With120,000-plus merchants, 80 million products for sale and more than two dozen warehouses, Amit Agarwal, the Bezos's protégé, is intending to make Amazon the country's top online store ahead of the Diwali shopping season with the sales this year.
This year, Flipkart Ltd., India's another top web retailer, and the local rival Snapdeal, already know that they are facing a critical test. The future of India's online shopping market, as well as Amazon's global expansion plan is at stake after it had failed to overcome China.
For smaller e-commerce startups, survival is at stake. Many, like AskmeBazaar-which advertised aggressively during Diwali last year-shut down before they could make it to this one.
The run-up to the celebration is India's biggest retail event, where consumers buy almost everything from clothes and electronics to jewelry and cars. According to RedSeer Consulting, it is expected that Indians might spend as much as $1.7 billion online during Diwali this year.
According to Merrill Lynch, Amazon may sell as much as $81 billion in merchandise by 2025, up from $3.7 billion last year. If it is done, then India's top web retailer would be a clear winning point for Amazon.
In China, the only other market with more than a billion people, the company has little to show after a dozen years.
"The biggest opportunity and the biggest challenges are both in India," said Agarwal, chief of Amazon India."It's going to be a great Diwali."
To expand its inventory, Amazon has been employing sellers in a short span of time. The web retailer has recently deployed an army of white-and-orange Chai Carts with a representative who teaches sellers how to list the inventory and handle returns over cups of milky chai tea.
Another service, called Feet-on-Street, sends people on motorbikes to help merchants photograph and market their wares.
The tagline that Amazon holds for this year’s Diwali is ‘tyohar bade dilwala’ (the festival with a big heart) that wants to lure dormant shoppers and first-time buyers. There are several significant trends working in Amazon's favor.
In June, Amazon had said that it will invest an additional $3 billion in India on top of an already allocated $2 billion. "An open funding tap could help Amazon offer discounts and bleed out some of its rivals," said RedSeer's Gutgutia.