The Social Media Battle oOf Ecommerce Giants: Past, Present, And Future
New mergers, acquisitions, and funding rounds are daily affairs. Between these affairs, there is a war going on on social media. War of tweets, replies, shares, delivery war indeed.
Social media is like a tarot card, capable of predicting future. We have been tracking this online war since July 2016. It helped us in painting a clearer picture of what is going on and what is going to happen. We published two reports around this period taking in consideration 100 Indian startups in 13 categories (latest one being XOR 100-2).
Second half of 2016 on social media
2016 saw a heated battle online. All the e-commerce players actively participated on various platforms. Some tried to lure customers with discounts and offers while others concentrated on addressing their issues online, all for the want of superiority. Were they actually able to get hold of the pulse? It is an interesting thing to watch.
Flipkart, the pioneer of Indian e-commerce, has proved its mettle and magnanimity time and again. With 2,403 posts in 6 months, it didn’t leave any stone unturned in making its presence felt. Not only this, it managed whopping 3.89 million engagements on its activities with an average of 1,619 engagements per activity. The $11 billion startup replied 69 times during these 180 days to its followers.
Snapdeal, the careworn, was not so from starting. It shared 1,496 posts since July 2016. It was in Sept 2016 the struggling ecommerce entity launched $6.5 billion Unbox Zindagi rebranding campaign.
This campaign helped Snapdeal in getting 5.09 million engagements. These engagements did not decrease with Snapdeal’s decreased inactivity towards the end. Snapdeal was not interested in replying and Snapdeal reached only 81 users during the period.
After Infibeam went public in April 2016, Shopclues is prepping for the same. Its valuation exceeded $1 billion in January 2016 and its activity on social media reflects its success enthusiasm.
It shared 1,006 posts from July to December 2016. This activity paid back with 2.09 million engagements. Unlike other players, Shopclues didn’t desert its followers and replied 2,460 times at an average of about 14 replies per day.
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Before separating its e-commerce business in early 2017, the payments and e-commerce business for Paytm was combined.
Activity for one was therefore reflected in the other. It shared 1,409 posts in 180 days and attracted 22.96 million engagements (most of these were due to its payments hand). Like other players, even Paytm didn’t find it important to reply its customers. It replied 42 times to its users in a span of six months.
Tata’s Cliq, Yellow Messenger and Infibeam were the other players tracked. They together shared 1,993 posts. Total engagements attracted by these three players summed to 0.62 million while they replied 418 times together.
Discount and Offers
This is the brush which gives the finishing touch to the portrait. Hashtag analysis gives direct peek into a company’s marketing communication strategy. Where more offers reflect sound pocket and aggressive strategy, lesser offers reflect a balance sheet priority approach, the one followed by Tata Cliq.
From July to December, Flipkart’s marketing communication on social media was totally oriented towards discount and offers with a total of 1,703 discount related tweets. 1,638 of these were tweeted for ?Big Diwali Sale? onOctober 25, 2016. Snapdeal posted 66 tweets related to discounts.
Shopclues was no behind with 42 such tweets during this period. Paytm followed Flipkart with 158 tweets related to discounts and offers.
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Amidst the talk of Flipkart and Snapdeal merger, the combined e-commerce superpower could be valued higher than the combined value of all other players.
Assuming their rate of social media activity doesn’t change and all other parameters are constant, their combined social media presence will dwarf every other company’s social media efforts.
For instance, if merger happens, 47% of the activity in ecommerce segment will be attributed to Snapdeal and Flipkart. In other words, nearly every second post on social media from ecommerce players will be either from Flipkart or from Snapdeal.
Though Paytm ruled the engagements chart but if the merger happens, it will sweep one-third of the engagements of the whole category. In other words, every third comment, like, or share will go either to Flipkart or to Snapdeal’s basket.
Replies to users has been a part where they need to work. As seen earlier during Jabong-Myntra merger (Read: XOR100-1), replies to users skyrocketed. If any such thing happens here, Shopclues which has been leading might face a tough time.
After latest round of funding by Microsoft, Tencent, and merger with e-bay India, Flipkart is set to play a dirty game online. It has raised $2.61 billion since May 2014 and is stopping no time sooner.
Alibaba, Paytm, and Shopclues
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Paytm raised $200 million from Alibaba at valuation of around $1 billion early in 2017. It is a direct indication of Alibaba’s interest in Indian market. If this happens, expect a full packed online battle with the monsoon of funding.
As discussed earlier, Shopclues is leaving no stone unturned to be listed on NASDAQ. We can only hope that Shopclues may not put up a show similar to that of Infibeam after going public. If it keeps the momentum going, I can clearly see a threesome (Pun intended 😉 ). The delivery war turning into the war for superiority.
Whatever the result be, common man is set to enjoy the shower of offers and discounts. The figure for discount related tweets was 2,115 from July to December 2016 and if we exclude the 1,638 tweets by Flipkart in one day, count drops down to 477.
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Flipkart is ready for a flyer with all of its subsidiaries and so are other players. Social media war now is going to get more intense.