Online shopping is changing from a transactional model of e-commerce to Social Experience

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Online retail & shopping is changing from a transactional model of e-commerce with buying decisions of online shoppers getting influenced by social communications and the fundamental shifts taking place in the online social environment.  Today’s online shopper is not just a buyer of goods & services. They are social shoppers who also play the role of critics, brand ambassadors, product experts, & are key influencers in buying decisions within their social circles and even beyond

While the mouth-to-mouth sharing of experiences is nothing new and has been happening since time immemorial, the fundamental change is in the the magnitude of the inter-connectedness that social platforms bring to the table and the reach of these platforms. The voice that an individual has as part of the larger eco-system. (combine this with above reach point and just realize the impact it has?). The level of openness, transparency & discoverability that the changing online social platforms are bringing. Consumers are no longer shy of expressing themselves and acknowledging that they made a good or a bad decision in buying a particular good/service. Fundamentally, Social Platforms are transforming the way people behave online

A recent survey of internet users in the UK revealed that

  • 70% have purchased a product/service online
  • 53% have reviewed a product/service online
  • 30% have sent a product recommendation to a friend online

Buyers are getting influenced by the social product reviews and not just marketing pitches by the brands. In-fact, customer’s reviews are fast catching up with search engines towards influencing online purchase decisions.  Empowered customers are increasingly motivating other shoppers and triggering purchase considerations. While lowest price/VFM pricing is still a large influencer of online purchase decisions but it is not just the only & sole driving factor. Infact, research suggests that customers are willing to pay premium for a 5* rated product vs a 3* rated product.  The purchase trigger/consideration/decision making process is moving more & more online – driven by social feeds. (previously, the consideration process was offline, with just the purchase transaction being done online)

So, what does this mean to the online retailers?
Online retailers need to understand these social changes taking place online and get plugged into the social, collaborative, emergent, inter-connected online market place for building differentiated offerings, relationships & touch points with the customers.

Is your retail/online strategy ready to leverage the social phenomenon?


Trying to Cross-Sell | Standard Chartered Bank seems clueless and baits with misleading information

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There is no criminal offence against organizations trying to cross-sell & up-sell to their customers. In fact, that is desired and if it can be done correctly & effectively, it can be a win-win situation for both the customer & the organization.

Here is an example of an attempt by Standard Chartered Bank, trying to cross-sell a loan to me, gone horribly wrong. Infact it makes you wonder, what were people @ Standard Chartered Bank smoking when they did this 🙂

I am a credit card customer with  Standard Chartered bank and one fine day, after logging in, I see a customized message saying”I have been pre-selected for a loan of up-to 6 lacs“.

I wonder how did the bank determine all this and am curious about finding this out. I want to know what does ‘pre-selected’ mean. I want to find out what is special about this offer from the bank to me

I want to try this and hence give it a go and use ‘click to apply’

This is where I get a shock. At first I wonder if I have clicked on the wrong link. I go back and click again. No luck. It is still the same page where I am being asked to fill in every detail of mine again.

How come? Wait a minute, wasn’t I pre-selected for the loan?

Then it strikes that this is nothing but a very shoddy attempt by the bank at cross-selling.  Infact this is nothing but an online version of ‘baiting’ with misleading information and if I may say done purposefully.

Infact, there is nothing ‘pre-selected’ about this whole thing. This is almost a scam for me — from an ethical sense.

Believe me, Standared Chartered Bank can do better with all the info it already had about me.

What do you think? Is the bank being ethical in trying to cross-sell by baiting customers with misleading information?

Have you come across attempts at cross-selling gone horribly wrong? Do share..