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Amazon India doubles seller base to 200,000 in under a year

It's innovations of Easy Ship and Seller Flex have been instrumental in onboarding small town SMEs

BS Reporter  |  Bengaluru 


Online retail giant Amazon’s India marketplace has doubled its base of sellers to 200,000 in a little over eleven months as it looks to penetrate deeper into the country’s smaller towns to beat local rival

The crossing of the milestone comes as Amazon celebrates its fourth anniversary in India where it has pledged to invest $5 billion to grow its business. With India mandating online retailers to adopt a marketplace model, Amazon has had to get creative in onboarding third-party sellers.

“We have been laser focused in our ambitious vision of transforming the way India sells and evolving a conducive environment for anyone with an intent to sell to do so locally, nationally, and globally,” said Gopal Pillai, Director of Seller Services at Amazon India, in a statement.

India forced Amazon to go offline to sign up sellers. The company came up with Chai Cart, where representatives would meet with sellers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns over tea. It also came up with ways to help sellers sign up easily and more quickly on its platform.

Even to fulfil logistics, Amazon’s innovations of and have been instrumental in onboarding in smaller towns. The company is now looking at taking several of its India-first innovations to other global markets, while also helping Indian sellers sell their products outside the country.

Amazon claims its Global Selling programme which was started in May 2015 now has over 20,000 sellers from India listing their products on its 10 global e-commerce marketplaces. The company has also been aggressive in expanding its warehouse base in the country and recently said it would double its storage capacity to 13 million cubic feet with 14 new centres by mid-June.

The new fulfilment centres will allow Amazon sellers to expand their businesses while not investing in infrastructure of their own as the online firm will stock their wares for them. The company also facilitates sellers to get unsecured loans between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 crore through partners such as Capital First and Yes Bank.

India’s rules for foreign direct investment in e-commerce disallow any single seller to contribute more than 25 per cent of the sales on a marketplace, a move which really kicked off a race among players such as Amazon, and Snapdeal to onboard sellers. However, industry watchers say majority of the sales continues to be driven by a few hundred large sellers, while the long tail caters to a very small base of buyers.