Amazon debuts Smart Stores in India

Amazon is expanding its reach in India, a key market for the e-commerce giant, with the launch of Smart Stores. The new initiative, allows retailers to create a digital storefront, offer contactless payment options and reward customers with Amazon Pay incentives.

Amazon India office, Bengaluru

Amazon is providing physical stores with software to maintain a digital log of the inventory they have in the shop, and supplying them with a QR code. When consumers walk to the store and scan the QR code with the Amazon app, they see everything the shop has to offer, as well as any discounts and past reviews from customers.

Customers can also convert a transaction into an EMI on the spot. Once all items are selected, the customer pays for it using Amazon Pay, and the bill is delivered digitally. The process is designed to be contactless and convenient.

Amazon says in a statement that the India-specific initiative empowers local shops with the following capabilities to increase footfall, improve customer experience and generate more sales.

Digital storefront: Enables a local shop to launch a digital storefront thereby enabling its customers to discover products, read reviews, evaluate offers while in the store or from anywhere using the Amazon app.

Contactless payments with EMIs and bank offers: Enables merchants to offer the entire suite of contactless payment options including UPI, balance, credit and debit cards, EMIs and bank offers, and send a digital bill to reduce contact and save costs.

Amazon Pay Rewards: Enables local shops to offer Amazon Pay reward coupons to attract new customers, as well as incentivise customers to come back to them for their next purchase, thus increasing footfalls.

Retail Dive notes that Amazon Pay's Smart Stores debut is a sign of the retail giant's interest in establishing local partnerships in India, and the new service may be important as new coronavirus cases in the country surpass 500,000.

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Mahendra Nerurkar, CEO of Amazon Pay, commented on the launch: “Amazon Pay is already accepted at millions of local shops, we are trying to make customers’ buying experience at local shops even more convenient and safe through Smart Stores. Further, through EMIs, bank offers and rewards, we seek to make these purchases more affordable and rewarding for customers, and help increase sales for merchants."
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