Amazon’s plans to bring image search-based shopping in India

Amazon is testing barcode scan and image search-based shopping in India among a small group of users on Android devices as it looks to make discovery of products easier. The attempt is also to tap into the offline user base, which can scan the product or its barcode to place an online order through Amazon. This feature has been available on the iOS platform in India.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s TMall tested a similar project last year during its Singles Day sales with a few brands. If successfully launched, this could give a significant boost to Amazon’s overall sales here. In the US, the company had first started a similar project with a separate device called Amazon Dash Wand in 2014 which was for only Prime subscribers and largely for grocery products. Now, an image-based search is widely available for users in the US. Sources said Amazon India is working with select sellers and limited set of products in the testing phase here. A broader roll-out would depend on the success and viability of the on-going project.

“As we continue to innovate with new search and discoverability features, we are currently testing the picture scan search feature on the Amazon.in Android app with limited customer visibility. This is already available on the iOS app,” a spokesperson of Amazon India said in an emailed response. The iOS availability is also restricted to select products here, besides testing image searching on Android phones would be more critical for a market like India. According to Statista—an online statistics, market research and business intelligence platform, Android holds a share of over 82% of the mobile operating system market in India in December 2017.
“This is one of the pilots being done by Amazon which will be slowly launched on a full scale among users and may eventually lead to higher sales,” a person aware of the matter said. Prior to this, Amazon has had India specific projects like Udaan to address local problems such as assisted shopping in Indian hinterlands along with bringing global products like Prime, Alexa among others.

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