Amazon's India vendors can now tap business clients in US, Europe and Japan

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Amazon, the US-based online retail giant, has expanded its global selling programme in India by enabling its local sellers to tap business clients in markets of the US, Europe and Japan. Even though Amazon had opened its global platform to Indian sellers in 2015, they were allowed to ship products only to end-consumers. The company has opened the platform for business-to-business (B2B) channels as it sees an uptick in demand in that segment. 

“We want to help Indian exporters and sellers reach business buyers across the world,” said Peeyush Nahar, vice-president, B2B Marketplace Business , Amazon. “We have been piloting a programme to help a small set of sellers reach businesses to see how it works. Now we have 2,000 sellers and enough positive things to go ahead and expand the service,” he added.

The 2,000 sellers, which Amazon has picked for this global B2B selling programme, are a subset of the 35,000 Indian sellers who ship products to consumers overseas. The firm said the experience for sellers would be largely similar, with a few additions such as enabling bulk orders and being able to price products differently for businesses.

In 2017, Amazon said, a quarter of the revenues its sellers earned on its platform globally came from cross-border transactions. The company’s B2B business also outpaced the company’s overall 31 per cent revenue growth in the year, representing a big opportunity and also allowing it to take on rivals such as eBay and Alibaba.

This has led Amazon to encourage its sellers to ship more products overseas and not just in India. On the B2B global selling front, the company said it had tapped several Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses, giving its sellers a good mix of customers to cater for. For Indian sellers, Amazon will take care of cross-border shipping, cross-border transactions and after-sales service if they are willing to do business overseas. This will also reduce complexities for Indian sellers as they will not have to encounter the hassle of winning orders, signing contracts, and going through the procurement ordeal.

“More sellers will offer more options which are one of our core propositions to the customer. What we are doing in India is creating awareness about the opportunity so whoever is interested can participate,” said Gopal Pillai, director of Sellers Services, Amazon India.

“We are also going to clusters where there is a dense population of manufacturers of a particular type of product and we are onboarding them,” he added.

While Amazon has launched its global seller programme across several geographies, for India, the company is doing things differently, considering a lot of sellers are small and medium enterprises. Amazon has customised its platform to allow these sellers to get easy currency conversions and translation services for listing products in Europe and Japan. It is even offering a marketplace for service providers who can help sellers with cross-border taxation.

Over 10 per cent of Amazon’s current 300,000 sellers in India are selling products to consumers outside the country. With the B2B, they can now potentially tap the businesses customers as well, the company said. Besides, the company is also continuing to focus on growing its base of global sellers out of India, which has grown by around 250 per cent in the past two years.

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