For extending Amazon's reach, one vendor at a time
Amit Agarwal, Jeff Bezos’s former executive assistant and technical adviser, is on a critical mission in India: establishing a dominant international foothold for the retail giant after it all but bombed in China. In less than three years, Agarwal grew the division to become competitive with homegrown rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal, and is using the country’s underdeveloped logistics and payment infrastructure to his advantage. Agarwal has established several “India first” innovations, such as Amazon Tatkal (or "instantly"), which sends mobile photo studios to smaller Indian cities, allowing local businesses to be active on the platform in less than an hour. Meanwhile, 3,500-plus neighborhood pickup points, including kirana (“convenience”) stores and bakeries, in 50 cities and towns have been converted to Amazon delivery and pickup points, and hundreds of Project Udaan (“flight”) assisted-shopping and pickup facilities have been set up in towns and neighborhoods with spotty Internet access, increasing Amazon’s penetration even further.