Amazon announced in August that its Marketplace Appstore has expanded to India, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The aim, Amazon stated, is to help sellers “identify trusted third-party applications that complement Amazon’s free tools and help them streamline their business operations.”
Accessible from Seller Central, the Appstore includes apps developed by Amazon as well as select third-party developers. The Appstore launched in North America in May 2018.
Appstore has 13 categories.
- Listing. Match Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) to your internal product SKUs.
- Automated Pricing. Stay competitive with automated pricing rules.
- Inventory and Order Management. Sync inventory on Amazon with your order management system.
- Shipping Solutions. Automate delivery and fulfillment processes such as label printing, logistics, and shipping calculations.
- Advertising. Optimize your Amazon Ads budget and strategy.
- Promotions. Enhance the visibility and discoverability of products.
- Product Research and Scouting. Investigate the demand for potential products.
- Feedback and Reviews. Acquire verified ratings and reviews for your products.
- Buyer/Seller Messaging. Improve support and service for customers.
- Analytics and Reporting. Calculate costs, profits, and return on investment.
- Accounting and Tax Remittance. Consolidate your sales and accounting data; comply with tax regulations.
- Ecommerce Solution Connectors. Integrate your website with your Amazon store; sync inventory and orders.
- Full-Service Solutions. Implement a range of functionalities across the selling lifecycle.
Amazon marketplace apps have the potential to streamline seller functions such as order management, payments, customer service, and tax compliance. Many of the apps perform complex tasks related to sales and business growth that would otherwise require technical expertise.
As of now, there are more than 100 third-party apps for pricing, inventory, merchandising, and analytics.
Nonetheless, the Appstore does not remove risks inherent in selling on Amazon, such as product visibility and intense competition.
The Marketplace Appstore can help ecommerce developers as well as sellers.
“The platform is designed to intuitively connect the right developer with the right seller to ensure that both parties can succeed,” stated Gopal Pillai, vice president of Seller Services, Amazon India.
Pillai further stressed the dependability of the apps, sustained by their strong vetting process. “The applications featured on the Amazon Marketplace Appstore have been verified and are completely reliable, and we believe that this will help both sellers and developers scale their businesses,” he said.
However, ecommerce application developers should proceed with caution. There are a couple of significant caveats.
First, Amazon owns the platform and the seller-developer relationship. Amazon will prioritize apps on Appstore and will likely enable better integration and faster access to APIs than custom-built extensions.
Second, Amazon is forcing developers that use data from Marketplace Web Services to list their apps in the Appstore. This means Amazon obtains metrics on third-party apps and could start providing those features by default, possibly making such apps redundant.
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Amazon has invested more than $700 million into its Indian affiliate in less than a year. This follows the $5 billion commitment it made three years ago. Amazon India now has 300,000 marketplace sellers thanks, in part, to its India-specific, seller-first initiatives. Expanding the Appstore to India could bring more small businesses on board, drawn in by the huge market and simplified selling process.
Moreover, it’s difficult for Flipkart and other Indian competitors to implement an Appstore-like strategy, as none offer an equivalent level of web services and API access.
In short, expanding Marketplace Appstore to India will likely help Amazon add new sellers and developers — and revenue.