Amazon turns to local stores, social commerce hits next 500 million Indian customers

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Bengaluru: The local arm of US e-commerce giant Amazon, which has completed nine years of operations in India, will focus more on local stores and social commerce to tap India’s next 500 million consumers, Manish Tiwary said, Vice President and Country Director of Amazon India. in an interaction with ET.

“There is a set of people who will need a local influencer to help them shop. If you see the first part of the journey, the metro penetration has accelerated. In the area of ​​social commerce – where an uncle, aunt or cousin living in your building actually helps you shop – we’re very happy with how we can expand that,” Tiwary said.

Tiwary was recently promoted to oversee all day-to-day operations of Amazon India, with Amit Agarwal being given an additional role in emerging markets with India, as ET reported on March 1.

The Seattle-based retailer said it is now looking to integrate more physical stores on its Indian platform to increase the number of goods that can be quickly delivered to customers. Tiwary said Amazon can deliver 93% of the PINs in which it operates within two days.

“I strongly believe that to reach the next 500 million customers, we need a few million more sellers in this market. And that set of new sellers will largely be brick-and-mortar stores,” he said.

Amazon India currently has 1.1 million sellers on its platform. Its total user base is over 100 million.

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Last month, Amazon also launched Smart Commerce, an initiative that will help offline stores create their own digital storefronts, in addition to selling in its Indian marketplace. This is similar to what Canada-based Shopify does.

“In order for more and more people to shop with us, our seller flywheel has to move. If you look at the seller ecosystem, there are manufacturers, there are merchants, and then there is something that is very unique in India: 13 million stores. Our philosophy of selection and convenience makes us double the number of stores,” said Tiwary, adding that he has already integrated 150,000 to 160,000 stores on the platform.

Amazon’s emphasis on social commerce is in line with its recent acquisition of Glowroad, which has introduced a zero-commission policy since then. According to Tiwary, the focus on social commerce came from the realization that it will need different models to meet the needs of a market like India. It also bets on videos (Prime Video, miniTV), voice and influencer-led commerce.

In total, the e-commerce company has injected over $6.5 billion into India and will continue to invest here across all segments to grow its core business like groceries. In the grocery segment, Amazon competes with many players, including new fast-paced businesses. Tiwary admitted the company should have had a better grocery offering in place by now.

“I admit we should have had a better grocery offering a while ago. We experimented with Pantry and Fresh. It was confusing for the customer and we folded it into Amazon Fresh,” he said. -he declares.

Tiwary said the company will continue to offer two-hour delivery through Amazon Fresh.

“The grocery store is a huge market. There is enough space and there will be innovative models,” he said, when asked if Amazon was considering offering a fast grocery delivery service in about 30 minutes, similar to Instamart, Zepto, Blinkit and more from Swiggy.

“If someone finds a sustainable way to deliver groceries in 10 minutes, we will learn from them,” he said, indicating that Amazon has no immediate plans to enter. the ultra-fast grocery delivery segment. Arch rival Flipkart has started offering around 45-minute grocery deliveries, but the Walmart-owned retailer is also not venturing into 15-30 minute deliveries for groceries and essentials.

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