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Amritsar, NFA Post: Amazon India sees itself being a catalyst in the digital change foreseen for India, as it believes the 21st century is shaping to be India’s century and the advantage of having the kind of scale Amazon currently has, gives them the optimism to “dream big”, said Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head at Amazon India.

Virtually addressing the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, Agarwal said that technology and mobile internet have transformed daily life globally and India is no different, and these are likely to have profound impact on the country.

“India’s e-commerce industry is very early in this evolution, barely 3% of total retail consumption, but it is already ushering in faster digitisation across the consumption value chain…,” Agarwal said adding that e-commerce is blurring the line between online and offline, between local and global.

Agarwal said that the Covid-19 crisis has particularly highlighted the resilience and optimism of the Indian entrepreneur, as more small businesses and shops are embracing technology and online to reinvent themselves.

“Tens of thousands of neighbourhood stores across the country are expanding their influence as pickup points, logistics partners, and experience centres, for ecommerce, and truly becoming digital entrepreneurs,” Agarwal added.

Amazon India head said that the company realises and are humbled that these stores are relying on them more than ever before, and it takes this responsibility seriously.

Recently Amazon India launched a service allowing local shops to establish a digital presence on Amazon to serve customers in their locality online. “We are inspired by the undeterred entrepreneurial spirit and the resolve of India’s micro-entrepreneurs, as they adapt and embrace technology to jumpstart their livelihoods,” Agarwal said.

For instance, a small offline shop Sadhana Water Solutions in Bangalore retails water purifiers, inverters, and batteries. Realising that the extended remote work was leading to a rise in demand for inverters/ UPSs and customers increasingly preferring to buy online, the savvy shop owner started selling on the Amazon marketplace in June. Within the first 30 days, he has seen the online channel help record INR 90,000 in sales, a significant part of his total sales.

This is likely to be a structural shift that propels us faster towards the vision of a Digital India, catapults Make in India to go global at scale, and creates digitally enabled robust businesses that will power millions of livelihoods and help us realize an Atmanirbhar Bharat, he added. 

Way Ahead

“India must grab this rare opportunity with both hands, by focusing on enabling policies that accelerate this shift. It is important that we ensure a stable and predictable policy framework that attracts long-term investment, and proactively remove paper-cuts impacting ease of doing business online.”

 Simultaneously, we need to prepare our uniquely large young demographic for the world ahead, by enabling universal internet access and enabling digital literacy; emphasizing focus on science and engineering; and embracing Machine Learning and AI as unique levers to drive transformation at scale, Agarwal said.

“We at Amazon, truly feel fortunate and humbled to be able to play our part as a catalyst in digitally transforming lives and livelihoods, and as a partner to enable India to unleash its potential in the 21st century. We recently pledged to digitise 10 million SMBs, enable $10 billion in exports, and create an incremental 1 million digital jobs by 2025.”

“Personally, I feel grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And once again, I am energized by the entrepreneurial spirit of this city and the fellowship of the ecosystem. I speak on behalf of my entire team when I say, it is still Day 1,” Agarwal said.

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