The Dalal Street in Mumbai was converted into a Startup street this Saturday with TechSparks Mumbai hitting the town. There were tracks across the domains but one that raised some interesting questions around eCommerce was the “Storytelling as a powerful tool for brand creation” by Sussane Khan and Preeta Sukhtankar. Brainchild of Preeta, The Label Corp is an e-commerce company in India that taps into the expertise of celebrities and aims to build India’s first “editorial” e-commerce brand. It has three brands called The Home Label with Suzanne Khan, The Closet Label with Malaika Arora Khan and The Trunk Label with Bipasha Basu.Yes, they’ve got all the big names in the industry and it gives an instant reach but there is a story behind it and their way of eCommerce has a few lessons for niche eCommerce companies. Preeta has been in the media and branding space which helped her in building a network which she could leverage on starting up. In an earlier interview, Preeta had told us, “I believe that content is disguised form of marketing. They go hand in hand.” This statement says a lot about how an eCommerce company can be built, how carving a story around a product can attach so much more value to it and make it special for the customer. (There is also a clarification though- storytelling is not a way of deceiving users to buy. It is more of a process that naturally builds when you cherish your products you have and present them in a certain way.)Product, Packaging and ContentPreeta and Sussane narrated the story of Maya- a young, trendy and independent Delhi woman who has a taste. The Label Corp identifies with the needs and wants of Maya, and position the product accordingly. They know their market and the fact makes it easier to tailor make products.In the grander scheme of things as well, India is at a juncture where the eCommerce industry is well into the consolidation phase and it makes more sense to go with niche eCommerce. When you know an audience, building a community, reaching out to them and measuring marketing spend becomes easier. (The Label Corp is not typically a niche eCommerce company as it deals in the wider spectrum of apparel and is more of an exploration to find ways in which a woman can buy better online)Once you’ve decided to walk the eCommerce line, the product, packaging and content becomes extremely important. The Label Corp shared an example about an old, rusted vase like product they have which is positioned as a premium rustic iron dinner table accessory. There is a market for such products. To take a different example, if you’re into music related products, you can package them on a theme or show a different use case for a particular instrument and package it accordingly.The other part alongside packaging would be the content. Closely interwoven, building a story around the product is a key. Different mediums have come in and using them intelligently to reach out to the target market can help a lot. The Label Corp has made videos around products or just the feel of range of products. For companies in other sectors, say fitness, content can be generated about ‘how to do a particular exercise’ which will embed a brand message alongside. The key is to provide value to your customers.The Label Corp had some insightful takeaways and I’m sure there would be many more insights with other players in the niche eCommerce space. Do share them with us in the comments.A big thanks to all the sponsors and partners for supporting TechSparks 2014 – , s, , , , , , , and .
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