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Amazon launches initiative to turn local stores into 'digital dukaans'

Amazon launches initiative to turn local stores into 'digital dukaans'
18 May, 2022
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American e-commerce retailer Amazon has launched Smart Commerce — its initiative to transform India’s neighbourhood stores, across product categories, into ‘Digital Dukaans‘, and accelerate its move to digitise one crore small businesses by 2025.

The initiative was announced by Amazon’s Amit Agarwal, senior vice president, India and Emerging Markets, at the company’s flagship two-day annual event Amazon Smbhav.  

The company said that more than 1.5 lakh neighbourhood stores are already selling online using Amazon.in, two years after announcing the programme. But with Smart Commerce, these local stores can now digitise their offline operations too, provide enhanced in-store shopping experience to their walk-in customers, and create their own online storefronts to serve them directly.  

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In the coming weeks, Smart Commerce will release its first set of solutions to help local stores digitise billing and inventory management, the company said. This will be followed by other capabilities that will help them create their own online storefronts offering simple voice and chat-based shopping experience.  

Speaking at the event, Agarwal said: “We are excited to launch Smart Commerce that will enable any store to truly become a digital dukaan, and serve customers with the best of Amazon no matter where they are — in their physical store, directly through their own online storefront, or on Amazon.in. We are just getting started and remain committed to our pledge to digitise one crore small businesses by 2025.”

At the inaugural Smbhav Summit held in New Delhi in January 2020, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos had pledged $1 billion in new investments to help take small Indian businesses online. In a chat with Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal, Bezos said the investments will touch as many as 10 million small and medium businesses, including manufacturers, resellers, local offline shops and brands.  

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To be sure, Amazon had pledged to digitise 10 million MSMEs, generate $10 billion in cumulative exports from India and create two million jobs by 2025. It is on track to fulfill these pledges, the company said, with Amazon recently doubling its exports pledge from $10 billion to $20 billion in the same time frame.  

Manish Tiwary, Country Manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon India said that the company has already digitised over four million small businesses and local stores and it is on track to enable $5 billion in cumulative exports. It has created over 1.16 million direct and indirect jobs in India including 1,35,000 new jobs added in the last one year, he said. “Our vision is that in a country the size of India, with millions of SMBs and dukaans all of them should be digital and wired up to serve customers. This is going to set the foundation for building robust future ready businesses and also boost employment in this country,” he said. 

In India, Amazon.in marketplace is operated by Amazon Seller Services Private Ltd, an affiliate of Amazon.com, Inc. The company said that it offers vast selection, low prices, fast and reliable delivery, and a trusted and convenient experience to online shoppers. It also provides sellers with a world-class e-commerce marketplace, it said. 

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