online world

Amazon is making moves to crack India’s expanding secondhand goods market

If successful, Amazon could expand the feature to other cities.

After securing enough buyers and sellers, Amazon’s next target market in India is resellers.

Amazon launched a “Sell as Individual” service in India, which makes it convenient for users to sell secondhand laptops, phones, tablets, books, and more. The company picks up the item, packages it, and ships it to the recipient for a nominal fee: Rs10 ($0.15) for orders under Rs1,000 ($15), a Rs50 ($0.74) for items valued between Rs1,000 and Rs5,000($74), and Rs100 ($1.50) for those priced above Rs5,000. Returns are brought back to the doorstep of the sellers at no additional cost to them.

For now, the company is piloting the service in Bengaluru. If successful, Amazon could expand the feature to other cities.

India’s secondhand goods market is currently estimated at nearly $17 billion. With the latest endeavor, it is tapping an individual market that e-commerce competitors like Flipkart and Snapdeal have not yet ventured into. And even though the secondhand goods market is already saturated by the likes of popular sites like OLX, Quikr, and eBay India, Amazon’s sheer size could give it a competitive edge over other players.

The new platform is reminiscent of shopping portal Junglee, an Amazon subsidiary, launched in India in 2012. When asked about the relationship between the two nearly identical services, the e-retailer told the Verge that Junglee was a pilot of sorts for Amazon.in’s latest offering. Amazon did not respond to Quartz’s requests about whether it has plans to shutter Junglee or merge the two sites in the future.

The Seattle-based company has spent billions of dollars on infrastructure and technology in its second-biggest market after the US. Amazon has committed investments worth more than the total funding raised by Flipkart and Snapdeal—India’s two biggest domestic e-commerce companies—put together. Thanks to partnerships etched with Bollywood studios and its low price point, Amazon’s Prime Video offering is tough competition for Netflix. And with this latest endeavor, Amazon could soon be the biggest player in India’s individual sellers market.

The hassle-free, door-to-door service could also dissuade people from scrapping old electronics. India produces nearly 1.8 million tons of electronic waste every year, a number set to nearly double by 2018, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India. By encouraging the easy resale of used products within the country, the online retailer could curb huge mounds of e-waste.

This articl first appeared on Quartz.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.