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'Buy local' emerges as flavour of festive season as companies promote small biz

A screenshot from Amazon India's campaign promoting local sellers. Digital platforms are seen heavily promoting small businesses. Experts say Google, Amazon and Facebook are using emotion-laden advertising to motivate consumers to shop local and support these businesses.Premium
A screenshot from Amazon India's campaign promoting local sellers. Digital platforms are seen heavily promoting small businesses. Experts say Google, Amazon and Facebook are using emotion-laden advertising to motivate consumers to shop local and support these businesses.

  • While Google has been running a television campaign about discovering small businesses, Instagram has partnered with Kareena Kapoor Khan to promote small and medium businesses. Also, a part of Amazon India's festive campaign has been created around supporting local businesses this Diwali.

New Delhi: "Buy local" seems to be the key theme this festive season as digital platforms are seen heavily promoting small businesses. Google, for instance, has been running television campaign about discovering small businesses through search while Instagram has partnered with Kareena Kapoor Khan to promote small and medium businesses (SMBs) on the photo sharing platform. A part of Amazon India festive campaign has been created around supporting local businesses and karigars (craftsmen) this Diwali as its ads urge customers to buy local.

"Hyperlocal marketing, as a trend, has been amplified this year owing to the pandemic-related challenges faced by small businesses. Google, Amazon and Facebook are using emotion-laden advertising to motivate consumers to shop local and support these businesses. However, both these platforms have already done immense groundwork to bring local businesses online," said Shradha Agarwal, strategy head and COO, Grapes Digital, an integrated communications agency.

In its "Great Indian Sellers" campaign, e-commerce platform Amazon India features a variety of sellers from across the country selling saris, brass plates, decorative lights and sweets during the festive season. It urges customers to buy from local sellers and support them. The platform has also leveraged social media influencers to promote locally made handicrafts, decor items and apparel.

Manish Tiwary, vice-president, Amazon India, said that this year the company's focus remains helping sellers as they get back on their feet.

"These include more than 650,000 sellers and SMBs, including artisans, women entrepreneurs, emerging Indian brands and local store owners from programmes like Karigar, Saheli, Launchpad and Local Shops. At the same time, we want to help customers find everything they need— from the latest mobile phone to groceries and get them delivered safely to their homes," he added.

Google has been promoting Make Small Strong campaign in which customers are shown appreciating customized products purchased from local businesses.

“The most pressing need though is on the consumer demand side, and to aid that we have launched a nation-wide campaign ‘Make Small Strong’ urging citizens to support small businesses by buying locally, leaving reviews and ratings and promoting their favourite retailers on social media to help generate demand for these businesses," said Shalini Girish, customer solutions director at Google India.

The call to go local has resonated with netizens with #handmade, #vocalforlocal, #giftideas and #onlineshopping emerging as the top trending hashtags on Facebook as part of the Diwali related conversations by users since 20 October. Facebook and Instagram works with a variety of small businesses across categories.

In its "Festive Playbook" report, the social media firm said Facebook and Instagram influence nearly 80% of festive purchase decisions made by millennials. Virtual experiences and "made-for-social" videos inspire action among festive shoppers and more than half of festive shoppers post or watch videos on their social media feeds. Influencers and vernacular content resonate with festive shoppers with 46% apparel consumers admitting to being impacted by videos posted by influencers during the festive season.

"Small businesses are growing across our platforms with social commerce picking up in a big way in India. Our aim is to offer them support and guidance around using our various ad formats to showcase their products and better engage with the customers," said Archana Vohra, director, small and medium businesses, Facebook India.

Meanwhile, brands such as Cadbury and Titan have also created special campaigns to promote local businesses which have been severely impacted due to the ongoing pandemic. India has over 60 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and some estimates suggest that between 10-15% of them could wind up during the year. Crisil Ltd, an analytics company, in a recent report titled The Epicentre Of An Existential Crisis stated that the MSME sector’s revenue growth is seen plunging 17-21% in 2020-21. Operating margins, consequently, will shrink.

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