Amazon is continuing its expansion into a number of international markets. Its investment arm NV Investment Holdings bought a nearly 5% ($27.6 million) stake in Indian retailer Shoppers Stop Ltd, the Mumbai-based company said in a filing.
The investment in Shoppers Stop was relatively miniscule for the e-Commerce giant, which already has pledged a total of $5 billion to its Indian operations since 2014. And there’s plenty of value with a cheap buy in, especially if Amazon wants to learn about the country’s e-Commerce buying habits: the value of online sales in India is predicted to rise to $48 billion by 2020, according to Forrester.
The retailer hasn’t been shy about its ambitions in India, with CEO Jeff Bezos and the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, engaging in a roundtable discussion in June that included nearly 20 other business leaders in Washington, DC. With Softbank recently investing $2.5 billion in India’s largest e-Commerce company, Flipkart, Amazon already has plenty of competition if it wants to maximize its growth in the region.
As part of the investment, Amazon will set up experience centers — which let customers test out the products available online — across Shoppers Stop’s network of 80 brick-and-mortar stores in India. The company will add 20 stores in the next four years with help from the investment, said Govind Shrikhande, managing director of Shoppers Stop in a statement.
Shoppers Stop will have an exclusive flagship store on the Amazon marketplace, where it will list its entire portfolio of 400+ brands across categories such as apparel, footwear, beauty and accessories.
Amazon’s expansion into untapped regions isn’t limited to India, but is seeing mixed results. Despite massive logistics investments, the online giant is struggling to gain a foothold in China against a crowded market already dominated by Alibaba and JD.com. In fact, the company’s China e-Commerce market share has dipped from 2.1% in 2011 to 1.3% in 2016. The retailer also is seeking to ramp up its Middle Eastern presence, acquiring Dubai-based Souq.com for $580 million in July 2017.