Amazon's campaign uses print, television and digital media to tell stories about the sellers that use the platform to earn a living.
Some customers who shopped during Amazon’s Great Indian Festival discovered something unusual on their delivery box. They received their orders in boxes that bore QR codes of stories and a photo of the seller. Scanning the QR code led a customer to seller stories - a section on the Amazon India site and app. The stories in essence, talk about the background of small and medium businesses who are trying to make a living through Amazon. The e-retailer has over half a million sellers on its marketplace in India. With an intent to highlight some of their stories to customers, Amazon India has rolled out Amazon Storyboxes.
A press release states that Amazon has used this element to bring sellers to the forefront of their marketplace in India and to create a deeper connect with customers. The Storybox features the stories of Amazon sellers who created an impact on society through their businesses. The campaign idea #IAmAmazon stems from the insight that we look for what’s inside the delivered box but are mostly unaware of who is behind these boxes. Lakhs of customers have received the first set of Amazon Storyboxes when they shopped during the recent Great Indian Festival.
The StoryBoxes have an interactive feature that enables customers to directly scan the seller's face on the box and land on a dedicated microsite that hosts multiple stories. The entire face illustration is a scannable asset (created from QR code elements) that has been created specifically for this campaign. Customers can read the seller stories on the box or scan the image/ use the Storyboxes URL to explore multiple other stories. The microsite also hosts a contest for customers who have received Storyboxes this festive season.
Speaking about the campaign, Gopal Pillai, vice president, Seller Services, Amazon India, said, “Sellers are a key part of the Amazon flywheel. We have over five lakh small businesses, artisans, women entrepreneurs, and emerging brands selling on our marketplace and every Amazon seller has a unique story behind their success. With Storyboxes, we wanted to bring these stories to life.”
There are six stories of sellers that have been captured on the boxes as part of Storyboxes. They include the likes of Rani Ravindran (Ravindran Silk Cotton) who represents sellers from distant parts of the country and who have tasted success through selling online. A homemaker and mother, Rani sells wooden toys and cotton pillows on Amazon, and she is fondly known as Periyakulam’s first Amazon seller.
“The moment I received the Storybox with my own story on it, my happiness knew no bounds. I received many phone calls congratulating me in and around Periyakulam, and also asking me to help them to become an Amazon Seller. This initiative has truly given me a sense of great self-worth, over and above taking my story to lakhs of households in India,” says Ravindran.
Manish Chowdhary, co-founder, WOW Skin Science, who has been associated with Amazon since 2014, says, “We cannot appreciate this enough and take great pride in stating that 'we are a brand born on Amazon'. Amazon has been the platform that has helped us succeed in the beauty and wellness markets in India and the US. The Storyboxes initiative helps customer-focused beauty brands like us to connect with our buyers in real terms. While we have the option of interacting with our customers through the reviews, there was no way they could know about what goes behind the scenes of a brand like us. While bringing our brand closer to the customer, I also hope that Amazon Storyboxes and my story will inspire many more entrepreneurs to follow their passion and connect with their customers."
The contest that ran as part of the campaign invited users to upload photos on social media channels and stand a chance to win Amazon Echo speakers and gift vouchers.
Below is a collection of photos of Amazon's Storyboxes.
Divya Karani, CEO of dentsu X feels the campaign is a brilliant, simple yet insightful initiative from Amazon. "Purchase is not the end goal of the consumer journey but the beginning of a relationship. As with all relationships, brands and consumers knowing each other, and knowing what resonates with each other is all for a greater good. Brands that reach out with authentic purpose-led goals reap dividends for their constituents, for themselves and society at large," she says.
She points out that ideas like Storybox open a door to one-on-one communication. "Consumers get to know the seller, his story, his success journey and in the end, how Amazon was instrumental in enabling all of it. People love to read genuine, inspiring stories that have a dose of positivity. It imparts pride of ownership, brings tangible value to the relationship.
Akanksha Patankar Mirji, a brand consultant feels that the campaign was well thought out and executed. "What Amazon does with this campaign is focus on authentic storytelling. This is something that worries consumers when it comes to advertising - the authenticity of the information being shared," she says.
She takes the example of a seller who specialises in a particular art form - Rogan art. "They're drawing attention to the sellers and trying to create a connection, instead of solely focusing on the consumers. Here, you don't even need a creative to support the campaign because the idea is so strong. Your creative is actually the product that you've received in the box. The packaging can be used across various mediums too to tell a story," she explains.
Amazon has been running ads on print, television and digital mediums to support this campaign.
She adds that it's a nice touch that the stories are in languages that the customer is comfortable with - since most of the buyers and sellers on Amazon India are not necessarily native English speakers.
Anand Chakravarthy of Essence however, feels that the effort is a convoluted one because he's not sure what the brand is trying to achieve with this initiative. "By attaching a contest with it, you're in a way, forcing the consumer to interact with the package and that defeats the purpose - to build a relationship," he says.
"It's a bold initiative, no doubt about it, but packaging design is a science. Brands like Paper Boat and Indigo have really nailed the packaging game. If you're on an Indigo flight and even if you order a sandwich, that packaging will contain some information or a joke of sorts," he says. He opines that scanning a QR code is something that a more evolved consumer would do and the rest would be more eager to get to the actual product that they ordered, beneath the packaging.