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How Amazon India is helping SMB partners revive their business with Great Indian Festival 2020 sale?

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Bengaluru, Oct 23: Amazon India said lakhs of sellers, including a significant chunk from tier II cities and beyond, have received orders during the initial days of festive sale on their platforms.

Amazon's 'Great Indian Festival' started on October 17 and will go on for about a month to coincide with the festive season. Amazon Prime members were provided early access to the sale from October 16.

How Amazon India is helping small business partners revive their business with Great Indian Festival

In an exclusive interview with OneIndia, Amazon India Vice President, Manish Tiwary said, "These 48 hours were the biggest ever for Amazon in its seven-year history. We had created a buildup for the sale for our Amazon sellers...Over 1.1 lakh sellers received orders, and 66 per cent of them (sellers) came from small towns."

Amazon India, which has over 6.5 lakh sellers on its platform, registered its biggest spike in new customers, with 91 per cent of them coming from small towns (beyond the metros and top 40 cities), he added.

About 66 per cent of new Prime sign-ups were also from small towns like Tawang and Changlang (Arunachal Pradesh), Mokokchung (Nagaland), Baran (Rajasthan), Pudukkottai (Tamil Nadu), Una (Himachal Pradesh) and Jaunpur (Uttar Pradesh), Tiwari said.

Here are a few more excerpts from our recent interview:

How is the Amazon Great Indian Festival different this year in comparison to last year?

This festive season, lakhs of Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) are offering unique selection to customers helping them rebuild and accelerate their business in tough times. Over 4 crore products from Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs); products from over 20,000 local shops across 100 cities will available during Great Indian Festival. Customers across the country will have the opportunity to shop for unique products from thousands of Amazon sellers under various programs such as Local Shops, Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Saheli, and Amazon Karigar and enjoy deals/offers extended by lakhs of small businesses.

This year's Great Indian Festival has witnessed the strongest ever start for SMBs with record sales; in SMB pre-festive lead up & first 48 hours of the Great Indian Festival over 5,000 sellers have clocked sales worth INR 1MM (10 lakh), over 1.1 lakh sellers received orders and 66% of sellers who received an order were from tier II & III cities such as Yadgir in Karnataka, Virudhunagar in Tamil Nadu and Lakhisarai in Bihar.

How Amazon India is helping small business partners revive their business with Great Indian Festival

What new strategies is Amazon India adopting to cope with the changing behavior of the online Indian shopper?

One thing we've learnt from the COVID-19 crisis is how important a role Amazon and ecommerce can play with enabling policies - for our customers as much as for small businesses & economy. We take this responsibility seriously, and we're proud of the work our teams are doing to help customers through this difficult time.

At this moment in time, our focus is to ensure our customers get all that they need safely and that we are able to strongly help our small business partners with their business revival to manage through these challenging times. Customers recognize that ecommerce is the safest way for them to get what they need, and sellers know that e-commerce is the best way for them to serve their customers as their footfalls have been impacted.

We are seeing a 50% increase in new seller registrations vs pre COVID19. The sellers on Amazon.in have been receiving orders for consumer electronics, study from home essentials, kitchen & home appliances, smart devices, laptops, mobile phones, phone accessories, personal grooming products, apparel and more besides groceries and other essential products.

What are the new categories that have been added to the Amazon India portfolio during GIF?

During the first 48 hours, the top sold categories were Smartphones, Large Appliances and Consumer Electronics with leading brands OnePlus, Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi making record sales. Smartphones, Fashion and Consumables attracted the most number of new customers from across the country. New products received a rousing response; popular new products were OnePlus 8T, Samsung M31 Prime Edition, OnePlus Nord (Gray Ash), Xbox Series S, Maggi 2 minute Desi Cheesy Masala, Samsung 6.5 kg fully automatic washing machine, new collection from BIBA & Max among over 1,100 new launches.

Other top-selling products included laptops, headphones, tablets, cameras and smartwatches, TVs, consumables, fashion etc. Smartphones remained popular among customers with iPhone 11, Redmi Note Series, Redmi 9A, OnePlus 8T, OnePlus Nord and Samsung M31 Prime Edition being among the popular smartphones on Amazon.in. Interestingly, total iPhones sold on Amazon.in in one day were more than the total iPhones sold in the entire festive sale period of last year.

