Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What made people to shift to online shopping from brick-and-mortar stores?

The Internet has become a popular channel during the last decade for shopping and is adding value to the retailing world. India’s e-commerce market is also growing in all product categories. Consumer spending at apparel websites is rising, and it is presenting a tough revenue war in this segment, which had traditionally been dominated by physical stores. The efficiency of consumers in online shopping has increased due to the accessibility of exhaustive product information, intelligent comparisons and reduction in customer search costs.

An article from the journal Vision presents a report of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) on online shopping, India’s e-commerce market has reached US$ 8.5 billion in 2012, compared to US$ 2.5 billion in 2009. The market has shown a rise of 88 per cent with US$ 16 billion in 2013. 

Online apparel sales has become the second-most profitable e-commerce domain worldwide after jewellery and automobile . Consumer spending on apparel websites is growing, and it is presenting a tough revenue war in this segment, which had been traditionally dominated by dominated by physical retail stores. The article also presents analysis on the ratio of males and females opting for online shopping and also the average amount of money spend by people in doing the same.

Major driver for this growth in the apparel segment is due to aggressive online discounts, search of better deals, rising fuel price and so on. Manufacturers and brand managers are earning enormously through online sales and its various benefit across other distribution channels. Moreover, Internet users avail this medium three times more to get updated on clothing fashion than others. Majority of them buy clothing online. Shoppers who are highly brand and fashion conscious are more inclined to buy clothes online than shoppers with other consumer styles. Value-conscious shoppers spent more time in purchasing clothes online, which shows that they not only derive pleasure from shopping but also are attracted by the financial benefits associated with online shopping. 

Social influence is also a positive predictor for online shopping frequency and spending. People like to follow their friends and family to shopping destinations. These findings imply that people who enjoy shopping will encourage online apparel consumption. With all these findings we can conclude that a good number of online apparel purchases are planned, and buyers are more value conscious than impulsive. 

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Friday, February 19, 2016

How essential it is for an interviewer to be vigilant about his part as a questioner!

An interview is a one-on-one conversation with one person acting in the role of the interviewer and the other in the role of the interviewee. It might appear to common people that it is a difficult task on the part of an interviewee and a very easy one on the part of an interviewer. But it is not really so, there are certain diplomacies in an interview which an interviewer must follow to keep the session an interactive and successful one.

A recently published title “Media Audience Research” presents some worthy guidelines for an interviewer to follow.
The interviewer scrupulously follows the rules and says nothing apart from reading the questionnaire verbatim, there is still a tendency for the interviewer’s expectations to have an influence on the way responses are interpreted and recorded. There are two ways of minimizing this bias. The wording of questions needs to be as neutral as possible to avoid giving the respondent the impression that certain answers are expected. Second, interviewers need to be thoroughly trained to maintain a self-critical awareness of the twin dangers of influencing interviewees, and of a subjective interpretation of responses.

 The manner and tone of voice, even the ‘body language’ or posture of the interviewer can be a big influence. The questions should be asked in a tone of voice that does not communicate your personal views to the respondent.
The book also highlights various other ways in which interviewer bias can intrude. For example, the interviewer may think it is pointless to ask all questions to everyone but beware of making any assumptions about anyone. The golden rule in research is ‘don’t ever make any assumptions about anybody, anywhere’.
Politeness and courtesy are very important. The interviewer needs to treat the person interviewed with care and respect. Clashes of class, caste or ethnicity should never have an impact on the interview as this will certainly be of help for your interaction to go a lot more smoothly. 

To know more about such useful guidelines for conducting research in all forms of media, get your copy now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Should an organization predominantly use its brand as a platform to go to market, or should it center on customers as the unit of focus?

In today’s saturated product markets, where physical product differences are often marginal and customers expect their myriad desires and needs to be satisfied, companies need to make a clear choice with respect to their marketing strategies and tactics in order to make their offerings distinctive and achieve the required margins. They must decide what aspect they should stress on when they develop and roll out their marketing strategies, given that a go-to market approach can focus on very different elements.

 Edited by: Rajendra K. Srivastava and Gregory M. ThomasIn the older days, the focus was solely on the product itself, with little regard to targeting and positioning.  Then it evolved and brand management was the obvious next step in responding to evolving markets and consumer’s needs particularly for differentiation and brand identification. And now the scenario has changed where customer management has become the corporate mantra, with companies seeking to interact on a one-on-one basis with customers.

