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Amazon expands sellers’ infrastructure

In the on-going war for one upmanship in the online retail sector, the American based retail giant, Amazon is doubling its investments on sellers’ infrastructure this year in India itself, as the latest bulge-bracket fund-raising by Flipkart sets up a likely two-pony, photo-finish race for leadership in Web marketplace. Warehouses, fulfillment services, service provider network, in-person support, and other services like seller cafes and instant registration to its marketplace would likely attract the potential investments, Amazon India director and general manager (seller services), Amazon India, Gopal Pillai, said, elaborating that the investments figure’s budget will be decided very shortly. In fact, Amazon is keen to set up a seller-friendly marketplace, offering a frictionless experience for them. Amazon India has added seven new fulfillment centres to take it to 34 in the past one year, besides expanding other seller facilities. The commitment of fresh investment by Amazon follows a pronounced advance toward consolidation in India’s e-marketplace: This month, Amazon’s arch-rival Flipkart raised `9,000 crore ($1.4 billion) in fresh funding to boost its marketplace, signaling its intent to strengthen its grip on a market that is getting increasingly differentiated after continued losses as competitors such as Snapdeal put the spotlight on profitability. Amazon, too, had recently increased seller commissions across several categories, prompting some resistance from sellers. Pillai said that like consumers, Indian online sellers are also trying out multiple platforms before they finally choose one. “As of March, there has been 160% year-on-year growth in the seller network on Amazon India, with more than 1.75 lakh sellers. This has ensured that on an average, there are 1.8 lakh products for sale in the marketplace at any given time, compared with about 15,000 to 20,000 products in a brick-and-mortar supermarket and increasing commissions is continuous and periodic process.

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