarketing #DigitalMarketing #EmployeeEngagement #Marketing #SocialMedia #SocialMarketng #ContentWarriors #EmployeeLeverage #SmartMarketing

A #BetterFuture with #BetterBhavishya

Better Bhavishya
Better Bhavishya

While this forum is usually used for talking about innovative approaches of ZMOTly, we will share in this post about one of the exciting things we do at Futureshift in area of social impact.

At Futureshift, we work on creating impact at the intersection of technology and strategy.

This translates into frameworks, innovative products and solutions that solve real issues in business and social sector. The outcome is about creating sustainable and lasting impact.

In business scenarios, ZMOTly provides the frameworks for success and Futrlabs provide solutions and products required to achieve the delivered outcome.In the social sector space, a segment that we are passionate about, we have a pillar called Better Bhavishya (better future). We leverage the skills in consulting and global experiences to be a change maker, in our own little way.

At #BetterBhavishya, we work in the social sector space leading with ZMOTly impact framework and/ or with products from Futrlabs that can help them achieve their goals faster. They are either continuous long-term partnerships or one-time engagements.

Better Bhavishya’ s works on these four areas – education, healthcare, environment and human rights.

  • As technology partners with an International Human Rights NGO, we helped them on some of their very key projects.
    • With an Indian healthcare authority worked on a prototype and delivery mechanism for vaccination alerts that would help them prevent one million deaths and over 950,000 preventable disability each year.
    • Together with the NGO and a government ministry, worked on prevention of bullying in schools.
    • Together with the human rights organization, worked on jail reforms that would to reduce the number of undertrials held illegally in prisons.
  • Engaged with a NGO, funded by one of India’s reputed philanthropic foundation, for improving the literacy and numerous is amongst children with low income parents.
  • With another very large philanthropic foundation, we developed a project impact assessment framework as well as helped in some other philanthropic initiatives.
  • For a not-for-profit working on building a community for parents of autistic children, worked on developing a strategy and reach.
  • At a NGO in Hyderabad, worked on developing content and delivery framework and roll-out for long-term education for underprivileged children in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region.
  • In a village in Tamilnadu, have taken an initiative to convert 500,000 sft of barren land, with an agroforest with over 15,000 trees.

Our founder’s prior experience in driving the Unlimited Potential initiative for Microsoft Asia Pacific plays an important role in recommendations for our clients. The Unlimited Potential initiative was the outcome of Bill Gates vision to enable sustained social and economic opportunity for the next 5 billion people. The strategy was to reach incremental 1 billion people by 2015 by expanding deeper down the economic pyramid in a sustainable fashion by building non-traditional partnerships, breakthrough technologies and business models. The focus was on education, fostering innovation and creating jobs and opportunities through relevance, access and affordability. Bring one of the first employees in Asia-Pacific, driving that initiative has helped significantly in structure and systematising our approach better bhavishya projects at Futureshift.

Currently, we are working on a big idea that can transform hundreds of millions of rural lives by increasing local entrepreneurship opportunities and agriculture productivity. The core philosophy is to create local micro-innovations and income that would bubble up to have access to better education and healthcare opportunities.

This would more almost double the farm output and will dramatically transformed the lives rural India, where 70% of the India populations reside. We expect this to be a $1 billion+ social entrepreneurship business by 2022, creating an ecosystem with 10x more economic activity.

9 PR rules shattered (2017)

 

#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur
#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur

If you are a professional, a businessman or an entrepreneur, ,you need PR to get visibility for your brand, product or service. The traditional rules of PR that helped well till a decade ago are is dead. The Web 2.0 has brought down the walls and unless you have adapted to the new world your PR strategy will not work in 2017.

#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur

The 9 cardinal rules, shattered.

