Amazon.in today announced the expansion of Project Udaan by extending its partnership with the logistics service provider ConnectIndia. The partnership will see ConnectIndia Centers (CICs) -which earlier functioned as rural distribution centers for Amazon – also act as assisted shopping points for customers. The service has been initially launched at CICs in Punjab and will soon be extended to locations across the country.
Under Project Udaan, Amazon.in appoints offline associates across retail points like kirana stores, medical stores and mobile shopping outlets and provides them a PC-based website. The store owners are trained to help customers find and buy products of their choice, while earning a commission in the process. Amazon.in then delivers the products to the customer’s doorsteps or to the CICs and they pay in cash while receiving the packages. Along with increasing the reach of Amazon.in, Project Udaan is also enabling skill development and creation of employment in these areas.
Commenting on the partnership, Kishore Thota, Head, Consumer Marketing, Amazon India said, “The ConnectIndia partnership for Project Udaan allows us to expand the reach of Amazon.in into newer regions across India. Going forward, coupled with the logistics strength of ConnectIndia, we expect to go further into the hinterland and address the challenges of lack of access to ecommerce and weak logistics networks. Project Udaan is going to play a key role in our effort to make Amazon.in accessible within a few minutes to all our customers, and bring the joy online shopping to everyone. We believe that the initiative has the potential to be a game-changer for Amazon in India and transformational for all neighborhoods and communities.”
LR Sridhar, Founder ConnectIndia said, “Connect India is a last mile distribution company which creates value for its partners and their respective customers. We have been working with Amazon as a logistics service provider in lower tier regions, focusing on providing the same efficiency levels as urban markets. Assisted shopping is the next leap forward for e-commerce and we expect this to truly change the way consumers across India buy products. We are pleased to be associated with Project Udaan to bring the convenience and assurance of Amazon to customers across India.”
Amazon.in kicked off the assisted shopping project, internally code named Project Udaan as a pilot mid last year and has since expanded across 11 states with partners like Vakrangee, Smart Buy, Rajasthan Government’s eMitra program and now ConnectIndia. Project Udaan is not only helping more people join the digital ecosystem but also opening up self-employment and other job opportunities for semi-skilled and partially-skilled people as store owners, shipment managers, delivery associates etc.