Amazon has formed a JV (joint venture) with Ashok Patni Group to strengthen its customer service unit or call centre. The step aims at elevating its brand presence amidst Indian customers by supporting the growing number of local-language customers.
As stated in an ET report, Patni Group holds 51% ownership in the JV, and will also help Amazon in setting up a subsidiary that will act as a seller on the Amazon India platform.
The report also stated that the subsidiary has been named as Frontizo Business Services, and has already started operations in Bengaluru with an investment of $30.4 Mn (INR 197 Cr) from Amazon Asia Pacific Holdings and Patni’s Zodiac Wealth Advisors LLP since June, according to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) filings. Also, as per available information, there are five Directors associated with Frontizo Business Services Private Limited. They are Essaji Goolam Vahanvati, Sunil Sadashiv Chitale, Ajay Mahipal, Sameer Khetarpal and Rajarshi Guin. Also, there are two Signatories associated with Frontizo Business Services Private Limited. They are Vinod Kumar and Sharath Narahari Belur.
Frontizo is currently being headed by Vinod Kumar, ex-Senior Manager at Amazon India. Before joining the company, he was serving as Director at Capgemini’s BPO until 2015. The company is also on a hiring spree and mentions, its vision to be a ccustomer-centric company that transforms the way ecommerce customers buy and interact online and to build a place where people set a high bar on customer obsession.
Amazon Forming JV With Local Allies: A Strategy To Lure Local Customers
Amazon is leaving no stone unturned to penetrate the Indian ecommerce space. As stated by a spokesperson of Frontzio to ET, “It is estimated that there are more than 450 Mn customers with Internet access in India. Only a handful of them shop today through ecommerce sites. Majority of these new customers will come from small towns and rural areas and will have different needs like vernacular language support and alternate operating models to serve them.”
With Frontizo, the existing and future consumers at Amazon can benefit with multi-channel customer support services, including email assistance, customer outreach and contact on the phone.
Recently, the ecommerce giant tied up with Indian FMCG major Dabur India for an online Ayurveda marketplace. This comes just a few months after reports surfaced that Amazon India was looking to join hands with the family-run investment office of Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan and Burman Family Holdings, the parent company of consumer brand Dabur.
The partnership of Amazon with fashion store Shoppers Stop last week also signals the same. As per reports, Amazon has picked up 5% equity stake in Shoppers Stop for $27.6 Mn (INR 179.25 Cr). The company’s experience centres will be created across the network of 80 Shoppers Stop stores to bring in the touch and feel aspect on Amazon.in assortment. This would not only help Amazon get access to a wide network of offline consumers and turn them into online shoppers but also Shoppers Stop will get a chance to leverage Amazon brand in tapping the non-metro consumers.
Amazon has been playing its cards quite well in Indian landscape. Even though, with a commitment of spending $5 Bn in India and fuelling its initiatives furiously, the company has not been able to claim the top spot, being in close proximity with homegrown ecommerce poster boy Flipkart at every number count. Forming allies such as JV or partnerships with local companies is another step to strengthen its customer base as well as brand positioning in the country, at the same time adding trust and credibility.