Amazon's innovations in India are being adopted by the company's other teams from across the globe including its European and US e-commerce arms, said Terry Hanold, vice president of international consumer technology in Amazon. Some of these innovations are around mobile, sellers' initiatives and enabling customers to sell used items on Amazon.
"Indian customers are holding us to what this team has accomplished in such a short time. I want the rest of Amazon to be modelled on this. I cannot imagine that we will look back in time when we would think we had invested too much in India," Hanold said. The retail giant has been pouring billions of dollars into the Indian market, and is seen to have significantly narrowed the revenue gap with ecommerce leader Flipkart.
One of the successful innovations, called seller flex, allows a seller to make their location available for Amazon to store inventory and help them receive an additional stream of revenue. Dale Vaz, director of software development at Amazon India, said, "We saw customers benefit and that idea has been scaled out to other Amazon marketplaces, allowing us to expand our footprint without having to invest a lot in physical infrastructure."
While the US has long been a do-it-yourself market, in India, Amazon's seller app had tools and features that helped sellers do the inventory man agreement and logistics better. "These are India specific tools that we built for sellers to help manage business more effectively. Now, we are rolling this out to other markets including the US," said Hanold.
Amazon has two R&D divisions in India, one for its global research, which is based mostly in Hyderabad, and the second is part of Amazon's India division and works exclusively for the India ecommerce portal. Together, India is the second-largest development center for the company, globally. India, Hanold said, was a leader in dealing with Internet and connectivity and low-end mobile devices for the company, given that the country has to deal with challenges around these.
The Seattle-based retail giant had to shift focus from Apple to Android devices, which were fragmented in terms of devices and specifications, to win India. Vaz added, "We looked backward, we went into the app and stripped down large portions of it that we believed were not useful to the customers. We removed voice search and image search. From 17MB, it came down to 2MB." – TOI