An employee takes stock of stacked products at an Amazon warehouse in Bangalore. Photo: AFP

E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly aiming to buy or get into a strategic alliance with the Indian unit of Uber Eats, the food order and delivery platform run by US-based cab aggregator Uber.

Amazon is reportedly keen on Uber Eats to enhance services for its Prime members, a paid subscription service app that gives users access to services that would otherwise be unavailable, or cost extra, to ordinary Amazon customers.

It introduced Prime in India in 2016 and its services include discounted delivery of merchandise, exclusive access to festival sales, video streaming of the latest movies as well as access to music playlists and eBooks.

The company believes that offering food delivery services would encourage customers to log in to the app more frequently than they do for say, shopping for clothes, electronic items or groceries, the Business Standard reported, quoting a source.

The e-commerce giant feels Uber Eats would be a lucrative addition to Amazon Prime as people use food delivery apps almost on a daily basis and this would increase transactions.

Launched in 2017, Uber Eats is a relatively late entrant and competes with homegrown food delivery startups such as Zomato – set up in 2008 – and Swiggy, set up in 2014, which enjoy a much more widespread presence across the country.

According to industry estimates, last year Swiggy delivered 800,000 orders per day and Zomato 650,000, while Uber Eats managed only 150,000 to 200,000 orders per day. Swiggy had earlier held discussions to acquire Uber Eats, but the talks fell through over a host of issues.

Although Amazon’s rival Flipkart remains the biggest e-commerce firm in India in terms of revenue, Amazon is growing at a much faster rate and has a higher Gross Merchandise Value, according to a recent report by Barclays.

Last year Amazon’s US rival Walmart picked up a 77% stake in Flipkart for US$16 billion.

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