Amazon India believes that the trust of customers, innovation and technology, as well as the on-boarding of local and offline retailers will play a critical role for e-commerce companies in the post-covid world, Amit Agarwal, country head of Amazon India, said in an interview as part of the Pivot or Perish series.
E-commerce companies are trying to increase the number of buyers, with a shift from offline to online and as new consumer buying patterns emerge from this crisis.
“You earn trust when you do the right thing even when no one is watching you. I think in the post-covid world, customers are going to look for that trust, the trust of safety, the trust of having the items that they need delivered to them, making sure that we hold ourselves to the promises that we make. If we fail to fulfil a promise, we make it a very important exercise within the company to try with root cause, find what went wrong, fix that, so that it never happens again. These will be very, very important," said Agarwal.
Amazon’s core strategy of selection, price, and convenience is more relevant than ever in a post-covid world, Agarwal said.
Amazon aims to offer this to customers and deliver fast and reliably, he said, “by providing tools to empower hundreds and thousands of selling partners, so that they can offer anything that the customer wants. They can reduce cost of operations by using technology and offer great value, and use our logistics infrastructure to deliver it fast. That’s kind of the core part of our business model." Amazon has more than 600,000 sellers on its Marketplace platform.
In April, Amazon India launched ‘Local Shops on Amazon’ to enable offline retailers to come on the Amazon Marketplace and use the platform to sell their products and expand their reach.
“With this crisis, sellers would want to reach their customers even locally. Because of social distancing, footfall will have to be supplemented with an online presence. The Local Shops programme would help stores redefine themselves from being an offline store to being a place that serves customers no matter where the customers are," he said. “I feel that kind of embracing the technology might just leapfrog the idea of whether something is online and offline to being a customer-obsessed business. We are optimistic that manufacturers might embrace things such as local selling and redefine themselves as global brands."
In India, e-commerce firms such as Amazon and Flipkart were allowed to only deliver essential goods during the nearly two-month lockdown, impacting business in a big way. These firms have started delivering non-essentials to large cities this week.
Amazon has seen a more than 50% rise in demand compared to pre-covid days in the first two days after full-scale delivery of essential and non-essential products resumed. Agarwal said.
“Clearly, there is significant pent-up demand. Customers are looking to buy products that they haven’t been able to purchase for quite some time. I’m hopeful that some of this sustains and our sellers are able to recover some of the demand they had lost in the last few days," he said.