When you can’t beat them, join them: Kishore Biyani’s Future Group has formed a strategic alliance to sell its products on Amazon’s India marketplace Amazon.in.
Future Group mentions that this partnership will initially focus on its fashion brands and will subsequently cover all other categories. The deal period or the terms of the partnership were however not disclosed.
Interestingly, this partnership comes at a time when offline retailers are battling it out with online retailers over providing deep discounts. Last week, Future Group founder & group CEO Kishore Biyani had accused online marketplaces of undercutting offline retailers by selling products below manufacturing costs to destroy competition. He said – “Just because they have foreign funding, they can’t kill local trade like that”.
In an interview with DNA last fortnight, he had pointed out online retailers are spending huge sum on advertising and customer acquisition. “We really wished we had that kind of cash to burn”. He had mentioned that online retailers will remain in business until they get funding and are able to offer discounts.
However, now Biyani says that this partnership will enable them to leverage Amazon’s “investments, strengths and technology innovations to reach out to a wider customer base in India”.
What’s on offer?
Following this partnership, Amazon will exclusively sell products from Future Group’s portfolio of 40 fashion brands that claims to offer more than 10,000 unique styles. These includes brands like Lee Cooper, Converse, Indigo Nation, Scullers and Jealous 21 among others.
Amazon will also partner Future Group brands in promoting existing and new brands in the market, explore co-branding opportunities and improve product development in categories that is currently not served by Future Group. Both the companies will also apparently collaborate in areas like distribution networks, customer acquisition and cross promotions.
From Amazon’s perspective, this will significantly help them strengthen its fashion offerings against its competitor Flipkart that had acquired online fashion store Myntra in May this year and had stated plans of investing upward of $100M in Myntra in near future. Myntra had also launched its fashion incubator recently.
It’s worth noting that Future Group already has an e-commerce store in form of FutureBazaar.com, that was one of the dominant e-commerce players in the Indian market in 2008-09. However, it has now slipped into an oblivion with the emergence of other players liker Flipkart, Jabong and Snapdeal among others.
The last we heard about FutureBazaar.com was when Vivek Biyani took over the reins of the online portal in March 2013, after Kashyap Deorah quit the company to start his new venture Just Chalo.
Last September, Future Group had also launched a direct selling service called Big Bazaar Direct that allows customers to directly place orders with appointed Big Bazaar franchisees. These franchisees are provided with tablets called ‘Big Bazaar Direct Tablet’ that were preloaded with Big Bazaar’s product catalogues, which consumers could browse through to place their orders at their homes.