Ashwini Gangal

"Over 60 per cent of our traffic comes through mobile": Manish Kalra, Amazon India

Launched in India over two years back, offers nearly 30 million products.

Edited Excerpts from a quick interview with Manish Kalra, integrated marketing director, Amazon India, and former marketing head,

Edited Excerpts

On his goals:

Our vision is to enable any customer to discover and buy anything that he/she wishes to buy online. While building a great on-site experience, we are also focused on building an impactful brand experience. Our brand tells a story that customers feel connected to, in a manner that is simple and relevant. It's about being a part of their lives at the right time and at the right place, whether it is through properties like IPL, Amazon India Fashion Week or our ATL campaigns.

On generating brand loyalty in a discount/deal-driven world:

Price is just one determining factor. How soon the product is available for delivery, how fast we deliver, how convenient and easy it is to order, and trust in the payment methods... all these are equally important parameters for customers. We believe it is the value, both from a price, and overall experience viewpoint, that impacts a customer's choice.

On the pros and cons of an app-only model:

Over 60 per cent of our traffic comes through mobile phones and there is a steady and sharp increase in the number of customers, the quantum of shopping and the repeat-customer rate on our app, month-on-month. This is only expected to grow.

With over 50 per cent of our traffic coming from tier II and tier III towns, the size and speed of the app and payments are top focus areas. Given the poor network conditions in these places, our app is now one of the lightest in the industry, with some of the lowest page latency rates. We're continuously focused on making our app fast and easy to use.

All our development and innovation is app-first, and it will continue to be our flagship experience. However, we will enable our customers to shop anytime, anywhere and in any way they want, including a mobile and a desktop site.

Some of the other areas of focus will be around the unique capabilities of mobile, such as location awareness, camera and voice, to help transform the shopping experience dramatically.

On the 'promise of time' on the delivery front:

We pioneered premium, guaranteed delivery services in India including the 'two-day delivery' and 'one-day delivery' services for items fulfilled by Amazon. We launched 'one-day delivery' in December 2013 -within just six months of our India launch- with one lakh products; today, over eight lakh products are eligible for next-day guaranteed delivery across hundreds of pin codes in India.

More than 70 per cent of our customer demand is already eligible for next-day shipping on products fulfilled by Amazon. We also have Scheduled Delivery, Release Day, and Midnight Delivery. We offer Sunday Delivery in close to 200 cities and towns across India, and with KiranaNow we are aiming for 90-minute deliveries for everyday essentials in Bengaluru. We also have Amazon Pickup across 50 cities now.

On Amazon's online shopping festivals:

Last year, we hosted the first ever Online Shopping Dhamaka in India and received an unprecedented response. In May, we hosted The Great Indian Summer Sale which received a response beyond our wildest imagination. Millions of customers from across the country benefited from hundreds of deals on lakhs of products and 'Pehle App' offerings. The 'new-to-mobile' customers grew six-fold and '' customers jumped by 400 per cent.

On the recent Great Indian Freedom Sale:

The first day of The Great India Freedom Sale was the biggest day in the history of Amazon in India. The first two days combined, were 50 per cent bigger, in terms of sales, as compared to the first two days of the Summer Sale and eight times bigger than the previous week.

We are also witnessing millions of new customers from smaller towns transacting on the Amazon app for the first time.

The total number of new customers to the site grew by 33 per cent, of which 65 per cent came via the app. Of the new customers, 70 per cent came from tier II and tier III towns.

The emerging categories on, like large appliances, automotive products and software products, witnessed a four-fold jump during the event days; a majority of sellers too witnessed a steep increase in sales during the event.

On the future of 'flash sales', or 'artificially generated scarcity':

These events have developed as platforms where millions of customers come to discover and take advantage of great deals across multiple categories. There is growing trust that they will get great deals.