Amazon said its single biggest-selling product during the Great Indian Festival sale was the annual Prime subscription service
By Anirban Sen & Mihir Dala (lLast Modified: Wed, Oct 05 2016. 07 27 PM IST)
Online marketplace Amazon India said it recorded 15 million orders from customers spread across 90% of all pin codes in India during its flagship five-day festival sale event, an indication of the potential of e-commerce in the country. In a surprise, Amazon said its single biggest-selling product during the event was the annual Prime subscription service, a strong vote of confidence by shoppers for the online retailer’s famed service that will soon offer video content.
Amazon and rival Flipkart went head on over the past few days with their respective sale events, Great India Festival and Big Billion Days. Both companies extensively advertised these events though Amazon significantly spent more than its local rival.
To be sure, the 15 million number is before order cancellations. During sale events, some customers tend to cancel orders if they find lower prices on other platforms.
Yet, the orders recorded by Amazon highlight the growing popularity of the US-based online retailer. Amazon’s order volumes tend to be higher than those at rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal as the company also offers a large selection of food and grocery products, which aren’t available on the other platforms.
“The number one objective was to provide a customer experience that you’ve never seen before,” Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal said. “Number two, we wanted to do so at a scale that India has never seen. And scale comes through number of units, number of customers, ecosystem providers, and so on. And third, we wanted to make it an India-wide celebration where we had the maximum number of customers, sellers, ecosystem partners participating. So what I’m really excited about is that in the last five days in a little over three years which is a very short time, we have probably achieved the fastest ever ramp that e-commerce in India has ever seen—not just India, but e-commerce in general has ever seen.”
In July, Amazon (Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd) launched its Prime membership programme in more than 100 Indian cities, offering one-day and two-day delivery on lakhs of products for an initial fixed price of Rs499. Apart from fast delivery, Prime members get early access to products in the Lightning Deals category every day. Amazon will offer video content on Prime starting 9 November, the Huffington Post reported on Wednesday. Agarwal did not specify the launch date.
The free membership expired this week with Amazon asking customers to pay Rs499 to continue with Prime. Amazon said customers signed up in droves for the service.
Prime is a differentiator for Amazon, which is the only large e-commerce firm that charges customers for such a service. Rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd) have their own offerings but these haven’t yet taken off the way Prime has, according to analysts.
“The number of Rs499 annual paid memberships purchased in the last 5 days was more than any other product ever purchased on Amazon.in in a five day period. During this Diwali paid Prime membership was our top seller—which was amazing at such a short period. So Prime members are shopping a lot and we are selling paid Prime memberships — and this basically proves our hypothesis that we’ve held that customers in India are no different. They love selection and they love fast delivery. This is great that they are paying for it and taking an annual subscription with us,” Agarwal said.