Amazon has launched a programme called ‘Local Shops on Amazon’ in India to scale its business and start selling goods directly from local shops. The new initiative, which is likely aimed at giving a tough fight to Reliance Retail’s JioMart and will make things difficult for Walmart-owned Flipkart, has already been piloted in the country over the last six months with over 5,000 offline retailers and shopkeepers. The US e-commerce giant has also invited new local shopkeepers to become a part of its latest programme in which the company has promised to invest Rs. 10 crores.

With a view to provide customers the convenience of ordering products online and give scalability to offline retailers, Amazon has brought the new programme. It already has partnered with retailers from top metros as well as tier-1 and tier-2 cities such as Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Delhi, Faridabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune, Saharanpur, and Surat among others. The initiative isn’t limited to local grocery shops or electronic stores. In fact, the pilot that the company kicked off in over 100 cities across the country including sellers from categories such as automotive, books, furniture, home decor, jewellery, kitchen appliances, sports, and toys.

Offline retailers who are getting on board through the programme have one prime condition that is to have a delivery mechanism handy to deliver orders to customers either on the same day or on the next day (with pin-code level granularity). This is something that would ultimately help Amazon reduce the burden of enhancing its delivery fleet.

Additionally, local shopkeepers under the programme will get the ability to use the newly launched ‘Amazon Delivery app’ that will help them provide delivery updates to customers and Amazon and track their shipments on a daily basis.

The timing of the Local Shops on Amazon programme is certainly interesting as the company — just like its arch-rival Flipkart — is struggling to fulfil a large number of orders due to the lockdown imposed by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The arrival of local shops would help resolve such issues in the future.

“We intend to take the learnings from months of running this pilot and weeks of its effectiveness during COVID-19 to scale this India-first initiative to include shopkeepers and retailers across India,” wrote Gopal Pillai, VP Seller Services, Amazon India, in a blog post.

Sellers can join the programme by visiting a dedicated page on the Amazon India site. The page says that there won’t be any additional charges to join the initiative and the standard fee of selling on the online marketplace will be applicable to Amazon Local Shops Sellers as well. Moreover, it says that the participants will get access to the ‘Prime Badge’ that will help enhance discovery on the site.

Alongside new sellers, shopkeepers who are already working with Amazon under the ‘I Have Space’ programme to act as delivery and pickup points and ‘Amazon Easy’ can join the new move and start selling online.


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