It’s an open secret that Amazon wants to grab a share of the rapidly growing e-commerce segment in India. Today, Amazon made its first public move by launching Junglee.com, which describes itself as “an online shopping service by Amazon”. Somewhat disappointingly though, Junglee is nothing like the Amazon that we are familiar with.
The bar on 100% foreign direct investment, coupled with the steep prices demanded by local players like Flipkart, has made it difficult for Amazon to come in all guns blazing. As a result, it has opted to kick off with a soft launch in the form of the revival of a brand that it had acquired almost fifteen years ago.
Junglee isn’t an online store. You can’t buy products directly from Junglee. It’s a price comparison service that pits several online retailers against each other. Junglee features 1.2 crore products and 14,000 brands from hundreds of retailers including Homeshop18, UniverCell, Hidesign, Gitanjali, The Bombay Store, Fabindia, Bata India Limited, Dabur Uveda, Microsoft India Store, Reebok, and Amazon.com. Conspicuous by their absence are some of the biggest players like Flipkart, Infibeam, and LetsBuy, which are likely to offer the stiffest competition to Amazon India.
Junglee isn’t the e-commerce destination that consumers had been anticipating and online retailers dreading. It’s just another price comparison service that is handy, but hardly disruptive. I am certain that the full-fledged launch of Amazon India is in the pipeline. However, until then, Amazon is testing the waters with this new India oriented service. It’s a smart move as Junglee will allow Amazon to get the logistics in place, while thwarting bigger players like Flipkart by offering smaller retailers increased visibility.