The Missing Link: Amazon.sa & Influencer Marketing
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Designing a strategic recommendation for Amazon.sa by creating an influencer marketing strategy

Chris Verheem, Mitchell Stanford, Sam Bartlett

 
KEYWORDS

Critical Thinking, Operations, Prototyping, Systems Thinking, User Experience

Project

Amazon.sa currently offers an affiliate program, Amazon Associates, which rewards sales commissions to partnering influencers for linking products to their Amazon profile pages from their original content. Our proposal is to better utilize Amazon Associates by partnering with influencers that represent the “underutilized” categories that we mentioned above by directly reaching out to them versus relying on them to sign up to be an Amazon Associate. Amazon will in-turn send them Amazon products, and the influencers will point people to their Amazon profile page to purchase the products.

Additionally, these influencers' profile pages would be showcased on the Amazon homepage, showing influencers that align with Amazon users personal interests. Finally, we proposed a modified design of the existing Amazon influencer profile page, making it look more like a social media page.

 
challenge 

After extensive digital ethnography on the e-commerce landscape of Saudi Arabia by analyzing platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram, we found 3 major consumer problems (opportunities) that Amazon could capitalize on. First, many Saudi consumers view Amazon.sa as a rewrap of the recently acquired Souq marketplace, which had a reputation of being unreliable and untrustworthy. Second, Amazon.sa’s local competitor, Noon, markets themself as “From here, for here”, in direct contrast with what Amazon is - a global corporation. And finally, there are “under-utlized” categories on Amazon - Products that aren’t regularly browsed and are now seeing a decrease in purchasing in a world transitioning to normalcy from a global pandemic. Another challenge from our brief was increasing engagement from Gen-Z consumers and shifting the culture of online shopping. From these challenges we developed our guiding question - What solution gives Amazon validity, trust, and connection to the Saudi community?

 
Outcome
 

We sought to address the list of opportunities that we identified during our research: Linking local Saudi or Middle Eastern influencers to the Amazon brand creates trust and authenticity between consumers and Amazon.sa. It also allows for Amazon to target specific demographics (like Gen Z) and product categories by leveraging industry specific influencers.

Our recommendation provides immediate value and return on investment to Amazon.sa and lays the foundation for Amazon Associates to grow into something much bigger. Amazon users would be able to find their favorite influencers through the Amazon search bar and follow their Affiliate Pages, and for the influencers, could become an integral part of their brands alongside their Instagrams, Twitters, and other social platforms. An enhanced affiliate network is Amazon’s opportunity to become the familiar and reliable face of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia, serving the wants and needs of their communities.

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