  1. Formal Media: The only way to get noticed was through formal media. The internet has changed all that. Today, you control your media. Your twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn – each of them with access to billions of users provide you a platform to get noticed. In fact, the so-called formal media has ended up picking news from these social platforms.
  2. Press Releases: Companies communicated to journalists through press releases. Press Releases are a passé. It is time to keep communicating as conversations with the public. You can share your idea, launch details, plans and seek feedback from your users directly.
  3. Exclusivity: Nobody other than a handful of reporters and editors Would see the Press Release. In fact, many demanded exclusivities. In today’s context – exclusivity is suicidal. The strategy should be rot reach your buyers through as many channels as you can. In fact, being accessible to your buyers at their point of interaction is the key.
  4. Significant News: Companies needed significant news before they could write a press release. Today, the rules are changed. The audience is looking for being engaged with you through your evolution. While significant news can still be leveraged to do some burst PR, the social media helps you to teach out to share the developments as they happen.
  5. Jargon: Jargon was okay because those specific journalists understood. Jargon is not okay. You audience needs to understand you and it must be simple. The lower your denominator for comprehension and understanding you higher are the changes of connecting with you and have meaningful engagement and conversations.
  6. Third party Quotes: Your press release included quotes from customers, analysts and experts to be complete. While all these would help, it is no more mandatory. Once your piece of blog or post hits the online media there will be a 360-degree feedback and that is more authentic. Today, users are looking at authenticity more than spin.
  7. Media as Gatekeeper: The only way buyers learnt about your product was when media wrote about it. Today, the barriers of media as a gate keeper are broken. In fact, organizations have started to completely bypass the formal media d have started engaging directly with the audience. So, you see artists launching anthem album via you tube or governments declaring their plans through tweets and media losing its gatekeeper status.
  8. Press Clips: The only way you measured 3effectiveness of press release was through ‘press clips’ that was maintained painstakingly each time media reported it. Today is measure being far simpler, it all measures what is the virality and click rate for your article. The more relevant and useful the content, the it is shared sand more is the visibility. In fact, main stream media has started writing articles from those 140-character tweets.
  9. Silos with Marketing: PR and marketing were separate silos and ruin by separate goals, strategies, measurements. Marketing is PR and PR is marketing. The walls are shattered. Both works in tandem to ensure maximum reach and engagement.

These were some of the things I have shared. There can be a few more. Please feel free to share your views.

The author is an entrepreneur with two decades of senior leadership experience in India and Asia-Pacific and now runs Futureshift, a boutique consulting outfit that helps businesses chart their digital marketing strategy with the @ZMOTly framework to achieve impactful outcomes. He is available at rajesh@futureshift.com.sg

8 Point Checklist before creating your eCommerce Website

Many retailers usually start out by listing on the online marketplaces or e-marketplaces as they are called, such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong etc. What most vendors don’t realise is that there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business.

Instead, if one is willing to invest the time and effort, there are significant benefits of selling through direct channels.

You could build your website from scratch / hire an expert to build your website or buy ready-made templates and customisable platforms. Based on your business needs and technical capabilities you need to select the right system

  1. Technical competency: Can you learn how to build a site from scratch or would you prefer to buy custom built templates? Are you capable and willing to hire additional staff with expertise if required?
  2. Pricing: Is a monthly or a yearly plan better for the different components of the site or platform? Pricing also increases as features provided improve.
  3. Back Office Integration: How does the system fit with your existing back office capabilities? Is there a possibility for smoothening the move or extension of current facilities into online capabilities?
  4. Time available: Not just to understand and set up the best possible option but also to maintain and update the site to keep it running smoothly. If time is critical, are you capable and willing to hire additional staff with expertise to save time?
  5. Support offered: What are the levels and mode of support offered by the different platforms when problems arise? What is the level of responsiveness when help and guidance is required?
  6. Website features: Evaluate the additional features such as the website’s ease of use, security, mobile friendliness, etc as per your expectations and requirements. Keep in mind that basic features offered may be enough for starting out, but evaluate additional options on offer since it is almost a given that these will be required at a later point.
  7. Marketing tools: Tools for SEO, email marketing, CRM and integration with other websites are decisive tools in order to grow your market and brand.
  8. Unique customisations and features needed: Do you have any unusual needs and can the platform cater to your special requests?

