Ever since Amazon opened in India, its advertising has focused on building trust. Be it the small town customers that it has assiduously wooed or urban shoppers wary of digital commerce, the American e-commerce behemoth has sought to assure everyone about quality and convenience on its platform.
Now Amazon is turning the spotlight on those who sell on its platform. Using their stories as part of its packaging, the company hopes to transform what is a faceless transactional relationship with its buyers and sellers, into an emotional one and at the same time, build brand stickiness. But importantly, Amazon is turning up the pitch on its trust narrative through story boxes and #IAmAmazon, exhorting buyers to trust the face on the pack and sellers, the platform that helped them find a national market.
“Ever since we launched Amazon StoryBoxes prior to the festive season, millions of customers from across India have received their orders with transformative seller stories,” said an Amazon India spokesperson. Amazon has over 5.5 lakh sellers selling a selection of over 200 million products to millions of customers from across the country.
The sellers say they are invigorated by this exercise. “The moment I received the Storybox, with my own story on it, my happiness knew no bounds. This initiative has given me a sense of great self-worth, over and above taking my story to lakhs of households in India.” said Rani Ravindran, Ravindran Silk Cotton.
Ravindran, a homemaker and mother, sells wooden toys and cotton pillows on Amazon; as Periyakulam’s (a small town in Tamil Nadu) first Amazon seller, she helps Amazon sharpen its narrative of a marketplace that helps small sellers and buyers find each other. Sirimiri, a Bengaluru-based healthy snacks seller had its promoter Vijaya Rajan featured in the box and the company tweeted as soon as the campaign hit the boxes. “Not only our sales grew 3X times, our story was delivered on an Amazon Box. Can’t imagine how many people in India will see our story!”
Experts say that Amazon’s efforts at building trust is based on customer insights and experience that suggest Indian buyers want to know who they buy from and aimed at extracting loyalty in a fickle market. Acquiring customers is significantly more expensive than retaining them and efforts such as these go a long way in keeping buyers engaged. “Loyal customers are valuable in themselves as a reliable repeat source of revenue,” said a recent report by KPMG (The truth about customer loyalty). 52 percent of the consumers surveyed say they will buy their favourite brand even if it is cheaper and more convenient to buy a rival product is proof that loyalty endures.
The road to trust and loyalty
- To drive volumes and value, the #ApniDukan campaign reassures buyers about the authenticity of products on its platform
- To assure buyers about quality, the campaign #SabAmazonWaale asks buyers to check out the reviews on chosen products
- The IPL campaigns use a fictional team set in a fictional small town, ChonkpurCheetahs, use humour to create familiarity with the brand
What generates loyalty? Six out of ten consumers surveyed by KPMG said that they are loyal because they feel a personal connection to a company — in India, 74 percent said as much — suggesting that companies need to appeal to customers’ hearts as well as their minds and wallets. “Consumers want to buy from businesses they like — apart from sustainability and corporate transparency, many identify innovation as nurturing loyalty — and which, they believe, share their values. René Vader, global sector leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG International said in the report, “If you’re trying to build brand loyalty today, an emotional connection is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have.”
For Amazon that has to face the ire of millions of buyers for a purchase gone wrong or a delivery delayed, gaining the trust of its buyers and the commitment of its seller community is imperative. And the campaign expects to move a little closer towards winning loyalty, while creating a halo effect. By crafting a story of inspiration and courage around every purchase, Amazon expects some of the goodwill to rub off and add some shine to the brand. Business Standard