Even while the world is gripped by a global pandemic, Amazon launched its Prime Day event in India — albeit with many changes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global economy, and e-commerce is no exception. Amazon already had to postpone its Prime Day event in the US (which has taken a more severe blow from the pandemic than India) from July to an unknown date in October. As such, India was the testing ground for Amazon to see how robust e-commerce really stands currently.
Like each year, the Prime Day event was full of discounts, exclusive launches, cashback, and many other offers. 77% of sellers participated in the event for the first time, and 68% launched new products during the event. For good reason, since Amazon sees a 5× median increase in shoppers during Prime Day vs. the previous week. However, things were also very different this year, reflecting the changes brought by COVID-19.
There were no Bollywood celebs glittering the launch party this year, and instead of the high-voltage operations room that managed the Prime Day event last year, this time it was managed by a virtual operations room, with employees that worked from home to coordinate the event.
Prime India adopted various measures to ensure safety while maintaining efficiency. Mobile training replaced in-person for new employees. Shifts and breaks were distributed in a way to minimize crowd in both warehouse and offices. Stand-up meetings were replaced by whiteboard communication. Each facility ensures face coverings, sanitization, and temperature checks for all its employees. To meet the increased demand, Amazon India also opened ten new Fulfilment Centres and booked IndiGo and SpiceJet planes for freight.
One of the reasons why Amazon India is adamant about holding its Prime Day event is the tough competition it faces in the country. The Walmart-owned Flipkart has been a prime rival since the e-commerce boom began in India. Each year, Flipkart holds its own Big Savings Day that overlaps with Prime Day. Reliance, the powerful Indian conglomerate, is also expanding into the retail sector through Jio, having already opened grocery delivery services in 200 cities despite the pandemic.
In the wake of the competition, small businesses are benefiting tremendously, with the ability to reach customers all over the country who had no way of purchasing from these companies previously. More than 91,000 small businesses participated in Prime Day, 31,000 of which reported Prime Day as their best two-day sales period on the platform.