We have always been keenly focused on enabling small businesses to benefit from the widest reach made possible by e-commerce and lean into the future. Our investments in technology and infrastructure have been singularly geared towards empowering their growth – be it innovations like 'Seller Flex' that has transformed thousands of seller locations to become digitized warehouses; or 'Easy Ship' that has allowed businesses to take advantage of our logistics to reach customers nationally; or ‘Global Selling’ that has allowed local manufacturers and brands go global reaching 350+ million customers.
Earlier this year, we renewed our commitment to India by announcing an additional investment of USD 1 billion to digitally enable 10 million micro, small, and medium businesses in the country by 2025, including artisans, manufacturers, retailers, and local shops. While we continue to double down on our efforts to widen reach and enable new market access for them, we are simultaneously working on building new capabilities to help them serve their locality, their towns and cities, more effectively.
“We will use our technology, training and enablement capabilities to power local shops across India to sell online.”
Empowering local shopkeepers and retailers, to leverage the best of both worlds
Over the last 6 months, we have been running a pilot with 5,000+ offline retailers and local shops to bring the benefits of online selling closer to them. Code-named ‘Local Shops on Amazon,’ this program helps customers discover products from local shops in their city (many they already trust and love!) from the convenience of their homes, while helping shopkeepers supplement their footfalls with a digital presence and expand beyond their normal catchment. We expect this to be a win-win, as customers benefit from access to greater selection, faster deliveries, and additional value-added services, and local shops can transform themselves into digital stores. Additionally, shops can sign up for our existing programs that help them earn additional income – ‘I Have Space’ to act as delivery and pickup points, and ‘Amazon Easy’ to offer expanded selection to their walk-in customers.
Thousands of shopkeepers, from across the country, are already taking advantage of the pilot to showcase a wide range of products, ranging from consumer electronics to mattresses, kitchen items to grocery and consumables, apparel and shoes to gifts, and even fresh flowers and cakes! The pathbreakers include Delhi Electronics Plaza (Consumer Electronics, Delhi), mysleepyhead (Mattresses, Krishnagiri), Green Soul (Furniture, Mumbai), Sangeetha Mobiles (Mobile Phones, Bengaluru), Arya Organic Products (Grocery Consumables, Bengaluru), Comfort Bedding (Bedding & Mattresses, Delhi), Shoe Mistri (Shoes Care, Delhi), Electro Kart (Consumer Electronics, Delhi NCR), Madhuram (Electronics, Ahmedabad) The Mattress Hub (Mattresses, Delhi NCR), Electronics Shoppe (Consumer Electronics, Delhi NCR), Adith Electronics (Consumer Electronics, Hyderabad), Raw Pressery (Beverages, Mumbai), Weguarantee (Grocery and Healthcare, Lucknow) amongst others. We are energized by the response we have received so far. During one of our conversations with V.R. Chary – who runs Adith Electronics; a consumer electronics store in Ameerpet Cross Roads, Hyderabad – he mentioned about getting online orders from different parts of the city and the positive impact they were having on his overall earnings. He and his team are highly appreciative of the whole experience of receiving and fulfilling the orders.
Why is it important now and in the future?
The last few weeks have brought us across an unprecedented challenge. As we focused our efforts to serve only essential products to customers, it was heartening to see how hundreds of retailers and shopkeepers across India, already part of the pilot, played an important role to help the customers in need. We recently heard from Arpit Rai — he runs a grocery and health & wellness distribution business in Lucknow. Arpit mentioned that he was overwhelmed with the contribution his business has been able to make during this challenging time — how they have been able to serve far more people in the city than they could have if they were not selling online.
This could well be the defining moment when local shops leapfrog the commentary of “offline vs online” and instead embrace technology to transform themselves into digital and hybrid stores. As the Hon’ble Prime Minister said in a recent interaction, “Adaptability, Efficiency, Inclusivity, Opportunity and Universalism will be the vowels of the new normal – the essential ingredients of any business model in the post-COVID world”, we expect that this program would enable local shops to better serve their local customers and also dream bigger of going national or even global by joining some of our other programs.
“Recognizing the urgent need during these times, we are pledging INR 10 Crores to immediately expand our pilot to onboard and train any motivated retailer or shopkeeper who is ready to lean forward with us in this exciting journey.”
More importantly, we look forward to more and more local shops to join us so they can play a bigger role than ever before during this time of need. They can help save lives by serving customer needs from the safety of their homes, maintaining social distancing. At the same time, they can jumpstart their own livelihood post the unprecedented disruption and open up a long-term opportunity for themselves.
We are excited about the possibilities opened up by this program. We intend to take the learnings from months of running this pilot and weeks of its effectiveness during COVID-19 to scale this initiative to include shopkeepers and retailers across India. Recognizing the urgent need during these times, we are pledging INR 10 Crores to immediately expand our pilot to onboard and train any motivated retailer or shopkeeper who is ready to lean forward with us in this exciting journey.
We know this is just the beginning, and still Day 1!
If you are interested to become a part of the Local Shops on Amazon, please click here to provide us your details.
We’re excited by the positive feedback we’ve received so far. We have featured a few quotes below: