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t2 gets a sneak peek of Amazon Prime Day

Prime mover

(Top) Actress Jacqueline Fernandez’s fashion brand Just F is launching on Prime Day; and (above) Raazi, starring Alia Bhatt, makes its debut on Prime Video

Put a circle around July 16 on your calendar because it’s that very special day of the year for shoppers. Amazon Prime Day begins at noon on July 16 and for 36 hours there will be over 200 new launches and stunning offers.

t2 spoke to Akshay Sahi, director and head of Amazon Prime, India, ahead of the big annual event. 

This is your second Prime Day in India. How is it bigger?

This is the biggest celebration of the year for Prime members. There are multiple pillars on which the event is built, the first being deals. People want a great selection, great prices. We will have thousands of deals running on Prime Day. At the same time we are trying to do two new things. On the previous Prime Day, customers showed an incredible interest in Amazon devices, with Fire TV Stick being the largest seller. This year, Echo is our new product, so it’s going to go at its lowest price ever. The other thing is that Prime Day is a global celebration, happening across 17 marketplaces at the same time. For the first time in India, we are bringing international deals. So deals from sellers in the US, the UK and some other market places will be available. That makes it more of a celebration. 

You already have a lot of deals on Amazon. How do you make things different for Prime Day?

Last year, we launched 30-odd new products. Customers loved it so much that this year we will have over 200 products that will launch on Prime Day, across all categories, from fashion — like Just F, which is Jacqueline Fernandez’s fashion brand and also our own private labels — to technology and new watches and jewellery. NesPlus is going to launch, which is Nestle’s new cereal brand. What’s interesting is that we have launches from new sellers, like Chennai Silks. It’s launching its collection because it wants to access customers nationally.

Also, for the first time, we are experimenting with some pop-up shops in the top malls, including two (Avani and South City) in Calcutta. These are virtual reality stores where you can just walk in, put on these glasses and enter the Prime world. You’ll be in this boxtropolis world where you can experience products.

Will Amazon Launchpad (which targets start-ups) play a role?

Yes, there will also be launches from start-ups. One is an anti-theft backpack from RoadGods and then there is Alexa-enabled smart bulbs by Mansaa. There is plenty more.

What about the entertainment side?

Prime Music, which is our newest benefit that launched in February, is curating a lot of selection. They are launching music in three more languages. Also, unique playlists have been made, like mixes for you while shopping. Last year, on Prime Video we had launched six new titles in six days. This year we will have seven new titles in seven days, which will include two big Hollywood films, one of them being Dunkirk and the other one is Transformers: The Last Knight. I am excited about the Bollywood offering because I have missed both these titles — 102 Not Out and Raazi. 

Any Bengal-centric trends on the radar?

Fashion is big in Bengal. Besides that, pantry and beauty sections are very popular. 

How many Prime users do you have?

Globally we have over 100 million Prime users. India was the fastest first-year growth market in paid membership. Since last year’s Prime Day, we have more than doubled our membership. 

You have just opened your third fulfilment centre in Bengal. That should help with Prime Day.

We started with only one-and-a-half million products available for one-day and two-day delivery in July 2016 and now we have over 40 million products available. That growth has been enabled through investments on infrastructure. Calcutta is in the top 10 cities for Prime membership and one of the challenges has always been getting products across faster and also more things. These fulfilment centres will spur growth.

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