Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

What Amazon.com and Paypal Didn’t Do!

Posted on: November 15, 2007

Two great companies run by great visionaries. Paypal and Amazon.com. One transpired to become the biggest bookstore the world has ever seen – yet. The other became the eCommerce backbone for most of the internet business that goes on around.

All due credits and salutations aside, i do have somethings against these two companies.

When people were talking about stacking up more books and creating bookstore chains, what Amazon.com did, by means of Jeff‘s vision was extraordinary. Make the biggest bookstore and have it online. Well, so far so good. The question is, did it live up to its potential? If a national reach or continental (north american) reach was what they were aiming for, aren’t there cheaper and alternative ways to go about it?

I know that I can find most of the books that I am looking for on Amazon.com. When it comes to indian context and some of the literary works, it is still hard to find them on Amazon.com, and their second hand book collections and process is still one that needs ironing out.

What Amazon.com didn’t do is make the bookstore truly global. Apart from using it for looking up ISBN numbers and to make a custom order in a local bookstore, amazon.com hasnt changed the lives of everyone yet. With most of the emerging markets being outside of india, and cost being a restricting factor (shipping today to India costs a lot), this is the market that Amazon.com should be aiming for. Question is, if they are.

Paypal. Western union lost a big fat chunky chance with letting this slip. For those of you who aren’t aware, Western union was given a chance to buyout Paypal. Imagine the global network of wire transfer and the online commerce network both combined. It could have been simply a dynamite combination. Western Union missed out on that opportunity.

What Paypal was missing out on was the option to make transfers to local banks. They made an annoucement recently so that we can make a transfer from our paypal account directly to an indian local branch – which is quite a hip hip hurray news for most indian internet businesses. We still do have an issue with the dollar to Ruppee conversion. With the dollar steadily falling and with the rising economy, it would be better to receive the payment in Indian ruppees and withdraw it in ruppees later on – since there is a minimum transfer amount associated with paypal transfers. I hope Paypal will get to that soon.

I would also like Paypal to extend their services to mobile devices, or align themselves to the likes of MChek or Indopay (in India). The hope is that Paypal wouldnt commit the same mistake that WU did, long time back.

If Paypal does play its cards right, they’d be the next contender after Visa and Mastercard. let’s see.

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4 Responses to "What Amazon.com and Paypal Didn’t Do!"

A lot of companies had the option of buying paypal. Even amazon had that option. If it had bought paypal it would be way ahead of ebay in the ecommerce game. I think Amazon won’t be coming to india anytime soon because the market here isn’t big enough. Maybe in a couple of years.

I dont think Amazon has to per se, come to india. They need to tie-up with local partners who can procure and ship at local cost. I personally know of quite a few people who order books in bulk from Amazon. So not sure about the “market isn’t big enough” reason. With a brandname like amazon, they can definitely show for the numbers.

whats Indopay? never heard of them.

Rajiv,

http://www.indopay.com

There are quite a few guys, almost six m-payment solutions guys in this part of the world.

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