Can Smart Commerce save Amazon in India?
Earlier this month, India launched a pilot not-profit, government-owned platform known as the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to allow small merchants and retailers to plug in and gain the reach and economies of scale of giants like Amazon and Flipkart.
The platform is spearheaded by India’s commerce ministry in an initiative aimed to promote open networks for all aspects of the exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks. Since the announcement, 24 e-commerce startups have announced plans on working to integrate with the Indian government’s ambitious project.
More recently, Flipkart, Reliance Retail, and Amazon were rumored to be in talks to join the ONDC, even though the platform was designed for the smaller players and startups in the industry.
“Amazon India pledged to enable e-commerce exports worth US$10 billion by 2025. We continue to see a remarkable momentum in the export of ‘Made in India’ products, through our Global Selling program. Today, we have over one lakh Indian exporters on the program who are showcasing millions of Made in India products to customers across the world,” said Manish Tiwary, Vice President for Amazon India.
He pointed out that Indian exporters are on track to surpass US$5 billion in e-commerce exports. The program took 3 years to enable the first billion dollars in exports, while the last 2 billion have come in just 17 months. Importantly, Tiwary highlighted that the program is helping thousands of Indian businesses create truly global brands.
“Driven by the momentum in new businesses joining the global selling program and by the growing demand for Made in India products across the world, we have raised our pledge to enable US$20 billion in cumulative exports by 2025,” added Tiwary.
As such, to help the smaller guys in the industry, Amazon India has launched Smart Commerce. Smart Commerce will allow stores to create their own online storefronts and also offer an in-store shopping experience to their walk-in customers.
According to Amazon, Smart Commerce will help neighborhood stores across India launch digital storefronts to better serve their customers. The new offering is built atop Smart Stores, another program the US giant had launched two years ago to help neighborhood outlets serve their walk-in customers.
“With Smart Commerce, stores will be able to digitize their offline operations, provide enhanced in-store shopping experiences to their walk-in customers, and create their own online storefronts within minutes to serve customers directly,” commented Amit Agarwal, SVP India and Emerging Markets for Amazon.
Stores of any size in India can sign up for Smart Commerce and Amazon will provide them assistance with logistics and digital payments.
The announcement from Amazon India comes at an interesting time as the company continues to face employment and regulatory issues in the country as well.
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