Focussed on digitising MSMEs in India, onboarding more sellers, says Amazon

Amazon and other ecommerce players have been aggressively investing in expanding infrastructure and adding solutions to enhance consumer and seller experience in India.

Ecommerce giant Amazon is focussed on digitising micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) in India, and is working on getting more sellers on board and hiring more people, a top company executive said.

"We've talked about India many times, but a lot of focus on building that out... what's great about a place all geographies with a place like India is we're really focussed on digitising the Indian sellers. A lot of micro, small and medium-sized businesses there," Amazon Director Investor Relations David Fildes said during an investor call.

He further said, "We launched new features there to help support the digitisation efforts with some of those brands and just a lot of work, great work being done by that team. They have some goals there around getting more sellers on board, and hiring many more people as well. So a lot of focus is there."

The comments come at a time when the US-based company is locked in a battle for market leadership in India with Walmart-owned Flipkart. The competition in the ecommerce space is set to intensify further with the entry of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's JioMart.

Amazon and other ecommerce players have been aggressively investing in expanding infrastructure and adding solutions to enhance consumer and seller experience.

According to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, India's ecommerce business is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27 percent to reach $99 billion by 2024, with grocery and fashion/apparel likely to be the key drivers.

Recently, Amazon had infused fresh capital to the tune of Rs 2,310 crore into one of its India units, Amazon Seller Services, as per regulatory documents. It had received another tranche of Rs 2,208 crore earlier in the year.

Earlier this year, the online retail giant had announced plans to help digitally enable MSMEs across the country as part of a $1 billion investment pledge.

Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky, during the investor call, said there is a bit of a forward investment on Prime benefits in many countries.

"...what you also see are investments in new countries. Obviously, India is the biggest one, but also, to a lesser extent, the Middle East, Brazil, Turkey, and Australia are recent additions. So there's always an element of expansion going on there," he said.

India is also the biggest recipient of investments in Prime, Amazon's membership programme, under which it offers various features, including fast shipping, music, and video services, among others.

In the June 2020 quarter, Amazon saw its net sales rise 40 percent yearly to $88.9 billion, and net income increased to $5.2 billion.

The company launched Local Shops on, offering shopkeepers and retailers with physical stores the ability to register to serve more customers from their local areas. Since launch, more than 11,000 sellers have enrolled in the programme.

Additionally, Amazon introduced seller registration and account management services in Hindi to help businesses overcome language barriers. Since launch, over 10,000 sellers have used the language to register on, the statement said.

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos noted that the company has spent over $4 billion on incremental COVID-19-related costs in the June quarter to help keep employees safe, and deliver products to customers in this time of high demand.

He added that the company has created over 175,000 new jobs since March, and is in the process of bringing 125,000 of these employees into regular, full-time positions.

Edited by Suman Singh