Well, looks like we were right about Amazon launching in India as Junglee.com: the site has gone live and features 120 million products from 14,000 brands, reports BGR India. What’s particularly interesting is the way Amazon has positioned it – as an advertising service for product ads, thereby acting as an aggregator for Indian online retailers, pitting retailer against retailer for similar products. The site clearly states:

“You cannot buy directly from Junglee. Junglee puts you in touch with sellers by directing you to their websites, displaying their customer service phone numbers and providing their physical store locations to help you buy the products directly from sellers.”

Competing With Partners

– Homeshop18
– UniverCell
– Hidesign
– Gitanjali
– The Bombay Store
– Fabindia
– Bata India Limited
– Dabur Uveda
– Microsoft India Store
– Reebok
– uread
– Jain Book Agency
– Amazon.com
– Illrdi Digital
– Techshop India
– The Electro
– Snapdeal
– Saholic
– Timtara
– UniverCell
– IndiaPlaza
– Crossword.in

and several others.

Notes

– Product Centric, Not Retailer Centric: if you see in the screenshot above, for a book, competing retailers are listed, and the consumer can choose among them. What you have to keep in mind is that over a period of time, the price won’t be as much of a consideration when it is a difference of a couple of rupees; in that context, the ratings for retailers and the delivery time will matter more.
– Amazon.com Is Listed Too: Among the retailers listed, we noticed Amazon.com as a retailer. In the above instance, Amazon.com is too expensive (Rs 738 as opposed to Rs 121 from BookAdda), and it ships in 3-5 business days depending on customers clearance (as opposed to 1-3 days from Indian retailers). Expect this timeframe and cost to come down, if and when Amazon.com starts its own operations in India.
– Sellers with too high a price – for example the Jain Book Agency in the above instance – will probably not be considered by customers. Isn’t it strange that the Jain Book Agency takes longer than Amazon.com does to ship to a customer in India. About time they started taking e-commerce seriously.

Our Take: Look At Who’s Not There

What’s more important than the retailers who have signed up, are the key retailers who haven’t. There’s no Flipkart, no Infibeam, no LetsBuy. These are key e-commerce players who are looking to acquire traffic independent of Amazon. So how does marketplace model work for Amazon? It brings customers to Junglee.com from Amazon.com, familiarizing customers with the Amazon backed marketplace, until Amazon is in a position to launch its own Indian operations and competing with those in the marketplace itself.

It lures smaller e-commerce players currently struggling with high traffic acquisition costs, and offers them something of a lifeline – it strengthens competition against the incumbents – Infibeam and Flipkart. From what we hear, listings are free for the time being (that’s what one player told us), but there will be a fee later on, which could range from 2% to 20%, depending on the type of product. By the time the fee kicks in, I think many partners would be too dependent on Amazon or Junglee.com for traffic to take a risk of exiting. Amazon will have its cake and eat it too.