Final note

The final decision will definitely depend on your requirements and needs. It will also vary based on the time, money and effort one is willing invest into this venture. Furthermore, you will need to consider long term strategies and evaluate whether the current decisions will leave room to scale the operation based on future necessities.

Remember that no matter what method you choose to go online, you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a e-marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one online marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements.

In my next post, I will look at some of the prominent ecommerce platform options available and rate them according to the measures mentioned here.

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us a a consultant in digital marketing.

Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?

Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?
Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?

In our earlier post – Business not online? Get ready to pack up – we shared that if you’re in the business of selling products, there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. 31% of consumers indicated that online shopping is their preferred mode of shopping and the trend is rapidly going upwards.

Many retailers usually start out by listing on the online marketplaces or e-marketplaces as they are called, such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong etc. What most vendors don’t realise is that there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business. These expenses are especially damaging if you are a small business competing with large multinational companies who have access to the massive budgets to spend on marketing and sales.

The best margins for selling online are usually attained by selling through direct channels. These include

  1. Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  2. Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  3. Hire a professional to build and maintain your website (External consultants or internal dedicated employee hire)

There are significant benefits of selling through direct channels

  1. Showcase entire range: With your own online-store, you have better control and flexibility over the showcasing of all your products.
  2. Build Loyalty: Your own online store helps build brand loyalty. Loyal customers and repeat customers prefer reaching direct to store online and offline.
  3. Higher Profitability: Around 30-40% margin of online sales are eroded in commissions on other sites. Additionally, competition driven pricing and discounting cuts into profits through marketplaces.
  4. Increase your Valuations: Having your own store helps differentiate brand value and valuations flexibility, offerings.
  5. Analytics can be used to Grow Business: Ability to gain insights and analytics on buyer behaviour by driving targeted online campaigns.
  6. Lead generation: You have a chance to capture customer details through your landing pages and cross-sell more products.

Whether you have just one product with multiple SKUs or multiple products it is beneficial and worthwhile to build your own channels. This is especially true if you already have a loyal fan following or if your strategy involves creating a strong brand for your products.

As with anything, there are tradeoffs to this approach

  1. Initial capital will need to be set aside and invested to set up the various components involved. These can easily compound if invested in components that are not right for the business.
  2. A significant amount of time and energy might have to invested especially if one is learning about these tools for the first time.
  3. Driving customers to the site may prove to be big challenge if the brand is not yet well established in its niche.  However, this can be mitigated by utilising the various digital marketing tools available.

Final note

If you are willing to invest the time and effort to understand and build your own online sales store, the benefits of this channel can result in a dramatic boost to your bottom line.

Remember that no matter what method you choose to go online, you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will continue to tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us a a consultant in digital marketing.

[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy

#Technology #B2B #Enterprise #DigitalMarketing #ContentManagement #Online

[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy
[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy

3 reasons to sell on #Amazon, #Flipkart and 9 reasons not to!

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

As we’ve talked about before, if you’re in the business of selling products, there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. 31% of consumers indicated that online shopping is their preferred mode of shopping and the trend is rapidly going upwards.

Most vendors have thought about listing in one or more of the online marketplaces (like Amazon, Flipkart, EBay, Snapdeal etc.) at some point. Listing on these sites is appealing on several fronts.

  • The well-known marketplaces are high traffic channels with millions of active buyers. It is the preferred mode of shopping for many buyers who enjoy the variety and seamless buying experience.
  • Merchants gain increased exposure for their products which can lead to higher sales volumes.
  • It opens doors to acquiring new customers who accidently stumble across your products while looking at competitors or simply while browsing randomly.

However, there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business

  • Retailers, especially the smaller ones, end up paying around 30-40% margin of their online sales to online marketplaces. This includes even lesser known ecommerce platforms like Koovs, Jabong and Myntra. These margins are high even when compared to rental spaces in the brick-and-mortar stores
  • In addition to the high margins, marketplaces regularly push retailers to give an additional 15-20% discounts.
  • Competition will be crazy. You will be ruthlessly compared with other competitors, product wise, with price being the biggest differentiator in a marketplace. This will force price wars at the expense of quality and brand name.
  • Furthermore, if you come up with a unique product or idea, it will soon be copied and mass produced at lower rates. Even if your product has a patent, its enforcement and prosecution will be time consuming and cash hungry.
  • It will be difficult to build up a brand or generate loyalty for your products.
  • You need to have a corporate tax identity before selling on most e-marketplaces. This isn’t feasible if you are just starting out and selling from the back of your garage or house.
  • The supply and operations process to list and distribute your product is cumbersome
  • A fairly large amount of precious capital will need to be set aside to make sure you have enough stock and inventory and to order the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) from suppliers.
  • It will take time, money and effort to find the right strategy that features your product over others. The strategy will have to be tweaked between marketplaces since each platform’s promotion algorithm differs.

These expenses are especially damaging if you are a small business competing with large multinational companies who have access to the massive budgets to spend on marketing and sales.

There are other options available to sell your products online or even just to channel traffic to increase sales offline

  • Use social media to build brand awareness and direct traffic to offline stores
  • Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  • Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  • Hire a professional to build your website (maintenance problem)

Final Note:

Listing your products on an online marketplace does have its benefits, but, the hidden costs add-up to create a big dent in profits. What’s more, it is a constant uphill battle to monitor pricing and stay on top of latest platform related tweaks to make sure that your product is placed ahead of competitors. Selling through a marketplace doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell from your own e-commerce store to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will tackle the pros and cons of the other strategies, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us as a consultant in digital marketing.

Business not online? Get ready to pack up!

If you’re in the business of selling products (even if primarily in the physical world), there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. This is regardless of whether you are an established brick-and-mortar business with years of sales experience or if you’re a part time retailer working out of the back of your garage.

Having your products displayed online is necessary because

  • It helps you interact with a much wider audience and even have a global reach.
  • You can set up your own social media channels in a few hours and the rest in a few days.
  • Your customers can access your store at times that are convenient to them and at places that they already are.
  • It complements your presence in the physical world to maximize sales.
  • It is one of the more cost effective ways to get additional marketing and exposure for your brand.

These seemingly small gains are especially important when you are a small retailer and do not have access to the massive budgets that large multinational corporates can freely employ on marketing.

There are many options available to sell your products online or even just to channel traffic to increase sales offline

  • Use social media to build brand awareness and direct traffic to offline stores
  • List on a marketplace like Flipkart/Snapdeal/Myntra/Ebay/Amazon
  • Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  • Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  • Hire a professional to build your website (maintenance problem)

 Whether you have just one product with multiple SKUs or multiple products it is beneficial and worthwhile to build your own channels. This is especially true if you already have a loyal fan following or if your strategy involves creating a strong brand for your products.

However, many businesses still don’t even have a social media account for their commercial enterprise. This simple to set-up and easy to use should undoubtedly be the low hanging fruit that is first targeted. Once this is tackled the next steps tend to become a little fuzzy. Is it better to sell on an online marketplace or is it more worthwhile to have your own personal platform? If you are going to create your own personal platform should you take the time to figure out how to do it yourself or is it better to use readymade solutions available out there? I will tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

At the very minimum it is worthwhile to have your own website in addition to just a Facebook or other social media account. Having your own online sales channel along with this, whether through a shopping cart on your website or an entire online store by itself will be a great value add.

Final note

Once you do go online you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

ZMOT.ly – Your Zero Moment of Truth

ZMOT.ly (read zee-mot-lee) is all about ensuring impact at the zero-th moment of truth. This is about rapid demand creation and predictable revenue through right interventions and influencing the decision-making process even before the prospect visits your shelf (online or offline).

