With e-tailing now being regarded as the “digital gold”, e-commerce definitely rocketed in the midst of the global health crisis. India’s e-commerce sector, today, accounts for $850 billion in revenues, employs 50 million people and connects India’s ecosystem of 30 million small and medium businesses (SMB) to its customers.
Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India, said the government’s vision to position India as a favoured investment destination, strengthening local business and manufacturing, while driving exports is a powerful one and the e-commerce sector, a relevant and strong potential ally.
He believes the Indian SMB is unique in its entrepreneurial spirit. “We have seen over the decades how the STD booths evolved to be mobile recharge centres, stationary shops became digital printing centres, and now we are witnessing the kirana stores reinvent themselves as digital businesses – selling to customers in-store accepting digital payments, delivering at their doorstep, acting as delivery and pickup points and more,” Agarwal explained. “Already investment in e-commerce is creating large scale employment and livelihood opportunities, enabling B2C exports via e-commerce and integrating MSMEs in national and global supply chains.”
Agarwal highlighted that FDI in e-commerce has enabled building of a large supply and delivery infrastructure, positively impact manufacturing, has promoted “Made in India”, and facilitated innovations so that customers across all serviceable pin codes have access to same product and service experience. He acknowledged the role of MSMEs as an integral part of the value chain.
“I am aware there have been some concerns that online is hurting small sellers or offline retailers but facts belie this. The right kind of forward-leaning entrepreneurial businesses are embracing technology, reinventing themselves and becoming more robust, resilient businesses,” Agarwal said. “We are energized by this real entrepreneurial India, and will continue to empower them with technology and deliver on our pledge to digitize 10 million SMBs, enable $10 billion in exports, and create one million jobs in the next five years.”
The Amazon executive pointed out that the pandemic has only accelerated this shift. More businesses are taking advantage of the online marketplace to reach and cater to customers across the country. He shared that over 1.5 lakh new businesses chose to go digital in 2020 with Amazon.in that included 50k offline local neighbourhood stores coming online with the Local Shops program.