Leading mobile wallet Paytm has set aside $100 million (about Rs 640 crore) to help sellers go online. The Noidabased mobile commerce platform, backed by Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba, is planning to subsidise sellers as it is planning to get nearly one lakh of them on its marketplace by the end of this year.
"We are creating the whole ecosystem for merchants on our Gobig merchant platform," said Renu Satti, vice president-SME business and operations at Paytm. Using the Gobig platform (gobig.paytm.com), merchants can avail services including content writing, cataloguing, online marketing and imaging.
Paytm wants to get nearly 10,000 service providers on board by the end of the year, said Satti.The company is not charging merchants a commission on sales, it had said in April.Ecommerce firms including Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have also been seeking to woo sellers as they try to chase ambitious growth targets and carve a bigger slice of the country's growing etailing market.
"There is a big gap in specific areas such as cataloguing. Offline sellers don't have capabilities around images, content and so on," said Venkat Potluri, co-founder and CEO of Sellworx, which has helped nearly 300 merchants go online in the past six months.
While Flipkart is looking to add one lakh sellers by year end, Snapdeal has said that it wants to get to 10 lakh merchants in three years from 1.5 lakh sellers currently and Shopclues wants to increase its merchant base from 1.25 lakh to five lakh by the end of 2015. Amazon has not disclosed seller numbers.
While the targets are huge, only about 30,000-40,000 sellers are likely to be active online by year end, said Potluri, who was earlier a director at Flipkart.
"The market is growing every day, so that number could go up," said Potluri. "Many sellers get orders in the first two-three weeks and then it tapers off. They lose interest after that," he said.
Paytm's platform to help sellers currently has 600 partners listed on the site. "Smaller merchants, for instance a handicrafts seller in a village, will need these services to sell online," said Satti. The company won't seek exclusivity from the seller. "We believe that people should be able to go everywhere they want to," he said.
The company, which is in advanced talks to raise $600 million (about Rs 3,840 crore) from Alibaba Group Holdings, recently said that nearly one lakh Chinese sellers will sell through its platform as part of a partnership it has with AliExpress.
India's internet market, which was valued at $11 billion (about Rs 70,000 crore) in 2013, could rise to $137 billion (Rs 8.77 lakh crore) by 2020, according a Morgan Stanley Research report.
India's retail market is expected to grow to $1 trillion (Rs 64 lakh crore) by 2020 from $600 billion (Rs 38 lakh crore) in 2015, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India.
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