Global e-commerce giant – Amazon, in the midst of a huge battle for retail supremacy in India, has decided to take the path less treaded in the country, by venturing into the comparably underrepresented market of Food and Beverages.
As per a report by The Times of India, Amazon intends to launch the division halfway through October, which would be around sometime next week, just before Diwali. Although the full-fledged sub-category is yet to be unveiled, Amazon has already begun accepting bookings for one product that would fit into the category – Coca-Cola Zero – possibly to get a feel of the market before going public with their move.
Initially kicking off their Food department with just packaged foods and beverages, Amazon has supposedly set their sights on the bigger picture, aiming for fresh groceries, but that would have to wait for a while.
The grocery and fresh foods market is not totally unfamiliar territory for the e-commerce giant, having conservatively launched a division called Amazon Fresh in the U.S., operating currently in just Seattle and California. However, if Amazon were to bring the Amazon Fresh model into India in the manner in which it operates in either California or Seattle (which follow different models) they would have a very difficult time wooing any customers in India, due to their exorbitant pricing schemes. What makes it even tougher, is the fact that certain crucial markets such as Mumbai already have people in very cushy arrangements with local vendors, even receiving the produce right to their door, if not window, early in the morning or just when they need it.
That being said, due to logistical and other reasons, there definitely still is a market for people who would love the convenience of all their grocery shopping done in the comfort and convenience of their couches, whilst having everything else taken care of; and this market hasn’t gone completely unnoticed.
These past few years have seen players such as Big Basket, Local Banya, EkStop, and a few others prop up, but such parties only cater to a very limited base of a few metro cities and even then, the comfort of having groceries delivered to you without one having picked them out themselves hasn’t really sunk in to the Indian psyche as yet. Amazon’s entry however, could be just the push the industry needs.
By venturing into perishables, Amazon would be entering into a market that has until now, been completely shunned by India’s indigenous e-commerce giants – Flipkart and Snapdeal; and if executed efficiently, it could provide for a very lucrative upper hand for Amazon over its rivals, who have previously had the advantage of local brand recognition by being earlier players in the collective e-commerce industry altogether.
This is certainly an ambitious move on the part of Amazon, in a field that could really use some efficient streamlining in our country. All we can do is wait and see if Amazon really has what it takes to achieve in India, in what it has taken a rather long time to get a hold of, even in its technologically savvy and efficient home country of America. Who knows, India might just be kinder to them.