Amazon.in, the Indian arm of world's largest e-commerce company announced on Monday that it would open a fullfilment centre- that is, a warehouse - in Bangalore, which will be operational from February. This will be the e-commerce giant's second fullfilment centre in India, the first being on the outskirts of Mumbai, in Bhiwandi.
Amazon began its Indian operations just seven months ago.
Both centres are spread over 150,000 sq-feet or 3.5 acre, and each one can stock millions of products. The idea is to help sellers (who are registered on Amazon.in's marketplace) reach out to end customers faster, using Fullfilment By Amazon (FBA), where the seller stocks the inventory in the Amazon warehouse, and Amazon carries out packaging and delivery.
"FBA builds a logistics infrastructure for sellers to be able to store their products," says Amit Agarwal, vice-president and Country Manager, Amazon India.
"We handle the returns, the customer service. All sellers have to do is decide on the product to sell, price it, pack it and ship it to our FC."
Competition in e-commerce now centres around the speed at which a product ordered is delivered to the buyer. Amazon was the first to begin this battle with its initiative of providing assured delivery in two days. Soon it went beyond and launched "next day delivery" - which means the product will reach the buyer with a day of his ordering it.
In turn, Flipkart, India's largest online retailer launched "One day Delivery", but at a lower price than Amazon. Amazon.in charges Rs 99 to delivery within a day and Flipkart Rs 90.
On January 15, India's oldest e-commerce marketplace eBay broke all records when it announced that it would deliver to some customers in select cities within nine hours of their placing an order.
Seventy five per cent of Amazon's delivery happens through FBA, and is growing. The second fullfilment centre is the first warehouse in South India, and will help Amazon to deliver faster in that region.
It is just the beginning of the war between the titans of e-commerce.