Update: The official Amazon India press release is in: The Amazon.in book store features over 7 million print books across 200 plus categories, with the “Search Inside” which allows previews of text, of more than 1.3 million books. In terms of Movies and TV shows, it has 12,000 titles in English and Hindi across DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and Video CD formats. Amit Agarwal is the Country Manager for Amazon in India.
Earlier today: Amazon has gone live with its India marketplace business at Amazon.in, allowing customers to buy goods from third party sellers, beginning with the lowest common denominator of e-commerce – books, movies and TV shows. (Hat tip: Mohak Gambhir) Cameras and mobiles will be “coming soon”, the website says. The company is offering free home delivery for buyers as of now, but will eventually be priced at Rs 49, and free only over Rs 499. How long before they start selling Kindles? They have a deal with Redington.
Strangely, though, Amazon is promising delivery between 2-4 business days or 5-10 business days for orders fulfiled by Amazon, depending on the pin code. This is unusually long, compared with Indian e-commerce or marketplaces sites, many of which deliver the next day, or sometimes even the same day. In case the seller is delivering, buyers can choose between 2-4 business days and 4-7 business days for urban areas, and 5-14 business days for rural. Amazon is also offering cash on delivery, and charging a convenience fee of Rs 39 for CoD; in case of returns in this case, “For gifts bought using cash on delivery, we will issue a cheque in the buyer’s name to the delivery address of the order.” Update: Cash on delivery is available only when goods are Fulfiled by Amazon (see below). Thanks for pointing this out @beastoftraal.
Some sellers we noticed on Amazon include uread.com, Amazing Buy from India Book Distributors, MaEbag, UBSPD, Buy Books India, among others. Movies are being sold by Smart Buy Movies, Rhythm House, WebMall India, Pritam Music, and others, although there are many sellers selling the same product, as it happens, in a marketplace.
Listing is free on Amazon for sellers, and it is giving them a discount on its referral fee (which Amazon gets paid for listings) for the first year.
Readers might remember that Amazon had received an FDI approval last year for setting up a logistics business in India: they are offering ‘Fulfilment by Amazon’ options to sellers, wherein sellers can store their inventory at Amazon’s fulfilment centers, one of which is in Bhiwandi, on the outskirts of Mumbai. Another, we’ve heard, is set up (or being set up) in Gurgaon.
On Amazon.in, Junglee and Marketplaces
The launch of Amazon.in, “operated by Amazon Seller Services Private Ltd, an affiliate of Amazon.com, Inc” was expected and in the works for a while: the launch date was once March 28th 2013, but we had been unable to confirm this. The company had previously been running a price comparison site called Junglee.com, in partnership with Indian e-commerce sites; Junglee, which is still live, was always meant to be a precursor to the launch of Amazon’s own business in India, and would have been useful to get a sense of consumer demand in India, as well as connect with potential suppliers. While Junglee.com was also aggregating sellers, the difference between Junglee and Amazon is that Amazon is offering fulfilment.
According to an infographic released by the company, in the US market, third party sellers (and hence the Amazon Marketplace) accounts for around 40% of their business. Amazon has chosen the marketplace route in India because Foreign Direct Investment in India are not allowed in multi-brand retail (barring one company, it appears).
Note to Amazon India
This shouldn’t be happening: