Amazon is aggressively pushing in India. And now chief Jeff Bezos is detailing some of the initiatives that the company has launched to woo Indian consumers, and more significantly Indian shopkeepers so they are willing to sell goods online.
In a letter to shareholders, Bezos not only talks about some of the big business strategies but also highlights projects like Tatkal and Chai Cart through which the company has tried to attract shopkeepers in India.
“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,” Bezos writes in the letter.
He says that in four months, the team “travelled 15,280 km across 31 cities, served 37,200 cups of tea and engaged with over 10,000 sellers”.
Bezos says Chai Cart goes to a city’s business districts, serves tea, water and lemon juice to small business owners and teaches them about selling online
The engagement led to the learning that even though Indian sellers wanted to reach out to consumers on the web, they believed the process to sell goods online was tedious and fraught with risk. “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,” writes Bezos.
Amazon entered India in 2013 and since then has ramped up operations aggressively. It is investing billions of dollars in the country, with the belief that the huge number of online users in India will give opportunity to do big business. In its market, the company is also battling India’s own e-retail firms like Flipkart and Snapdeal.
To make the shopping experience less fussy, the company has moved to open fulfilment centres. ” In India, we launched a program called Seller Flex to combine Amazon’s logistics capabilities with sellers’ selection at the local neighbourhood 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. We’ve now launched 25 operational Seller Flex sites across ten cities,” writes Bezos.
In his letter Bezos also says that Amazon Web Services will be available in India “next year”.