When Indian e-commerce major Flipkart decided to hold a press conference last week to announce its biggest fund-raising, the event added an additional air of mystery around the company. Co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal were for the first time addressing the media ever since the online retailer, best known for selling discounted books, went live in 2007. What's the deal, people tracking the sector asked. Some even tried to guess if the announcement had any links with the entry of US online retailer Amazon into India recently.
Amazon.in, the world's largest online retailer, is all set to fight it out in India's burgeoning ecommerce market. The US-based marketplace cum etailer, that entered the country last month with books and music, has extended its service with the launch mobiles and accessories, cameras and Portable Media Players. It has over 20, 000 electronic products on its platform.
The Seattle-based Nasdaq-listed e-commerce company Amazon entered India on Thursday by launching its marketplace model, offering up to 25 to 30 percent discount on products and the option of paying by cash on delivery. The move came after years of preparation and 16 months of getting a foothold in the country through Junglee.com, a price comparison site it had acquired.
Amazon is introducing a new service that will allow over 200 million customers to securely login to apps, games and websites.
The online retailer said this would easily reduce sign-in friction for customers by eliminating the need for users to create an account and password, and instead allows them to sign-in using their existing Amazon account information.
Customers can choose to share certain attributes of their account profile with apps, games, and websites.
Early adopters of the service include Zappos and Woot, both Amazon subsidiaries.
Amazon.com is acquiring Goodreads, a site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.
Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content, said Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading and the website has helped change how Amazon discover and discuss books.
"In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike,” he said.
A brewing conflict between Amazon.com and its merchants over fee hikes could benefit rival eBay, and provide an opening for Wal-Mart Stores and Google, which are just getting into the space.
Amazon's online bazaar generates margins many times higher than traditional retail as the company takes a cut of every sale on its site made by a merchant, known as a third-party seller, and charges extra fees for handling logistics.
Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9, the large-screen version of its best-selling tablet is now in Japan, as well as in the the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain.
It was made available at a lower the price than the US, with the Wi-Fi version being sold for only USD269 while the price for the 4G version starts at USD399.
Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, explained that as the company expanded Kindle Fire HD 8.9" to Europe and Japan, it was able to increase production volumes and decrease the cost.
Now, Amazon has its own currency. The Amazon coin will debut in the US in May and the company said it can pay for apps, games and other in-app items available on Kindle Fire.
For a start, the retail giant said it will give customers "tens of millions of dollars' worth of free coins to spend. Then it will roll out a scheme how customers can purchase additional coins for succeeding purchases.
Amazon announced on Tuesday a new in-App purchasing service that allows developers to let customers use their Amazon accounts to purchase virtual goods and currencies from within Mac, PC and Web-based games.
Under the scheme, Mac, PC and Web, Android and Kindle Fire developers would be able to offer Amazon customers a convenient, trusted and secure buying experience.
The Amazon MP3 store is now optimized for iPhone and iPod touch, allowing users to discover and buy digital music from Amazon’s 22-million song catalog using the Safari browser.
The Amazon MP3 mobile website for iPhone and iPod touches is built on HTML5, which means customers can make purchases directly from the Amazon MP3 mobile website www.amazon.com/mp3 on their iPhones and iPod touches.
Customers will also have access to Amazon features like personalized recommendations, best-seller lists and Amazon customer ratings.