Effective Digital Enterprises

In the Mckinsey article The seven habits of highly effective digital enterprises authors tell 7 traits of effective digital enterprises. My book The Mouse Charmers that studies the most successful digital businesses of India also talks a bit about these traits through some detailed case studies. Let me focus on one aspect that both the authors of above articles and I agree upon – Digital businesses need to be standalone businesses and not the extensions of existing business. It is not another sales channel you add to your existing channels and hope to add to your sales. It is a channel that needs 100% attention from the team that manages it. It needs a strategy of its own which may not be tightly coupled with the rest of the organization. It needs a different focus as the dynamics involved are different.

Take an example of a grocery store. An offline grocery store is all about inventory management, store location and store operations while an online grocery store can technically have infinite inventory and the key factor here is logistics and how you deliver from your hubs to homes in an efficient and predictable way. Similarly, online general stores like Snapdeal need to have huge supplier network and need to device methods like discount coupons and deals to emulate online sales through partners. The biggest expense for offline store is the store itself and the staff to manage it, making sure that people turn up on the store and hopefully find what they are looking for. For the online store, the big expense is logistics cost and the efficient route planning every day and managing the expectations of the customer when they can not touch and feel the products they are ordering. For the store customers are located in a vicinity and it is easier to profile them, for online anyone with a internet connection is a potential customer and it is not so easy  to profile them. As we see in this example the basic skill sets required to run the same business offline and online are very different, the business model is different and so the strategy. If one business is treated as an extension of another, there is bound to be a lot of loss in an attempt to synergize or even measure them on same parameters.

Online businesses have their own challenges as well that are specific to them. Will talk about them in another post may be.

Coupons, Discounts & Bargains

In my book The Mouse Charmers I mention e-commerce sites as the new channel for shopping – and the products involve anything from out every day consumption like Onions and Potatoes to high end purchases like Solitaire diamonds. In the conclusion I wondered how are these e-tailers going to simulate an environment that simulates haggling or bargaining for the customer. Like the new channels the bargaining modes are also bound to change.
I see the emergence of discount coupon sites that offer discounts on various products or services offered by online vendors. For example say Flipit India offers coupons that can be redeemed on the bus ticker seller website Goibibo and many other e-commerce portals of India. These coupons sometimes give discount in terms of percentage discount and sometimes as a net figure. For technology products, coupons have been in vogue for a long time, but for the consumer products they have just started making their mark. These coupon companies make money by getting a percentage of the sales achieved through the coupons that they sold. For e-commerce companies they become an extra marketing channels that adds to their sales and the discount cost can also be seen as the marketing or outreach cost for the companies. Though the companies can host their own discount coupons, having dedicated coupon sites lets the customers know at one place of all the discounts available. It is like collating one big online sale.
My only concern with discount coupons is that they come with too many conditions sometime. Lets take and example of a discount – a discount of Rs 500/- on the next ticket booked through RedBus that is valid for next 15-30 days and must be used for a transaction not less than 3000 Rs. Sometimes too many of these conditions make the coupons viable.
This is a first step towards the realm of bargaining. This is still one way where the coupons are used by companies – both commerce and coupon companies to entice the customer, to reach out to customer. What we need to see is how they make the coupons two way and let the customer also offer to buy a certain product for a certain value be able to dictate the price to an extent. Only when the communication is two way or the bargaining is two will the real situation be emulated.
Till then enjoy the  big online sale on coupon sites.

Press release -The Mouse Charmers – Digital Pioneers of India

Pioneering Digital Companies of India

Pioneering Digital Companies of India

So here comes my first book, the one that took best part of my 2013 and gave me some brilliant conversations with the entrepreneurs and their babies who became my stories.

Pick up your copy from Flipkart or e-book from Amazon

This is what the formal Press Release says:

‘The Internet has transformed business and society. Today to very many of us, life without the web is unimaginable. In business a new breed of entrepreneurs have sprung up whose whole life is the web, creating new business models, reaching new markets and becoming the new normal. These stories are inspiring examples of such successes!’

T.V. Mohandas Pai Chairman, Aarin Capital Partners

The Mouse Charmers
Digital Pioneers of India

Anuradha Goyal

Published by Random House India, Rs 299 trade paperback

‘Are Indian companies and start-ups missing something important by ignoring local language viewers and users of digital content? Are women entrepreneurs too shy of boasting about their achievements? What kind of eco-system will make the life of start-ups in digital age smoother and more meaningful are some of the questions this books addresses, rather well. Those who wish to enter and shake up the inertia in digital markets may find this book useful. But those who wish to support them may find it even more useful.’

Prof Anil K. Gupta Professor at IIM Ahmedabad and founder of Honey Bee Network

‘Anuradha Goyal’s The Mouse Charmers is a fascinating account of India’s trailblazing digital entrepreneurs… Well researched and with deep insights into how these businesses work, The Mouse Charmers will inspire others to both study Indian entrepreneurs like Goyal has done or take up the challenge of entrepreneurship like those she writes about have done. Either way this is an important, timely and inspiring book that showcases the opportunities that India offers and the challenges that have to be overcome along the way.’

Jaideep Prabhu Professor at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and co-author of the bestselling Jugaad Innovation

The advent of Internet has been a significant game-changer for our generation.  Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by the Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in new ways. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas that put them on the same path.

Featuring:

Flipkart * MakeMyTrip * Big Basket * CaratLane * Zomato * Games2Win

ImagesBazaar * Chai with Lakshmi * shaadi.com * RangDe * CommonFloor * IndiBlogger

Anuradha Goyal tells the stories of twelve of these digital entrepreneurs in three key areas: commerce, content and connectors.  She examines how they started out, the innovations and technologies involved, their business models, and unique marketing strategies.

Inspiring and insightful, The Mouse Charmers is an essential guide for aspiring digital entrepreneurs.

Pick up your copy from Flipkart or e-book from Amazon

To read my updates on the book and how it is being viewed / reviewed see this page : The Mouse Charmers