Amazon Testing Water In India – To Set Up First ‘Fulfillment Centre’ In Mumbai

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Online portals are becoming popular in India and there are plenty of success stories. Majority of these portals were started with shoe-string budgets and have flourished in few months. Amazon.com, which is leading online portal in US, is keeping a tab on these developments and have decided to capitalize on online retailing revolution in India.

To test the water in India, Amazon.com Inc is setting up its first “fulfillment center” in India as the world’s largest Internet retailer tries to break into the world’s second most-populous nation. Fulfillment centres are giant warehouses that help Amazon and other online retailers store many products, ship them and handle returns quickly. The fulfillment center is based in Mumbai, the biggest city in the country, according to job listings on Amazon’s India careers website.

Amazon “has an immediate opening for an IT Manager in our first Fulfillment Center based out in Mumbai, India,” one recent listing said. Another recent Amazon job posting sought a “Stations Operations Manager” to work for the fulfillment center team in Mumbai. Amazon was also recently looking for a financial analyst in Mumbai to report to a general manager and controller and help the fulfillment center operate more efficiently and predictably.

Fulfillment centers cost a lot to set up, so Amazon’s efforts to start one in India signals the company is serious about getting into the country’s $550 billion retail market. Amazon has software development centers in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad and a customer-service center in Hyderabad. Shoppers in India can also buy products from Amazon websites in other countries and have the items shipped to them. But the company does not have a dedicated online retail business in India yet.

After arrival of e-commerce portals like Amazon.com in India in full-fledged operations, there will be tough competition for Indian portals like flipkart.com and other established e-commerce sites. They will have to widen their profile inorder to remain competitive and take on with giants overseas e-commerce portals. E-commerce business is going to be very interesting and challenging in the coming days. After revolution of gadgets like smartphones and tablets, e-commerce sector is another segment of business, which is to be watched closely in 2012. Our retailers should not be afraid of big malls but big e-commerce shops, which will give them tough time in days ahead.

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