NEW DELHI: Amazon India has a "deep paranoia" that its customers may find a better shopping experience elsewhere and much of the $3bn investment just announced will go on enhancing that experience, the country's top executive has said.
Earlier this week, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos told the US-India Business Council he planned to invest a further $3bn in India, on top of the $2bn he announced in 2014 – a move some observers speculated was a reaction to Alibaba's plans to enter the market.
He didn't reveal any detail on how these funds would be used but Amit Agarwal, Amazon India's managing director, gave an indication of the company's direction.
"In general our approach has been to focus on things that matter to customers and don't change with time," he explained.
"When you invest in things that customers deeply care about, it allows you to ensure that all your resources are going into building the best shopping experience that they can find," he told the Economic Times.
In general, that means selection, low prices and faster and reliable delivery. "In the case of India, there is an additional aspect of convenient payments and mobile (transactions)," Agarwal added.
And the internet retail giant is not only considering the buyer experience but also that of the seller, as Agarwal outlined, regarding selection, how "our focus has been on enabling sellers, training them, bringing them online and building infrastructure for them".
Similarly on pricing, "our prime area of focus has been how we lower cost of operations for sellers so that they can offer lower prices".
As for delivery, Amazon India delivers anywhere there is a post office. "More than 65% of our sales are from non-Tier-1 cities," Agarwal revealed. "But having said that this is barely day one. There is a lot of opportunity even in the larger cities."
That view is backed up by a recent report from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and researcher IMRB, which said the value of the country's e-commerce market would almost double in 2016, led by the online travel industry.
"Our deep paranoia that a customer doesn't find the best shopping experience elsewhere is core to how we approach our daily jobs," Agarwal said.
Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff