Advanced technologies and data-driven strategies to shape the future of online selling: ODN

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Narinder Mahajan, CEO & Co-Founder, ODN

  1. What roadblocks or challenges are faced by retailers or brands selling on ecommerce platforms?

Retailers and brands face three significant challenges when selling online or on ecommerce platforms, despite having a good selection of products and expertise in logistics. These challenges include a high customer acquisition cost (CAC), attention spans of less than three seconds, and a drop in conversions. With digital ad spends expected to surpass TV ad spends (estimated to be Rs. 50,000 crores), online brands face the formidable question of determining their return on investment (ROI) rather than just their return on ad spend (ROAS).

In such situations, brands need to own and control the complete funnel from top to bottom. While most brands do a great job of owning the top of the funnel, they struggle with conversions. Ecommerce content plays a big role in addressing this issue and acts as a guiding light to solve the problem. Consumers get attracted to the ad/product, but at the point of purchase, they drop off. The biggest reason for this is a lack of product description, imagery, and reviews to convert that last mile.

Retailers should leverage data and insights to design their online stores effectively. They need to analyze customer behavior and preferences to create a personalized shopping experience that meets their needs. Online retailers should also use data to optimize product listings, inventory management, and pricing strategies. Furthermore, they need to invest in creating compelling ecommerce content to convert customers. Brands and sellers should focus on creating high-quality product images and videos, informative product descriptions, and engaging marketing campaigns that resonate with their target audience.

Online retailers face intense competition in the ecommerce marketplace. Therefore, they should focus on building a strong sales strategy that includes efficient pricing, order fulfillment, streamlined checkout processes, and effective customer experience to maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  1. How does ODN help sellers on ecommerce platforms?  

ODN is a marketing specialist in eCommerce content, helping brands to improve their conversion rates on various eCommerce platforms. Our team has over 50 years of combined expertise in the retail space, which enables us to create internal processes that blend data, creativity, and technology to help brands build a strong online presence and achieve better conversion rates. We work with cutting-edge tools to create impactful content across various customer touchpoints. Before we start working with any brand, we conduct an audit of the brand and its category across platforms. This prep work pays off once the brand is live.

Today, online presence is a crucial channel that no brand can ignore. However, doing it right requires a certain level of expertise. Most brands struggle with this, as they may not have the required expertise in-house. Therefore, we offer a complete Content Management Package to brands, covering end-to-end touchpoints on eCommerce, including responding to reviews. This package is especially useful for brands selling on Amazon and extends to categories beyond fashion, namely Home & Kitchen, Electronics, and others. Fundamentally, for anything related to Shop-Now Content, ODN is there to help you.

  1. With online shopping becoming even more popular post pandemic, how can old and new sellers make the most of it?  

Industry reports estimate that the online shopper base in India will increase to 400-450 million by 2027. This presents a tremendous opportunity for sellers to reach a wider audience and grow their businesses. With the increase in online shopping, sellers can take advantage of the growth in demand and orders by focusing on e-commerce. E-commerce has democratized commerce by enabling consumers from over 95% of pin codes across India to access a wide range of products and services. It has also empowered local sellers and broken down market barriers for new brands, making it easier for them to establish an online presence and compete with established players.

One of the key drivers of e-commerce growth in India has been the increase in demand and orders from tier 2 and 3 markets, thanks to internet penetration. Geographical boundaries are no longer a constraint, as technology has enabled consumers to shop from anywhere.

This presents a golden opportunity for old and new sellers to scale up their businesses. All they need is the know-how, and we are here to provide it.

  1. How does ODN help sellers on ecommerce platforms scale their business? Can you share some success stories?  

When ODN was started, the main focus was fashion. However, over time, ODN’s range of products and services has expanded. We now also cater to customers of all sizes, from small sellers on marketplaces to large brands looking to establish an online presence. The rise of D2C or Direct-to-Consumer has been a huge opportunity for ODN and has allowed us to refine our offerings even further. It is interesting to see that even offline brands are now looking to create a consistent brand identity across both online and offline channels. At ODN, we recently had the chance to launch a product for a well-known FMCG brand that was primarily sold offline, but we were able to maintain the brand’s ethos and communication online. It was definitely a stimulating experience.

  1. How is ODN working with sellers on the ONDC platform? What will be the benefits for small retailers spread across India?  

ODN has been chosen by Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to be the exclusive partner providing critical product-data management services to small sellers on its platform. As a result of this partnership, over 1 million first-time sellers across India, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities, will be able to successfully set up and scale their online stores. ODN will help these sellers list over 1 lakh product types/SKUs through its suite of comprehensive product data services like product catalogue design, listing & rich media content, etc. By providing these services, ODN will help small retailers across India establish a strong online presence, optimize their product listings, and reach a wider audience.

The benefits of this partnership for small retailers spread across India are numerous. For starters, it will help them overcome the challenges of managing product data, which can be a daunting task for many small sellers. It will also enable them to create visually appealing product listings and provide a seamless shopping experience to their customers. Moreover, this partnership will help small retailers in tier 2 and 3 cities in India compete with established players and grow their businesses. By leveraging the support of ODN and the ONDC platform, these small retailers will be able to access the tools and resources they need to establish a strong online presence and succeed in the competitive world of e-commerce.

  1. What kind of tools, technology, insights, approach does ODN use?

ODN currently uses various AI-based tools that help us understand the Content Scores on various e-commerce platforms. Besides, we use various deep tech tools to auto-edit images and videos, create listing sheets for over 50 marketplaces globally, describe products, and even create base-level marketing assets automatically. For internal workflow management, we have ‘ODN Connect’ that the entire organization uses to manage daily planning and execution of projects. The same is now available for clients as well to see the status of their work transparently.

  1. What is brand-audit and how does ODN use brand audit to help brands? Please share examples.  

Brand audits are a powerful service that we began offering a year back. With a huge surge in D2C brands and aggregators looking for help in conversion, we took on the task of brand audits as the first step. It all starts with understanding the category, its online presence, images and products being sold, consumer touchpoints, and platforms being used. Our recommendations are then based on deep insights that serve as guidance for brands with clear scope for improvement. One may argue that most brands would already be doing that before going online, but that’s not necessarily the case. Internal teams may be strong in creating a pitch, but not necessarily well-versed in product technicalities when it comes to selling online. We help with that heavy lifting. The ultimate goal is always conversions for us, not just how many catalogues are listed.

  1. What is the future of selling online and what will change in the next five years? 

The future of online selling is expected to be characterized by increased adoption of advanced technologies and data-driven strategies, mainly focused on personalization. Brands will seek ways to continuously engage with customers once they have acquired them, whether it be through recommendation engines for size, shape, occasion, or complementary products. We also see a huge surge in vertical-specific marketplaces emerging, which attract sellers in that category to sell products specific to that category. But a very interesting one I came across was when I saw a luxury brand creating a marketplace of complementary products from other brands on its website. The future is exciting!


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