Amazon India has announced a new initiative to help offline retailers in India. Called ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, the program allows offline stores to have a digital presence on Amazon. The aim of the program is to allow consumers to discover products stocked by local stores in their city. This program will allow shopkeepers to expand their stores digitally, and serve additional customers outside of their regular base. The news comes at a time when the country is currently under a coronavirus lockdown. Amazon’s initiative will help offline retailers maintain their customer base, even if footfall in their stores slows down due to social distancing protocols.
Amazon is partnering with offline retailers pan-India
While the news is certainly timely, Amazon piloted the program over 6 months ago, working with 5,000 local stores across 100+ cities in India. The e-commerce giant has partnered with retailers in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, including Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Surat, Indore Lucknow, Saharanpur, Faridabad, Kota and Varanasi. The categories of the offline stores are also diverse, including kitchen, home, furnituer, apparel, automotive, beauty, electronics, sports, grocery, lawn and garden, books, toys, jewellery, appliances and more.
How ‘Local Shops by Amazon’ works
Amazon hasn’t imposed any limit on retailer size for this program, and it applies to stores pan-India and across categories. Shopkeepers will be able to select which areas they can offer same or next-day deliveries, down to the pincode. They will also be able to provide value-added services to customers, including product demos, installation, customizations, device data transfers and more.
Amazon is also giving retailers the option to expand service areas nationally, in which case they can work with Amazon directly for order fulfilment. A new app called ‘Amazon Delivery App’ has also been launched, where retailers will have to provide delivery updates to both customers and Amazon, with shipments being tracked on a daily basis.
This move by Amazon will also help smoothen its relationship with offline retailers, which has been rocky at best. The e-commerce giant has been accused of predatory pricing multiple times by small and medium retailers. The CCI (Competition Commission of India) also ordered a probe in January into the deep discounts offered by Amazon and Flipkart.