The firm, which claims to have more than doubled its Prime members in the last 12 months, aims to bring the next 100 million customers online through the sale.
Amazon’s six-day festive season sale starting September 29 promises to offer consumers the widest selection of products across categories. The firm, which claims to have more than doubled its Prime members in the last 12 months, aims to bring the next 100 million customers online through the sale. Manish Tiwary, V-P, category management at Amazon India, tells FE’s Asmita Dey that this Diwali sale is going to be the biggest ever for the company. Excerpts:
How do you see the festive season sale faring given the current economic slowdown?
We at Amazon have not experienced any kind of slowdown. Over the last three to four months, we have actually seen an acceleration in the number of sellers wanting to register with Amazon. Last Diwali, we had about 3.5 lakh sellers which have now grown to a base of 5 lakh sellers. Consequently, our selection of products this festive season has widened to 200 million against 170 million products the previous year. Xiaomi, Samsung, among others, have exclusive launches on Amazon this Diwali. Also, we have more than doubled the Prime members in the last 12 months. E-commerce is so small in India that a slowdown would probably hit it the last.
Your rival Flipkart aims to clock gross sales that are eleven times more than on a normal business day this festive season. What is your sales target?
I do not know whether it (sales) will be five times or twenty times but I am very confident that this will be by far our biggest and best Diwali – not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of value and experience that our customers will get. We expect that almost 70% of customers this Diwali will come from Tier-2 cities and beyond.
Experts say bulk of Amazon’s sales so far have come from smartphones and fashion segment. What will be your core areas of focus, going ahead?
We want to be the everything store for everyone. Grocery is an area of focus for us. The category falls under high-frequency shopping. We want all our customers, especially Prime members, to fulfil all their grocery needs with us. We have Amazon pantry, which is now present in 125 cities. Another programme is Prime Now where you can buy anything you get in a big supermarket. In Bangalore, we are doing a pilot of Amazon Fresh, which is a simplified version of Prime Now.
It is understood that Flipkart (along with Myntra and Jabong) commands close to 70% share in online fashion segment. How is Amazon doing in this space?
The progress we are making in fashion has been remarkable. Amazon is a horizontal marketplace. All other marketplaces do not have this width of selection.
You have recently entered into partnership with the Future Group. How do you aim to benefit from the same?
I think it is the international arm which do the investment, they must have a strategy around it. I would leave it at that.
Have your sales been impacted after the government’s revision of FDI norms?
There has been no impact. Some of our large sellers had decided to pull out their selection post press note 2 but nothing except that. Amazon is a marketplace.