After bringing its worldwide Prime Day sale to India, ecommerce giant Amazon now plans to add benefits to its Prime subscription services which will benefit its offline expansion and encourage frequent use of the programme in the country.
According to a media report, Amazon’s global Prime head Jamil Ghani said the company is looking to add more Prime members from small towns in India and that its assisted shopping initiative Udaan and recently launched Hindi interface are aiding this target.
The development comes at a time when Amazon is integrating its Prime offerings with supermarket chain Whole Foods in the US.
“(Offline) is definitely an area of interest for us. We are always looking for ways to add Prime benefits, especially with Amazon Pay solutions. (In the US), we are bringing the Prime experience to Whole Foods and the Whole Foods experience to Amazon across the website and Prime Now,” said Ghani.
It must be noted that Prime members in the US get additional discounts on hundreds of on-sale products at Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired last year, as well as fast delivery of products from the supermarket chain.
Amazon India is working with digital payments startup ToneTag, in which it recently invested, to integrate its services with payment companies with a view to offering benefits to Prime members at stores and restaurants.
At present, ToneTag is working on offering Prime members a frictionless payment experience such as the option to walk out of restaurants without physically paying the bill. The company plans to offer the ‘Eat and Go’ option — which will leverage its sound wave technology to automatically generate and pays bills — exclusively to Prime members at about 8,000 Indian restaurants in about 12 months.
Another use case of the sound technology-based payment experience could be at parking lots in malls and other shopping areas, where a Prime member would not have to physically pay for parking.
Amazon: Driving Deeper With Prime And Udaan
Amazon is looking to hike up its Prime members to more than 10 Mn in India and is tapping customers from smaller cities and towns. “We have Prime members joining from Udaan to get access to Prime Video and Prime Music. It’s a small percentage but is growing,” said Akshay Sahi, Amazon’s Prime head for India.
Amazon started the assisted shopping project, internally code-named Project Udaan, as a pilot in 2015, and has since expanded to 14,000 stores in 21 states with large network partners such as Storeking and Vakrangee, as well as smaller partners and individual entrepreneurs.
“Udaan has been revolutionary in helping customers come online. It is an idea we are looking to take to other countries,” Ghani said.
Recently, the company also launched a Hindi language interface on its platform in a bid to reach non-metro customers. Ghani said Amazon has taken some learnings from its Prime programme in India to other markets.
“Prime Day 2017 gave exclusive access to local and international brands keyed on the desire for exclusivity that Indian customers have. The reality is that desire is true around the world. We replicated that in all countries around the world this Prime Day and it was massively successful,” he said.
Sahi said new product launches during Amazon’s Prime Day sales event in India grew significantly from last year. “This year, we took product launches from 30 to 280 on Prime Day,” he said.
He added that Amazon is adding hundreds of thousands of products under Prime every day, which stood at 40 Mn products as of July when the company held its second Prime Day in India.
[The development was reported by ET.]