Amazon India doubles seller base in less than a year
Photo Credit: Reuters

E-commerce marketplace Amazon India has now on-boarded two lakh sellers on its platform, a company statement said.

The company claims to have achieved this number early this month, when it registered jewellery seller BnJ on the platform. Amazon also said it achieved this in less than a year, after reaching the 1-lakh mark in July 2016.

Amazon has attributed this growth to its India-specific innovations, which include feet-on-street teams, self-service registration, chai cart (an offline process to on-board sellers in Tier 2 and 3 centres on its platform) and Tatkal (a 60-minute registration process for SMEs to go online). It has also partnered with several national and state government bodies to showcase the work of Indian artisans, weavers, and craftsmen.

“We have not only introduced Indian sellers to our offerings like Fulfilment by Amazon, but have innovated specifically for Indian sellers to address their challenges,” Gopal Pillai, director and general manager of seller services at Amazon India, said in the statement.

In comparison, a December 2016 report in The Economic Times pegged the number of sellers on Flipkart's marketplace at 1.4 lakh. According to information on Flipkart's web site, any seller possessing a value-added tax identification number (VAT ID), PAN card, bank account and 10 unique products can register in 15 minutes and start selling on the marketplace.

Amazon has also established seller cafes across 30 cities and towns in India to provide on-ground support to sellers. Last year, by partnering with Capital First and YES Bank, the company launched a lending programme for sellers, providing them with loans between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 crore. Its Global Selling Programme, which was launched in India in 2015, claims to now have over 20,000 sellers showcasing their products, the press note stated.

Amazon, which launched its Indian operations in 2013, sees the country as a very crucial market after it lost to local players in China, currently considered one of the world’s most consumer-centric markets. While announcing Amazon’s first-quarter results last month, Jeff Bezos deemed India as one of the company’s fastest growing markets. Amazon invested $2 billion in its India operations in 2014 and committed an additional $3 billion in June last year, taking the total investment in the country to $5 billion. The importance of the Indian market can also be gauged by the fact that Amazon’s current warehousing and storage capacity is about 13 million cubic feet.

Amazon is deepening its India play, going beyond e-commerce. It has ventured into the beauty services segment, launched video-streaming service Amazon Video Prime, and introduced a programme for startups, Launchpad, to market its products to customers across the country.

Amazon also has ambitious plans to foray into the food retailing and processing play with a $500 million commitment and is currently is awaiting a final clearance from the Indian government.

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