Ama­zon, Flip­kart fan out to sign up small mer­chants

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

The on­line mar­ket­place is com­ing to the off­line mar­ket­place. Ama­zon Seller Ser­vices Pvt. Ltd, the lo­cal unit of the world's largest on­line re­tailer, and Flip­kart Ltd, In­dia's largest on­line re­tailer, are send­ing their vans to ar­eas such as Karol Bagh and Azad Mandi in Delhi or Indi­rana­gar and Com­mer­cial Street in Ban­ga­lore-places that have many small busi­nesses- to sign up mer­chants for their plat­form.

Un­der the pan-In­dia ini­tia­tives called Ama­zon Tatkal and Spotlist ( for Flip­kart), their rep­re­sen­ta­tives will en­gage with lo­cal busi­nesses, reg­is­ter mer­chants on the spot, pre­pare prod­uct cat­a­logues and give them ba­sic train­ing to op­er­ate on its plat­form.

"Our con­ver­sa­tion with hun­dreds of small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) re­veals that there is a high level of in­ter­est among them to get on­line and start sell­ing, but they are un­able to over­come per­cep­tion of the process be­ing time con­sum­ing, te­dious and com­plex. As a re­sult, many in­ter­ested sellers tend to put off on­board­ing tasks. This ini­tia­tive will help sellers over­come th­ese con­straints, get them on board and start sell­ing on the Ama­zon plat­form," said Gopal Pil­lai, di­rec­tor and gen­eral man­ager, seller ser­vices, Ama­zon In­dia.

He, how­ever, de­clined to share any spe­cific tar­get in terms of num­ber of mer­chants the com­pany plans to rope in. Ama­zon has done pi­lots in two cities, Am­bala and Ja­land­har and was able to rope in hun­dreds of sellers on board. It is sub­se­quently mov­ing to other cities. The pro­gramme will also in­tro­duce sellers to the spe­cialised seller ser­vices of­fered by Ama­zon, in­clud­ing Easy Ship, Ful­fil­ment by Ama­zon as well as Global Sell­ing.

Flip­kart on the other hand launched the ser­vice in Novem­ber last year across five key met­ros-Ben­galuru, Chen­nai, Mum­bai, Pune, and Hyderabad. So far, over 1,000 sellers across cat­e­gories have availed of this ser­vice and close to 10,000 prod­ucts have been cat­a­logued, claimed the com­pany. Flip­kart in ad­di­tion to en­abling sellers is ex­tend­ing the ser­vice to free­lance wed­ding and party pho­tog­ra­phers who can also reg­is­ter with Flip­kart as cat­a­logu­ing part­ners.

Last year, ri­val Snapdeal too launched a seg­ment ex­clu­sively for small and medium en­ter­prises (SMEs) and in­di­vid­u­als called Shopo. It is a com­mis­sion-free shop­ping app of­fer­ing prod­ucts from mer­chants who want to sell stuff on­line on small-scale and un­or­ga­nized retail stores.

Cur­rently, a few other start-ups such as like Kraftly, Shop­sity and Zakoopi also of­fer ser­vices rang­ing from ei­ther just prod­uct dis­cov­ery to trans­ac­tions for off­line stores. Ear­lier this month, Ama­zon launched a seller lend­ing pro­gramme in In­dia to help small and medium busi­nesses on Ama­zon.in get easy ac­cess to work­ing cap­i­tal. The ini­tia­tive was launched in part­ner­ship with Mum­bai- based non- bank­ing fi­nan­cial com­pany, Cap­i­tal First Ltd.

The com­pany plans to pro­vide se­cured and un­se­cured loans to sellers from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.2 crore at com­pet­i­tive in­ter­est rates. Ama­zon cur­rently has 65,000 mer­chants on board with over 4.5 crore prod­ucts. Flip­kart claims to have over 80,000 mer­chants of­fer­ing more than 30 mil­lion prod­ucts across over 70 cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing books, me­dia, con­sumer elec­tron­ics, fur­ni­ture and life­style.

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