‘Amazon Business, helping MSMEs get back on their feet’
Tell us a little bit more about Amazon Business in India.
Yes, it’s been three years since we went live and we have grown to be the largest business market in the country with about 150 million GST enabled purchases from over three lakh sellers, and a capability to cater to customer demand across 99.8% of the pin codes in the country.
When we launched in September 2017 the aim of the marketplace was to become the destination of choice for businesses to shop from for all indirect purchase needs. And this is very similar to the Amazon.in marketplace which is all about the end consumer shopping with us. However, what differentiates A.in from Amazon Business is that the latter this is focused on businesses, and they provide GST, invoices etc for the businesses in the market as well.
With COVID-19, how are you helping adapt business to this a new normal?
Across last year, we’ve had our focus on developing products and tools to help business sharpen its purchasing power. However, COVID-19 threw new challenges for us. And with the Prime Minister's call to action on empowering the MSME segment, we know how important the role Amazon business can play for these MSMEs, and we took that responsibility and that task very seriously.
Over the last few weeks my team has been working on launching the business program which we are calling the MSME Accelerate Program. It's a unique event that we're hosting in the Amazon Marketplace. And it's aimed to gain MSME industry enable itself as a business in the post lockdown scenario.
So one thing is to help them operationalize themselves, but also helping them manage and run their business. We'll be working with our sellers to find out the right sort of products and services for customers and also getting the best practices, pricing discounts for our customers as well on the single unit and bulk unit purchases to battle mature industry.
What are the various ways you will look to reach out to MSMEs in India.
We took a two-fold approach towards MSMEs - one, is how do they operationalize and get the businesses up and running again, and two, is how they run their businesses within the financial and expected standard of health and safety as well. And from that perspective, we have broken down the understanding of it into two features. One is an entire angle on work from home, which is creating an extreme work from home set up in the premises of where they’re working at. The other angle that we’re looking at is back to work. We have a host of supplies both for work and sanitization. We recently launched a COVID supply store as well, dedicated COVID supply store.
On Amazon Business, we have features like approvals of lower shared payments, and a whole host of other features, which have some functionality and get the work done faster, in a more efficient manner as well.
We also have online tools that this purchase manager is using to see how he's improved on extracting honest productivity and efficiency as well. And that's again, something that we focus on to show bulk and eliminate purchasing at one end of the spectrum.
You have also launched a Paathshala for business customers? How is that benefitting businesses?
When we launched Amazon Business in India, India was the fifth market worldwide to have this. What we did was to distill the learnings of the best practices that we could get from those markets and those customer care interactions and built the Amazon Business Paathshala, which we launched this year.
This is an initiative where we were actually sharing best practices globally with all the medium sized businesses and small businesses. We started this pilot in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai in the pre-COVID period. This will enable the channel managers improve how they procure better, by sharing better tactics and learnings and improve their buying efficiency.