India has figured prominently in Amazon Inc. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ annual address to shareholders.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos pointed out how the company’s India unit is persuading wary small businessmen across the country to sell their products online through Amazon.
This is also the first time since the Government announced 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce marketplace last week that the US major has backed the business format followed in India.
While Amazon is known primarily for its inventory-led model, it operates marketplace in India to adhere to policy guidelines.
Jeff Bezos’ letter to shareowners
“India is another example of how we globalize an offering like Marketplace through customer obsession and a passion for invention. Last year we ran a program called Amazon Chai Cart where we deployed three-wheeled mobile carts to navigate in a city’s business districts, serve tea, water and lemon juice to small business owners and teach them about selling online. In a period of four months, the team traveled 15,280 km across 31 cities, served 37,200 cups of tea and engaged with over 10,000 sellers. Through this program and other conversations with sellers, we found out there was a lot of interest in selling online, but that sellers struggled with the belief that the process was time-consuming, tedious and complex. So, we invented Amazon Tatkal, which enables small businesses to get online in less than 60 minutes. Amazon Tatkal is a specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms. Since its launch on February 17th, we have reached sellers in 25 cities,” Bezos wrote.
“We’re also globalizing Fulfillment by Amazon, adapting the service to local customer needs. In India, we launched a program called Seller Flex to combine Amazon’s logistics capabilities with sellers’ selection at the local neighborhood level. Sellers set aside a part of their warehouse for storing items to be sold on Amazon, and we configure it as a fulfillment center in our network that can receive and fulfill customer orders. Our team provides guidance on warehouse layout, IT and operational infrastructure, and trains the seller on standard operating procedures to be followed onsite. We’ve now launched 25 operational Seller Flex sites across ten cities,” the letter further read.
Amazon Tatkal, which was launched on 17 February, allows small businesses to get online in less than an hour.
It is a mobile training studio that offers a bunch of online launch tools including seller registration, imaging and cataloguing services and basic training tools.
Amazon, which announced an investment of $2 billion in July 2014 for the India market and is competing with Sachin Bansal-led Flipkart for marketshare, is extremely bullish on the country.