In November 2021, we integrated our grocery stores Fresh and Pantry into a single unified store called Amazon Fresh. The new store, available across 300+ cities in India, continues to offer customers unbeatable savings, a wide selection of products, and fast and convenient delivery options in one single online destination. Driven by a commitment to be an ‘everything’ and ‘everyday’ store for customers, Amazon Fresh director Srikant See Ram talks about how they launched, customer-backwards innovations that are helping them scale, and some personal advise on building your career at Amazon.
Setting up Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh officially launched as a single unified store in November 2021, after the merge with Pantry. It is now available across 300+ Indian cities, which gives us the opportunity to serve a lot of customers by offering the widest selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at a great price and convenient delivery. The platform acts as a single online destination for daily grocery needs, and aspires to be the most automated digital grocer in India. Connecting local sellers and sourcing directly from farmers is an important part of our mission at Amazon Fresh.
‘Customer Obsession' lights the path
One of the main reasons why Amazon Fresh is fast-becoming the destination for online grocery shopping is thanks to our Leadership Principle of Customer Obsession. Our playbook always works backwards from the customer and innovates on their behalf. For example, ‘Super Value Days’ that help to maximise savings, personalized widgets, or reminders for easy shopping. The pandemic has changed customer habits and introduced online grocery shopping to millions of people who would have otherwise never shopped for groceries online.
'Invent and Simplify' is the backbone
Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are not alien terms to Amazon Fresh. To offer the highest quality of fruits and vegetables to customers, we've invested heavily in computer vision analytics and adopted it in hybrid stores operated by More Retail Limited (MRL), as well as in Amazon Fulfillment Centers (FCs) and collection centers where we collect produce from farmers. With MRL, we've built India’s first grounds-up retail store — a new format that can service walk-ins and online orders — that can keep a wide assortment of products and serve >500 orders a day. We've launched two such stores and are now gearing up to expand rapidly. With the launch of Amazon Kiosk, we've gone a step further to make shopping even more seamless for customers; it is a contactless retail outlet based on Just Walk Out (JWO) technology, and the experience is similar to taking stuff out of a refrigerator and taking it home. Technology has also helped us deal with volumes and fast payments to farmers. In a day, we source over 200 metric tonnes of fruits and vegetables from collection centers close to the farms and we pay the farmer within 4 hours.
Treat your career like a 'jungle gym'
I joined Amazon in September 2012 as a Vendor Manager to launch the Baby category. It has been quite a journey since then, leading multiple categories such as Health and Toys, and programs such as Subscribe & Save and Amazon Family. I have also worked on the Seller side of the business, on teams working on India-first solutions such as Seller Flex and Smart Connect, which have now scaled to worldwide marketplaces. I had the opportunity to work closely with the India leadership team during my stint as a Technical Advisor. My learning through this journey has been to work in areas that challenge the status quo, but at the same time have the opportunity to scale massively if successful. As you would hear from many tenured Amazonians, it’s a lot more fun when you treat your career as a jungle gym (try out new things) versus as a ladder (attempting to move up without experimenting).
Take advantage of working from office
The past two years have been hard on all of us and has taught us a lot about empathy at the workplace. As we've started to move back to office, it's important that we maintain a safe environment that allows teams to operate at their best to serve our customers. While we've started #WorkingFromHere (i.e. the office) once more, it's important that we prioritize meetings/engagements that allow teams to bond and collectively problem solve. It's been truly refreshing meeting colleagues in-person and solving tough problems on a whiteboard — something I missed the most through the pandemic.