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Amazon Great Indian Festival: This Year Saw Strongest Ever Start for SMBs, Says Amazon India VP

News18.com

Last Updated: October 23, 2020, 10:14 IST

Amazon India VP Manish Tiwary on this year's Great Indian Festival sale.

Amazon India VP Manish Tiwary on this year's Great Indian Festival sale.

The Amazon Great Indian Festival sale started on October 16 for Amazon Prime members, and October 17 for everyone else. Amazon says that this year the annual sale saw the biggest ever opening day.

Amazon’s Great Indian Festival and Flipkart’s Big Billion Days annual sales have just wrapped up. With the COVID-19 pandemic around, this year’s sales were more important than previous iterations in a number of ways – from providing users the safe option of shopping from home, to helping businesses get back to their feet after the pandemic crushed economic activity in the country. Further, the sales held importance as they came just ahead of the upcoming festive season.

Amazon, earlier this week said that the company has had a successful Great Indian Festival sale this year, which saw the biggest opening day for Prime members ever. The company said that this year’s Great Indian Festival sale also saw 91 percent new customers coming from smaller cities and customers from 98.4 percent pin codes shopped in the first 48 hours of the Great Indian Festival sale. Further, about 1.1 lakh Amazon sellers received orders during the first 48 hours of the Great Indian Festival sale. We talk to Amazon India vice president Manish Tiwary, who tells us more about this year’s sale and how Amazon strategised things with a global pandemic looming.

Q1. This year, compared to previous years, online shopping is more of a necessity for many and not just a matter of convenience or choice. Was there a difference in the approach to the Amazon Great Indian Festival Sale this year, compared with the earlier editions and other sales?

One thing we have learnt from the COVID-19 crisis is how important a role Amazon and ecommerce can play with enabling policies – for our customers as much as for small businesses and the economy. We take this responsibility seriously, and we are proud of the work our teams are doing to help customers through this difficult time.

This Great Indian Festival, our focus remains on providing reliability to customers, ensuring safety of employees and helping sellers as they get back on their feet. These include more than 650,000 sellers and SMBs including artisans, women entrepreneurs, emerging Indian brands, and local store owners from programs like Karigar, Saheli, Launchpad, and Local Shops. At the same time, we want to help customers find everything they need – from the latest mobile phone to groceries and get them delivered safely to their homes.

Q2. Which categories saw the maximum traction this time around? Did Amazon notice any unique or different shopping trends, with regards to categories or products or location or age demographics?

With over 1.1 Lakh sellers receiving orders; 66 percent sellers, 91 percent of new customers, and 66 percent of new Prime sign-ups from small towns; shopping in 5 Indian languages; and orders from over 98.4 percent of India’s pin-codes in just 48 hours, this Great Indian Festival is truly Bharat’s biggest celebration on Amazon ever.

During the first 48 hours, top sold categories were Smartphones, Large Appliances and Consumer Electronics with leading brands OnePlus, Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi making record sales.

New products received a rousing response; popular new products were OnePlus 8T, Samsung M31 Prime Edition, OnePlus Nord (Gray Ash), Xbox Series S, Maggi 2 minute Desi Cheesy Masala, Samsung 6.5 kg fully automatic washing machine, new collection from BIBA & Max among over 1,100 new launches.

Q3. How important were the safety protocols for the entire chain, including the delivery of products to a consumer’s home or office? Were there any new policies and infrastructure changes incorporated in the fulfilment chain to take care of these concerns and requirements?

We place tremendous value and focus on the well-being and safety of our employees and contractors around the world as we face the challenges associated with COVID-19. We are working closely with authorities to ensure we are taking the right precautions and have implemented a series of preventative health measures for employees, associates and partners at our sites such as adherence to social distancing norms, use of face covering, and daily temperature screenings in our operations sites among other measures.

We are geared up to manage this increased demand while we ensure the safety of our associates and customers. In order to ensure safe and reliable deliveries, and serve customer demand during the Great Indian Festival, Amazon has ramped up its delivery infrastructure adding close to 200 delivery stations and added tens of thousands of delivery partners to its network. Amazon.in expanded its fulfilment footprint with more than 60 fulfilment centres in 15 states offering a storage capacity of over 32 million cubic feet to serve customers in the farthest parts of the country. Further, Amazon India announced 5 new sort centres and expansion of 8 existing sort centres across the country to strengthen fulfilment capacity.

In addition to this, we have created more than 100,000 seasonal job opportunities ahead of the festive season across our operations network in the country. The new seasonal positions will help elevate our delivery experience and boost the company’s fulfilment and delivery capabilities to meet the surge in customer demand this festive season.

Q4. Amazon has been focusing on small and medium businesses in India, including special offers for those who shop from SMB sellers. Please tell us a bit more about the initiatives on that front, and how much traction was visible for the products listed by these sellers.

This festive season, lakhs of Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) are offering unique selection to customers helping them rebuild and accelerate their business in tough times. Over 4 crore products from Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs); products from over 20,000 local shops across 100 cities are available during Great Indian Festival. Customers across the country can shop for unique products from thousands of Amazon sellers under various programs such as Local Shops, Amazon Launchpad, Amazon Saheli, and Amazon Karigar and enjoy deals/offers extended by lakhs of small businesses.

This year witnessed the strongest ever start for SMBs with record sales; over 5,000 sellers clock sales worth INR 10 lakh in SMB pre-festive lead up and first 48 hours of the Great Indian Festival. With over 1.1 Lakh sellers receiving orders, we are humbled how sellers, brands and ecosystem partners nationwide have come together during these unprecedented times to spread joy across the country.

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