Kishore Thota , Head of Consumer Marketing , Amazon India's
In India's ever-evolving e-commerce space, competition is cut-throat. Key players such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal vie for every iota of opportunity to outnumber and outsmart each other. Deep discounts, innovative ad campaigns and flash sales have become go-to methods for consumer traction, gaining immense popularity among India's growing number of Online shoppers.
In an exclusive interview, India Digital Review's Romit Bhattacharyya quizzed Amazon India's Head of Consumer Marketing, Kishore Thota, on the global e-commerce giant's India operations, its take on digital marketing and social media campaigns, future plans and more.
Q. How fruitful is digital marketing in a country like India?
Digital marketing is an ongoing activity for us. We have been at the forefront of innovating social media interactions, and we will continue to do so in future. We work backwards from the customer, and we would like to be where our customers are - be it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, blogs, et all. We index very high on traffic from digital channels, which is the highest in the e-commerce industry.
Q. How much importance does Amazon attach to the social media platforms when it comes to marketing?
The Amazon Associates Program is an example of bringing about social media interaction in an innovative manner. It is the internet’s oldest affiliate marketing program and lets users earn money by advertising Amazon products. When website owners and bloggers who are Associates create links and customers click through those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn referral fees that can be up to 15% of the product value. In less than a year of its launch in India, the Program has attracted several thousands of registered associates. For most of our partners in this segment, Amazon is among the top 3 merchants by revenue. We incentivize these partners by giving them access to product data feeds, and offering them promotional fee hikes tied to their performance. We also share the best deals and promotions from across Amazon.in with these partners on a daily basis. In the current scenario, a significant number of online shoppers visit PC/DnC sites to check for prices and deals before making a purchase. Our presence on these sites gives us increased visibility with customers, who have strong purchase intent.
Apart from the above, we also make a lot of options available to the customers. Our campaigns are based on having fun and creating engaging activities for our customers. Content is what people engage in, and we continue to invest in this area to make it interesting, engaging and relevant for users.
Q. What is Amazon's total budget for marketing and promotions? How much of it is for digital?
As a company policy, we do not share such information.
Q. What is your most favoured mode of advertisement and why, especially during peak periods like festivals?
Shopping online is a relatively new phenomenon for a majority of Indians. And as part of our plans to design relevant campaigns for potential customers across the country, one of the key insights that emerged from customer research was uncertainty on the online shopping experience. We have tried to reassure our customers of a trustworthy and reliable shopping experience with Amazon.in by using the much-widely understood and generic term of 'HokeBefikar'.
By advertising, we intend to generate awareness with a focus on customers in smaller towns and cities. And, not just about the offers available on our platform but also the massive selection available, and the seamless delivery experience that are equally important for the customers, who are shopping their favourite products during the festive season.
Q. Does Amazon have any plan to go app-only or launch something like Amazon Lite similar to some of its rivals in India?
There is no doubt on how important mobile has become today. Not only is there a sharp increase in customers via mobile and the app, but it is also the quantum of shopping and repeat customer rate that is significant. Over 70% of our traffic comes through mobile phones, and there is a steady increase in customers, quantum of shopping and repeat customer rate on our app month-on-month. This is only expected to grow northwards.
Therefore, we are focused on a light app, low page loading rates and payments to continually enhance customer experience. Today, all our development and innovation is app-first and it will continue to be our flagship experience. However, as a customer-obsessed company we will enable our customers to shop anytime, anywhere and anyway they want, including a mobile and a desktop site. And more importantly, our innovations like DASH and ECHO clearly illustrate that this space will continue to evolve. The way we humans interact with technology is rapidly changing, so mobile app is just one exciting area.
Q. What are the plans to expand product line in India in the immediate future?
Amazon.in announced the expansion of its Consumer Electronics store with the launch of AmazonBasics. AmazonBasics offers a range of quality digital and home accessories for customers, who want value and quality.
Launched in the USA in 2009, AmazonBasics products are available across most of Amazon’s global marketplaces. At launch, the AmazonBasics line in India currently includes products like Apple-certified lightning cables, data cables for Android devices, audio video cables and adapters.
Going ahead, the product line will be rapidly expanded to reflect the global selection.