Amazon’s march to the Indian market is taking to the rails and the mail. The e-commerce giant today announced new deals with India Post and Indian Railways to boost delivery for small businesses. At its SMB event Amazon Sambhav in New Delhi on Thursday, Amazon also unveiled new efforts to target D2C brands and showcased a new generative AI “assistant” — designed to help SMBs use Amazon.
Branded “Amazon सह-AI” (the सह translates as “co” or “with”), the idea with the generative AI tool is to help usher business customers through the process of both onboarding and then actually using Amazon services. Amazon was thin on details of how this would look, but it’s a way of killing two birds with one stone: SMB users who might consider themselves more tech-savvy will be dazzled by the bells and whistles of the AI interface; but also the many SMB users who define the very concept of “late adopter” will in theory get a tool to take away some of the headache of trying to figure out how to use Amazon.
Amazon has built a lot of vertically-integrated delivery services of its own globally, but in India it mostly works with third parties. The postal deal, expanding on an existing partnership, will cover cross-border logistics and shipments for businesses to help them sell internationally, while the rail deal will expand Amazon’s domestic network in India.
The direct-to-consumer effort is interesting in that it is the first time that Amazon is pitching itself as a fulfilment partner to D2C brands that may not be selling on Amazon itself: that’s something the company already provides in countries like the U.S. (where FBA is a huge logistics provider). Expanding it here is a sign both of the size of D2C in India but also Amazon’s own belief that it has the traction to target those businesses in the country. The announcement was high-level, though, with no details on how it would look.
More to follow…