ONLINE RETAILER Amazon India on Thursday announced an investment of Rs 10 crore in a pilot programme under which it has onboarded 5,000 local stores selling items including grocery, electronics, apparel, toys and home furnishings.
The investment commitment comes a day after Facebook announced a $5.7-billion stake purchase in Jio Platforms, alongside an arrangement between its messaging platform WhatsApp and Reliance Retail that will see the new e-commerce platform JioMart accelerate its drive to digitise three crore small grocery stores across the country.
“Over the last 6 months, we have been running a pilot with 5,000+ offline retailers and local shops to bring the benefits of online selling closer to them. Code-named ‘Local Shops on Amazon’, this program helps customers discover products from local shops in their city (many they already trust and love!) from the convenience of their homes, while helping shopkeepers supplement their footfalls with a digital presence and expand beyond their normal catchment,” Gopal Pillai, VP—seller services, Amazon India, wrote in a blogpost.
These include stores from Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Surat, Indore, Lucknow, Saharanpur, Faridabad, Kota, Varanasi among others.
“The last few weeks have brought us across an unprecedented challenge. As we focused our efforts to serve only essential products to customers, it was heartening to see how hundreds of retailers and shopkeepers across India, already part of the pilot, played an important role to help the customers in need,” he added.
As of now, shops enrolled with the programme are only selling groceries and essentials, as those are the only categories permitted by the government, but Amazon expects other categories to pick up once the lockdown is relaxed.
Retail sector analysts are predicting a shift in consumer behaviour in favour of e-commerce even once the lockdown is lifted.
“After the control of the spread of coronavirus and post the lockdown period, spending as well as shopping patterns of consumers are expected to change significantly … In such times, retailers with presence across retail segments (grocery, apparel, appliances, accessories) as well as who have an omni-channel strategy with presence in both offline and online channels are expected to have a quicker recovery,” CARE Ratings said in a research note.
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