Home TECH Amazon’s Bazaar to challenge Meesho; AI opportunity in edtech

Amazon’s Bazaar to challenge Meesho; AI opportunity in edtech

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Ecommerce major Amazon’s new platform, Bazaar, will host low-priced unbranded fashion and lifestyle products aimed at value-conscious customers. This and more in today’s ETtech Morning Dispatch.

Also in this letter:
■ IT bosses optimistic about 2024
■ ETtech Done Deals
■ Interview with TechM CEO Mohit Joshi


Amazon takes on Meesho with new platform for low-priced products

Amazon’s new platform, Bazaar, will offer affordable unbranded fashion and lifestyle products, people aware of the matter told us. The ecommerce major aims to attract cost-conscious customers amid declining demand for mainstream products.

In the works: Amazon has started onboarding sellers from across the country and is asking them to list unbranded products, priced at Rs 600 or less. The platform will offer products like apparel, watches, shoes, jewellery and luggage.

“Bazaar is a new store on Amazon where you can sell your fashion and lifestyle products online at no extra charges, thus making it more profitable to run your business,” said a document sent to sellers by Amazon.

Amazon Bazaar Explained

What’s in it for sellers? Amazon is proposing a zero-referral fee to merchants, which is crucial for products with a low average selling price (ASP).

It has also removed closing fees for merchants using its Easy Ship service to sell on Amazon Bazaar.

The delivery timelines for products sold on the platform will likely be around 2-3 days, unlike fast delivery offered to Amazon Prime members.

Going the Meesho way: SoftBank-backed Meesho has successfully tapped the value commerce segment. It operates on a zero-commission model while earning revenue from advertising and by offering logistics services to sellers.

Meesho, however, doesn’t own and run warehouses and logistics of its own, unlike Amazon and Flipkart.

Walmart-owned Flipkart’s Shopsy is the other major player in the space, while Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is working on a low-priced platform called Ajio Street.

Tapering growth: Amazon’s bet to woo value-conscious buyers comes amid sluggish user growth. A report from research firm Bernstein last month said Amazon clocked only 13% user growth in December 2023 – primarily due to relatively more premium offerings as compared to peers. Flipkart and Meesho saw user growth of 21% and 32%, respectively.


Edtech’s AI push has its share of doubting Thomases

Edtech AI thumb

As edtech platforms move towards deploying artificial intelligence tools to enhance offerings, a clear divide has emerged within various segments of the industry. While higher education and upskilling startups expect greater benefits from the technology, those servicing schools and students on a large scale may run into some headwinds, founders and executives at edtech companies told ET.

AI push: Mumbai-based skilling startup Upgrad is looking to utilise AI to translate its popular bootcamps and certificate programmes into vernacular languages to improve its product offerings and expand reach. According to cofounder Mayank Kumar, AI is a significant investment, not only for teaching and learning but also for pedagogy, sales and driving conversions.

Edtech AI

Noida-based edtech unicorn Physics Wallah is also set to officially launch its generative AI tool, Alakh AI, later this month, which will serve as a personalised tutor for students, helping them with queries, providing summaries, and acting as a “study companion”.

The other side: For startups in the edtech space that offer services to schools, while AI presents a large opportunity, the dearth of resources at schools is a challenge.

“There is also a new challenge of ensuring data privacy and protection at schools with a certain amount of tech deployment that goes beyond AI,” a senior executive at a unicorn edtech startup said. Significant investment needs to be made in training teachers as well as ancillary staff at schools, he added.

Human touch: From a student’s point of view as well, human instruction is necessary, another executive said, adding that going forward, AI will be able to assist in pedagogy development by analysing and identifying learner patterns.


Upbeat IT CEOs expect tech spends to rise in 2024

K Krithivasan TCS CEO

TCS CEO K Krithivasan

Chief executives of some of the largest software services export firms said they are “more optimistic” about the year 2024 and expect it to be better in terms of technology spends for the $250 billion industry.

Green shoots visible: Mohit Joshi, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra, said that 2024 should be a better year than last year which “was quite difficult.” “The bigger economy is doing well. The overhang or the fear of recession in the largest market, America seems to be lifted”.

K Krithivasan, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), told ET, “I would say that I am more optimistic about 2024 and we believe it will be a better year than last year… There may not be a huge $100 billion or $5 billion-plus transformation deal and transformation budgets could be small, but I don’t think that they will dry out completely.”

Growth projections: India’s information technology industry is estimated to surpass the $250-billion mark in fiscal 2024, but the pace of growth has slowed down to less than half of last year, Nasscom said in its annual strategic review report, released on Friday.

The report projected IT sector revenue to expand 3.8% to $253.9 billion in the year ending March 31, 2024, much lower than the 8.1% growth registered in fiscal 2023.


ETtech Done Deals

Startup funding

Ice cream maker Walko Food raises $20 million from Jungle Ventures: In tune with a broader trend in the food-linked startup ecosystem, Jungle Ventures on Tuesday said it has invested $20 million in Walko Food, an ice cream brand and quick-service restaurant company. This would be its second investment into Walko Food in less than 12 months.

EV financing startup Vidyut raises $10 million: Electric vehicle (EV) financing company Vidyut, previously known as Vidyut Tech, has raised $10 million in a mix of equity and debt in a funding round led by new investor, venture capital firm 3one4 Capital. Saison Capital, Zephyr Peacock and Alteria Capital also invested in the firm for the first time.

Virtual reality startup AutoVRse secures $2 million: Virtual and augmented reality startup AutoVRse has raised $2 million in a funding round led by Lumikai. Other investors included Rajat Monga, co-founder of TensorFlow and Inference.io, Viswanathan Krishnamurthi, ex-CIO and VP at Yahoo & Eaton, and Yash Kotak, founder and CEO of Jumper.ai.


Other Top Stories By Our Reporters

Mohit Joshi

Tech Mahindra MD and CEO Mohit Joshi

TechM wants to be a ‘credible challenger’ in key sectors: CEO | In a bid to turnaround India’s fifth largest software services firm Tech Mahindra, its new chief Mohit Joshi aims to win back the mojo as a “credible challenger” in key sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom and manufacturing focusing on differentiated capabilities.

Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy confirms SVP exits: Kalyan Krishnamurthy, group chief executive Flipkart, informed staff about the exit of four senior vice presidents (SVPs) from the company. ET had first reported on Tuesday about the senior-level exits at the e-commerce major.

Flipkart’s Big Billion Day sales lift parent Walmart’s Q4 numbers: Walmart’s international sales growth in the fourth quarter was led by India’s Flipkart, Mexico’s Walmex, and China with strong performance in festive events across markets, according to Walmart’s quarterly earnings reports and comments by its senior executives.


Global Picks We Are Reading

Jeff Bezos’s $4bn share sale does not signal end of tech market rally (FT)
This Tiny Website Is Google’s First Line of Defense in the Patent Wars (Wired)
Your Résumé Might Be Getting Tossed by AI. How to Push Back. (WSJ)