SINGAPORE – Amazon, the Seattle-based ecommerce giant, has finally landed in Singapore, making its entry in fast growing South-east Asia and challenging the likes of regional players Lazada, RedMart and Qoo10 in the local market.
The e-commerce giant announced on Thursday (July 27) the launch of Amazon Prime Now, offering free two-hour delivery – subject to a minimum order – of products from eggs to toys, for orders placed over the phone and through the app. The e-commerce giant also inaugurated its largest global Prime Now facility at Mapletree Logistics Hub.
“Prime Now is powered by Amazon’s more than 20 years of operational and technological experience and hundreds of Singapore’s skilled associates … The service will drive Singapore’s urban logistics, retail and ecommerce industries as well as benefit small and medium enterprises with direct participation in the advancing digital economy,” said Mr Aarif Nakhooda, director of Amazon Prime Now Asia Pacific.
Amazon said its Prime Now service is exclusive to members of Amazon Prime but will be available without the membership to Singaporean for a limited period of time.
Amazon is expected to create “hundreds of jobs” in Singapore over the next three years, across managerial, technical and operations roles and can serve as a valuable partner for local retailers, brands and individual merchants, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said at the launch event of Amazon Prime Now in the Republic.
Amazon has relocated two overseas Singaporeans – Mr Aarif Nakhooda and Mr Henry Low – who have experience in managing Amazon’s UK and US operations, to lead the new operating model for Amazon Prime Now in Singapore.
“By tapping on the Amazon Prime Now platform and its global fulfilment networks, local businesses can access and serve global markets at scale and speed,” said Mr Iswaran. Citing examples of local brands like Tiger Balm and Mamypoko, he said these brands are working with Amazon to make their businesses e-commerce-ready, such as by improving their supply chain management and digital inventory.
Amazon announced the launch of a new operating model with Amazon Prime Now in Singapore. Through the use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, and innovative concepts such as random stow systems and on-demand delivery scheduling, Amazon expects to achieve significant gains in labour productivity and infrastructure utilisation, as well as near real-time delivery of goods in cities. Such an operating model will strengthen Amazon’s cost-competitiveness and agility, both in Asia and globally.
“Amazon is committed to continue investing in talent development and providing training opportunities for our people to build up the requisite technical, entrepreneurial and creative skillsets. These skillsets range from software engineering, digital marketing, data analytics and mining, to product management and partnerships development,” Mr Iswaran said.
He highlighted that through the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA), the Government has equipped about 10,000 Singaporeans with skillsets such as data analytics, network engineering, immersive media and Internet of Things.
Mr Iswaran cited the example of Mr Jonathan Tan, graduated with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Nanyang Technological University, who benefitted from TeSA. Jonathan. He joined the sales operations of a firm that supports the chemical as well as oil and gas industries. Driven by his interest in technology, Jonathan participated in one of the courses under TeSA’s Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP). Through this programme, he was introduced to technology firm PALO IT and joined the company as a software engineer.
According to Mr Iswaran, a new phase of digital transformation with the potential to bring about enormous opportunities is taking place globally and Singapore is well-positioned to capture these opportunities. “A new phase of digital transformation is taking place globally. Digital technologies are disrupting value chains across industries, as well as changing the way we live and work,” he said.
The World Economic Forum places Singapore among the top seven tech-ready economies globally, while the IMD World Competitiveness Centre ranks Singapore as the most digitally competitive country, Mr Iswaran highlighted.
“While technological change and business model innovation can disrupt the established norms of industry, it can also create new pathways and possibilities – for individuals and enterprises alike. Our challenge is to be prepared to embrace that change, adapt to the new norms, and benefit from the new opportunities they present,” Mr Iswaran said.
According to information on the Amazon Prime Now app, there will be two delivery options for Singapore customers. The first is for orders less than S$40: It will cost S$5.99 to deliver the orders within two hours, or S$9.99 for one-hour delivery. Two-hour deliveries for orders more than S$40 will be free.
Delivery times in Singapore will be from 10am to 10pm, seven days a week. Two-hour delivery is available across all delivery areas, whereas one-hour delivery is only available in selected postal codes.
The Prime Now app says it delivers to addresses in mainland Singapore and Sentosa but does not currently service outlying islands.