After trying its hand at selling grocery items through its 'Amazon Fresh' service in the U.S. and the U.K., American retail giant Amazon is now believed to be planning to launch grocery stores in India as part of its growing interest in brick-and-mortar retail that includes the ongoing rollout of its physical book stores across the U.S. According to a recent report from The New York Times, the Seattle, Washington-based e-commerce giant is also apparently considering physical retail stores to sell furniture and home appliances - two categories of products that people are said to be reluctant to buy online. The stores, according to the sources cited by NYT, would basically showcase the products to customers, allowing them to explore the items in person before deciding to pull the trigger.
According to recent reports in the Indian media, Amazon has already sought permission from the Indian government to invest about $500 million towards online retail of food products in the country under a new policy from the federal government that allows 100% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in online marketing of food products that are produced and packaged in India. If and when the regulatory approval does come through, the online retail giant is expected to open its first physical grocery store in the country in the southern city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore). The initiative is reportedly code-named 'Project Everest' internally within Amazon, according to the NYT report, which also states that the company is “excited by the Indian government's efforts to encourage foreign investment in a stronger supply chain”.
Amazon may have taken its own sweet time in rolling out its ‘Prime’ streaming services in India, but the company’s founder and CEO, Mr. Jeff Bezos, has been extremely bullish on India in recent times, announcing a further investment of around $3 billion last year, in addition to the $2 billion the company is already believed to have poured into the country thus far. It will be interesting to see how the company’s offline retail plans turn out in the years ahead, but with its online streaming services earning more subscribers with every passing year and its drone delivery services continuing to make news fairly regularly, the world’s largest e-commerce firm is certainly not looking to rest on its laurels any time soon.