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Since the pandemic, new seller sign-ups have risen 60% as Amazon India has initiatives such as Local Shops. (Photo: AP)
Since the pandemic, new seller sign-ups have risen 60% as Amazon India has initiatives such as Local Shops. (Photo: AP)

No local-global divide: Amazon’s Amit Agarwal

In his keynote address at Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, Agarwal reiterated the commitment made by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in January to export goods worth $10 billion from India by 2025

BENGALURU: E-commerce has blurred the lines between local and global, Amazon India chief Amit Agarwal said on Friday, as local sellers increasingly tap overseas buyers across online marketplaces.

In his keynote address at Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, Agarwal reiterated the commitment made by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in January to export goods worth $10 billion from India by 2025.

A large number of sellers have signed up for Amazon’s global selling programme, Agarwal said, adding the online marketplace now has 100,000 artisans and small and medium businesses (SMBs) apart from 700,000 sellers.

Small stores have rapidly digitized during the pandemic and mobile internet has become a “social leveller" for livelihoods, Agarwal said.

“As we look ahead, the 21st century is India’s century. Technology and mobile internet will have a profound impact on the country. Urban centres will no longer claim preferential access to products, education, healthcare or entertainment, and we have seen mobile internet being a great social leveller for livelihoods in the country. With the entrepreneurial spirit in play, e-commerce is blurring the lines between local and global," Agarwal said.

Amazon India is on track to achieving the target set by Bezos to digitize 10 million SMBs in India. Since the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic, it has launched initiatives such as Local Shops where neighbourhood stores can deliver goods in the same locality or across the country.

“One of the interesting trends which we are witnessing is more SMBs and neighbourhood stores coming online. New sign-ups have gone up by 60% on Amazon.in. More and more customers are also coming online, as more brands want to sell directly to consumers rather than working with retail distributors. Further, customers are shopping groceries online, more than ever, which caused us to expand ‘Pantry’ to 300 cities along with Amazon Fresh," Agarwal said.

Agarwal added that more customers are moving to voice and touch to interact with the digital ecosystem, and that India must embrace the digital opportunity, assisted with predictable policies.

E-commerce firms Flipkart and Amazon have seen a significant rise in new customers amid the pandemic, as people shopped online due to lockdown restrictions. Amazon India, which recently ended its month-long Great Indian Festival, saw its biggest turnout ever in terms of sellers and customers.

“Once this phase goes away, India will see a grassroot movement, as more SMBs embrace technology. Tech will be important for our 10 lakh artisans and weavers. We are happy to play a key role in this change by taking products from local shops globally," Agarwal added.

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