The $75-billion e-commerce giant Amazon has completed a year of marketplace operations in India. Its presence has started to enforce consolidation of the e-tailing industry in the country. Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country manager, Amazon India, tells FE’s Anand J and Sayan Chakraborty about the lessons learnt during this period, strategies for growth and the need for FDI in e-commerce. Excerpts:
Amazon has completed a year of marketplace operations in India. How do you see the experience?
Amazon’s mission statement is to build the earth’s most customer-centric company. It allows us to identify large areas where we believe we can provide significant customer differentiation. Amazon has been the inventor of cloud computing, which has nothing to do with e-commerce. Kindle is hardware. It is about large unserved areas where we believe we can bring in our skill-sets to create a different experience. Our vision for our global company is that we want to enable customers to find, discover and buy anything online. We start with customer experience and work backwards. We’ve seen significant investments in the last 11 months; outputs are exciting and the growth is beyond our wildest dreams.
What is your growth philosophy?
We believe if we create a great customer experience, we will get a lot of traffic. When we get a lot of traffic, it will be attractive to a lot of sellers, and when sellers get attracted, they bring in a lot of selection. Selection further improves customer experience and this is our flywheel that we try to spin faster all the time. When we do it well, it drives growth and drives lower cost structure for the entire ecosystem, whether it is transportation or seller cost or vendor cost. This lower cost gets passed on to the customer and this forms the secondary flywheel. These flywheels were drawn on a napkin by Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) 15 years ago. We created our own warehouses and logistics networks in Mumbai and Bangalore, and partnered with carriers to build that whole ecosystem of delivery.
How fast are you expanding the one-day delivery programme?
We launched the two-day delivery guarantee last year, we improved it to one-day guarantee delivery and we are offering it in 20-plus cities now. We also have the same day delivery in Mumbai, Bangalore and the surrounding places. While one-day delivery is hard, it is harder to make it work for a larger selection. We have more than 2.4