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Amazon India targets sellers

News, 05 June 2015

BENGALURU: Most Indian ecommerce sites have expended great effort attracting shoppers – witness Snapdeal's new promise to pick up returns within 90 minutes – but Amazon India has been cultivating merchants with a range of services, including advertising and a dedicated call centre.

"Hundreds of sellers are already advertising on Amazon.in and their number is growing each week," Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal told Live Mint.

"If you're a seller you want to have the option of spending money on marketing and seeing the RoI," he said, "Our Seller Central platform allows sellers to do this."

"We have the same set of products for brands," he added.

Amazon India has an advantage over its rivals in this area, which are also investing in ad sales, as its US parent already has a well-developed product it can adopt. Thus it can offer, for example, prominent product positioning for a fee.

The ad services include a self-service product, which Agarwal described as "a more-power personalization system"

Beyond advertising, Amazon has also set up an outsourced call centre with around 100 agents who can talk to merchants about issues such as customer refunds and logistics.

"Call centres in the past were for customers, but now, in the marketplace model, merchants are also a platform's customers," noted Arvind Singhal, managing director at retail and ecommerce advisory firm Technopak.

"I would think that as more merchants come online, more ecommerce companies would start looking at this," he told the Economic Times.

Interestingly, Amazon is also using price comparison site Junglee to redirect shoppers if Amazon itself doesn't have the product a shopper wants.

"If we don't carry a product and a customer is looking for it, I would rather send you to the product than disappoint you. We're getting good traction from this as well," Agarwal said.

Data sourced from Live Mint, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff