After shutting down its food delivery business last year, Amazon India is now experimenting with dine-in payments. The company has initiated a limited introduction of bill payments at restaurants using Amazon Pay.
The facility is currently active in select areas of Bengaluru with a limited set of restaurants. Users can head to Amazon Pay > Dining in the Amazon app to make payments using credit/debit cards, net banking, UPI, or Amazon Pay Later. At the moment, Amazon India is offering discounts on bill payments at almost all listed restaurants.
It’s not clear if the e-commerce group is testing this in any other city. Amazon India spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment.
Food delivery bigwigs Zomato and Swiggy both offer in-restaurant payments and discounts as they attempt to attract more customers. Earlier this month, Zomato launched its own UPI service in partnership with the ICICI bank for quicker checkout and bill payment.
The National Restaurant Association of India, a consortium in the hospitality sector, last year warned against dining payment products from food delivery firms in an advisory to its members.
Amazon’s new experiment is another attempt at finding ways to engage customers in India. It is facing challenges in India and has struggled to make inroads into smaller towns in the country, according to a report from investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein. The e-commerce giant insists that 85% of its customers are from tier 2/3 cities/towns.
Bernstein’s report also noted that the company is facing a tough regulatory environment and as a result falling behind Walmart-backed Flipkart. Notably, Amazon omitted India mentions for the first time since 2014 from its Q1 2023 results.
Earlier this year, Amazon joined Open Network for Digital Commerce, an initiative set up by India’s ecommerce ministry, in limited capacity to create an “interoperable” network for sellers. ONCD’s aim is to let retailers join a digital network that doesn’t rely on central marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart.