Earlier this year, Amazon.com’s AmazonSupply, the online marketplace’s B2B operation that’s in beta, began exploring the U.S. wholesale and distribution market. It may be about to do the same in India.
The Economic Times reports that Amazon is set to launch a wholesale portal for merchants in India that would be similar to AmazonSupply, where customers can, through the Login and Pay function, establish a payment relationship with a seller in as few as three taps. There also is no need to fill out long forms or enter payment credentials.
The India initiative, which Amazon wouldn’t confirm, could launch early next year, the news source said.
‘Top secret’ project
“The (Amazon) India team has been working on this top secret project for the past few months. Talks with potential suppliers and the hiring process have begun," the Times article notes, citing an unnamed source. "It will be similar to what Walmart is doing online in India and what Alibaba does in China.”
Amazon introduced its online retail business in India in 2013. According to the Times article, the wholesale platform in India would target small and midsize enterprises. Amazon has set up a network of seven warehouses India and has over 8,500 merchants selling products in more 28 categories on its platform, the news source said.
Walmart, which estimates India's wholesale market to grow to $700 billion by 2020 from $300 billion currently, launched its own India B2B site earlier this year. The online services is offered only to registered members of its wholesale, cash-and-carry stores in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and northern India's Lucknow.
Interest in using Amazon as a B2B marketplace appears to be a growing phenomena. Earlier this year, Procserve, a UK B2B commerce network, reportedly launched the world’s first B2B e-commerce instance of Amazon. According to a company press release, the innovation gives businesses all the benefits of buying from Amazon, all while using already existing corporate procurement systems and processes.
“We have strong demand for appropriate corporate access to Amazon from our customers and, working closely with Amazon, we have been able to make this a reality,” Procserve CEO Nigel Clifford said in a statement at the time. “We believe combining our easy to use B2B eMarketplace with Amazon’s world leading content creates the biggest opportunity for change in corporate procurement behaviors in decades.”
The new Amazon addition within the Login and Pay with Amazon features supports automatic payments of fixed or variable amounts. Amazon sees automatic payments helping businesses that rely on subscription-based or recurring payments to generate revenue via the Web or online, according to a company statement supplied to PYMNTS.com.
Ting, a fledgling mobile carrier and mobile-product provider, was the first company to use the service and experienced “pretty impressive results” in the first few months it tested it, including high conversion rates–customers choosing to use Amazon over other payment methods, Amazon said. Product manager Justen Burdette said in a Reuters interview that consumers who used the service spent 30 percent more on Ting’s website.