Unlike the  classic traditional model, where an engagement (with prospect) kicks in from the point of first interaction with your team (first moment of truth) and through the customer experience after purchase (Second Moment of Truth), ZMOT helps you actively influence the experience from inception and create a positive demand cycle for the product or service.
By taking advantage of though business insights and advanced technology skill-sets, our consultants will help architect the business impact solution – be it revenue or profit maximization or market expansion or operational efficiency. We will do it by developing solutions in our innovation labs that specialize in solutions in the cloud, mobile, social and analytics.
Reach out to us at Futureshift at zmotly@futureshift.com.sg, where our best of our brains will help you with a demonstrable impact in business.

Social Media in Business (Part 2 )

In my earlier post of Social Media in Business (Part 1), I shared the size of the market was and the lovable demographics social media presents. In this second and final part, I will share with you the basic steps of getting there.

Before I proceed I want to share with you a personal sorry that occurred recently.

I was disappointed at mediocre internet banking infrastructure of the two banks #hdfcbank, #icicibank and the unhelpful call center of #jetairways. The numerous attempts to the call center that either put me on hold for a good 20+ minutes or were unable to understand the requests yielded no results. Such waits and both frustrating and costly. I did what was the next step. Vent out my frustration on a tweet.

In less than 12 hours, I had ‘messages’ #icicibank #jetairways requesting for more details. In less than 24 hours of me providing my contact details, the representatives called me and promised to fix the issue. One bank #hdfcbank, just chose to be unheard and non-present on twitter. Needless to say thy just lost my $10K investment that I was planning to do to their competitor.

As a customer, I was delighted that a 140 character tweet could achieve what a 20min international phone call or a 300 word email could not. Harnessing its power,  let’s get serious.
Unfortunately, most companies are still treating social media like just another teenage fancy. When in fact, it’s so much more.

Where can Social Media help?

  • customer service, building loyalty
  • public relations, networking, thought-leadership
  • and yes, may be customer acquisition, too.
  • And because I’d hate to see it all not add up, I’ll add this tiny bit of advice. Do not assume that social media is the answer to every problem
  • If your product sucks, social media won’t fix it.
  • However, if your customer service sucks, social media can help.
  • If your repeat business sucks, social media can help.
  • If your company’s word of mouth sucks, social media can help.

So, here’s what you need to do:

Define your company’s online marketing strategy.  Hope is not strategy

Stop thinking “campaigns”. Start thinking “conversations.

Your customers are queuing there. Your resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time.
If your business isn’t putting itself out there, you are putting yourself out of business?

Social Media in Business (Part 1)

In our consulting assignments and workshop on social media, participants ask us the same question again and again. The top three questions are –

  • “Why do we as a business need to be there?”
  • “Facebook is for friends and Twitter is there for celebrities, not for real businesses”.
  • “We are a professional organization, not some startup”

In this two-part series, I will share how social media can change the business dynamics and help you get closer to your prospects and customers. In part 2 of this series I will share my own personal example with an airline and a bank on how they leveraged social media to solve customer problems.
Well are businesses really social?

Many years ago when Avinash Kaushik, an Analytics Evangelist of Google quipped “social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better”, it seemed like just that.

Now almost a decade later and wiser, Wikipedia defines thus – “Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue”,

Why should I care, you may ask?

Well, I can give you not one but six trends that possibly can change your perspective.

  • Because 3 out of 4 Americans use social technology.
  • Because 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks.
  • Because visiting social sites is now the most popular online activity
  • Because time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for
  • Because social media is democratizing communications. Big time.
  • Because social media is like word of mouth on steroids.
  • Because, social media is a force to be reckoned with! If facebook were a country, it would be the world’s most populous country just ahead of China and India.

If all this is great stuff, how does it affect my business, my customers or my prospects? I will cover these in my next issue, and I leave you with this thought –
93% of social media users believe that a company should have a presence in social media.
93% of these users want a dialogue, not a monologue on social media and believe that companies should not treat social media as yet another channel for broadcasting bulls*t.

Well now that I set the grounding on the basics of Social Media, I will take up in my next post on how businesses can leverage social media in my next issue.

Hey! Check out our new India website – futureshift.in

Hey! Check out our new website.

http://futureshift.in/
http://futureshift.in/