Tag Archives: ecommerce

Amazon Expands in India Using Hindi Language

Amazon recently hit the one trillion dollar mark in valuation – quite an accomplishment and it puts the company in rarified air. The path to the valuation has not been easy, or fast. Expansion into different services and countries were essential.

Amazon now operates in more than a dozen different countries, including India. India presents a very specific challenge to all of the companies that are operating within its borders; roughly only 10 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens understand English. In effect, this limits the access to online shopping to a majority of the Indian people.

Amazon aims to fix this situation in India. It recently stated that it will make mobile websites and apps available in Hindi – India’s most popular language. Similar to how U.S. citizens can select Spanish as their language of choice, users of the India app will be able to choose Hindi as their preferred language. Although Amazon is the second largest player in India’s multi-billion dollar e-commerce market, the English language is not sufficient to reach the country’s customers.

The task is a difficult one. Using a translation algorithm was insufficient and a far cry from the language and cultural translations that are needed to gain customers’ trust. Only 40% of Indian customers use ecommerce, and of those, roughly one-third only make a single purchase. Amazon also has 14,000 retail locations across India as part of its Amazon Easy program; this allows a local shopkeeper to help customers place orders, receive packages, and deliver them.

The push to Indian languages will be key to gaining new Internet users over the next few years. Research studies forecast that by 2021, 536 million Indians will use their native languages to access the Internet.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Ask students about their experiences at Amazon. What works, doesn’t work?
  2. Poll students: What are some of the challenges and barriers Amazon faces as it expands into India?
  3. View Amazon’s India site: https://www.amazon.in
  4. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a SWOT for Amazon in India.
  6. What are the issues and risks?

Source:  New York Times, CNN, other news sources

 

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Fund-Raising with Healthy Options

We can usually tell when it is fund-raising season for schools and sports. Kids stop by houses and businesses, selling chocolate bars and other items to help fund a variety of programs and causes. And, although we happily buy and eat the candy, there can be some regrets over the empty calories, and the lack of sales going to local businesses. Wouldn’t it be better to offer healthy alternatives, and support local businesses? Of course! Enter a new company: FarmRaiser – connects fundraising groups with local products and foods.

FarmRaiser was founded in Michigan with a mission to connect local farmers and food artisans with schools, athletic teams, bands, and other causes. Vendors must meet standards for sustainable practices, and artisan products that do NOT list sugar as the first ingredient are welcome. The company states that “if a product has more than five or six ingredients, and if any of them are ones your grandma wouldn’t recognize it doesn’t make the cut.”

Campaigns are customized by working with a FarmRaiser “cultivator” to help determine fund-raiser goals, local products, and vendors. Each campaign also gets its own Web page on FarmRaiser.com. The company estimates that 85% of funds raised stays in the community; the average profit margin is 53% for the groups. The process is straightforward: once the cause is registered, FarmRaiser helps create a custom online and mobile market. At the end of the sale period, students help distribute the produce and products to their customers. Groups can choose various products and goods from multiple regions. Try combining Michigan cherries, with Texas Salsa.

What sounds good to you?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the fundraising activities that students might have done. Discuss what was it about, proceeds, products, process, etc.
  2. Introduce the topic of changing the product mix and sales process.
  3. Show a video about the company: https://vimeo.com/147806697
  4. Show Web site: https://www.farmraiser.com/
  5. Divide students into team. Have each team select a cause and develop a product set.
  6. Set SMART objectives for the company.

Source: Rieth, D. (Summer 2018). Home field advantage. Edible Michiana.

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Amazon’s Private Label Brands

 

Everyone wants a deal when shopping, particularly when shopping for basic products that are consumed frequently. That’s a good time to look at private label brands offered by different retailers. Unlike the big branded product (which are usually priced at a premium to consumers) store brands are sold only by that retailer and are priced lower. Private brands have a lower advertising costs; the advertising costs are minimum as the product is associated with the stronger brand name of the retailer.

Walmart, Target, Costco, Amazon, and other retailers all have popular store brands, sold exclusively by the retailer and at a lower price than national brands. One of Amazon’s big advantages though is its own data about how, and for what, its customers shop.

Amazon started into private label brands in 2009 with a number of products sold under the “AmazonBasics” brand. The company has steadily been expanded its offerings and has had good success. Case in point: The AmazonBasics battery line, priced nearly 30% lower than national big brands, now accounts for close to one-third of Amazon’s online battery sales.

Amazon has expanded its efforts and now has roughly 100 private label brands. As another incentive to shop the Amazon labels, certain of the products can only be purchased by Prime members.

A few Amazon brand examples:

  • Spotted Zebra – kids clothing
  • Good Brief – men’s underwear
  • Wag – dog food
  • Rivet – home furnishings
  • Lark & Ro – dresses
  • Goodthreads – clothing

Go ahead – do a generic product search and see what shows up. See if you prefer private brands.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding in marketing, and the expense of branding.
  2. Discuss the advantages of private, store brands.
  3. Poll students: How many store brands can they name?
  4. Have students open laptops and phones. Go to Amazon.com and type “batteries.”
  5. What are the results? (Note sponsored content and advertising.)
  6. How should the private brands be marketed?

Source: Creswell, J. (23 June, 2018). How Amazon steers shoppers to its own products. New York Times.

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