Over 1 lakh shops, kiranas gear up to sell on Amazon as MSMEs take center stage this festive season

Growth in shoppers this year will be driven by ‘Bharat’ shoppers. (Photo source: Reuters)

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: As India gears up for the festive season ahead, Jeff Bezos Amazon’s India business on Sunday said that more than 1 lakh “Amazon-enabled” local shops, kiranas and neighbourhood stores will be serving customers this year. Over 20,000 offline retailers, kiranas and local shops from Local Shops on Amazon programme will be participating for the first time in the company’s biggest annual sale Great Indian Festival. Local Shops on Amazon, which allows sellers to cater to customers in their local area and deliver products in up to two days, “has scaled rapidly in just 5 months; with more than 40 per cent of the sellers coming from outside the top 10 cities,” Amazon said in a statement. The programme is among a string of initiatives by Amazon such as Amazon Easy (to help local entrepreneurs set up stores), I Have Space (for kirana stores with additional storage space for Amazon packages and sufficient manpower to deliver them in two-three km radius of their stores), Amazon Pay Smart Stores (to enable digital storefront, contactless payments, and reward coupons to customers) etc., catering to micro and small business sellers.

“This festive season we are focused on helping our sellers and other MSME partners grow their business and bounce back from the recent challenges…The integration of Amazon’s programs with 100,000+ ubiquitous neighbourhood stores – for selling online, to help customers buy online, to make deliveries and enable contactless payments – is a testament of the adaptability and inventiveness of Indian entrepreneurs,” said Manish Tiwary, VP – Amazon India.

While Amazon is yet to announce dates for its biggest sale event, which usually coincides with Flipkart’s sale, the latter on Saturday had announced the timeline for its six-day Big Billion Days from October 16 till October 21, 2020. Flipkart reiterated that the event would generate more than 70,000 direct and lakhs of indirect seasonal jobs as sellers and artisans. While it “enabled thousands of new sellers to join its platform in the last six months,” the company also expanded its Kirana onboarding programme to include over 50,000 kiranas who will deliver last-mile to consumers in over 850 cities, according to a company statement.

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“This festive event continues to focus on Flipkart’s commitment to provide value for consumers, opportunities for growth for MSMEs and sellers, and employment generation through e-commerce,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO – Flipkart Group.

2020 online festive sales are expected to generate higher order volume and value for e-commerce companies on the back of Covid-induced shift in shopping pattern for a vast number of consumers not just in metros but largely in non-metro cities from physical retail to online retail. This would also likely help online sellers to multiply their sales following the negligible to zero growth in business during the lockdown. According to market research firm RedSeer, growth in shoppers this year will be driven by ‘Bharat’ shoppers with 40-50 per cent of 45-50 million shoppers expected to come from Tier-II cities and beyond, 20-25 per cent from Tier-I cities and 30-35 per cent from metros. The growth in shoppers will be around 70 per cent — from 28 million in 2019 to expected 45-50 million this year in contrast to only around 40 per cent from 20 million in 2018 festive days to 28 million in 2019.

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