By Yash Saxena
A lot of buyers in the United States of America (USA) and some other countries are logging on to Amazon to buy Indian products, but with a twist. These products, which are commonly supplied by the Indian sellers are being used in innovative and unique ways. Ayurvedic soaps are being used as closet fresheners and copper mugs as cocktail glasses. The numbers say it all. The Amazon outreach initiative, which began two years ago, has resulted in almost 27,000 Indian sellers signing up as suppliers.
Innovation to propel sales
The key factor behind such humongous sales is innovation. Abhishek Middha, a Jaipur-based bedsheet merchant, tapped the huge online marketplace by rebranding his products as beach rugs and tapestries. The idea of decorating their walls with cotton bed sheets at less than half the cost of painting the walls appealed to the American customers. Similar is the story of a Ghaziabad-based retailer of copper utensils, Saroj Jha, who rebranded his copper mugs into the famous ‘Moscow Mule mug’ used for vodka cocktails and even decoration pieces. These sellers ingeniously modify the product listings and match it to the search patterns of the customers browsing through Amazon.com. Amazon itself pitches in and assists these sellers by sharing browsing behaviours of customers.
A win-win situation for all
The customers are the biggest beneficiaries of this deal. They are able to get high quality imported products at a much lower cost. This is mainly due to the modified business model of the e-commerce giant where the traditional transportation costs of importing the goods are borne by Amazon itself in exchange for a fee. Further, the final product and its delivery method are defined by the customer who makes innovative use of the product and hence perpetuates the need for further product innovation. The American and European buyers, in their customer reviews, tell how they used the ayurvedic soaps and the incense sticks. One such review, related to ghee reads, “There is nothing in this world that can make better pancakes than ghee.” This calls for the sellers to undertake market research and shape their products in conformance with the needs of the customers.
The sellers get to reach out to a much larger market and thus expand its customer base. They are exposed to the latest trends which helps them to shape their products accordingly. They are also able to meet the needs of the bargain hunting European and American customers in a way which is entirely satisfying for them. As a result, the sellers are able to create a niche for themselves in the market and achieve higher growth.
Krishna Murari, whose establishment ‘Rajlinen’, produces cotton bedsheets, did exactly that. He observed the need for custom-made luxury cotton bedsheets for the odd-sized beds inside Recreational Vehicles (RVs). After learning about these speciality sheets from an American company, he studied the models and structures of such camper mattresses. Now his factory produces and sells more than 10,000-bed sets, many of them sewn according to the requirements of the customers located thousands of miles away in the USA. Further, he imitates the designs of the large camper mattress companies in the USA and then undercuts the price way below that of such established brands, thus achieving huge sales. Considering the numbers, at the start of the holiday shopping season, the Indore-based Rajlinen had nearly 42,000 camper sheet sets sitting in various Amazon warehouses across the United States.
What’s in it for the e-commerce giant Amazon itself?
India is considered to be an excellent source of cheap and high-quality products. This arrangement helps Amazon to bring together the supply of these Indian producers and the need for the American consumer to get cheaper products without compromising on the quality. The result is a boost in the bottom-line profits of the company. Further, it is also able to set a good example of a responsible corporate citizen by promoting exports, which is a major thrust area of the Narendra Modi government.
This model brings together the sellers and buyers and thus helps in compressing the global product supply chain. This also enables the sellers to concentrate on the making of the product as Amazon takes care of the shipping and the customer relations aspect. The result is a dynamic innovation-oriented marketplace where the customer is the king.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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