There are two ways to look at some of the ecommerce advertisements on television these days that emphasise the genuineness of items sold. One way is to look at the need for it, because the impersonal nature of an online transaction – no Uncle-ji over the counter to tell you “beta, pasand na aaye to wapas kar dena” – does not inspire confidence.
That lack of trust can be seen in the one unique feature of Indian e-commerce: cash on delivery. A lot of people do not want to see money going out of their account or credit card into a backlit screen, and twiddle their thumbs as they wait for the delivery.
The second way of assessing the you-can-trust-us advertising is that it’s not much use at present. Few care a damn about the genuineness of quality. Most care about the discount, or the ‘deal’ on offer.
Look at the HT-MaRS smartphone survey. Even though e-commerce is in a nascent stage in the country, with people still discovering its nuances, 47% of the respondents to the survey said they browse many sites when looking to buy a product.
Why, you might ask. The answer lies in another data. To 39%, a lower price is the biggest factor in buying online. Naturally, they have to look at different sites to compare prices. Add to that the 17% that go for mega-discounts on special days, and another 17% that go for attractive offers that are exclusive to online.
On the other hand, a mere 2.36% care about genuine quality guarantee.
So which way should one look at it? Is there a pressing need to advertise the quality to take the focus away from discounts? That’ll serve the companies well. Or, will it be right to ignore the quality because not many care about it?
As usual, there are no easy answers in advertising.