In what looks like a move to counter Mukesh Ambani’s multi-billion ecommerce venture JioMart, Amazon today launched a new initiative in India called ‘Smart Stores’.

Through this, Amazon will provide local stores in India with a special software and a QR code. Additionally, the enrolled stores would be required to maintain an updated list of all the items available in the shop along with the discount offered. Customers will then be able to select the items from this software and can pay for it through Amazon Pay, UPI, Credit or Debit cards or even through EMI.

The launch of ‘Smart stores’ looks well timed, specially considering the current COVID-19 situation and the need for social distancing that arises with it. The use of cards and cash can be limited by used Amazon Pay which is already accepted at millions of stores across India. Local shops participating in the initiative will also get the option to give Amazon Pay reward coupons and various exclusive bank and brand offers to customers. Moreover, the shopkeepers can send the customers an e-bill (online) to further limit the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Amazon has included 10,000+ local shops as of now. These shops range from big shops like BigBazaar to small neighbourhood shops, lovingly called ‘Kirana’ stores in India. A form is also available on the microsite to let shopkeepers and merchants sign up.