hiddenApr 07, 2014 14:47:31 IST
By Sindhu Bhattacharya
Suddenly, the Indian e-commerce market is red hot. Homegrown biggy Flipkart may be looking to acquire fashion retailer Myntra; Snapdeal is cozying up to eBay. The e-commerce market is expanding at an astounding pace even as the government hems and haws over FDI in B2C e-commerce trade. Amid all this action, the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon, is quietly ramping up Indian operations.
Though two ex-Amazon employees - the Bansals of Flipkart - have already built a formidable Indian rival, Amazon has apparently surpassed everyone within just 10 months of setting shop in India. E-commerce companies are offering everything an Indian consumer could possibly want, such as choice of payment on delivery, same-day delivery or delivery the very next day. These companies are also helping small retailers dream big by getting them export buyers.
The most vociferous critics of foreign retail firms' arrival in India, owners of mom & pop stores in India, have already bowed to the inevitable and joined hands with eBay. Amit Agarwal, VP & country manager, Amazon India, tells Firstbiz that Amazon is now selling 15 million products across 20 product categories. That makes Amazon bigger than Flipkart as well as Snapdeal. According to a recent report in the Business Standard, Flipkart is selling close to 10 million products. Agarwal says Amazon is running a same-day delivery pilot in Mumbai and that allowing FDI in B2C e-commerce can only help every stakeholder. Excerpts:
FB: Which items are the fastest selling and which account for the largest chunk of your turnover?
Agarwal: As a matter of policy, we don’t share any financial information. But I can tell you that, we are absolutely thrilled with the response that we have received so far both from customers as well as sellers on the platform.Today on Amazon, we have a selection of over 15 million products across 20 product categories that include books, movies and TV shows; Kindle devices, tablets and eBooks; computers & accessories; mobiles & accessories; consumer electronics; toys & games; baby products; personal care appliances; health care devices; watches; fashion jewellery; home and kitchen; beauty products; video games; music; luggage & bags; handbags & clutches and sports, fitness & outdoor equipment.
We have witnessed phenomenal selection growth across several categories and are already the largest store in several categories including books, music, video games, toys, home & kitchen, luggage and bags, and fashion jewelry.
We were the first ones in India to introduce guaranteed ‘One-Day Delivery’ service for items fulfilled by Amazon. Within a short time we have been able to make available over 165,000 products for next day delivery across hundreds of pin codes in India. More than 50 percent of our customer demand is already eligible for next-day shipping on products fulfilled by Amazon.
We launched the Amazon.in shopping app, making it convenient for customers to shop from anywhere and are very excited that India is already the fastest growing marketplace on mobile for Amazon.
FB: Is Amazon looking to add key product categories like apparel to its portfolio? Which new product categories will be added, by when?
Agarwal: Our vision is to help consumers find, discover and buy anything and everything. As such customers should expect us to continuously expand selection in existing categories and add new categories. You will have to stay tuned for specific launch plans.
FB: Retail experts have estimated that Amazon will reach a $1 billion within 12 months. Correct?
Agarwal: As a matter of policy, we do not share any forward looking numbers or statements.
FB: In how many cities in India is Amazon able to do same-day deliveries and how many more will be added? Do same-day deliveries happen for all product categories?
Agarwal: We are running a pilot on same day delivery for our customers in Mumbai. This is a step further in our continual effort to deliver products to our customers fast and reliably. We will make further announcement on this at an appropriate time.
FB: If the government decides to continue the ban on FDI in B2C e-commerce in India, will this decision hurt Amazon's India growth prospects? There are many reports of at least one prominent political party preparing to even reverse the partial FDI in brick and mortar retail trade.
Agarwal: We cannot comment on any future events...However, we believe opening up this sector to FDI will be good for consumers and Indian businesses as it would allow us to partner with local manufacturers to source products not carried by other sellers in the marketplace, giving Indian consumers unique and wider choices at lower prices. Allowing FDI will also positively impact infrastructure development in the country.
This story was first published on FirstBiz
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