Amazon India is launching a platform that leverages neighbourhood or kirana stores with the aim of quickly delivering everyday-need consumer products. Called Kirana Now, the service was launched on Wednesday in Bengaluru.
In an emailed statement, an Amazon India spokesperson said, "We are continually innovating to transform the way India shops and the way India sells. Our vision is to enable our customers in India to buy anything and everything they want online, any-time and anywhere at low prices and a convenient, fast and reliable delivery experience. Equally we are committed to empowering the growth of millions of small and medium businesses in India. Kirana Now is a step towards realising both."
The statement adds, "With this service we want to provide to our customers an instant and convenient access to their ecosystem of stores for their everyday needs right from their mobile phone. And likewise empower the Kirana stores with tools and technology to transform their growth in the digital economy."
The service, which Amazon India is calling a pilot, will be available only via mobile. With Kirana Now, Amazon aims to deliver the goods "within 2-4 hours" using its own logistics, the neighbourhood store's staff, or one of its logistics partners. These stores will be listed just like other sellers on Amazon, which operates as a pure marketplace in India.
In the US, Amazon has been offering a grocery delivery service called Amazon Fresh. The same-day and early-morning delivery service was started in 2007 in Seattle, and only expanded to other cities in 2013. It was available in about 10 US cities by the end of 2014.
In late 2014, Amazon also launched its own private label brand for consumer goods, Amazon Elements, starting with diapers and baby wipes. As industry analysts noted at the time, the move underscored the firm's maturity as a grocery retailer and the increasingly common trend of grocery shopping online.
In India, online grocery delivery services have been making some headway, but only in a small way. Services such as BigBasket, AaramShop, LocalBanya, Grofers, and Ekstop are startups, and the majority of these are operational in a handful of cities, with some companies having a presence in only one location.
However, both Tradus and HomeShop18 also sell food and groceries, and are active across India. Both have very different models; Tradus uses the marketplace model, and HomeShop18 prefers the direct route, in a bit to ensure it can deliver all the products it advertises across the country. Only Tradus is offering same-day delivery on select products.