Amazon launched quietly in the beginning of this month in India in the form of junglee.com, the startup that Amazon bought way back during the dot-com bubble. Amazon is a world leader in online retail backed by the genius, Jeff Bezos who has made it a force to reckon with. The site has a wide range of products and services, which include the Kindle range of e-book readers, the one-click payment method, along with the buying of companies, like Zappos. Amazon is now in such a dominant position that it has caused an upheaval in the market and has reported a regular increase in its e-book sales, which has now overtaken the sales of its physical books.
Ready to take on the rest?
Entering into the Indian market seems a natural step in the process of its retail monopoly. Yet, it seems that Amazon couldn't have chosen a worse time for entering the Indian market. For starters, everything seems to be against it. Beginning from the name itself, junglee.com. Many people on learning that Amazon has entered the retail market in India pointed their browsers to amazonindia.com or amazon.in, among a host of other possible combinations in the hope of landing on the Indian page of the Amazon retail store. But, they were met with page unavailable or Amazon’s non retail page. They couldn’t understand the relation between Amazon launching as Junglee.com. Here Amazon is seriously at a risk of brand dilution.
Secondly, Amazon is not selling anything in the real sense. It’s just a price comparison and an advertisement site. As of now, it’s free to list your product on junglee.com. Amazon is seriously hoping that it is enticing enough that people visiting the website would actually buy products from the listed retailers. In a sense, these retailers would be so dependent on the clicks and sales that junglee.com provides them that they would be willing to pay them for this service. This is simply because Indian rules don’t allow FDI to have more than 51 percent stake in a multi-brand store. Though it has listed a number of different vendors, the big ones, like Flipkart and Infibeam are missing. And with Flipkart, gearing up the competition by buying Letsbuy.com, Amazon seems to be in serious trouble.
Thirdly, Amazon seems to be rather relaxed about selling Kindle in India. India has traditionally been a price conscious market and this could have been a golden opportunity for Amazon to sell its Kindle here. Yet, it offers no real choice by just offering only two variants. The cheaper one costs upward of Rs. 5,600 and shipping and taxes need to be adjusted. And even if somebody buys it, there are no e-books one can buy in Indian rupees. You end up paying in dollars, which is still very expensive.
Flipkart started by former Amazon employees is doing some serious disruptions in the Indian market. It seems to be Amazon’s only real competition. Flipkart’s impeccable delivery system, along with the option of cash-on-delivery has led to large Flipkart loyalists. Flipkart seems to be taking a cue out of Zappos’ “Delivering Happiness” mantra and it always leaves customers happy and yearning for more. Flipkart understands the Indian market better than Amazon and thus it enjoys the confidence of the consumers.
It’s the buying of Letsbuy.com, which shows that Flipkart is serious about the competition that it is facing and is aware of the repercussions of a company like Amazon, entering the Indian market. Flipkart is ready to innovate to challenge any competition that it faces. And we seriously hope that this retail competition only leads to competitive prices and services for the end consumer and whichever company is Junglee enough for the Indian market rules the consumers.
You can connect with Gurpreet Bedi on Twitter @grprtbedi.
Publish date: March 1, 2012 9:27 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:43 pm
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