Amazon India is shutting down its wholesale e-commerce website for small neighbourhood stores, called ‘Amazon Distribution’ in india.
This is the third business closure announced by Amazon in india in a week. It previously announced plans to shutter Foodtech (food delivery) and Edtech (online education) service.
Amazon Distribution operates platform where sellers sell fast-moving consumer goods and apparel products from companies and distributes them among hundreds of kiranas and small neighbourhood stores. However, this unit only operated in three cities of Karnataka —Bengaluru, Mysuru and Hubbali. About 50 employees worked on the Amazon Distribution project.
“The company is trying to find alternative roles for them inside the organisation,” said a source familiar with the matter.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the development. The spokesperson said as part of the company’s annual operating planning review process, the firm has made the decision to discontinue Amazon Distribution.
“We are discontinuing this programme in a phased manner to take care of current customers and partners and we are supporting our affected employees during this transition,” said the spokesperson.
The Amazon Distribution platform is separate from Amazon Business, the B2B marketplace on Amazon.in, which caters to the business procurement needs of institutions such as hospitals, manufacturers, universities, schools, government bodies and offices. The ‘Amazon Distribution’ business is only 4 per cent in size when compared to the ‘Amazon Business’ platform, according to the sources.
Amazon is shutting down the Distribution unit, food delivery and edtech offering at a time when the company is laying off employees as part of the annual operating planning review process. However, the company didn’t specify the number of jobs that would be cut in India. According to the sources, attempts would be made to absorb as many within the different business units of the company as possible. Amazon will cut jobs again worldwide in early 2023, said chief executive officer Andy Jassy in a memo to employees last week.
Complain against Amazon
Following a complaint by the employee union Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) on layoffs by Amazon in India, the Labour Ministry summoned an official of the e-commerce firm in Bengaluru on Wednesday. NITES has written a letter to the Labour Ministry alleging that it has received complaints from employees of Amazon that they are being forced to quit the company ‘voluntarily’. It alleged that the company has sent a detailed Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) as well.
Labour Ministry, addressed the letter to Amazon’s senior manager for public policy Smitha Sharma. Amazon representatives told government officials that the company is not sacking the employees, according to sources. As the firm is looking to cut costs, the VSP letter was sent as a mass email to the unit inside the company where engineers build tools to make the employee experience better. Amazon told the government officials that it is up to the employees to accept or reject the VSP offer, but they won’t be laid off.