May 9, 2014

How to Localize in India the Right Way

Posted by Frannie Jackson Category IconConversions & UX Category IconInternational


More than just translating your website and converting currencies, localization is crucial to any e-commerce merchant looking to expand globally. But what does successful localization in actionlook like? Let’s take a look at India.

Launched in June of last year, Amazon India is already revolutionizing e-commerce in the country. From operating a culturally-specific apparel store to partnering with local businesses for delivery options, the company has effortlessly embraced Indian localization. Here are three ways Amazon India gets it right:

Embrace the Culture

An important component of localization is recognizing the unique tastes of a country’s consumers. An obvious example of this in India is clothing, from the inhabitant’s traditional sarees to salwar suits.

Amazon India observed this cultural preference and developed it into a huge e-commerce venture: The Ethnic Store. Launched at the end of April, The Ethnic Store offers 12,000 contemporary and traditional clothing styles for women from 90 native brands. From private labels to national retailers, Amazon India’s decision to partner with familiar brands ensures that customers are comfortable with their options, while also offering customers outside of big cities access to the more exclusive labels.

The Ethnic Store offer both contemporary and traditional Indian clothing styles.

To get their store off to a successful start, Amazon India took three intelligent steps:

1. Offering free 2-day delivery and 40% off select merchandise for a limited time. This move gave customers both an incentive to make purchases through Amazon India, rather than its competitors, and the urgency to shop before the deal ends.

2. Curating apparel collections: Following hip trends, Amazon India created collections of clothing across a wide price range, including “Vintage Glam,” “Art from the Loom,” and “Summer Brights.”

Creating a apparel collection can help customers find what they want.

3. More to Explore: At the bottom of The Ethnic Store homepage, they’ve also curated ethnic jewelry, footwear, and bag collections. It’s a win-win: customers get to accessorize their new apparel and Amazon India encourages up/cross-sell purchases of pre-existing products on the site.

Know Your Native Competitors

Flipkart, one of the top 10 websites in India and the company credited for increasing e-commerce’s popularity in the country, is one of Amazon India’s key competitors. Unhampered by FDI Bans as a native company, Flipkart isn’t limited to functioning as a third-party marketplace like Amazon India. With its impressive gross of $1 billion in 2013, compared to Amazon India’s estimated $200 million, Flipkart leaves Amazon India at a significant disadvantage. What can you do when faced with such a powerful competitor? Offer your customers solutions to your competitor’s problems.

Flipart, one of Amazaon India's key competitors, as they have similar business model.

Enter Self Service Registration (SSR). Amazon India recognized merchants’ frustration with Flipkart’s two-week-long process of approving merchants’ products for sale, so they created a simpler option. SSR allows merchants to register with Amazon India and sell their products on the same day – regardless of their location or catalogue density. Within a couple days of SSR’s launch, thousands of new merchants had registered with the company.

Partner with Local Networks

Amazon India revolutionized its shipping options by establishing a kirana store pick-up service. Kirana stores, small neighborhood shops selling groceries, candies, toiletries, newspapers, tobacco, etc., have been a staple of Indian commerce for decades. Instead of viewing these mom and pop shops as competitors, Amazon India chose to partner with them.

Amit Agarwal, Amazon India country head, explains, “We have identified and trained staff at small kiosks and stores, run by individual entrepreneurs, to be our shipment pick-up points.” Missing ingredients for tonight’s dinner? You can order them through Amazon India while you’re at work, and then pick them up from a local shop on your way home! Although it’s only available in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore at this stage, Amazon India hopes to expand the service in the future.

Access 2Checkout’s free e-book Six Strategies to Localize Your Site For a Global Audience to learn about the best ways to expand your site to new geographies and cultures.