Even as India’s startup and entrepreneurship culture continues to prosper, Amazon has extended its Launchpad program to the country. The new program allows Indian startups to launch, market and distribute their products to Amazon customers across India and even globally through a dedicated store. Starting today, customers can log on to Amazon.in/launchpad to buy products from these startups. Right now, the Amazon Launchpad store features over 400 products ranging from wearable technology, smart homes, food & beverage, health monitoring, educational toys and more from more than 25 Indian startups. Amazon hopes the number of startups onboard will increase in the near future.
To kickstart the program, Amazon has tied up with startup-focused bodies like NASSCOM 10K, StartupIndia and Indian Angel Network among others. Amazon also has strategic partners such as NITI Aayog, Government of Maharashtra, Government of Telangana and TiE. The partners will help Amazon identify and enroll startups to its Launchpad program. “Amazon Launchpad is an exceptional opportunity for Indian startups to get access to big consumer markets nationally and internationally. Through this program, small entrepreneurs and innovator can go leverage the Amazon platform to increase the scale of their businesses and even get easy access to global markets,” said Jason Feldman, Director Global Innovations, Amazon. Also read: Amazon India crosses 1 lakh sellers in Q2, witnesses a 250 pc seller growth anually
How to get started with Amazon Launchpad?
To get started, a startup needs to apply for Amazon’s Launchpad on the program’s webpage. A startup needs to register by providing complete product information. After registering, the startup needs to confirm an initial order and ship products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. If approved, Amazon will ask them to upload creative assets to their systems…product photos, videos, descriptions and unique story.
Even though Amazon encourages applications from all startups, its eligibility requirements says the startup needs to have received funding from VCs, incubators and crowdfunding. Also, the product has to be physical such as hardware, apparel and grocery. The startup needs to have the product ready, which basically means it should be able to ship or make available within 30 days.
“If a startup is not supported by the current partner network, the application shall be evaluated by Amazon.in for the startup’s fitment to the program,” said the e-commerce company.
BGR India talked to a few Amazon Launchpad partners at the launch event today. One of the partners, Seven Sense Technologies, revealed that they were already Amazon Launchpad partner in the US and that the company did not have any investment from VCs as such. One of the representatives of the company also told us that Amazon has a rigorous quality test procedure before getting a startup onboard. You can check out a complete list of eligible products and departments for Amazon Launchpad here. RELATED: 10 things Amazon does only in India
How does the Amazon Launchpad help startups?
One of the biggest advantages that the startups get from a program like Amazon Launchpad is an instant wider reach. Amazon is going to facilitate these startups with its marketing tools such as on-site merchandise placements, personalized recommendations, and access to advertising. Also, if the startups are ready to reach consumers outside India, Amazon Launchpad can help them start offering their products in Amazon’s nine marketplaces across the globe.
According to Amazon’s internal study for 2015, new product sales for vendors on Amazon.com (US) increased 37 fold along with 46 times more traffic on an average than an average new product launched on Amazon.com within the same timeframe.
A representative of Seven Sense Technologies told BGR India that the company was able to diversify its product portfolio and sell about a million units of its products like Ice Orb Floating Bluetooth Speaker within a few months. The representative said that prior to launching its product in India, the company had sold products in the US and European markets through the Amazon Launchpad program.
Another Launchpad partner Ducere also shared a similar experience with the program. Lechal is a fashion and lifestyle brand from the Hyderabad-based Ducere Technologies, which offers interactive haptic footwear, designed and developed in India. Ducere’s Senior Manager Pavan Somanchi further revealed that the partners have full control on the pricing, and has adopted geographical pricing strategy.
Amazon’s India strategy
India is now the sixth country to have Amazon’s Launchpad program, joining the likes of the US, UK and France among others. At the launch event today, Amazon India’s VP and Country Head Amit Agarwal claimed that the e-commerce company was growing in smaller towns in India. He disclosed that about 50 percent of sellers on Amazon India come from smaller cities whereas over 70 percent of products are eligible for next-day shipping on products fulfilled by Amazon.
Amazon’s new program for India comes amid intense battle with rival e-commerce company Flipkart. Even as Flipkart has been grappling with lower valuations, Amazon has been on an investment spree. Earlier this year, the company announced an additional investment of $3 billion in India, increasing its net investment to more than $5 billion in the country. Just recently, it was reported that Amazon will invest up to $300 million in India to expand its Amazon Prime video service in India.