Mi 43" TVs, along with TVs with Alexa such as OnePlus 43", OnePlus 32" and Samsung 32" also remained popular choices this season. Work from home essentials like study tables, chairs and dishwashers continued to remain popular among customers.

What is Amazon India doing to ensure safe deliveries for customers?

We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees and contractors around the world as we face the challenges associated with COVID-19. We are working closely with authorities to ensure we are taking the right precautions and have implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees, associates and partners at our sites such as adherence to social distancing norms, use of face covering, and daily temperature screenings in our operations sites among other measures.

We are geared up to manage this increased demand while we ensure the safety of our associates and customers. In order to ensure safe and reliable deliveries, and serve customer demand during Great Indian Festival, Amazon has ramped up its delivery infrastructure adding close to 200 delivery stations and added tens of thousands of delivery partners to its network. Amazon.in expanded its fulfilment footprint with more than 60 fulfilment centres in 15 states offering a storage capacity of over 32 million cubic feet to serve customers in the farthest parts of the country. Further, Amazon India announced 5 new sort centres and expansion of 8 existing sort centres across the country to strengthen fulfilment capacity.

In addition to this, we have created more than 100,000 seasonal job opportunities ahead of the festive season across our operations network in the country. The new seasonal positions will help elevate our delivery experience and boost the company's fulfilment and delivery capabilities to meet the surge in customer demand this festive season.

Among the participating SMBs, could you highlight some interesting brands and their offerings?

The Great Indian Festival started early for SMBs, where customers could show their support by shopping from hundreds of SMB deals and save big with rewards which they could redeem during the sale (10% cashback up to INR 100*). Customers can shop for Sambalpuri sarees from Odisha, Robotic vacuum cleaners from ILIFE, Haircare products from Arata Beauty, Sling Bags & Cross-Body Bags from DailyObjects, Exercise bikes & Dumbbells from Kilkfit, Handcrafted Shoes from Agra, Memory Foam mattresses from Insleep, Jewelry from Swara Creations, Cushion Covers from STITCHNEST, Kurti sets from Kushal K, Health & wellness products from Dr. Vaidya's New Age Ayurveda, Live plants and planters from Ugaoo and more.

This year, lakhs of Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) are offering unique selection to customers helping them rebuild and accelerate their business in tough times. Over 4 crore products from Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs); products from over 20,000 local shops across 100 cities will available during Great Indian Festival. Customers across the country will have the opportunity to shop for unique products from thousands of Amazon sellers under various programs such as Local Shops, Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Saheli, and Amazon Karigar and enjoy deals/offers extended by lakhs of small businesses.

From a seller's perspective, what's important at this time is to save lives & livelihood. With the opening up of ecommerce, it helps our community of more than 6.5 lakh sellers get back into business in a relatively safer way. We continue to take steps to help our sellers navigate this challenging situation.

  • On demand disbursement - As sellers on Amazon.in jump start their business; we have enabled an 'on demand disbursement' feature that enables sellers to get their disbursements daily.
  • Fee Waivers - 50% waiver on 'Sell on Amazon' fees for small sellers to help them manage their working capital better. We have also waived off several other fees to make it convenient for our sellers

*Storage Fees and Long term storage fees at Amazon FCs

*Amazon Business Advisory Fees

*Program fee waiver for startups part of our Launchpad initiative

  • Relaxation Measures - We also rolled out a number of relaxation measures for sellers to have the flexibility to file for claims, reimbursements etc
  • Reward Program - We also rolled out a program to reward sellers for every essential products sold through Amazon FCs. We offered INR 15 to INR 35 as reward per unit for different products.
  • Performance Metrics - We took several steps across the board to mitigate any negative impact on sellers' performance metrics including relaxing our policies around order cancellation.

Amazon's Great Indian Festival 2020 is an example of how sellers, brands and ecosystem partners nationwide have come together during these unprecedented times to spread joy across the country. With Smartphones, Large Appliances and Consumer Electronics with leading brands OnePlus, Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi making record sales this year, here's hoping this festive season does its part in reviving the Indian economy.

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