Amazon launches ‘Smart Stores’ in India to win mom and pop

Amazon launches ‘Smart Stores’ in India to win mom and pop

For Amazon, it’s never too late to undertake something in India. The e-commerce giant is exploring ways to further spread its tentacles within the largely offline, technology-free neighborhood stores in one among its key overseas markets.

The American firm’s latest attempt is named “Smart Stores.” For this India-specific program, Amazon is providing physical stores with software to take care of a digital log of the inventory they need within the shop, and supplying them with a QR code.

When consumers walk to the shop and scan this QR code with the Amazon app, they see everything the shop has got to offer, also as any discounts and past reviews from customers. they will select the things and buy it using Amazon Pay . Amazon Pay in India supports a variety of payments services, including the favored UPI, and debit and credit cards.

Amazon told TechCrunch that it piloted this project two months ago and is formally launching it now after seeing the first feedback. quite 10,000 shops, starting from mom and pop stores to big retail chains, including Big Bazaar, MedPlus and More Supermarkets, have deployed the company’s system, it said.

The company said these “digital storefronts” are a win-win for both consumers and shop owners. Consumers don't got to stay inside the shop and worry about handling plastic cards or cash — that's , to take care of social distance — and that they also will get rewards for using Amazon Pay.

Amazon’s QR code at display at a store. Photo: Amazon

Customers also get the power to use Amazon’s Pay Later feature that permits them to buy their purchases in installments. All of this suggests that merchants, most of whom shut stores until recent weeks to suits New Delhi’s lockdown order in late March, are seeing increased footfalls and improving their sales. Amazon said it's not taking any cut from merchants or customers.

The company has been aggressively engaging with physical stores in India in recent quarters, using their vast presence within the nation to expand its delivery network and warehouses and even just counting on their inventory to drive sales.

The company’s push into physical retail, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of sales in India, comes as Facebook, Flipkart, Google, and Reliance Jio Platforms, which recently raised $15.2 billion, also race to capture this market. On Thursday, Google said it plans to supply loans to merchants in India by the top of this year.

These mom-and-pop stores offer all types of things, are family-run and pay low wages, and tiny to no rent. Because they're ubiquitous — there are quite 30 million neighborhood stores in India, consistent with industry estimates — no retail giant offers faster delivery. And on top of that, their economics are often better than most of their digital counterparts.

“Amazon Pay is already accepted at many local shops, we try to form customers’ buying experience at local shops even more convenient and safe through Smart Stores. Further, through EMIs, bank offers, and rewards, we seek to form these purchases cheaper and rewarding for patrons, and help increase sales for merchants,” said Mahendra Nerurkar, chief executive of Amazon Pay, during a statement.

Amazon’s tardy but increasingly growing interest within the Indian physical retail market isn't surprising. the corporate has often taken longer than most firms in India to review the market, then adds its own spin to tackle those challenges. Another recent case in point: Its raid the food delivery market in India.

Despite ubiquitous interest within the physical retail market, one thing that no company is talking about yet is simply how they decide to commercially incentivize these merchants.

The technology solutions built by these companies is unarguably driving sales for them, but a big number of those small businesses take cash and under-report their revenues to pay less tax. That incentive is multifold of the other incentive for several of them.