Wednesday, June 5, 2013

That it would happen was never in doubt, the question was when and how. With the indian government dilly dallying in whether to allow FDI in retail ecommerce (its another story that most of the investment has been FDI anyway considering most ecommerce websites are founded by foreign VCs), Amazon finally seemed to reconcile to the idea of launching as a marketplace instead of an inventory driven store. Like Junglee, it has been a soft launch without too much brouhaha. They intend to start with books, DVDs and TV shows from what we hear.

As you would imagine, they have got most things right from the very beginning :

1) Selling vs fulfillment - Interesting they do both while most other indian marketplaces tend to stick to one. There are some vendors like us who like to do the fulfillment (cost effective both for us and customer) as our stuff is pretty large compared to others and cost of goods,storage and returns are pretty high. However, I am sure there are lots of vendors who would like to pass on the fulfillment part to Amazon especially in categories like books where the size, cost and logistics form a smaller part of price compared to the content or marketing. Looking at the options, both look pretty simple and easy to understand, exactly the way one would imagine. This seems to be a global best practice for them but nonetheless, bringing it to India is important.

2) Pricing - Pricing is extremely simple or so it seems - No listing fees and interestingly, the closure fee and the commissions) seem reasonable

3) Feedback and Guarantee Program - This is pretty lousy in most marketplaces and only Ebay does this well. Amazon will surely bring best practices here from around the world.

4) Goodies for Sellers - The fulfillment prices seem to be very good and this may be a promotional thing for the time being but many vendors will like this.

Overall, it seems like an amazing platform for Manufacturers and Sellers and we can't wait to get onboarded :)

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