In view of this evolution, it is interesting to observe that while some companies take a predominantly brand management approach in today’s environment, others have a customer management in dealing with the market, and a combination of both is used by yet a third group. From an organizational point of view, the two approaches, brand management and customer management, require very different capabilities and skill-sets. If an organization is to make the best use of limited resources, it needs to know under which conditions it should adopt brand management as its focal go-to-market approach and when it should not.

 Order your copy now  to seek an answer to the question that when an organization should use the brand management approach as opposed to a customer management focus and vice-versa!

Of related interest 


Friday, February 12, 2016

There is a growing mismatch between skills and occupations—Are there any ways to close the gaps?

As India grows into a knowledge economy increasing the use of technology in manufacturing and service industries, the emerging gaps at the level of tertiary education are seen as a major constraint. The current education system does not adequately focus on skills which can improve employability, and large section of labour possesses outdated skills.

More recently tertiary education, above secondary schooling and higher education (HE), has come into focus within the debate of the ‘demographic dividend’ that India is expected to reap. As India grows into a knowledge economy increasing use of technology in manufacturing and service industry, the emerging gaps at the level of tertiary education are seen as a major constraint.

An article from the Journal of Development Policy and Practice attempts to analyse skill gaps, and presents a detailed analysis of where persons with tertiary education are getting employed and whether recent years have seen a significant change in the absorption of workers with HE in different industry and occupation groups.

There has been a significant increase in the number of educational institutes, and thousands of graduates pass out every year. Also, recent times have seen the emergence and growth of sectors such as IT, life sciences and financial services. These sectors have become new avenues of white-collar employment among Indian youth. Although there seems no problem with demand and supply of graduates as far as the quantity aspect is concerned, in reality, all graduates are unable to get suitable employment. Simultaneously, the industry struggles to get suitable candidates.

The article also presents analysis on different types of skill mismatch such as Over-education, Skill mismatch in technical education, and Quality skill gap and also suggests certain policy interventions that encourage non-graduate technical and non-technical diploma/certificate holders that would help to close the skill gap.

To read more on Skill Gaps and Employability, Register here.

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Is India Managing its Water Resources Judiciously?—A Prerequisite for Sustainable Development

Water is a finite but renewable natural resource and, like other natural resources, it is an integral part of the environment. It is essential for the survival of all living beings on this planet and also for the socio-economic development of households, communities and nations all over the world. It is also necessary to maintain and enhance biodiversity and quality of environment. In a nutshell, water contributes to achieve the goal of sustainable development through ensuring survival of all living beings, food security, ecological security and health and hygiene of people. 

India, as whole, is reasonably well-endowed with fresh water resources. But the distribution and availability of water is not uniform over space and time. An article from the IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review focusses on the need for the present generation to ensure intergenerational equity by safeguarding the interests of future generations through maintaining the natural resources capital of this planet intact. Economic sustainability implies the maintenance of produced capital and natural capital used in the production of goods and services. Therefore, water being a natural resource must be managed in a sustainable way, if the goal of sustainable development is to be achieved. 

It is well known and documented that all ancient civilizations evolved and flourished around water bodies. Irrigation had made it feasible then, as it does now, to produce adequate foodstuffs, without which it would not have been possible for those civilizations to develop and flourish. In future, irrigated farming will have to play an even greater role in meeting the food and fiber requirements of growing population, especially in Asia, where it is estimated to contribute around 60 per cent of the total value of crop production nowadays.

India has more than 18 per cent of the world’s population, but has only 4 per cent of the world’s renewable water resources and 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area. The most serious challenge of the twenty-first century for India will be how to meet the deficit or demand–supply gap, especially the regional and seasonal deficits. Floods and droughts have been a bane of India’s economy since time immemorial. It is an irony that in many parts of India, we have droughts and in many others, we have floods occurring almost concurrently every year. 

Thus, its clear that water is too scarce and too precious a natural resource to be left unmanaged. At present, it is not managed at all; in fact it is grossly mismanaged. Therefore, it is high time that India designed and launched programmes aimed at judicious management of its water resources on a sustainable basis. We need cost-effective and practicable interventions in both the water supply and demand management.

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