[YS Exclusive] Oprah Winfrey discovers Indian tea via Amazon India’s global seller programme
Today, Amazon is a household name. In just six years since it set up shop in India, the global ecommerce giant has transformed the way Indians buy and sell. With nearly half a million sellers and 130,000 women entrepreneurs on board, a network of 50,000 neighbourhood stores, and a wide selection of 170 million products, Amazon India is clearly India's largest store by any imagination.
Steering the global e-tailer to the top in a highly competitive Indian ecommerce market is Amit Agarwal – the man Jeff Bezos rightly chose in 2013 to build ‘India’s most customer-centric company.’
In an exclusive interaction with YourStory’s Founder & CEO Shradha Sharma, Amit Agarwal says that half of Amazon’s seller base comes from small cities. Not only that 80 percent of its customers are also from the small towns.
Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head, Amazon India in an exclusive interaction with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.
In a question on how Amazon tracks the success of its sellers, Amit shares an interesting data point. “We track stores sales for these sellers. In fact, you know, a very recent data that was shared with me was that not only do we have more than half of our seller base from very small cities, and not only 80 percent of our customers are coming from small towns, but among that base, we have created 3500 plus crorepatis in a short period of time.”
Amit says they track this kind of insights “to see who's becoming a crorepati just for the fun of it.”
“We have a seller summit where the sellers come and tell us how their lives are changing, how it's not just allowing them to pay for the fees and other aspirations that they have, but how its enabling them to buy a new car or a new house,” says Amit.
According to him, not just this, they also get to hear dramatic success stories.
“We have a tea brand that started its journey on Amazon and they started selling globally through our global selling product. And they were picked by Oprah Winfrey. Who knew that an operation that started humbly would become kind of this lottery ticket for them.”
These kinds of stories happen. This magic happens because it's unfettered barrier-free access to customers.
Hollywood celebrity and talk show host Oprah Winfrey. (Image courtesy: 'The Oprah Magazine')
Amazon India today boasts close to half a million entrepreneurs or sellers, but we have so many millions more waiting to be tapped. “How do you plan to win them?”
Amit says, “Yeah, I mean this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“The beauty of the country is that we have six crore entrepreneurs. We have a lot of work ahead of us, which is why I said that we need to continue to inject energy.”
Amit says they started with simple and humble operations like Chai Cart. Amit explains. “We use to take this cart serving tea to sellers. In that process, we used to have conversations with them about their business, about what online means, how it will be great for them to sell online, and they would then sign up on Amazon.
“Those processes have allowed us to create awareness. We are seeing sellers sign up. Clearly, we need to continue on that journey. We have launched lending services that bring working capital access to our sellers and programmes like global selling that gives them global access to new customers.”
So we have to continue investing in a lot of these efforts.