Social Media Strategy Review of The Indian Ecommerce Industry

In the Indian context, Ecommerce and Social Media share a very similar pattern. Both chart their beginning at the same period and their growth has been somewhat identical as well so it bears no surprise that Ecommerce brands took to social media like a fish to water.

Over the past couple of years, as social media grew with a rapid pace, Ecommerce brands have been on top of their game to leverage this powerful platform.

But the Ecommerce market is a crowded industry with countless players and many more joining each month. Everyone is trying to grab eyeballs with contests, pop culture and amazing deals. Thus, each and every one of them is going all out on the major social media platforms for customer acquisition.

Powered by the Open Graph and the primarily Interest-based nature of social media, Ecommerce portals find it easier to hunt for their prospective customers on this medium.

But are they really doing a good job at it? Do these online retailers understand the new media that has grown up alongside them? Let’s examine some of the top Indian Ecommerce brands to see how effective their strategies are.

For this review, we have chosen the following 10 Ecommerce brands:

  1. Flipkart
  2. Myntra
  3. Jabong
  4. HomeShop18
  5. Yebhi
  6. Infibeam
  7. Indiaplaza
  8. Snapdeal
  9. Pepperfry
  10. FashionAndYou

The above brands have been chosen based on a mix of several factors, such as: community size, activity level on social media, prominence amongst the consumer base, media mentions etc. The data presented below is for the time period between March 8th to April 7th, 2013.

Community Building

Undoubtedly, Flipkart is leading the pack here with the biggest community on Facebook and Twitter. It boasts of 1.3 million Likes on Facebook and 40k followers on Twitter. Huge for the ecommerce stores, but representative of about 0.01% of the Indian population. By comparison, Amazon can count 5% of the US population as its fans.

The closest competitor on Facebook is Yebhi (1.29m likes) which has a growth rate 3x than that of Flipkart. Will there be change on top soon? I believe so.

Ecommerce brands facebook fan growth
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

However, Flipkart doesn’t seem to be growing as quickly as some of its biggest competitors. In fact, Jabong.com, which boasts of a 860k strong community on Facebook grew at a phenomenal rate of 36% in the last month. That’s not an anomaly either, Jabong’s growth rate has been consistent throughout the month, with no surges in fan growth.

Other portals such as Myntra (8.7%), Yebhi (6%), Pepperfry (4.5%) and Snapdeal (2.8%) are going all out with community building but none can match the fast and furious pace of Jabong.

These brands, have realized (finally?) the potential of having a community and are on an acquiring spree off late.

However, Flipkart is still miles ahead of everyone on Twitter with its 40000+ followers. Jabong comes the closest, with a community of 15k, but doesn’t seem to pose any serious threat to Flipkart’s dominance.

Ecommerce Brands Twitter followers
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

The rate of growth shown by Flipkart (4%) is also exemplary considering the number of fans it has. None of its competitors are adding as many new followers per month. This goes to show that Flipkart has mastered the art of community building on Twitter, which is – to be honest – a very tough nut to crack.

Content Strategy

Amongst all the Ecommerce brands, Flipkart was found to have the most unique content strategy. It celebrates various topics every month and it is these topics that lead the content strategy for that month.

The six-degrees contest, the Q&A updates, the image posts are all centered around this chosen theme. That said, I am not sure why Flipkart is persisting with it, considering that it has one of the lowest PTAT (People Talking About This) numbers amongst its peers. The rest of the Ecommerce brands are not much different from each other as they are primarily sharing product updates (some are doing it way too much) and attractive fashion images.

On Twitter, Ecommerce brands are holding hashtag contests on a regular basis. It’s perhaps because these tactics have resulted in a good traction for them that it’s little wonder that they are persisting along the same road.

But brands like Flipkart and Jabong have left a clear mark on Twitter with their quirky way of communication. They don’t talk in a warm friendly voice. Their communication with you is like a conversation or a text message exchange with your best college pals. From their respective growth rates, it does seem that they have managed to win many hearts thanks to this.

Community Engagement

For Ecommerce brands, it has been observed that posts that are visually appealing and are about apparels are the ones attracting the most amount of engagement from the community.

Ecommerce brands Facebook Engagement
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

Even if the updates are self-promotional but are visually brilliant, they get a lot of traction.

As you can see, Jabong leads the pack here. Not only does it get the most amount of likes/comments on its updates, it also reaches a wider set of audience thanks to the high number of shares.

An average of 3k likes per updates is simply fantastic!

Even Yebhi and FashionAndYou are doing a good job with engaging their fans on Facebook. One thing that came as a bit of a surprise and was sad to see was that a brand like Flipkart performing so badly on engagement. Although varied and unique, their content strategy doesn’t appear to be working out for them. Or may be their primary goal is not engaging?!

Customer Service

As a customer service channel, the Ecommerce brands are hyper-active on Twitter. On an average, 40% of tweets from these brands are in fact replies to their communities.

Ecommerce Brands Tweet Replies
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

Amongst all of them, HomeShop18 has been the most active replying to its customers. Of all the 810 tweets it sent out, 441 of them were replies.

Closely following it is Myntra which has replied 358 times out of a total 727 tweets.

While a good number of replies can be seen as engagement from the brand, it also hints at the fact that their service may not be so good that it warrants complaints/queries from its customers. So let us check what kind of tweets they actually were:

Ecommerce Brands Tweet Types
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

As you can observe, 40% of HomeShop18’s replies were actually apologies, which means they need to improve their service offerings. But worst are Infibeam and Indiaplaza, which had more 80% apologetic replies.

In the case of Flipkart, you are not seeing the complete date because the customer service is now being handled by @flipkartsupport.

But if you want to gauge how important a customer is to a brand, you only need to look at how quickly their concerns are addressed.

Ecommerce brands average response time on twitter
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

Yebhi ranks as the fastest on the buzzer here. The average response time (1hr 20 mins) for Yebhi is better than anyone else, with almost 80% queries being replied to within the first 15 minutes.

Jabong is 2nd with an average response time of 2hr 20mins.

But Indiaplaza and Infibeam again fall on the wrong side of the industry average. A poor online customer service channel is the worst thing to have when you are already battling a not-so-good service in the offline world.

Sentiment

Facebook sentiment
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

When it comes to Facebook, more than 30% of the fan posts on Flipkart’s Facebook page were found to have positive sentiments. HomeShop18 and Myntra are closer to Flipkart with Myntra pipping it with a smaller % of negative fan posts.

But on Twitter, the scenario is completely different. The chart shows the sentiment of tweets that the brand replied to:

Twitter sentiment
Analytics Courtesy: Unmetric Inc

We have Pepperfry ahead of everyone, mostly replying to tweets that are positive in nature and Flipkart is far behind several of its competitors (although as mentioned, they mostly do their customer support from @flipkartsupport)

Indiaplaza appears to be dealing with a barrage of negativity as nearly 40% of the tweets it replies to have a negative sentiment. Of course, it could be the case that the brand is giving negative tweets priority before replying to the positive tweets.

Conclusion

As you can see, Indian Ecommerce brands are doing a fairly good job with their social media efforts but there is a sizeable scope for improvement. With time, we hope they will get better at it.

Analytics support courtesy: Unmetric

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