Rivals depend on deep discounts but Amazon seems to be banking on a vast store of products, apart from everyday low prices, to attract India's online shoppers.
In a nascent market like India where vast potential sits alongside challenges like taxation and regulation issues and ambiguity over foreign direct investment in B2C e-commerce, Amazon is expanding its supplier and sales base rapidly by putting its global experience to good use.
In an exclusive chat with Firstpost on Amazon's second anniversary in India, Managing Director Amit Agarwal claims it is the largest online store with over 22 million products and the largest number of in-stock items for selection for next day delivery at over seven lakh. He says Amazon wants to transform the way India buys and sells - something obviously others like Snapdeal and Flipkart have also obviously made their mission. So what is Amazon doing differently from competition?
On Delivery: Guaranteed same-day delivery now available in more than 20 cities. Amazon has also recently begun a pilot in Bengaluru for 90-minute delivery of everyday essentials. The pilot has been launched with five kirana stores and is called KirananNow. Agarwal says kirana stores benefit too as Amazon becomes an additional source of income for them and gives a better utilization of their free time. Independent grocery stores benefit from Amazon’s marketplace traffic and existing customer base.
On Pickup: Amazon Pickup is designed to strengthen last mile delivery. The initiative puts to use any available physical rentable space-a store, office, garage, house or even a van as a point of exchange for Amazon packages. Customers can have their package delivered at any designated pickup point and can pick up or return the package as per their convenience at any of these pickup points. This program was started last year in Bengaluru with 20 small stores and now is done in over 1000 points spread across 50 cities. Apart from the major metros, Amazon Pickup is running in several Tier II cities like Tuticorin, Rajkot, Vijaywada, Tanjore, Belgaum, Kolhapur, Trichy, Manipal, Salem and Ludhiana.
On Sellers: Amazon Business.in is a member only website that offers frequently purchased business supplies and products in bulk quantities at wholesale prices to small and medium businesses including small office and home offices, kirana stores, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. AmazonBusiness.in is being piloted in Bengaluru and in the past two weeks our team has received hundreds of registration requests from businesses customers based in Bengaluru and thousands of queries from businesses all over the country
On Global Selling: Agarwal says soon the company will allow Indian businesses to list on global platforms Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. And it has already launched its Global Selling Program in India through two products - Selling on Amazon (SOA) and Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to businesses of all sizes and scale to go Global and showcase their ‘Made in India’ creations. Initial focus categories are Apparel, Home Furnishing (including Indian Handicrafts), Jewelry, Books, Collectibles, Sporting Goods, Handbags, Shoes and Health and Beauty products. We will eventually add more categories to further promote products that are ‘Made in India’.
On FDI: Amazon is a strong votary of opening up FDI restrictions in B2C e-commerce and Agarwal minces no words when he says opening up will help two of the Government's pet initiatives on Digital India and Make in India. He says this will allow Amazon to directly source from small and medium manufacturers in India.
On competition: To a question on whether the competition is getting tougher in India, Agarwal says Amazon is focused on the customer. "it is early.... and our approach is customer obsessed. Competition's might not be". He also dismisses criticism from sellers about Amazon having undue bias away from them and towards the customer, saying sellers on Amazon who are successful are happy with its customer centric approach. "Such sellers have lesser customer centric issues. All those sellers who are unable to provide the best customer experience will always be unhappy".
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Updated Date: Jun 05, 2015 14:23:43 IST