Ask a girl to share a few thoughts about this and she’ll present you with a thesis. Yes, we are talking about the ‘S’ word. Shopping is, and will always be, most women’s first love. Being a girl and not being fond of parading the shopping malls with your girl-gang comes with its’ own challenges! ‘Therapeutic’, as some might call, I prefer the word ‘Traumatic’. But then came an era of digitalization and brought with it a revolutionary concept called online shopping. And I found my solace! I am not going to bore you with the details of how online shopping changes our life. We all know the benefits it offers. But as you venture into the alleys of different online shopping portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong and the rest of them, there is someone who is constantly noticing you. Keeping a close check, observing your likes and your dislikes. And before you know it, the items from your shopping cart start popping up on your social media accounts as ‘suggestions’. Surely, a lot of you must have experienced this. The items that you look for, on these shopping websites, magically appear everywhere you go, be it Facebook or Instagram.
The probable marketing strategy here is to show a person what he/she wants, as many times as possible, until they end up buying it. They are the ‘influencers’ who aid your buying decisions – the consumer behavior analysts. But there happens to be a thin line between influencing and ‘spamming’. And I believe they have certainly crossed that line. I say this because the level of intrusion from these digital demigods have been on the rise. And today, as I open my Instagram account, the first thing I see is the sponsored ad by the same company I bought my last t-shirt from, before I can see my friend’s pictures from his Himachal trip. I log in to my Facebook account and I see posts from Amazon, prompting me to buy those two Neil Gaiman books which I added to my cart last week, at a 25% discounted rate.
Listen, discounts I love, but what’s with this spamming, Amazon? Not cool! Online shopping is like leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs – they find their way to you. And like hawkers from Mumbai’s Fashion Street, they run behind you asking you to visit their shop because they have exactly what you need, at a price you would happily pay. Social media, which was initially meant to connect one person to another, now plays a role of connecting brands to the consumers, converting a person into a potential consumer. Sure, I believe that social media has a major influence on our buying decisions. But the constant prompting and spamming definitely puts me off.