Amazon Prime Day sale: How the company pulled it off during the pandemic



(Image credit: Amazon)

The Amazon Prime Day sale, which is currently on in India, turned out to be a fascinating and exacting exercise in backroom management this year.

The sale of this magnitude is demanding in the best of times. But this time around with the pandemic, which almost canceled the event, there was added pressure. 

But the fact the company has managed to hold the show in India, even as it has been put off in other countries, speaks volumes about its commitment to both the buyers and sellers on its platform. 

The event has been rolled out with most of the employees working from home in different corners of the country. But none of this will be apparent to you, consumers, using the site. Everything has been seamlessly assimilated and made available without any glitches.

Much of the credit for the Prime Day happening in India with all safety and health protocols in place goes to its Director and Head of Prime, Amazon India Akshay Sahi.

After the Covid-19 struck, and when the Amazon team decided to go ahead with the Prime Day event, the major focus was inevitably on the health and safety of all the stakeholders in the whole ecosystem.

“Every year, it is the speed of delivery that was paramount. This year, alongside speed, safety was the cornerstone of our efforts,” Sahi has been quoted as saying in media reports.

By safety, Sahi means the safety of all concerned — sellers, delivery partners, Amazon employees and of course the end customers.

Amazon, this year, has made over 100 changes in its on-ground operations to ensure mandated health protocols are in place. These include staggered break timings, reduction of number of people allowed in the canteen at any time, marking on the ground to maintain distance, only one person allowed to unload and the arrival time of drivers and delivery associates have also been staggered to avoid crowding.

Planned and executed in 1/3rd of usual time

Akshay Sahi, Director and Head of Prime, Amazon India

Akshay Sahi, Director and Head of Prime, Amazon India (Image credit: Akshay Sahi)

This year, alongside speed, safety was the cornerstone of our efforts.

Akshay Sahi

When the pandemic stuck, Amazon, like other companies, put on hold all its immediate plans. But, as they say in film world, the show must go on. The team then decided to go ahead with the Prime Day event, albeit slightly behind its usual July schedule.

And when they started planning, they had exactly one third of their usual time to put in place all the nuts and bolts of the event.

They zeroed in on August as it is around this time that the festival time begins in India. It usually kicksstarts the sale season, as it were, in the country.

Amazon also did a Nielsen survey, and the findings established that 43% of the sellers was looking forward to the event to revive their business.

After that, Amazon got down to working with the sellers and manufacturers, and due to its unstinting efforts, over 1000 new products are being launched by small businesses and 150 exclusive Prime launches are also happening.

Amazon also opened 10 new fulfillment centers to cater to the demand and more than 50,000 temp workers have been hired. It has also worked out deals for freight capacity with IndiGo and SpiceJet, the two main private airlines in India.

It is usually party time at the Amazon locations during the Prime Day sale period. But this year, with workers mostly operating from home, things are pretty muted.

But the fact is, the Prime Day event is in itself one long, enjoyable party for all concerned.

August 6, 2020
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