Sep 15, 2017 07:18 PM IST | Source:

Flipkart raising billions doesn't bother us, we are largest in e-commerce: Amazon India VP

With Flipkart having raised USD 2.5 billion recently, Amazon is likely to get fierce competition in fashion and electronics space.

A Unilever senior executive for 20 years, Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management at Amazon India knows the Indian shopkeeper inside out. That’s why he tells Moneycontrol, there is no need for them to fear online commerce.

Amazon which launched its online store in India in 2013, is already the largest retail marketplace in the country housing over 150 million products.

With Flipkart having raised USD 2.5 billion recently, Amazon is likely to get fierce competition in fashion and electronics space.

Tiwary however discounts it, saying that a cash rich Flipkart doesn’t bother Amazon. Excerpts from a candid interview:

On competing with heavily funded Flipkart in fashion category

We are not in this business to pick up money from the market so it makes no difference to us.

Fashion has a lot of generic items. Therefore it's not possible to combine a selection. But across a single marketplace, like taking Myntra standalone or Flipkart or a Jabong standalone we are much bigger than any of them in fashion selection.

We have more visitors and they spend more time with us so conclusion should be obvious on who is bigger.

We are the largest online fashion store in India. On selection, I don’t think anyone is as vast. We never came to India to be the largest and I will say we achieved that target last year.

I say it confidently because no one has the biggest selection like us and it’s a clear thing.

No one has more app downloads than us for the last 14-15 months continuously. I have more unique visitors on the site every month or every day like any other websites.

People spend more time on Amazon whether it's on the app or desktop.

On the structure of Amazon India and its categories

Broadly we divide them into four large chunks.

'Fashion' is one part of it. Under fashion category, we include apparels, accessories, shoes, luggage, jewelry and so on. It’s a pretty diverse piece within that.

Then there is another business which we call ‘Consumables’ which are things which you buy more often, grocery is part of this business.

Grocery here means food and stuff which you buy regularly including home care, beauty products then it goes up to toys, baby care, fragrances, healthcare, vitamin supplements, including healthcare equipment etc.

People work during Black Friday deals week at an Amazon fulfillment centre in Madrid, Spain, November 24, 2015. Spain's economy grew faster than most others in the euro zone from July to September, but turning the recovery into votes in the national election next month still looks like a struggle for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Picture taken November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea Comas - GF20000074365

Then there is ‘Hardlines’ which includes everything from large appliances, small appliances, kitchen, and home improvement.

The fourth category is ‘Consumer Electronics’ which includes everything from smartphones to laptops.

On the number of products on the Amazon platform

We keep on adding products at a very rapid pace and our only focus is getting it right for the customer when he or she comes online to buy.

Like you can see it for the contact lenses - you cannot get a better selection than Amazon India on pricing and faster delivery.

We are currently housing about 150 million unique products on Amazon India and each of them is unique.

We are adding up to 200,000 units every day.

We are also very focused. For example if you take books, we are India’s largest bookstore if you go to our selection.

But more important than that if you want any book I can print for you and send it to you.

So we print on demand. If you want to be world’s largest bookstore which we want to be, we have to do all of that.

Manish Tiwary

(In pic: Manish Tiwary, VP, Amazon)

In India for example if you want a Ramayana in Garo, Khasi whichever language - if anyone has ever published we can print and courier it to you.

If you see things which we can’t find here like Armani jeans, India doesn’t have the entire selection which the US has. So we offer the US selection through our global store.

So can use your Indian credit card and the same customer service to order on the global website.

On the debate of offline sellers losing customers to e-commerce

Retail is a trillion dollar market and we are right now not even scratching the surface. We are just cleaning the surface.

We should debate about this 20 years down the line. If you go back 10 years, a similar debate was happening in modern trade versus general trade.

Amazon believes in the spirit of local entrepreneurship.

If I look at it we have still have our favorite grocery store, we still have someone who comes and delivers fruits and vegetables but when I want to buy an exotic broccoli I might go to a FoodHall.

When I want a well established brand, we buy it online.

Our consumption regime is very primitive.

So if I can offer you 300 kinds of suntan lotion, chances of you buying is more.

We are not just competing for the same business with offline per se. Organised trade is too small in India still and consumption is rising.

There are other advantages with Indian offline retailers like home delivery. We leverage a lot of our retail partners in programs like ‘I have space’ program.

Many societies have their own shops and I think we have partnered about 17,000 of them.

We believe in leveraging local entrepreneur system.

On the areas in which Amazon India is investing:

We are creating a facility which is a ‘pay per use’ facility. Earlier where would they have it? (such as Amazon Blink)

They can use us to fulfill the customer’s need.

It will be very naïve to assume one channel will become bigger and the second will not.

If sellers are good at creating a product but not good at logistics or packaging so a lot of them use our FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) services where we pack your products, take care of the customer service and logistics.


( At Amazon Fashion digital studio in Gurgaon)

The biggest thing is a seller can sell its product across the country with Amazon.

Then there are thousands of Indian sellers who have now moved on to and (in Germany).

When we started in India we clearly said that we are here to change the way people buy.

We have 2,30,000 plus sellers now who work with us actively and we believe we are making some positive change which is in the way people could sell.

It’s just a start we have a long way to go.
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