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Amazon gears up for festive season; introduces ‘Select’ to help sellers grow

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This year, has announced its biggest festive celebration ‘Great Indian Festival’ through a unique Amazon Festive Home showcase. Like last year, the festival – from October 10-15, 2018 – will begin early for Prime members as part of Prime Early Access. Customers will get never-seen-before deals on the widest selection of smartphones, large appliances and TVs, home and kitchen products, fashion, consumables such as beauty and grocery, consumer electronics and more throughout the celebration. has developed an entire ecosystem to offer an unparalleled shopping experience to customers. The online marketplace has partnered with hundreds of leading brands, expanded fulfillment footprint with more than 50 fulfillment centres in 13 states offering a storage capacity of over 20 million cubic feet. Customers have easy and convenient access to 170 million products across hundreds of categories.

Talking about how Amazon is helping sellers gear up for the festive season sale, Gopal Pillai, Director and General Manager – Seller Services, Amazon India told Indiaretailing Bureau, “We have launched Amazon Select – a new program for manufacturers who desire to become brands and need product insights. We help them develop brand design, provide customer insights and help them become a brand. We have been piloting this effort for the last 6-9 months and we have over 100 brands – like Miss Chase, The Yaya Cafe, Soul Fit, Skin Elements, Zink London and Daily Objects – which are already a part of this program. They are uniquely merchandised through our Amazon Select Store-Front/ Select where you can see all these brands.”

Elaborating on other initiatives, Pillai says, “We are looking at the throughput lifecycle of sellers. We create awareness among them of opportunities. And we want artisans and weavers across the country to participate in this modern e-commerce, not just the big sellers. For this, we have created a program called Kala-Haat through which we have enabled 1,400 master accounts and 1,50,000 sellers/ artisans. Saheli is another program through which we are enabling women entrepreneurs and 80,000 women entrepreneurs have been positively impacted.”

“We are continuing to expand a parallel marketplace of service providers in which we have more then 900 service providers helping all of our sellers in different cities. And we launched two other lending partners on our Amazon lending network through which we are offering loans from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 crore and the partners are offering 10-18 percent interest rates. Apart from this, we have recently also reduced the fees and commissions for several of our programs. This way we are helping the sellers prepare for the festive season across the board.”

Currently, the marketplace has more than 4,00,000 sellers and it took Amazon India almost one year to get the first 1,00,000. Doubling this number took 11 more months and then doubling it further – to 4,00,000 – took another 15 months.

“Amazon is a favourite platform among sellers because for the last few years it has been the most visited website and most downloaded app, so sellers know customers are visiting the site. Obviously, sellers will go where customers are. There is no other marketplace that has spent time on enabling sellers, educating sellers, creating awareness, build all the supporting functions, so that they can focus on the core competency along with providing payments on time, seller support etc.,” says Pillai.

At present, already has 15 different programs for sellers that help them get deeper into the business.

Marketing Initiatives

Apart from helping sellers, this festive season, is paying equal attention to marketing campaigns.

Ravi Desai, Director – Mass and Brand Marketing, Amazon India, says, “We have built an entire marketing campaign around the insight that most Indian families have a list of desires for Diwali but often have a budget constraint. Hence, the campaign thought this year is ‘Khushiyon Ke Beech Budget Nahi Ayega Aur Poora India Great Indian Festival Manayega’. For us, it is not just the period for sale, it the Great Indian Festival. Starting now from upto Diwali, we will be celebrating the Great Indian Festival with our customers through periods where certain categories will be activated, certain categories will go on sale.”

“Along with this, we have created band mascots – The Great Indian Festive Band. We have crafted two parallel campaigns, one running in North India and other in South India. There are two separate bands and two different sets of ads have been rolled out. The North Indian band looks entirely different from that of the South Indian band. The band is the carrier of hapiness message that Amazon wants to take to our customers,” he adds.

Amazon Festive Home

Another marketing initiative is showcasing the first ever ‘Amazon Festive Home’ in New Delhi, positioned itself as the complete single shopping destination for all of consumer’s festive and household needs from large appliances, home decor and kitchen items to occasion wardrobe, festive items, household groceries and more. Displaying its selection across categories, ‘Amazon Festive Home’ saw 1,600+ products across 100+ top Indian and international brands and small and medium businesses, giving a glimpse of what customers can look for on this festive season.

Bringing to life every homemaker’s dream, the home displayed best-in-class home decor, furnishings, furniture, large and small appliances, kitchen products and more. The vibrant closets with top apparel brands are sure to deligh fashionistas while the fully stocked kitchen will be every cook’s delight. No home is complete without bespoke decor and Amazon Festive Home displays just that along with festive-special merchandise. The Home also showcased different kinds of themes and decor including those for Indo-western and tech lifestyle, as well as for a couple, a teenage girl, a young boy as a sample of its varied selection for customers.

The home intricately exhibits some of the biggest brands across product categories from LG and Bosch washing machines, IFB and Bosch microwave ovens, TCL and Compaq TVs, Sony home theatre, Whirlpool refrigerator to IFB dishwashers and lighting and kitchen appliances by Philips, smartphones by OnePlus, Xiaomi among others. Products under groceries, bath and cleaning products, beauty and cosmetics, food items were also displayed from popular FMCG brands like HUL, Nestle, P&G, ITC Agro, L’Oreal and more. The home was decked with the latest collections of leading apparel brands such as Levi’s, Marks & Spencer, Vero Moda, Calvin Klein Performance, Just F, Gap, and BIBA. Further enhancing the ethnic selection, the home revealed the new festive collection from Fab India.

“As our customers prepare for the festive season, the Amazon Festive Home is an introduction to the kind of selection that we have in store for them from India’s biggest brands. Not only are all products in the Festive Home from but also supported by us and our partners with innovative finacing options, installation and after sales service. We have worked together with our ecosystem of sellers, partners and brands to ensure that customers experience a bigger and better shopping experience,” said Manish Tiwary, VP-Category Management, Amazon India.

With an exciting and vast selection of programs such as Amazon Pay EMI, No-cost EMI on Debit and Credit cards and Bajaj Finserv Cards, fast delivery and installation of appliances, exchange of mobile phones and large appliances, instant bank discounts, exciting cashnack and lots more, customers can look forward to an exciting festival season,” he added.

Echo Devices Launched

Along with the Festive Home, also launched three new Echo devices that bring together everything customers love about Alexa. The Echo transformed the Amazon Festive Home into a smart home to provide an audio-visual treat with Alexa controlling lights, TVs, AC, doors and more.

All new devices are available on Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping next month while Echo Sub will be available later this year. In addition Amazon, Devices also showcased Alexa controlled IR remote to control TV with voice. A host of third-party, Alexa-enabled devices including Harman Kardon Allure, Jabra Elite 65T, Motorola Verve and Eufy Genie among others were also showcased in the home.

Betting Big on Smaller Cities

Amazon is confident of clocking strong growth this festive season in India, driven by availability of large selection of products and big brands as well as new customers coming onto its platform, especially from Tier II and III towns.

“Each festive sale (Great Indian Festival) has been bigger than the previous one. We feel confident because we have new customers coming in. More than 70 percent of new customers are expected to come from tier II and III towns,” said Tiwary.

Asked about the segments that would drive growth, Tiwary said every category is expected to do well with many of them witnessing 10X growth.

“We expect mobile phones, fashion and large appliances categories to do really well,” he said.

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