Beyond click of a button: Flipkart, Amazon teach customers how to shop

Topics Flipkart | Amazon | Nykaa

Image:istock
While the aggressive push towards digital inclusion may have driven millions to explore the cavernous depths of the internet, it has not been as easy leading them down the gilded hallways of e-commerce. A plethora of reasons keep customers disengaged from the final transaction; ignorance about the process or about the product, a complex payment process or varying levels of literacy, everything turns into a friction point that the e-commerce companies are now 
trying to tackle. Both Flipkart and Amazon are looking at ways to guide shoppers from the process of discovery to purchase, through dedicated platforms with the use video, blogs and other forms of persuasion. 

For a lot of digital consumers content consumption in audio, video or written format comes more easily than actually buying products. This gap between awareness about a product to the actual decision making and final buying have been recurring friction points for platforms. For instance, it accounted for 19 per cent of consumer dropouts in apparel and 22 per cent in accessories in 2018, one of the fastest moving online shopping categories according to a Zero Friction Future (ZFF) report by Facebook. 

The problem is not a new one and fashion and beauty platforms such as Nykaa were early to adapt the ‘how-to’ tutorial blogs and videos into a sales pitch. Nykaa Network (discussion platform) and Nykaa TV (video content) are popular among users.  

Customers want to be hand-held through the purchase process as they are juggling several unknown variables in their shopping experience, which if improved, can increase the share of wallet, say experts. Flipkart Ideas, a curated selection of content on the e-commerce platform is expected to do that. It will provide information, explore alternative uses of a product or manifestations of an experience while tackling the problems that customers face. Amazon has a similar offering called Magazine where influencers and bloggers review and recommend products on the side lines of lifestyle and travel blogs. And Flipkart group company Myntra has taken this initiative a step forward by launching a reality TV show called Fashion Superstar aimed at identifying India’s next big fashion influencer. The Walmart-owned company is also open to hosting outsourced content around fashion and said that the reality show was inspired by the big success it netted with its video catalogues, a few months back.

Anil Goteti, senior vice-president, Marketplace at Flipkart, said, “They are a new set of consumers, the next 200 million shoppers. They have a variety of questions and seek to mimic their offline shopping experience, online.”

CleverTap, a full-stack customer retention platform used by several e-commerce companies, found that customer retention was impacted by high customer acquisition costs and price-sensitive buyers. Customers have a plethora of options to choose from, even within niche categories. By taking early users through the paces online, e-commerce companies expect to create a loyal base of users.

The videos and blogs on Flipkart Ideas and Amazon’s Magazine introduce new ideas and have simple clicks within the page to take the customer through the purchase process. The idea is to be a one-stop shop for everything a customer is looking for.  Consumers continue to be at the centre of the Ideas ecosystem, Flipkart said. “We want to play our part in creating meaningful engagement while helping build familiarity with various brands and products,” added Goteti. 

There is a flip side to the process, however. As companies go about packaging every morsel of content for the consumer, the lines between marketing literature and independent recommendations are blurring. A customer will soon be unable to tell a review from an advertisement. But for the time being, no one seems to mind. Neither the customers, nor their persuaders, appear to be overly concerned about the consequences.

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  • Flipkart Ideas will offer reviews and guides under 14 key interest areas including fashion, health and fitness, gadgets, food and nutrition and others
  • Myntra already has 35 per cent products in video catalogue format; it also has a reality show for fashion influencers
  • Both are  targeting the mobile-first users of the internet

     


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