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A decade back, it was difficult for several small and medium businesses in India to reach millions of customers, build their brands, and grow their businesses. While many corporates intended to simplifying the ease of doing business for SMEs in the country, not many succeeded. However, with foray of Amazon in India in 2013, many businesses and sellers saw a major shift and growth in their businesses.
At 100, the numbers of sellers on its website was absymally low in the first year, but the last 10 years witnessed the gigantic increase in the same. Today, there are whopping 12 lakh sellers on its platform. Further, the tech giant is working towards digitising 10 million MSMEs, generate $20 billion, and create 2 billion jobs by 2025.
Here's look at 5 innovative ways through which Amazon brought small businesses to the online platform and empowered them digitally.
1) Studio-on-wheels: In order to get small businesses online in less than 60 minutes, it introduced specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms.This enabled thousands of interested sellers to start selling on Amazon in real time and experience the benefits of launching an online business.
2) Easy Shipping: To iron out various logistics issues of sellers, the tech giant introduced Easy Ship as an end-to-end delivery service in 2014. Under this initiative, sellers store their own products, pack them when they receive an order and then hand it over to the Easy Ship Pick up executive, who then ships the product and ensures timely delivery. But to avail this facility, the sellers have to shell out Easy Ship fee based on the volumetric or actual weight of the package.
3) Listing via third party service providers: Since not all sellers in India have the bandwidth and know-how to list their products on Amazon Seller Central, the company has put together a network of vetted third-party service providers that can assist them in this task. These providers helped these businesses from shooting great images to articulating product attributes to imaging the product and creating a listing.
4) Setting up a lending program: Understanding the working capital requirement of small businesses, in 2016, Amazon also tied up with a third-party lender so that they can avail loans at competitive rates.
5) Launch of a dedicated seller app: For making it easy for sellers, Amazon launched a seller app in India. Today over 60% of the sellers on Amazon.in use this app to manage their business. With the help of this app, the sellers can complete typically desktop-based tasks such as registration, creating FBA inbound shipment, and order fulfilment easily on their mobiles.
More initiatives in store
India is Amazon's second-largest market outside the USA, growing at a CAGR of 68 per cent. Recently, Amit Agarwal, SVP India & Emerging markets and Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon met Indian PM Narendra Modi and announced a USD 15 billion investment in India by 2030.
Also, Agarwal announced four more new initiatives from the e-commerce giant for the sellers. These includes signing of an MoU with the Indian Postal Service for creating a first-of-its-kind cross-border logistics solution that will expand the opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs to sell from India's corner to New York; Partnership with Indian Railways where they will use the freight corridor to enable sellers to ship products faster; Multi Channel fulfillment offering, a supply chain infrastructure which will let sellers sell with ease and not have the worry about logistics and warehousing; and not worry about inventory, and Generative AI solution for small businesses “सह-AI”; an virtual AI assistant to simplify the seller on boarding and expanding process.
“We are excited about the growth and the long-term potential in the Indian market and the opportunity to serve millions of consumers and sellers in India”, said Agrawal.
According to Manish Tiwary, Vice President & Country Manager India, Amazon, the company is focused on investing long-term in physical and digital infrastructure and building cutting edge technology solutions to serve customers and enable Indian businesses to scale and grow in India and globally, thus contributing to India's rising digital economy. “We have continued to invest in customer experience, and we are very bullish about what we can achieve with our selling partners in India so we continue to expand our infrastructure,” said Tiwary.
Russell Grandinetti, who is SVP, International Consumer, Amazon, too expressed his excitement on India. “I am very enthusiastic about the next 10 (years in India). Frankly, we are just getting started. The size of this country, the opportunity it has for economic growth generally, it won't be long before it is the third largest economy in the world. And we feel fortunate to be one player that will be a part of this transformation,” said Grandinetti.
The comments were made at the sidelines of Amazon India's event Amazon Smbhav summit celebrating the 10th anniversary of Amazon operations in India.