Manish Tiwary, Country Manager and Vice-President, India Consumer Business, Amazon India, spoke to BusinessLine on the upcoming Amazon Great Indian Festival 2022, wherein over 2 lakh local stores will participate and offer delivery across all serviceable pin codes in India. The ecommerce industry in India records a severe jump in sales every year around Dusshera/Diwali. Tiwary expects the order volumes during this festival season too, to be the same. However, industry watchers have predicted muted ecommerce sales as customers are looking to shop offline after two years of the pandemic and e-commerce companies’ turn focus on profitability. Excerpts:
What is your outlook for the order volumes during the Great Indian Festival (GIF) 2022? Are you concerned about the alleged drop in e-commerce order volumes for the past few months?
As you are aware, the last two years have been huge for Amazon because of the pandemic impact and a lot of customers moving online. The good thing is that a lot of these customers continue to shop with Amazon and have converted to Prime members. So this year should be as good a Diwali as any other year in terms of growth.
In terms of drop in order volumes, a month before Diwali, seller focus is completely on the Diwali sale. So, those are natural order cycles in the year. But otherwise, we haven’t seen anything that should worry us in terms of either customer acquisition, sales or seller acquisition.
Amazon India recently announced a 50 per cent waiver on selling fee for all new sellers registering on the platform between August 28 and October 26. Do you usually see a huge inflow of new sellers during the festival season?
It is important to note that every Diwali resets the pace for both customers and sellers. So, if you are moving at a scale of 100 and Diwali comes, then 100 becomes 140 and then settles on at 130 — whether it is a customer run rate or seller run rate. So yes, sellers, new sellers and current sellers look forward to Diwali.
Diwali has also become the time of the year when all the big brands do their product launches — we have close to 2,000 launches happening this Diwali. So, this is an incentive for sellers based on the kind of success we have seen with offline sellers starting to sell online. It is one more way for us to get people to start selling online.
Many e-commerce companies today are focusing on live commerce during sale events. Will it be the same for Amazon?
During the Diwali period, we will have close to 150 influencers generating around 600 live streams. We are focused on quality and not quantum. Depending on certain brands, we will have a mix of national and regional influencers making these live streams. Brands in categories like electronics will have national influencers but we will also have regional influencers — a good mix of both.
Amazon has always talked about its focus on tier-2 and beyond markets. How is the company gearing up this year to attract this segment?
During this sale event, we expect close to 80 to 85 per cent of customers to come from tier-2 and beyond. Given that we have 11 lakh sellers, we are able to offer national brands and trends to these customers. Especially by leveraging local shops, we are able to address tastes and trends at any level very effectively. This is what appeals to tier-2 and beyond customers, besides the language shopping and faster shipping. I believe that our sellers have the right selection and we have built the right customer experience. So, we are excited about what the impact would be this festive season.
What is your view on ONDC and how do you see it impacting the e-commerce sector in India?
The thought behind ONDC is very powerful, which is to basically create a bigger pipeline that can benefit more and more participants. We talk a lot about e-commerce today, but the reality is that it is only 3-4 per cent of the retail market. So we are completely committed on the ONDC front. If you look at some of the company pledges that Amazon has, they also talk about digitisation and that is what ONDC is effectively driving. So we are working with ONDC very closely and believe that digitisation of the ecosystem is critical for achieving the $5-trillion economy mark that the government has envisioned. We are excited about working with them but it is still early days.