Bangalore: Amazon has finally arrived at the Indian shores with its e-commerce marketplace. The company launched its site, Amazon.in, which will be selling books as well as movies and TV shows on DVDs and Blu-ray. It is also expected that it will start selling mobile phones and cameras in sometime.
India is the tenth country where Amazon Marketplace is available. Here buyers can browse through a catalogue of 7 million local and imported books and 12,000 titles from movies and TV shows to begin with. The service is a central point from which independent retailers can sell a range of goods and products from third parties using the ‘marketplace’ model that is also adopted by Japanese retailer Rakuten, among others.
Commenting on the announcement, Amit Agarwal, Amazon India’s vice president and country manager said, “Our vision is to become a trusted and meaningful sales channel for retailers of all sizes across India, enabling them to succeed and efficiently grow their business online.”
Restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) have thus far prevented Amazon from selling direct to consumers in the country, but, by hosting a site where third parties do the selling, the issue is sidestepped.
Amazon has signed up 100 vendors across the country so far and has set up a 1.5 lakh sq. feet fulfillment center in Mumbai to service online orders. Any of the lakhs of retailers in India can hope to sign up with Amazon and sell their products online.
The company launched Junglee, a site that aggregates deals from Web retailers and sent visitors to other sites to make purchases, last year as an experiment to test the water in India while rules dictating that foreign firms cannot sell goods online keep its full service out.
Authorities in India did relax FDI regulations for physical retailers — rules now allow overseas firms to hold a 51 percent stake in multi-brand retailers, or a full 100 percent share of single-brand retailers — but there’s been no change in the prohibition for overseas direct-to-consumer retail sites.
The US Company has been pressing officials to allow it to launch its full Amazon.com service in India. Amazon Global Vice-President Paul E. Misener met with country’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in February to put the issue on the agenda. Misener said the meeting covered “all kinds of issues” and that the firm is “trying to find a better way to serve our Indian customers, both sellers and buyers”.
Recently, the country’s largest e-commerce player Flipkart unveiled an online marketplace where customers can choose their suppliers across a wide variety of product categories. Another e-commerce company Infibeam has launched its Build a Bazaar platform to enable retailers build their stores online and connect with prospective buyers.