Amazon makes sweeping changes for first Prime Day of pandemic

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Not withstanding the pandemic that is sweeping across the nation, Amazon India will kick off its first Prime Day since the coronavirus outbreak later this week in India, changing almost everything about the retail bonanza to navigate the realities of a new era.

The Prime Day offers will have the customary deep discounts, hundreds of exclusive products, new launches and cashback offers. But in a major departure from the past, the global giant will have a virtual operations room instead of a real one, with thousands of employees coordinating the sale from their homes, and stringent hygiene protocols for its armies of packers, sorters and delivery boys. And that was only to be expected given that the scare of the virus has put off shoppers to take physical delivery of products. Many apartments and gated communities in India still do not allow delivery boys to directly reach the customers.

India will be an experiment for founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person. The US version of Prime Day has been postponed from its usual spot in July, with the new date yet to be announced, till things clear out there.
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Amazon is also up against Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart as well as the powerful Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., whose Jio Mart Platforms launched its grocery delivery service in 200 cities and is fast expanding into categories like electronics and apparel.

Flipkart has announced its own Big Savings Day, clashing with its rival’s dates. The sales events have overlapped for years, vying for the attention of both shoppers and sellers listing on their platforms.

The critical element is safety for workers, customers and deliverymen. The Shift and break times have been staggered to more evenly distribute attendance at cafeterias and communal areas. Markings on the floor will prevent loaders and sorters from stepping too close to each other.