E-commerce major Amazon has decided to go big in the neighbourhood commerce space with the launch of ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, a programme to enable local and small shops and retailers sell their products online.
The announcement came a day after Reliance Industries announced the JioMart-WhatsApp partnership to enable transactions between ‘kiranas’ and consumers and support small businesses.
In a blog Gopal Pillai, Vice President, Seller Services, Amazon India, wrote: “Over the last six months, we have been running a pilot with 5,000+ offline retailers and local shops to bring the benefits of online selling closer to them.”
Amazon would invest Rs 10 crore to immediately expand this pilot to include any motivated retailer or shopkeeper who is ready to join the programme, he said.
“Code-named ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, this programme helps customers discover products from local shops in their city from the convenience of their homes, while helping shopkeepers supplement their footfalls with a digital presence and expand beyond their normal catchment,” Pillai wrote.
Under the programme, local shops and retailers of any size from any part of India across categories can join and benefit from ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, using their existing delivery mechanisms to deliver to the customers faster.
The programme allows the shopkeepers to choose the areas where they can deliver on the same day or the next day, with pin-code level granularity, as per Amazon.
Local shops are required to use the newly launched ‘Amazon Delivery App’ to provide accurate delivery updates to the customers and Amazon, and all shipments are tracked on a daily basis on key metrics to ensure customers get what they were promised.
Speaking to IANS, Pillai said, “The programme is here to enable offline retailers in the country to reach their customer in a seamless manner…and they can leverage their capability, for example their delivering capability, or their value added services.”
He said that it is “no more offline versus online, its offline plus online”.
Pillai said the programme is still underway for essential products and the actual expansion of the programme will take place after the lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
On being asked about the likely competition with JioMart and WhatsApp’s proposed programme to support ‘kiranas’, he said, “We are always customer obsessed than being competitor obsessed, because customer obsession pushes you always hard to make sure that we are continuing to address the experience expectation. In this case, as I mentioned, we started the pilot six months ago and we have 5000+ stores already under the programme.”
Regarding the number of retailers the company targets to get under the programme, he said the firm wants to ensure that every motivated shop owner comes under its fold and no one is left out.